[2008-04-20] Personalized motorcycle license plate frame casting

Homemade sand cast license plate frame from scrap aluminum with eagle motif below and name, LAWRENCE, above.

This is my second successful sand casting from scrap aluminum. It was presented to my father on the occassion of his 67th birthday. The pattern was prepared from a commercially-available license plate frame with craft foam letters glued to the upper member. The fillets between the letters and the front surface of the plate were achieved by flooding the crevices with thin cyanoacrylate glue, which was accelerated by misting with water. I tried an experimental technique in which I set up the casting as an open mold, but then covered the open face with a piece of thin sheet steel with an orifice, and a pouring column from scrap iron pipe welded in place over it. The results were not favorable. The steel, which was from an old pan, was too thin for the purpose and warped significantly when the superheated metal was applied, resulting in a casting that was badly misshapen and required many hours of hand clean-up. I think the idea has merit, though, because it saves having to prepare a fully packed cope from sand just to get a flat back on an object. I may repeat the experiment in future with a much thicker piece of steel to form the back-plate.

last modified 2008-04-20