Appendix D - Resources

Listed below are websites, books and other items of interest to the mold making, casting, plating hobbyist. Do you notice something missing? Let me know of a resource you find valuable and I will share it with the rest of us.

Web Sites of Interest (Back Yard Engineer) - Kevin Regan's site with some really cool information on injection molding machines that he builds in his garage. Kevin even offers parts for his designs. - Andrew Werby's site with information on creating masters. - FAQs from the alt.sculpture news group can be found here. These contain some info on molding and casting - Lionel Oliver's foundry page. Home of the flowerpot crucible furnace. Ray Brandes' Foundry site. Contains excellent examples and a very nice air driven vibrator (Excellent for shaking bubbles from plaster castings!) You can get the plans or purchase it. - Lindsay Publications - Highest quality books, new and old, for experimenters, inventors, tinkerers, mad scientists, and a very few normal people.. - Mr. Daniel Hartman has a lot of great information on his site about casting and an excellent page on modifying and improving Gingery's Lil' Berth. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

- You have reached the James Rogers Sculpture Studio web site. We are a premier producer of grade "A" sculpts for the toy and collectable industries. Please look around to get a better idea of our work, and how we go about it. When going to this site and are looking at the mold making process, delete part of the url so it reads you will get a bit more detail on how they do it. Nice site. - We are the largest distributor of all thing sculptural, including but not limited to molding compounds, casting compounds, finishing tools & patinas. We represent Smooth-On, Polytek, Alumilite, Dow, Silicone's Inc, USG, & US Bronze, just to name a few. We also stock a line of vacuum chambers as well as all your other molding accessories. As a part of our service we have a free technical support department at your disposal , plus online tutorials. - Dave Drescher's site has his dealings with a number of projects, including lost foam casting, lock repair a boat plaque and much much more. Take a gander at this site and it should help you get some ideas. - This site will be of help to some of you. They have over two hours of instructional video online for you to view on mold making and other topics. - Darren Ellis' site on furnace/forge building. This site has lots of great pictures. Check it out. - David Reid's site has too much stuff to list it all here. There are articals on casting, wax and loads more. A very nice site. Have a look, as I am sure there is something there that will interest you.


These are some of the books that I have got and found them helpful and interesting. The majority of them I have ordered from Lindsay Books. If you have not been to their site, I would highly recommend you check them out.

The Charcoal FoundryThe Charcoal Foundry - (From the back of the book.)

Working in metal is one of the oldest and most fascinating of the crafts. A source for castings of parts, members and working stock is difficult to find, but you can easily produce your own at home. There are no great technical obstacles to overcome and costs are surprisingly low. There is no need to go to a custom foundry or machine shop for help. The simple manuals in the "Metal Shop From Scrap" series will show you how to build and use the equipment you need to produce your own castings, parts and machines.

The main ingredient is these projects is scrap aluminum and pot metal. The only tools you need to start are ordinary home shop hand tools, many of which are probably already in your possession. Much of the remainder is found as salvage or cast-off and little expense need be involved.
Being in the lower melting range of the metals, aluminum and pot metal are delightfully easy to work with. If you are one who has attempted to weld or solder aluminum you may feel that you would encounter the same frustrations in an attempt to produce a casting, but exactly opposite is true. It melts easily, quickly and clean, it is extremely fluid and there are no deep secrets involved in handling it. Castings shake out clean and bright and you very first one is most likely to be a success.

The charcoal foundry is extremely simple to build and operate and the initial cost is so low that it can be in the reach of nearly anyone. The fundamentals of pattern-making and molding are quite easily understood and mastered. You can make great strides with simple tools and materials that are usually on hand in most home shops.

Once you have built the charcoal foundry and the lathe there is little beyond your reach by way of shop equipment. You can build as large or small as you wish and you are your own parts supply company. If you already have some machine shop equipment you will find that adding a foundry to your shop greatly expands your capacity. Being able to produce your own castings of parts for accessories and equipment is a great advantage. Design your own, make a copy or follow a plan. It's easy when you can produce your own castings. It's easy, low cost and great fun. See if casting won't open a whole new world of shop experience for you.

The Metal LatheThe Metal Lathe - (From The Back Of The Book) 

Having been descibed as "the only machine that can duplicate itself or any other machine in the shop", the metal lathe is the most versatile and desirable of all metal working machine tools. It is certainly among the most expensive pieces of equipment, but there is no need to do without one in your shop because here is a lathe that can not only duplicate itself, but it can produce its own original parts from home made castings and stock materials. A fascinating project from its simple wooden patterns through finished castings and finally a complete machine. You will master many basic skills as you progress.

The basic machine described in this manual has a compound slide rest, belt powered lead screw, split nut carriage feed, adjustable gibs in sliding members and adjustable tailstock set over for taper turning. With its 7" swing and between centers capacity of 12", it provides the foundation for the complete home metal working shop. A machine you'll enjoy building and one you'll be as proud to own as any you might buy.
A later manual in the series will show you how to add change gears, a four jaw chuck, center steady rest and other very desirable and helpful accessories to your equipment. All you need to begin is the charcoal foundry and basic hand tools. The only power tool used to construct the original lathe seen in these photos was a 3/8" electric hand drill. All of the parts are machined on the lathe itself as it evolves. There is never a need to look for outside custom machine work.

How to make patterns and how to mold them, how to use basic hand tools to prepare the castings for final finishing, and how to set them up for accurate machining on the developing lathe are all covered. The original lathe was used to machine a complete set of parts for a second identical machine, and so it not only duplicated itself but actually originated itself to a large extent. A delightful metal working project that provides a very thorough educational and a sound and practical piece of shop equipment.

The Metal ShaperThe Metal Shaper - (From The Back Cover)

A delightful project with super exercises in pattern-making, molding and casting. Detailed drawings make pattern-making easy and there are extra tips on molding unusual shapes. Many split patterns make the whole job easier. All of the castings are made in the charcoal foundry using the one quart pot, and they are machined on the home built lathe. The manual includes methods and accessories to enable you to use the home built lathe to machine all of the parts except the work table, which is machined on the shaper itself.

Such features as variable speed, adjustable stroke and automatic variable cross feed make this a truly practical machine for the home shop. Comparing the cost of ordinary lathe cutter bits to any single purpose milling machine cutter, you simply can't beat a shaper for economy and ease of operation. You grind the bits to shape on an ordinary emery wheel and you can use both ends. Sharpen or re-shape them in minutes in a simple hand operation.

The maximum stroke is 6" and the mean capacity is better than 5" x 5". The tool head rotates through 180 degrees for angular cuts and it has a graduated scale and simple lock. The down feed has a graduated collar and the yoke is graduated for setting the stroke length. A compact machine with great versatility and generous capacity. With it you can cut keyways, splines, gears, flat and angular surfaces, dovetail slides and irregular profiles to mention a few.

This project really proves the worth of the compact home foundry. You'll acquire a valuable piece of equipment, rarely found in home shops today, and you'll gain still more knowledge and skill as you build your own metal working shop from scrap.

The Milling MachineThe Milling Machine - (From The Back Cover)

The design of this horizontal milling machine is chosen with the developing home shop especially in mind. There is more detail than in the lathe and shaper but we are still using the same simple methods. All of the castings are within the capacity of the charcoal foundry using the one quart pot. Additional discussion on pattern-making and molding assure that the project is within the grasp of beginners. There are detailed instructions for machining the parts and the miller itself can do some of the operations on its own parts.

The machine is very rigid in its construction. Its lathe like characteristics make it very versatile. Included accessories make it possible to do large diameter turning, boring and facing jobs. It can even be used to make its own cutters. An ideal supplement to a shop with a small lathe.

The work table is 2 3/8" x 12" with a 3/8" "T" slot and it travels a full 12". The carriage travels 6 1/2" in line with the spindle with the tailstand in use and 8 1/2" with it cleared away. The spindle can be raised as much a 6" above the work table. There are eight speeds in two ranges from 43 RPM to 2430 RPM, and the transmission is designed to follow the vertical travel of the spindle without changing belt tension.

It is the milling machine that will enable you to add change gears to your lathe and do other exotic machining operations not possible in many small home shops. There is little beyond your capacity when you complete this project.

The Drill Press - (From the back cover)

Built entirely of home-made castings and standard hardware items, this drill press will make a valuable addition to your shop. It drills to the center of a 12" circle with a quill feed of 2 1/2". Both its spindle and countershaft are mounted in ball bearings. A single lever belt tension mechanism changes speeds quickly. A low speed of 260 RPM enables you to drill 5/8" holes in steel. Its table is adjustable radially for angular drilling. Quill feed is by cable winch or roller chain so there are no racks or pinions to make or purchase.

The machine is carefully planned and designed with the home built 7" swing lathe in mind. All of the castings are within the one quart pot capacity of the charcoal foundry. There is still no need to have any work done at the local machine shop and still no need to purchase any expensive tooling or accessories.

Though building a drill press may be the most difficult project in the series to justify, considering that a very serviceable imported machine can be purchased very cheaply, these operations have great training value as you build your shop and develop your skill. It is very likely that you will value the experience far mor than the machine. It will certainly repay you for your labor and patience as you use it for some of the exacting jobs still left to face as you finish building your shop.

Dividing Head & AccessoriesThe Dividing Head & Deluxe Accessories - (From the back cover)

Now that you have a machine shop you need accessories for the machines. This manual will show you how to tool up your shop to produce the things you want. Making your own tools and accessories is rewarding both in product and pleasure, and it helps greatly to develop your skill.

An angle plate, a set screw chuck and an expending arbor are only the beginning. A clamp dog, threaded mandrels and simple hand reamers are needed in all shops for many operations. Certainly any lathe is improved by a two or four jaw chuck, and a center steady rest for the lathe enables you to do machining operations on the tail end of the stock as well as expanding the capacity of the lathe.

Building a worm wheel dividing head will enable you to do precise indexing for gear making and other dividing jobs on your milling machine. This one functions as a rotary table for the drill press too. This is an accessory seldom found in a home shop. You will be amazed at its simplicity, durability and accuracy.

Learn basic gear calculations and how to prepare the blanks, index them and mill the tooth spaces. Make your own gear toothe cutters from ordinary lathe tool bits at a fraction of the cost of commercially made gear tooth cutters.

Add change gears to the lathe to cut all standard threads from 8 to 80 per inch, both right and left hand and internal or external. A threading indicator is added to the carriage so that you can do accurate threading without reversing the motor to return the carriage after each pass. You'll find that the gear driven fine feeds are much better than the original round belt carriage feed drive on the home built lathe.

You won't want to stop here for much more is easily possible. The dividing head not only divides gears but will also do graduated feed collars and protractors. All divisions through 50 and all even numbers and multiples of 5 through 100. Many numbers beyand are available up to 1,960, and you can easily make a special plate for any number of divisions in a special job. Now that you have your own foundry and machine shop you can have any item of equipment you want, and you can build it yourself from scrap meterials.

Designing & Building The Sheet Metal Brake - (From the back cover)

The main purpose for publishing the "Metal Shop From Scrap" series was to present methods for building such equipment as is normally found in a machine shop. Lathes, shapers, milling machines and their accessories fall into that category easily. A bending brake can certainly find plenty of use in any shop, and many metal working projects can be greatly simplified by the use of sheet metal rather than castings, forgings or other structural forms. It is well that we included it in the series for it has proven to be one of the more popular titles.

This is a welding project rather than a casting and machining project, though obviously some of the members of the brake could be redesigned as castings. You can find much or all of what you need to build the brake at the local salvage yard. This is a light duty portable leaf brake. Of course heavy work will require a larger, heavier piece of equipment, but you will find the basic principles here.

Simple operations such as cutting squarely to a line with a hacksaw or drilling a hole precisely on location require a measure of skill. The ability is gained through understanding basic principles and by practice. "Learn to do it right and apply what you know!" You'll find a worthwhile series of productive exercises in this project, and the result will be a compact sheet metal brake that will greatly expand your shop capability.

The Flowerpot Crucible FurnaceThe Flowerpot Crucible Furnace - This little jewel is what got me started in metal casting. Lionel walks you through how to make a crucible furnace using plain brick morter, a flower pot and an old popcorn tin. You may think it is unbelievable but I have more than 20 melts in this furnace without much wear on the pot or the morter. As a matter of fact, the pain is still nice looking on the can. You can get this book through Lindsay Books or from Lionels website at

"Lil’ Bertha" Electric Furnace"Lil’ Bertha" Electric Furnace - This book details the construction of an electric furnace that you can use for a multitude of things. For example, melt metal, Heat Treat, Burnout and more. This book is available from Lindsay Books.

Building a Gas Fired Crucible FurnaceBuilding a Gas Fired Crucible Furnace - (From the Back Cover)

If you happen to be one of those many adventurous spirits who have discovered the delights of metal-casting using a simple solid fuel furnace, you are probably ready to expand your foundry operation. If so, this book is for you.

The truth is, you'll find little here that is really new or innovative. Instead, you'll discover a furnace that uses design principles proven through years of use, but now almost forgotten. This design having been perfected over the last ten years, provides features that are especially useful in the small home shop foundry. The retractable body gives side access to the crucible which makes moving the crucible easier and safer than lifting it out with tongs.

Lighting the burner is easier and safer too. Nearly everyone who has seen it in operation has commented on the very low noise level which makes it much less intimidating than other furnaces. The burner design can even be adapted to other uses such as firing a kiln, burn out oven, or retort. It will perform nicely in any unit where the flame can impinge an internal barrier or the furnace wall.

Common materials are used throughout and no special skills are required. Costs can be so low as to be considered negligible.
And no longer will you need to melt metal outside. This furnace can move your entire foundry operation inside if you have a shop facility where you can provide adequate ventilation and a noncombustable floor.

The speed and convenience of a gas fired crucible furnace can increase your productivity and possibly the size of your castings as well.
Working evenings, you can advance the state-of-the-art of your shop by leaps and bounds, and significantly increase your enjoyment of melting and casting metal.

Making CruciblesMaking Crucibles - This book by Vince Gingery shows you cow to make your own crucibles for your furnace. Available from Lindsay Books.

US Navy Foundry ManualUS Navy Foundry Manual -

How to Design & Build Centrifugal Fans for the Home ShopHow to Design & Build Centrifugal Fans for the Home Shop -

Ornamental Metal CastingOrnamental Metal Casting -

Shop Notebook 1Shop Notebook 1 - Jam packed with ideas and small projects by Dave Gingery. Available through Lindsay Books.

How to run a latheHow to run a lathe - a book by south bend lathes was published in 1942 details how to level, lubricate and run a lathe. The technology today is much newer but the theory stays the same. This is a good book. Available from Lindsay Books.

Lathe OperationsLathe Operations -

Running An Engine Lathe - (From the preface)

The engine lathe is still the most widely used machine tool in the average machine shop. For although it has been replaced by the hand- and power-feed turret lathes, the automatic screw machine, and various special machine tools, these are only profitable where duplicate parts are to be made, not necessarily in mass production.

The average shop, especially the repair or job shop, still depends largely on the engine lathe owing to the great variety of work that can be done on it. For this means a knowledge of the engine lathe and how it is used is the best foundation for those who want to become familiar with the machinist trade.

An understanding of the workings of the engine lathe, its cutting tools, the turning tapers, the cutting of screw threads, and testing of the lathe for accuracy will make the operation of any other machine tool comparatively easy.

Fred H. Colvin

Machine Shop ProjectsMachine Shop Projects -

Shaper OperationsShaper Operations -

Plastic Injection Molding MachinePlastic Injection Molding Machine - This book by Vince Gingery details how you can build a plastic injection machine that can handle up to an ounce of plastic. He also talks about different plastics and making molds for it's use. This book is available through Lindsay Books.

A Plastic Vacuum Forming MachineA Plastic Vacuum Forming Machine - This book by Vince Gingery shows you how to build a Vacuum Forming machine. It details the materials you need and covers several type of plastics and also covers how to make your molds. This book is available through Lindsay Books.

Do It Yourself Vacuum FormingDo It Yourself Vacuum Forming -

Clay Modelling and Plaster CastingClay Modelling and Plaster Casting -

The Clay Lover's Guide to making moldsThe Clay Lover's Guide to making molds -

The Prop Builders Molding and Casting HandbookThe Prop Builders Molding and Casting Handbook -

Methods For Modern SculptersMethods For Modern Sculpters -

Modeling In Wax for Jewelry and SculptureModeling In Wax for Jewelry and Sculpture -

List Servers - The Casting List has over 1800 members, from all over the world. NOTE: NEW MEMBERS ARE TEMPORARILY MODERATED TO PREVENT SPAM, so spammers, don't bother! This list covers the following topics: Scratch-building of model masters in a variety of materials, such as styrene, brass, wood, whatever. Making molds out of various materials, including RTV rubber, plaster, epoxy, etc. (anything goes) Casting of the resulting molds in plaster, polyurethane plastics, low-temperature metals, etc. The list is specifically aimed at modelers in any area (model trains, ships, aircraft, etc.), or industrial casters, who wish to create their own models or parts from scratch and duplicate them. It will cover techniques, materials, and other auxillary topics, such as photoetching, vacuum forming, sculpture casting, suppliers, etc. A check of the archives for reference to your topic is suggested before posting, since some topics have been covered numerous times. If you're not sure if your topic is covered here, send me an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll let you know. Regards, Pat Lawless, Moderator - This group was started to help those interested in electroplating as a hobby or as a small business. Here we share knowledge,experiences,tips and our projects. If you need help in getting started you have come to the right place. Jump in and ask as many questions as you want! An ELECTROPLTING 101 page is being developed at Check it often as it is always in work! Another very good forum to learn from is They deal with all aspects of metal finishing on the profesional level and much can be learned there also. We will help with questions about all aspects metal plating. Lets help each other,and learn together. - Builders and would be builders can trade notes here.Topics discussed might include problems and solutions in building the machines and tools. - This is the primary forum for interaction between members of the Home Foundrymen's Association. It is a general discussion forum open to both members and non-members with the purpose of sharing information and knowledge between group members and helping to solve casting problems, etc.