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This page is a record of the progress I am making setting up and using a hobby aluminium foundry. Don't copy what I am doing it can be very dangerous and requires a lot of knowledge and experience to do it safely. Before considering any of this you must first read my disclaimer page.

One of the most common methods of producing casting moulds is using green sand. This is where a mould is formed by ramming green sand (a blend of sand and clay) around a pattern, the pattern is then removed leaving a hollow recess the shape of the casting. For anything more than the most basic of castings it becomes necessary to use a two piece mould, with the sand being formed to the required shape in a cope and drag. It's always best where possible to use a metal cope and drag which will not burn, but often in hobby foundries wood is used as it is more readily available and affordable. In this case extra care must be used to prevent molten aluminium coming into contact with the wood where it could cause both fire and dangerous fumes.

Cope & Drag Cope & Drag

One of the requirements of the cope and drag is that they are aligned accurately together and can only fit one way (the cope shouldn't fit if it is rotated through 180 degrees). This is achieved by having the Offset Block in one corner of the Drag and making the Locating Blocks a snug fit against the corners of the drag and the offset block.

To stop the cope floating off the drag when metal is pored into the mould the two halves can be clamped together using G-Clamps over the Clamp Blocks.

The simple design here can be adapted to suit any size of Cope and Drag and can be made from any suitable available wooden board.
Cope & Drag

Cope&Drag Parts

The length and height of each side can be any dimension to suit casting size you require. Side one however should be longer than required by four times the thickness of the wood you are using (dimension X above).

The sand retainer strips are made from thinner material; I have used 3mm hardboard. The sand retainers are pinned to the inside of the cope and drag to stop the cope and drag lifting off the sand when they are being turned over.

The sides should be glued and screwed together. If the board you are using has a facing material that won't accept glue, this should first be removed from the glue joint areas. All other components can be secured firmly with screws onto the outside of the cope and drag.

1st Casting
1st Casting
Furnace Crucible

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