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Casting Pot Size

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Larry Steinmetz, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Location (City & State):
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    Hello,

    I have not started casting yet but I have a question about what size of pot to purchase. It seems that most folks opt for the 2.5 gallon size. Is this due to cost or what/how you cast? I also think it has a lot to do with that being the size of the Harbor Freight pot. Is there such a thing as too big of a pot other than it takes more air, more time, etc. I'm sure I am probably missing something having not done it yet...watched a ton of videos though!

    Most of my later adult years have been focused on buying the second lathe, first; buying tools that will last and aren't throwaways (some exceptions exist), and, in the case of a pressure pot, getting the size that will allow for expansion if/when necessary. That said, I also don't necessarily buy the biggest, fastest, baddest if it isn't warranted. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    I think it depends on the size of the items you want to cast. I've been casting small items, like pen blanks, for a few years and haven't purchased a pressure yet because I a haven't need one. The pen blanks dry fine without one and if I happen to have a lot of large air bubbles I'll grab the heat gun, it seems to remove them.
     
  3. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    It really depends on the size of pieces you want to cast, or the number of pieces you want to cast at one time. You can always fill a casting pot volume with a solid object to consume the empty air volume in a casting pot. The HF pressure pot is a convenient low cost option with the fittings already made for the task, you can always place a smaller container inside the casting pot that will hold the number of pieces you want to cast.
     
  4. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Location (City & State):
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    The size of my pieces is kind of an unknown right now...certainly on the smaller end I plan to do pens, bottle openers, pepper mills, etc. I live on 7.5 acres that has maybe 3 acres of woods (Live Oak, Water Oak, Pecan, Elm, Hackberry, etc.) as well as having big trees across the open areas of the property that are always dropping branches and limbs of all sizes. I also have friends around the area where I can get fallen timber as well as nice size branches and trunks from tree trimming and removal (this type of stuff would typically not be part of this discussion as far as casting). So, I guess right now it is a decision between "possibilities vs. actual projects" I will do.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  5. Craig Pierson

    Craig Pierson

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    I started with the HF pot due to budget. It has served me well and I don't have plans to upgrade.
     
  6. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    I hear a lot of people say that but I like the wing nut clamping devices better on some other models as well as flat bottoms.
     
  7. Craig Pierson

    Craig Pierson

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  8. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Location (City & State):
    Alvin, TX
  9. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    Location (City & State):
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    Talked to a buddy today who does a lot of resin casting ... he has been working with 2 Harbor Freight pots for the last couple of years, and hates them. Biggest problems have been the wing-nuts, the gaskets, and the round bottoms in the tank. He just recently bought a California Airtools 5-gallon pot from Woodcraft, and loves it. They had it on special for about $200 around Fathers Day, which is when he bought it. I'm think about going that direction myself ... just need SWMBO to sign off on the $$$!
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  10. Dave Hulett

    Dave Hulett

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    The bottom on the HF is easily fixed with a piece of 1/4" plywood circle cut to fit.
     
  11. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    No doubt that is true...have also seen people using plastic cutting board material to do the same.
     
  12. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    I am considering the California model as well. I really like the C.A. Tech but man they are expensive. I’ll have to see if the Houston Woodcraft has a California in stock so that I can check out how well it is built and it’s heft.
     
  13. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    I have the California model , love love it, wasted my money buying a cheap one first. Was scared to use it much after I saw a few videos blow off hf lids when under pressure. Easily kill someone.
     
  14. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    I am thinking more-and-more about this model...have to flush out of my mind that I "need" the C. A. Tech. The reality is I don't "need" it but the videos for the pot show them to be built like tanks (although not ASME certified) and to be the last pot I would ever need to buy. For all I know though, for a lot less money the California may also meet that standard.
     
  15. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    How is the bottom on the California pot?
     
  16. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    It is flat. The only complaint my friend has is he says it is hard on his back ... too heavy to lift up on his bench, so he has to bend over to work with it. He put the wheels on his, so he can roll it under the bench.
     
  17. DON FRANK

    DON FRANK

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    You can often find a 5 gal painters pot used at auctions or craigs list. The ones that are big enough for a painter to put a 5 gal pot of paint in there to pressurize it for spraying. Those are industrial made and save. Regardless of what you use don't exceed 65lbs psi. That is plenty to do the job and still in the safe zone.
     
  18. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Well...had a bittersweet day two days ago. I called the local Woodcraft store in Houston because it said online that they had limited numbers of pots but to call to confirm. I called them and the gentleman that answered did a quick computer search and kind of laughed saying that not only did they not have any in the store but that nationwide Woodcraft had approx. 450 backordered and California Air Tools had a backorder in the 1000s. I am assuming that that might be for all kinds of pots as that seems like a very high number of woodworkers all of a sudden doing casting...could be wrong though. At any rate, it looked like I was going to have to spring for the much more expensive C. A. Tech pot.

    Less than five minutes after getting off of the phone from Woodcraft I get a call back from them. The gentleman said that the store manager overheard the phone conversation and said that there was a pot unopened back in the store room. It was supposed to go out on the floor but the manager said I could purchase it if I wanted it. So, I jump in my car, head to Woodcraft and pick it up thinking man, what a great day this is!

    Later that evening, I am working on my four-month old MacBook Pro and had a full glass of sweet tea next to it; I almost never have open containers on my desk and instead have a side desk that I put them on. I bumped it with my elbow and almost the entire glass landed on my computer with a lot of it going inside. Long story short, scored in the morning with the pot. In the evening I had a glass of sweet tea that is now worth $1364.22.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  19. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Ouch! I'm so sorry that happened. I hope you had apple care. :) There's a lot of ifs here so don't get your hopes up but..... IF you didn't short anything out and IF you can remove the sticky sugar reside and IF you can dry it out it MIGHT be salvageable. I suspect your hard drive is fine so you could pull that and get your data off it at least. Even if you don't have apple care it may be worth taking it an authorized repair shop and seeing if that can "fix" it. They'll probably end up replacing the motherboard. Just a thought.

    Also, seems like your Woodcraft salesman may have been slightly exaggerating but recently there's been a trend in epoxy art and lots of small stores on Etsy selling epoxy jewel and other items. There's so much epoxy art happening right now that my daughter asked me to teach her how to use and work with epoxy. Maybe this is causing the backorder?
     
  20. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    I have always owned Macs (normally also have a PC in the house for teleworking) and have had Apple Care off-and-on. I don't know if Apple Care used to cover liquid damage but they don't anymore. Apple states on their website that liquid damage is not covered under the normal nor the extended warranty. I tried everything externally to drain the tea overnight and to hope that I could salvage the computer to no avail. If I open the case I evidently void the remainder of my warranty even if I send it in to get fixed.

    I am guessing that the price I was quoted online (with no one physically seeing it) is to totally gut the thing and put new components back in. I would have never guessed that it would be this expensive but I paid $3500 for it so it isn't a throwaway. If it was, I'd take that repair money and double it (a little less actually) and buy an iMac instead and be done with laptops...I need a PC laptop for work but find I use my iPad more-and-more for mobile computing.

    Funny how we (me) can sometimes get locked into the mindset that "we that do what we do are the only one's doing it!" I hadn't taken the time to think that there are many other different hobbies (and businesses) that may use them as well.
     
  21. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    The only practical thing I can think of to try is flood the computer with distilled, not deionized, water to flush out the sugar and let it dry. Distilled water is non conductive so gives you a chance of recovery if no components were shorted when the accident happened.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  22. Davey Jones Johnson

    Davey Jones Johnson

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    I scroll saw many different profiles in say a 3/8 hard wood disk, cover the back side with Gorrilla duct tape, fill, then sandfinish a few hrs. later n then build a segmented bowl on that. I have never put that in pressure pot, bug I do have 2 HF pots on at home and one at my winter place. No complaints after I made bottom inserts for them ffirst. I figure no more than I need one they serve my purpose. THE one biggest thing in casting stuff ? Mix very very well, do not try to stir in such a way as to keep air bubbles out. they will rise tothe top sooner than you think. on can pass some warm air over the mix fof a minute er so before pouring. even breath helps. you can ignite the mix with a torch is not careful. paint pots from HF readily can be converted to the Stand alone pressure pot.
     
  23. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    The extended Apple Care use to cover it. It was like a no questions asked service. Too bad they changed it, I guess they got burned too many times? If that was the Apple Store price to fix your machine then check with an independent authorized repair shop. I suspect they could fix it much cheaper. Or if you wanted to try it yourself you could check out iFixIt.xom They may have a teardown and a replacement walk-through tutorials for your model. ifixit.com is a great resource for do-it-yourselfers.
     
  24. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Thanks for the tip on ifixit.com. To my surprise, I don't think I have ever come across that site.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  25. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    ...and I suspect the warranty was voided the momment the liquid hit the keyboard.
     
  26. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Actually, the $1364.22 credit card payment restores the warranty! :mad:
     

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