This is my first attempt at an aluminum foundry. The outside body was made from a disposable helium tank. I used a 50/50 mix of sand and plaster of paris as a refractory mix to line the inside and the lid. I have no idea how well it will hold up, but according to some forums, it should've already broke...
Disposable helium tank
The type found at party stores for filling balloons
I tried melting some aluminum for the first time. It was a success! sort of.... First, I couldn't get it up to temperature. I burned through a whole tank of propane to figure out that my naturally aspirated burner wasn't pulling enough oxygen in... Out of desperation, I got my wife's hairdryer and propped it up to where it was blowing air down the burner pipe. This was a huge improvement! The aluminum became molten within 5 minutes, and I started feeding the rest of the scrap I had into it. But I guess it was working too good, because it burned a hole through my makeshift stainless steel crucible... I was alerted to this after hearing a bubbling noise that erupted as the molten aluminum engulfed the end of my burner... So for next time, I will get a better crucible and start off with a forced air setup.