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Using Only Paper to Melt Metal

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13:05   |   Mar 24, 2019

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Using Only Paper to Melt Metal
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  • In today's video, we're going to see
  • if we can make paper burn hot enough to liquefy metal.
  • [Music]
  • This is paper.
  • Paper was invented in China in approximately the year 105 CE.
  • It's usual for a lot of things.
  • We use it for writing, printing, drawing, folding,
  • and occasionally,
  • although it's not a very common fuel,
  • we do use it for burning.
  • It's made from wood cellulose,
  • and so, it's a flammable product.
  • The temperature which paper burns is famously
  • 451 degrees Fahrenheit,
  • and that's not very warm as fires go.
  • In fact, it's about as cool as you can get.
  • But today, we wanted to put something to a test.
  • We wanted to see if we could take paper,
  • which can burn fairly cool,
  • and make it hot enough to melt metal.
  • We've got a couple different ways we're going to try that.
  • Here's the basic idea.
  • We're going to see
  • if we can use just paper as a fuel source to get hot
  • enough to melt our metal.
  • First thing we're going to do, it's kind of cheating honestly.
  • The metal we're going to use is gallium,
  • and gallium melts at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit,
  • which is well below the 451 Fahrenheit of paper burning.
  • So, I would be very surprised
  • if we can't get the gallium to burn a little bit.
  • But we want to go a step above that,
  • and move to aluminum.
  • I've got an aluminum can, a ball of aluminum foil,
  • and some aluminum wire,
  • and we want to see
  • if we can get any of these to melt.
  • And to give ourselves a really
  • good chance rather than just having printer paper,
  • we got a couple rolls of paper as well.
  • It's the same stuff that's made from the tree cellulose.
  • It's just brown,
  • and it hasn't been cleaned and bleached to be white,
  • like the printer paper,
  • and conveniently, comes in this little roll.
  • So I'm thinking,
  • we might be able to make some sort
  • of rocket stove style burner out of this paper,
  • and hopefully, we can get enough heat consistently
  • to actually melt down and liquefy our metal.
  • Now, the first thing
  • that we're going to try is our gallium.
  • I'm going to put that in this stainless steel cup,
  • which has fairly thin edges and bottom to it.
  • So it should transfer the heat pretty nicely.
  • We're just gonna make a little fire using this printer paper,
  • and we're going to see if that's enough to melt down our gallium.
  • There's definitely heat coming off of the paper,
  • but it's not staying in one place very well.
  • So it's sort of hard to concentrate our gallium over it.
  • Although I think we are, even with that issue,
  • starting to melt our metal.
  • There you go.
  • There's some liquid metal right there.
  • So, as proof of concept,
  • can burning paper get hot enough to liquefy metal?
  • Well, the quick answer is yes,
  • depending on how your paper setup,
  • and of course, what metal you're using.
  • It's pretty easy when you use a metal
  • that melts at under a hundred degrees Fahrenheit,
  • which is not very common.
  • That's not going to be a big problem.
  • If you've got gallium, and you need to melt it,
  • this is going to be pretty easy to melt.
  • You can just leave it outside on a hot day,
  • and it's going to liquefy.
  • So, we want to take this up a notch,
  • and we want to see
  • if we can get it to melt aluminum,
  • and that's why we've got those rolls of paper.
  • I've got a couple ideas
  • for how we might be able to make that work.
  • I've got this whole roll of paper.
  • I'm not going to try and use a whole thing.
  • I'm going to cut off a section that's about 1 foot long.
  • That's what we're going to use for our first little test
  • furnace we're going to set up.
  • I've now got this roll of paper, and this has a lot more fuel
  • than those 5 or 6 sheets of printer paper.
  • But in addition to that, it's all held together.
  • So hopefully, all of the heat will be concentrated.
  • My thought is that if I light the inside on fire,
  • it will just keep burning up from the inside to the outside.
  • And so, all of our heat will be contained in one little spot.
  • But even that,
  • I don't think it's going to be quite enough
  • so I want to make another modification.
  • When you're making fire, you need a few different things.
  • You need fuel,
  • and that's gonna be the paper, but you also need oxygen.
  • So my thought is
  • that will drill a hole down near the bottom of it
  • that it can draw oxygen in through,
  • and if that doesn't seem like it's enough,
  • I've also got this little bike pump,
  • and I've actually used this as a form of cheap bellows before.
  • It's pretty simple.
  • It's got a little nozzle on the front.
  • You just push on the back,
  • and it blows the concentrated blast of air out.
  • So here's the other thing.
  • We need to have good airflow.
  • If we set the can right on top,
  • it might just stop all the air from going anywhere.
  • So I might be able to hold the can at its side,
  • but then it's likely to roll off with all the air flow,
  • and I need two hands to work the pump.
  • So instead of using the can on this one,
  • we might just go with the aluminum wire.
  • That would be pretty easy to just hook a piece
  • of wire in there, and see if it melts from the heat.
  • Okay, we've got our roll of paper with our oxygen vent hole.
  • These two bricks were just using to hold everything steady
  • because you know,
  • I might bump it or something
  • while I'm trying to pump air into it,
  • and I have just a sheet of aluminum foil underneath
  • just kind of want to keep track of what all is lost here.
  • I expect a lot of paper ash will fall out of that.
  • But I'm also curious,
  • if this does melts to the point that it liquefies,
  • I kind of want to catch it as it falls down,
  • lands on that piece of aluminum.
  • So we're just going to get this burning a little bit.
  • See if it's self-sustaining at all, and if not,
  • start adding some oxygen.
  • [Music]
  • Well, right away,
  • I'm going to say that it's smoldering,
  • but we're not seeing much fire,
  • so I'm gonna see if I can add some good old-fashioned O2
  • will make a difference.
  • [Music]
  • It kind of burns on its own, but not super well.
  • I think it does need the additional oxygen
  • from the pump so we're going to keep using that.
  • Let's put our wire in, and see if we can get it to melt.
  • Oh, it just broke.
  • Oh, and there's actually some little drips down there too.
  • Okay.
  • This is why I put the aluminum down there.
  • Right there, that piece fell off.
  • We've also got some little spots down on the aluminum
  • that look like they have dripped down.
  • Well, those...
  • This little spot right here?
  • [Music]
  • Yeah, that's what I wanted.
  • That's some little bits of aluminum drips here.
  • One actually fused onto the aluminum foil
  • to the point that I can't take it off.
  • It just tears.
  • So, as a proof of concept, melting aluminum,
  • that worked okay.
  • So now, I'm going to try scaling this up,
  • and I had that bigger roll of paper,
  • and I've got a plan for how I don't have
  • to use the little bike pump the whole time,
  • which I hope works because that gets tiring.
  • Much much bigger roll of paper.
  • That is fuel for days.
  • So, same general idea.
  • We're going to have a hole down at the bottom where we can have
  • some just airflow,
  • and we're going to make it a bigger hole,
  • and it's actually going to be big enough for this piece
  • of metal conduit.
  • Well, I think this is made of steel, but
  • if it's made of aluminum, then,
  • we're going to see something interesting as it melts.
  • But we're going to fit this in,
  • and then this is going to be attached on the other side
  • to an air pump.
  • Right about over that nozzle,
  • we use some tape to hold it in place,
  • and that's just sit off to the side,
  • feeding are into our furnace,
  • which should hopefully just burn, burn, burn beautifully.
  • It's a great size.
  • This aluminum can for example just barely fits in.
  • It's got a little bit of space on the sides.
  • I think we're also going to try and drill a couple of holes up
  • near the top that this steel rod can fit into.
  • That way, it you just act as a support,
  • it can hold our can up where we want it
  • without it just falling right down to the bottom,
  • and that way,
  • I think we'll get a lot of good air flow, and hopefully,
  • melt this can down to nothing really quickly.
  • Okay.
  • We've got our big roll,
  • got the steel bar to hold our can up,
  • got our hose attached to our pump.
  • Just going to try and get this started burning.
  • Let's see what happens
  • if we just had a good flow of oxygen.
  • See how much heat we can get out of this.
  • [Music]
  • Feel like I should also say,
  • I cut our metal conduit a little bit shorter
  • just to get the airflow more directly there,
  • and it cut very easily to the point that I suspect
  • this is also aluminum.
  • So we may end up just melting through our conduit
  • at some point.
  • Let's see.
  • So I've noticed something as I'm trying to melt this can.
  • When it's in place,
  • the airflow is a little bit restricted,
  • and I've had it go out.
  • So if it goes out again,
  • I'm actually going to take the can out,
  • and let it burn
  • for a bit to sort of open up the top of our furnace.
  • I really want good flow of air
  • because it's the oxygen that we need.
  • [Music]
  • Ooh, that's deformed.
  • Down here at the bottom,
  • we've started melting our aluminum foil.
  • I just put that there as sort of a catching spot,
  • but it started to melt it quite a bit.
  • [Music]
  • We're getting a lot more fire blasting out the bottom,
  • and I don't know if that's just because of the shape.
  • Ooh, wow.
  • Well, the can
  • is definitely losing structural integrity here.
  • But I want to try flipping this upside down,
  • and it might just be that
  • because this is closer to the air vent,
  • it's getting more heat.
  • So, we're going
  • to try just flipping this whole thing upside down.
  • [Music]
  • I would say that's hot enough to liquefy metal.
  • That's gone.
  • We need to scale this up a little bit.
  • Oh, and we have started melting our pipe as well.
  • That's good.
  • [Music]
  • That's some little Minecraft figures
  • that we're going to call me and Cali.
  • I think we're going to try and make a mold of one of these.
  • So we've got some molding sand.
  • We're going to try and press one of these down into that,
  • and make a copy of it in our aluminum
  • if enough aluminum melts.
  • Okay, I like that.
  • We're going to call that good.
  • See about pouring aluminum into that.
  • It's a decent pool of aluminum now.
  • [Music]
  • So this is interesting.
  • We had this burning for a good while,
  • probably 45 minutes.
  • Just getting all that metal heated up,
  • melted down, turning into a liquid,
  • and it did liquefy it.
  • It liquefied it quite well.
  • I pulled the steel rod out.
  • That was just in
  • there to help the crucible stay in just the right position,
  • add just the right amount of airflow.
  • The steel rod was in there just
  • to help hold that crucible in just the right spot,
  • and have a good amount of air flow.
  • But that steel rod
  • was red hot to the point where I think you probably
  • could have even used that heat to do some basic forging.
  • Like I think if I'd taken a hammer to that,
  • it would have been soft enough that I could manipulate it.
  • So just using paper and oxygen,
  • we are able to get it hot enough
  • to heat up a steel bar to the point
  • that you could work it as blacksmithing techniques.
  • [Music]
  • Well, I'd say it's not a 100% perfectly faithful reproduction
  • of our little Calli Minecraft figure,
  • but it's the basic shape.
  • That worked all right,
  • and the flaw here was not the melting of the aluminum.
  • The flaw here was my molding technique,
  • where I just pressed the figure down into the sand instead of
  • the careful like layering you're supposed to do,
  • like through a sieve.
  • With this kind of ultra fine sand,
  • it can pick up a ton of detail.
  • But it also is a little bit sticky,
  • and you're supposed to use
  • like some baby powder or something to separate the two.
  • Overall though, paper melting metal?
  • Absolutely.
  • It may burn it 451 degrees Fahrenheit,
  • but it can clearly get way way hotter than that.
  • Guys, that's not all.
  • We've always got more for you to see.
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  • We'll see you in the next one.
  • Talk to you then.

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Today we're testing to see if a roll of paper can be used to melt metal. Could this be the cheapest foundry yet?

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