DIY: Easy to make greensand for casting metal - Aluminum sand casting

Simple step by step instructions and sources for ingredients. Your goal for good greensand is a clumping function so that it will hold it's shape easily. This is accomplished with bentonite clay powder which is the same ingredient that clumping cat litter uses. It has many industrial and health uses but you want to make sure your bentonite is a find powder. I picked up the Bentonite from at a reasonable price. I used about half of it to make this batch of greensand. I store my greensand in a plastic tote it a sealed lid.

The other dry ingredient is silica sand which I ended up getting from Carquest Auto Parts. It is used for sandblasting. It was not as fine as I hoped but the results were very good none the less. I have found playsand to be unacceptable coarse and don't suggest using it.

The final ingredient... the water! It came from my sink. I am using a simple hand pump pressure spray bottle to mist the water for even distribution then folding and mixing using various methods. Mixing well is absolutely critical. After I made this video I learned that covering the sand with a tarp and stomping it often during the process will help improve the quality of the final product.

The better quality the greensand the better your molds and final casting will turn out. Once I made this actual greensand my metal aluminum casting projects escalated to a whole new level. I also built a set of reasonable quality casting flasks which I will make a video about soon.

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Author albert hughes (3 months)
could use a small concrete mixer. that has worked well for me..

Author TheElderScrollsKing (4 months)
why is it called greensand?

Author basement_sawyer (1 month)
Another kind of sand you can use is pool filter sand.

Author Nadeem Noor (1 month)
thank you for your help

Author SleezyJeezy (2 months)
Cool. Thanks for the info on what not to use for sand casting

Author Chris Peterson (6 months)
how do you think this process would go in one of those small (electric
powered) cement mixers?

Author سعود السعودي (3 months)
شكرا جزيلا 

Author james roth (4 months)
Why not use clay for casting? 

Author Mikesp Ayerow (1 year)
Screening together your dry powders will mix them thoroughly and adding
small amounts of water and screening occassionally will disperse the water
more evenly while continuing to mix.

Author hery rubio (6 months)

Author tubeberk08 (10 months)
dust mask?... the silica in fine sand, dont know about bentonite

Author termi892 (10 months)
What is best for pouring in the mold for getting a stone-like appearance?

Author Joe11Blue (10 months)
Like how your camera figured out the lighting half way through.

Author El Señor C (9 months)

Author Brian Conroy (10 months)
Kitty litter is clay, don't use fragrant type

Author cfjulian1225 (10 months)
The sand you are using is awfully coarse for typical molding sand. You
might want to get some 2NS sand from a concrete supply or gravel pit. The
problem with gravel pit sand is that depending upon the state you are in,
it might contain a lot of limestone, which will hurt the finish. If there
is a foundry supply in the area, buy sand with an AFS grain fineness of 70
or finer. The higher the number, the finer the sand. I run a production
and prototype foundry and we use an AFS 100 grain fineness sand. We have
used AFS 400 sand in the past. When I was young, we would mix sand with an
eastern coal shovel on a concrete floor.. Just place the sand and
bentonite together and turn it over several times till it is well mixed.
We always used a garden hose with a spray nozzle to wet the sand.
Typically, you want to let the sand sit for an hour or so after you have
cut / mixed it to allow the moisture to become more uniform throughout the
sand. Mix the sand and water with a shovel. Store it in a plastic bucket
with a lit to keep it from drying out. You can cleanup the sand with a
broom when you are done. You didn't say if you bought southern or western
bentonite. Typically, if you use rounded silica sand, you will want a
mixture of 50/50 western and southern bentonite for aluminum. Western
bentonite is stronger than southern bentonite. Too much western and the
sand wants to stick together in hard lumps after you have poured your
molds. We typically run our mixture at 7.5%, not 12% clay. That is a
little high. More clay reduces the permeability of the sand, making it
more likely that if the sand is a little too wet, you will get steam
bubbles that will push through the metal as opposed to going out through
the sand. These are called blows. If the sand is wet enough, it will
rocket out of the sprue (the sprue is the hole that you pour the metal into
the mold), something fairly dangerous. The sand should stick together like
snow does, when you squeeze it. You should be able to take the squeezed
sand with two fingers, and shake it lightly without if coming apart. If it
crumbles, it is too dry. It should not stick to your hand. If it sticks
to your hand, it is too wet.

You will find that the green sand would have worked much better if you had
put the clay in a bucket with water and boiled it. This activates the
clay. Otherwise, it will only slowly become active as you pour metal into
the molds and the clay gets steamed. Over time the sand will nearly double
in strength. With this level of clay and the strength it will achieve, it
will be difficult to get a smooth casting without the sue of a fine screen
(called a riddle) to break up the lumps as you put sand in your mold. You
should use a riddle with 1/8" x 1/8" holes. You can order these from
companies such as Freeman Supply and are known as a #8 riddle. The number
is the number of wires per inch, or you can make your own with hardware
wire screen.

I would be careful if you decide to use plaster. Plaster must be very dry
before you pour it. Typically, you want to bake a plaster mold in an oven
for at lease 8 hours at 600 degrees before pouring it, to get the moisture
out. Failing to do this often results in aluminum foam as opposed to solid
aluminum parts.

Author Terry Phillips (11 months)
It seems dry to me. Your mold will wash when you pour. I was a molder for
I am thinking of pouring aluminum in plaster of Paris.

Please let me know if you decide to use plaster. I would really like to
know I helped.

Author Bede Carrigan (8 months)
God dam thats some good looking sand

Author cooldog60 (9 months)
Is that calcium bentonite clay?

Author ron damico (1 year)
I bought 50 lbs of sodium bentinite from a farm store for around 5 bucks

Author Helena ! (1 year)
Nice! Easier to use foundry sand, though its hard to get, this is a nice

Author Duckyistrippin (2 years)
man thats fucking insane. call any local ceramics, pottery place supply
place and they will have bentonite clay. usually they will sell it by the
pound so you dont need to get a a freaking 50 dollar bag when you need six
pounds of it. petrobond for sale website seems to be the ticket. guy is
selling pre mulled petro bond for about a buck a pound shipped.

Author Sansui Mcpeters (1 year)
yes sir go after it

Author DJ Scottdog (2 years)
can you reuse it once you have used it

Author boganindustries (2 years)
11:35 is that a chipmunk on a pogo stick?

Author Jiu Xianghou (2 years)
Bentonite Clay has a lot of versatility. Thank you for the tip.

Author Nathan Spangler (1 year)
would this work to cast iron or steel?

Author Larry Tischler (1 year)
Many years ago we made 12 to 16 ounce "bell shaped" surf fishing weights
from Padre Island. beach sand molds. That sand is a little too spherical to
cast much detail. We were using old recycled fishing weights and it is
nearly pure lead. One or two of per cent tin added can get you better mold
fill-out. Consult the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook available at a library.
Will you use steel clips?

Author lilwoodboy (2 years)
I used super cheapo cat litter in my greensand. I can't say how well it
works compared to pure Bentonite, because I've never used it, but I get
good results casting aluminum. I used my Magic Bullet blender to powderfy
(new word) the cat litter and then sieved it. I used a trowel to mull it by
hand. If you smear the clay into the sand really good it will hold the
shape of your pattern much better. If someone doesn't mind doing the extra
work to save a few bucks it's a good way to go. Thumb up

Author The Ammo Channel (2 years)
That's how I started too. Just used dirt and sifted out the rocks.
Eventually I added some motor oil as a binding agent. It worked OK. Keep it

Author motorhagel (2 years)
Grinding the cat-litter in a ordinary kitchen- blender/mixer makes it fine
as powder in a matter of seconds. This way I made about 40Kg greensand a
couple of months ago. Despite what some experts are saying, it really does
the job good. Though it required a lot of mulling before i found the
strength of the sand satisfying. Mulling in this case was done by hand..
and took me about 6 hrs of manual hard labor. Next project will be to make
a muller ;) Good Luck! and thanks for sharing =)

Author Rod Joyner (2 years)
10 bucks at a farmer's co-op will get you fifty pounds of super fine
bentonite clay. Kitty litter is a pain in the butt to get ground down to a
useful consistancy.

Author djpaulk (2 years)
Nice vid..Sorry to burst Ur bubble,,The process you use is fine for the 1st
1/2,actually well detailed,But that silica sand is only 00 grade.So it does
not matter how fine ur bentonite clay is.The surface finish will only be as
fine/detailed as ur 00 silica sand.Bentonite clay is expensive as hell.Why
not just use fire clay?It is less than $20 for 10kg ..You will then have
change left to buy a sieve/riddle.I hope that white thing was NOT
polystyrene,the thing U put the cope/drag UPSIDE down on??

Author Ars Armagus (2 years)
Not a problem. If you want a relatively smooth finish for castings, then I
would suggest using a thin layer of Talc on the form used to make the mold.
This also helps with the removal of the form from the mold.

Author carnage6ar (2 years)
way to go maine junker most diy tuts on youtube suck ass and are poorly put
together your tut was informative thank you now im off to make WMDs
whoooooo look out world no but seriously youtube is full of misinformation
and its angering me i can find out more info about lil wayne and justin
bebier but nothing about diy topics

Author Sansui Mcpeters (1 year)
well you do not have any videos so look whats you contribution to you tube
other than negitory stuff

Author Grandpa Bill (2 years)
Where did you get a pressure sprayer? (Online or Home Depot/WalMart?)

Author Bikefarm Taiwan (1 year)
Thanks for posting.I am sure that you will find after mulling the mixture
will give a lot better results. Good job as far as you have gone but the
sand as shown is not there yet.The the devil is in the details and mulling
is the thing you might find gives you much better results. The clay need to
be pounded into the sand like you wouldn't believe just like Mr B says.

Author bastardchildofmary (2 years)
Don't forget the sock!!!! lol

Author djpaulk (2 years)
What type of dickhead r u? With your 2 uploads i can see your channel is
full of info from "trained" pro's...Showing everyone how to do things just
right..."A monster is lose"??...."Dangerous creatures in the night"?......
Pull ya fukn head in ey!

Author The Ammo Channel (2 years)
I had considered the catlitter thing before doing this and decided against
it. The reason is that while yes, clumping litter does contain bentonite --
it is chunky. The bentonite I purchased was ultra fine, like flour, which
allows it to "coat" the grains of sand. I'm not sure that you could grind
cat litter that well. If you try it please let us know the results! Thank
you very much for watching and commenting.

Author 7777dmith7777 (2 years)
The absolute best way to mix greensand and remoisten used greensand is with
a cheap harbor freight electric cement mixer.. just pull up a lawnchair and
relax with your spray bottle and a cold Sam Adams..

Author Duckyistrippin (2 years)
most of these videos are chronicles of peoples attempts at doing something
they have never done before. Why does everyone takes these to be
instructional videos? They are meant to show how he did, so he can go back
and review it. Make adjustments to the process in the future. Im so sorry
we cant all be masters at everything, you small minded fucking prick.

Author TESWiki Dawnguard (2 years)
Very cool! I'm gonna have to try this. My first mold material was just
dirt, I went outside and cut my shape into the dirt. It worked decently
well, but the dirt was too wet. I didn't have a steam explosion, luckily,
but the water content of in the dirt boiled immediately on contact with the
molten aluminum, which resulted in a lot of little air bubbles in the
surface of the cast. Overall though, for my first time it ended up pretty
good. I'll have to look into making some of this stuff though.

Author Ars Armagus (2 years)
The finer the sand, the less it will permit water to evaporate. This will
cause explosions during casting.

Author alsledge46 (2 years)
Very good info. Thinking about getting started doing this again. I have an
original furnace and several foundry tools built by C.W. Ammen in Manitou
Spring Colorado. He sold it to a friend of mine who gave it all to me. Now,
25 years later I'm ready to get involved again and put a fire in the
furnace. Bentonite/water green sand seen like the best way to go as
Petrobond is getting too expensive. Thanks for taking the time to show
these tips.

Author x3wayassassin (2 years)
o gotcha. since then i have just used play sand and it works just fine..
thanks very much for the tip of explosion

Author odduck1 (1 year)
Nice video! All I might mention is that when we used bentonite powder in
the paper mill I worked at it come in bags labelling it as a carcinogen.
Some sort of dust mask might be a good idea. Any fine powder is bad to
breathe regardless. Nice work though.

Author Jiu Xianghou (2 years)
I saw a video of a guy doing 10% cat litter and 90% finely grained sand to
make good consistency... would that be cheaper than your material? It still
does the job for "metal casting" if that is the intention lol

Author Nitrax25 (2 years)
IF cat litter is pure bentonite, then it is easy access anywhere (even in
Australia!) A good ball mill will do thejob of educing it into talc like

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