Melting Cans With The Mini Metal Foundry

Client Spotlight: TinyHouse43
December 17, 2016
Another barn wood project!
December 17, 2016

How to recycle scrap metal in the backyard, with a homemade, Mini Metal Foundry.

Common materials in the Mini Metal Foundry

[✓] Clay Graphite Crucible:
[✓] Steel Pail:
[✓] Plaster of Paris:
[✓] 2.5 Quart Bucket:
[✓] 5 Quart Big Mouth Bucket:
[✓] Heat Resistant Gloves:
[✓] 1-3/8” Hole Saw:
[✓] 3” Hole Saw:
[✓] 1” x 12” Steel Pipe:

Get “The Hobbit” – Win the sword:

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Mini Fire Logs: Gun: Crazy Science Stunts:
Gravity Puzzle:
Music by Scott & Brendo (“Skyward” – Instrumental)

Project inspired by: This foundry is an original design, which comes after months of experimenting, and over 10 different prototypes. The functionality is founded on ideas I collected while searching the internet for foundry designs.

WARNING: Charcoal foundries can reach temperatures in excess of 1,000ºC, which is well above the melting point of hobbyists. This project should only be attempted with adequate knowledge and training, proper protective safety gear, and in a fire resistant area with adequate ventilation. The sparks flying from the foundry can ignite fires, and the fumes from burning dross can be toxic. Use caution and common sense. Use of this video content is at your own risk.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of melting metal and making things with it. The problem has always been that it was out of reach or required really expensive equipment.

In this project I experimented with 10 different prototypes, to develop a reusable backyard foundry that melts aluminum soda cans easily and safely. I tested different refractory recipes, different containers, different setting for blowing air, and different types of makeshift crucibles.

I tried various ratios of portland cement, sand, perlite, plaster of paris, water, and even kitty litter. For containers, I experimented with clay pots, plastic buckets, no container, cinderblocks, and a galvanized steel pail.

I ended up favoring the galvanized steel pail, and a mix of 50% plaster of paris, and 50% play sand, by volume, which was inspired by a video by NightHawkInLight “How to Make a Soup Can Forge”

Depending on where you get, or find, your materials the cost can range anywhere from $5-$25 per unit. With the materials I used, I was able to make 2 units for under $40 ($20 each). Even on the high end, this is probably one of the cheapest, reliable, backyard foundries that can be made.

I used mine to melt soda cans, and extract the aluminum for future metal casting projects. All the soda cans came from a local recycling depot. I bought back 30 lbs from the depot to avoid having to drink gallons and gallons of soda. 🙂 I stored the ingots in various forms, which you can see in the next video, and tried a cool technique for making a little sword by pouring liquid metal into a bucket of sand. I’m planning to make a project video on how to do that in the near future.

Thanks for watching, and please share!! 🙂



  1. A Wild Camel says:

    what is the stuff that floats around in the aluminium? and whats it caused by

  2. That bear mould thing you used was probably someone's dead grandma's pan

  3. Liam Payton says:

    Hey grant, I was wondering but can this get hot enough to melt steel?

  4. Love your vids so creative

  5. Mr Thompson I was wondering what you're trained in or what schooling you have had? You seem like quite the scientist.

  6. Don't turn cans upside down in forge is will pop and aluminum will go every where and trust me it hurts

  7. Dylan Crnic says:

    You should make more of these videos on the mini thing

  8. Angela Bonas says:

    poor alluminium on dry ice

  9. Directions unclear my hand is on fire

  10. That Girl says:


  11. The DarkLord says:

    Can you do a video on just melting Soda cans? It is so satisfying.

  12. Mr.Awesome says:

    You could use gallium

  13. Can you melt glass in the mini metal foundry?

  14. So I had made the exact same Foundry and went and lit it, waited a while and it didnt even heat up! I used a shop blower and used Lump Charcoal and I still had no bacon, it was pretty cold outside and I didnt know what went wrong.

  15. Re Defy says:

    Is made me hungry

  16. can the mini metal foundry melt steel beams????

  17. That moment when you want to make everything he makes but your parents wont let you…

  18. Could you just leave the lid on and then put in the cans?

  19. i. the lic. write. love

  20. gamer guy says:

    I am thinking about doing this

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