This is a simple instruct able that details my endeavour to make a cast Chess set.
Step 1: Materials Needed
This was very easy project for me. I work at a foundry and had the tools I needed to make this project. The first item you need is a furnace, I have a 800# aluminum furnace at my disposal. Another item you need is a pattern to make the mold, I have that too. It has 4 pawns and 1 each of king, queen, bishop, brook, and knight; so you will have to make 4 molds to make a full playing set. You will need molding material of some sort, I used a no bake molding material (furan based binder and sand) but a green sand material provides a better surface finish. The last three items I used were a sanding belt to clean the parting lines, a lathe to turn a nice surface for the pieces to sit on, and a bead blaster to give it a nice finish.
Other items you'll need are some molten aluminum and bronze metals, 1300 f and 2100 f respectivley. And some ladles to pour the metal.
Step 2: Making the Molds
First step to making any mold is to clean out the mold. Spray it with some air to clean out the pattern.
Pour the sand into the drag portion of the pattern (bottom). Let it cure for 5 minutes, flip it over and tap it until the pattern comes loose leaving the bottom half of the mold. Repeat the process for the cope side (top).
Blow some air on both sides of the mold lightly to get rid of any loose sand or dirt. Align both sides of the mold and cover up the mold parting line to prevent metal from spilling out.
Step 3: Pouring the Metal
You can pour either aluminum or bronze, I did both. I made two molds for aluminum and two for bronze. Pour the aluminum at 1300F and the bronze at 2100f.
After pouring the metal, let the metal solidify and cool in the mold (1-3 hours). Once cool enough to handle, break it out of the mold and clean off the sand.
Step 4: Clean Up
Once the casting is out of the mold, use a band saw to cut the various pieces off.
Use a sanding wheel to clean up any flashing on the parting line. Go over twice, once with a sanding belt and again with scotchbright to clean the grinding marks and blend in.
I decided to use a lathe to give all my pieces a nice flat surface. 600 rpm did just nice for both materials. Once every piece has been turned, use a file to break the machined edge.
The last step is to to toss them in the Ol tumble blast for 1 minute to give it a nice surface finish.
Step 5: Finished Product
And it is done. You can also make these out of iron, but then the clean up practice would take a bit longer.
For those of you who don't have access to a foundry or a premade pattern, you could always design your own pattern and 3d print it. Plus there is a few good instructables out there on how to make a furnace. Molding material can be purchased online or improvised. Also, most foundries are not opposed to helping people out with projects if you ask them for materials or help as long as it is not in excess.