Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Building a Walnut Press, Part 1

Please don't try this at home, especially if you're stupid or clumsy. I don't want to be responsible for someone maiming themselves because they read my post and launched themselves into a project haphazardly.
I had a concept for a press for extracting oil from walnuts, which I had drawn out while we were driving to New York a few weeks ago. I cut these parts out of white styrofoam. I added some sprues (channels for getting the molten metal into the casting.)

Here I packed the body of the press into casting sand. I picked this sand up a few years ago at a school auction, they were selling foundry equipment.

Here I have about 4lbs of aluminum loaded into a kiln - I use a cast iron skillet to melt the metal. My guesstimate was a little short of the part, but you'll see more of that later. The aluminum melts at about 1450-1500 degrees. I use high temperature foundry gloves and a steel pipe to slide over the handle, then grab the lip of the pan skillet with a pair of heavy pliers to pour it. Once again, for the incompetent or reckless, don't try this at home.

Here is the mold after I poured the molten aluminum into it. Fire! You can see a the muffin tin to the lower left that I pour my leftover metal into (aluminum biscuits - yum!)

Here is the main body casting after it cooled and I took it out of the sand. As you can see the column didn't quite have enough metal to fill out. Time for some grinding!
Here is the casting after I hacked and ground at it for half an hour. I cut a new handle slot into it using an angle grinder. I'll have to engineer a new handle design to give a little more clearance since the column turned out so short. You'll see that exciting adventure in part 2!


  1. Wow! This is hard core! Couldn't you find a press to buy, or did you just want to try it?