Crafts & DIY
Man pours molten metal into a seashell to create a stunning piece of art
Ever wonder what the inside of a seashell looks like? Wonder no more.
Cherie Gozon
09.17.21

Have you ever wondered what’s inside a seashell?

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

We all know that seashells are exoskeletons of mollusks such as clams, oysters, snails, etc. This is mainly made up of calcium, and mollusks use these shells to protect themselves from their predators.

While we know that what’s inside those shells are the mollusks it protects, do we know what it looks like from the inside?

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

Seth Robinson of Robinson Foundry, who likes to cast molten aluminum in just about anything, thought about this question as well. So when he got a couple of Marlin Spike Seashells, he did what he did best – cast molten aluminum to find out what’s inside.

First, he drilled a small hole at the bottom.

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

This will help wash out any dirt inside and help the metal reach down to the end. To clean the shell, he ran some water down the body and used some compressed air to blow the water out. He left the shell out in the sun for a day to dry out completely.

Once the shell was dry, he covered the openings of the shell, ready for the next step.

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

It’s time to create a simple sand mold to fill the shell with molten aluminum properly. To do this, he filled a mold box with special oil-bonded sand. He traced the shape of the shell and dug that part to bury the shell halfway up.

He added a thin layer of baby powder to prevent the molds from sticking together.

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

He then placed the other half of the mold box and filled it with sand, attached the cover on one side, and opened the box. Now that there’s a clear mold for where the shell should be, he bore a channel where the metal will flow through and a smaller one for air to escape as the shell is being filled. He placed the shell back and attached the cover.

Now it’s time to melt some aluminum for casting.

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

Seth used some scrap aluminum from his previous projects. He placed it in the furnace, melted it for 20 minutes, and then skimmed some of the oxidation that had formed at the top and some impurities.

He poured the melted aluminum into the mold. Cool beans!

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

He let it cool down for a while before opening up the mold. He hammered the shells lightly so they would come off. He also submerged it in white vinegar overnight so the remaining shells in the tighter crevices of the casting would dissolve.

Time for the finishing touches!

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

He cut off all the excess metal with a hacksaw and smoothened it out with a die grinder. He also applied some metal polish to give the aluminum casting a mirror finish. The finished product will fill you with awe.

Look at how amazing that casting turned out!

YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Robinson Foundry

For all those curious minds out there, this is how the inside of a seashell looks like. Seth also noticed how he is amazed at how symmetrical those spirals are. You can peep through the hold and see the other end!

If casting aluminum is one hobby you look forward to doing, try this seashell casting!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Share this article
By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement