U of M Iron Pours

Melting and casting iron
  • Under the direction of Wayne Potratz, the University of Minnesota Department of Fine Arts maintains a sculpture and art iron foundry. Here is the iron melting cupola that was housed in the old facility just before they moved into a fine new modern facility. The cupola is being gradually brought up to temperature and the "bed" is established. All the photos in this slide show were taken on April 20, 2002, the 33rd. anual event and are of the last iron pour in the old facility. Many thanks go to Wayne Potratz for his much needed advice and support while I was a guest artist.
  • Several of the many molds are ready for the pour and are lined up and damed with sand on the concrete floor. The floor is covered with loose sand because a spill of 2,500 degree molten iron onto bare concrete would cause an explosion of concrete fragments and molten iron.
  • Here the first tap of the furnace is accomplished.
  • The cupola is being recharged with coke and iron.
  • Shown here is a pour directly out of the larger of two ladles. An overhead crane carries the 500 pound ladle. The fellow in the white hat is holding a tool used to skim back the dross.
  • Here is another pour directly from the large ladle.
  • Still another pour directly from the large ladle. Unless a very large casting is being poured, the large ladle is partly emptied into a smaller one. This enables the crew to then pour from two ladles at the same time to save time and to maintain hot iron.
  • Another mold is being filled while the nearby previously filled mold is still glowing with hot molten iron.
  • You can't get excited if a little trickle of molten iron overflows or leaks out of the side of a mold.
  • Here is a close-up of what the crew was dealing with.
  • That is all for the iron pour at the U of M.  Click  here  to go back to the home page.