Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Thanks to the recent rearranging of real estate within the lower mill, I now have a building site for the "iron foundry". Not that I need to go off on still another new scratchbuild with everything else going on, but with the 2011 Steel Mill Modelers Meet fast approaching and my presentation on modeling foundries I figured the more foundry modeling I can include the better.

My foundry is not a stand alone business but rather part of the overall operations of Raritan Steel. It is based on the Bethlehem Steel prototype, which was a busier place within the mill than you would think. At Beth Steel (Bethlehem Plant) the iron foundry was located in the original stone rolling mill/bessemer building. It was quite large and had the capacity of some really big castings. I'm not 100% certain but I do not believe it had it's own cupola furnaces, but rather, relied entirely on hot iron delivered directly from the blast furnace in subs. The products ranged from small iron castings for use within the mill to extremely large ingot molds to tunnel ring sections for example for outside customers. Many of the castings required secondary finishing in on of the several large machine shops at Bethlehem (interplant move). Most of the regular ingot molds used in the plant were made at the separate Ingot Mold facility, but larger molds were made in the iron foundry, primarily for use in the Steel Foundry (another foundry within the mill) to cast the large steel ingots for use in the forge.

Although the Bethlehem facility lacked cupolas I intend to include two, clearly added to the original structure at a later date and used when the blast furnaces at Raritan are unable to meet the demand for iron - something that will happen when B-Furnace periodically switches over to producing ferromanganese. Plus it obviously gives me an excuse to model two cupolas and a small scrap/raw materials yard.

I started off small with this facility, choosing to model the foundry ladles first. These ladles are slightly different than their larger cousins used elsewhere in the mill. For one, the pouring function of the ladle is controlled by an operator turning a wheel on the side of the ladle and not by the crane. I scaled the foundry ladle from prototype photos and I think I am pretty close to the proportions, at most, slightly on the large side. As I will need many of these within the foundry and littering the grounds around it, I am building it with the intention of casting multiples. From the photo you can see the ladle, built from a variety of scrap styrene, and then on the second photo, the various parts need to complete the ladle handle and pour control.


Robert Trussell said...


I stumbled across your blog and feel quite lucky. Not many folks are modeling the iron and steel industries at a high level of detail and research.

I've been building models - mostly structures - for years. For some time now, I have been modeling an HO foundry and machine shop.

Currently, I have finished a cupola, some other foundry appliances and machinery in HO.

Building a foundry (with full interior) diorama is my holy grail.

Keep up the good work. I'll check in with your blog.

Praveen G said...

Thanks for sharing. Looking forward for more like this. Also don't forget to see this Steel Casting Foundry Maharashtra