Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 21, 2012.

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Hades: Open source steel-producing micro-furnace for artists, students and bladesmiths. Heavy industry at micro scale.

Me & my furnace (well, some of it)
Me & my furnace (well, some of it)

What I'm Doing - Bringing Steel Refining to Schools and Artists

This isn't another iPhone case with wheels or remote control coffee pot. This project is about building a furnace. To make steel. At crazy temperatures. This is serious technology at the most fundamental level.

Why?

Steel is at the roots of our modern society - but the production and experimentation with new alloys is limited to large organizations and corporations capable of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's a big challenge for an individual or school to build, buy, or have access to a furnace capable of producing steel.

I want to change that.

Manning a furnace during a pour
Manning a furnace during a pour

The Goal

The fundamental goal of Hades is to develop a small scale steel production and experimentation furnace available to anyone to build for under $10,000 - 50-100 times less expensive than commercial solutions. I'm not planning on selling these - I will be documenting each step and misstep of the way to allow others to accomplish it themselves.

Refining steel is a complicated process that involves just the right temperatures, materials and processes. While furnaces to melt and cast iron can be readily developed - making steel is a whole additional level of complexity.

Hades aims to change the economics for schools and small institutions to allow them to work with steel, to experiment with different alloys and to create steel-based objects: sculpture, parts, whatever.

About Hades

I've designed Hades to bring the capability of steel production and alloy experimentation to students and artists alike. I'll be sharing the plans and progress each step of the way with the goal of allowing schools (and ambitious individuals!) to either built a Hades furnace from scratch or to modify an existing iron furnace to allow steel production.

Hades Prototype on the Shop Floor
Hades Prototype on the Shop Floor


Hades is designed and under construction. The first prototypes producing iron are up and running. Now its time to take it to the next level (and many hundreds of degrees hotter!) to step up to steel production. This will require new materials, fuel systems and a much more sophisticated process.

I've already had some incredibly generous donations of materials from a local company. Now I need the funding for the remainder of the project.

Pouring at night is great
Pouring at night is great

Steps to Completion

Over the October to November time frame I'll be working primarily on the core of the furnace - the main frame and insulation systems. 

In December I'll start to focus on fuel systems. This is all well designed - but challenging. It involves injecting gas, oxygen and a small storm of air into the vessel. 

In January I start to bring it together for a scheduled first pour in February 2013. 

Please join me in bringing Hades to aspiring artists and engineers worldwide.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

It might not work. I'm pretty confident - but there absolutely are risks involved. I've researched everything possible - and I have a lot of experience in iron furnace design and construction - but there's a big difference between research and practice.

The furnace is based on existing designs with some significant tweaks. Obviously I think those modifications will work - but problems may require me to back up and take another look at portions of the design.

I'm counting on some additional donations of materials from local companies. While the commitments have been made - if I don't obtain those materials I'm going to have to start scrambling for other donors. But - I've been working in this area for years and have a pretty strong backup plan in place.

I've reviewed the design with a number of experienced furnace builders and metallurgists, they think I'm on the right track. If problems come up - I'll head right back for additional advice and consultation.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    9 backers

    Pledge $10 or more receive a video of the first Hades steel pour. As you can see from the project video - steel pours can be a dramatic sight.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
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    9 backers

    Pledge $50 or more and in addition to a video of the first pour we'll send you a photo print of the the pour with the signatures of the pour team on it.

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    7 backers Limited (33 left of 40)

    At $200 you'll receive the rewards for all the lower levels - and something special. We'll be designing a small medallion to be cast from one of the first pours from Hades. The medallion will be designed by me and contain the project name, logo and pour date.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $300 or more
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    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    At $300 you'll receive the rewards for all the lower levels - and something special. We'll be designing a small medallion to be cast from one of the first pours from Hades. The medallion will be designed by me and contain the project name, logo, your name and the pour date. This will most likely be made from the second or third pour. If you'd like a first pour medallion please see the next level of sponsorship.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $500 or more
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    1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)

    At this incredible level of sponsorship you'll receive all of the rewards above and something special: a customized and unique first cast medallion with your name, a brief saying of your choice, the Hades logo and the date of the first Hades pour.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)