If you’re looking for a fun, high-risk weekend project, look no further: Grant Thompson, the self-styled “King of Random”, has decided to shared his method for transforming styrofoam into metal. (Spoiler: don’t try this one around your kids.)
To start, you’ll need to cut a model of your soon-to-be metal creation out of foam. Thompson suggests using foam board from the dollar store, but foam housing insulation or craft blocks will work just as well. Once assembled, attach a thick foam riser to the top of your model and bury it in a 19L bucket filled with sand.
Next you’ll have to fire up your home-made metal foundry (if you’ve never made one before, Thompson’s got you covered). Now melt down some aluminium cans and pour the molten metal over your buried foam cast, taking care not to splash anything on yourself.
The foam, Thompson explains, will vaporise instantly as liquid aluminium rushes in to take its place. Within a few minutes, your sculpture should be cool enough to remove. Do so carefully, using pliers. You can then polish up your new creation and place it prominently on display.
Most of us won’t be able to afford a liquid 3D-printer anytime soon, but now, thanks to Thompson, we seem to have a pretty good low-tech alternative. Happy crafting, and please don’t burn your face off. [YouTube]