Let's Make Robots!

Working with aluminium

Does anyone know a good free online book on how to work with aluminium? Or a complete online course, like on YouTube. I've searched myself but I don't quite know what's worth spending time reading/watching. I'm interested in something that gives info on types of aluminium, probably even melting and moulding it, tools needed and how to work with those tools. 

3D printing is still some 50 years aways from my country, and so I have to resort to different construction materials and methods for my robotics projects. I already know how to work with wooden boards (made several items of furniture in my house), but wood is not enough for a robot, not at my level of skill. I've seen some interesting robots with parts carved out of wood, but I'm no carver/skulptor, I just know how to work with boards and make them fit one another. I see aluminium is a commonly used material, and I have some toy constructor sets for kids made of aluminium, but I'd like to learn how to create parts rather than improvise from parts meant for other stuff.

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You can do a lot with a saw like this: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Skil_jigsaw.jpg  Plus a hand drill, some files and sandpaper. A vise is also helpful when bending plate aluminum.

I've done sandcasting of aluminum and it's cool but your parts are gonna need machining. You can do a lot with sheet aluminum. Check out some of MarkusB's bots!

If you're feeling adventurous and/or mad-scientist-y  :)

microwave smelter

David Reid: microwave casting

PopularScience

Microwave casting - AlloyAvenue

Microwave casting tutorial (translated, might have some inaccuracies)

http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/

I'm stuck on the casting logistics but getting molten metal is the first hurdle.

...outsourcing? emachineshop.com

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pay very special attention to when they say, "don't get moisture near molten metal."

http://www.homemodelenginemachinist.com/f36/do-not-put-water-into-molten-metal-6391/