This project grew out of the desire to melt small amounts of metal in a clean, oxygen free environment. I began to experiment with the melting of scrap to make an ingot by using a standard TIG welding torch and a graphite mold. The experiment had mixed results; some of the ingots were quite good but there was a lot more gas porosity and oxidation than I had expected. At the time I did not have time to continue exploring so I set it aside. A few years later when I began working with palladium I was frustrated by not being able to reuse the scrap in the same way I could use other metals in the shop. Again, it seemed like the TIG torch might offer the means to melt the palladium without the oxygen and hydrogen issues one gets from a oxygen/fuel torch. Since a graphite crucible was not desirable due to palladium taking carbon into solution making it brittle, some research was needed. In reading about arc melting I came across references discussing the use of metal electrodes embedded in the bottom of DC arc furnace designs, which became the starting point for the series of experiments I am presenting here.
I hope you will find it interesting.