I melted 20 lb of aluminum to do a single cast, but the aluminum hardened too quickly without taking much of the aluminum into the tunnels. With at least 18 lb of aluminum still molten, I had to quickly find another fire ant colony to pour. Finding another fire ant colony was easy enough, and I ended up pouring this cast. The cast I was initially trying do is Cast #055
, which is the one I gave away on Christmas 2014
The pour stem
, which is the solid piece of aluminum resulting from the hole made in the hill to pour the aluminum in, is slightly visible on the back of the cast, which is a down side to this cast but not very noticeable.
There was a thin sheet of plastic buried a few inches below the ground surface that I was unaware of, and the ants had actually built their colony through the plastic. This made a distinct line
in the cast where the chambers are closer together than they are everywhere else. You can see the melted plastic still in place right after casting in this picture
Before I had this cast mounted, I loaned it to Fairchild TV, a Chinese language station in Canada, for a segment they did about ants. You can see that in this clip
. I also sent them a few great close up videos of fire ants and field ants which they used.
The base is basswood with a dark walnut Danish Oil stain, which is darker than the stain normally used. The cast is secured to the base with a single 1/4 inch bolt.