I continued with assembling the foundry. I cut and bent the metal pieces for the lid (which will be about 4" tall vs. the lower part's 6" in height).
While I was doing this, I thought I'd try another melt with the foundry-in-a-fruit-can. I still had a little bit of aluminum in it from the initial test burn (approximately 4 ounces) so I fired it up.
Just by a fluke I thought I'd check on it after about 5 minutes and was very surprised to find that all of the aluminum was now a very liquid pool in the bottom of the container! I ran back into my shop and cut up some 1/2" aluminum rod into 3" lengths (4 of them) and tossed them into the container. About 20 minutes later I had a nice pool of liquid aluminum. It seems that after the first burn all the refractory was now very dry (and the container seems much lighter) and was keeping the heat in much better.
While the aluminum was melting, I whipped up a temporary ingot mold using some angle iron I had lying around. The results:
This much molten aluminum sure packs a lot of heat! The angle iron discolored the moment the molten aluminum was poured into it, and actually glowed red for a few minutes. It's pretty impressive how long the aluminum glows for while cooling down as well. It's not something that's visible in strong light, but in the dark it has a nice red glow.