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Cuttlebone casting

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Author Topic: Cuttlebone casting  (Read 740 times)
Marty
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« on: March 28, 2015, 05:00:08 pm »

Has any members tried cuttlebone casting for settings or rings. I tried my hand at it and it is a lot of fun and easy to do. If you have scrap silver you can melt it down and cast all kinds of things. 


* Cuttle bone casting 001.JPG (2423.23 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 23 times.)

* Cuttle bone casting 002.JPG (2879.57 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 23 times.)
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PhilNM
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2015, 05:24:24 pm »

Nice. The problem is getting good cuttlebone.... the stores here all have small pieces.
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Marty
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 05:49:22 pm »

The best way I found to buy cuttlebone is to get it off EBay in the pet section. You can find larger pieces reasonable priced in bulk. 
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hulagrub
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2015, 08:45:04 pm »

Well give us a tutorial!
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 10:37:55 am »

Well give us a tutorial!

 yeah! dunno
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Marty
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 10:57:41 am »

Seems you guys are interested in this! Well, let me see if I can put together a tutorial on using this casting method. Maybe I will do a simple one this afternoon and take some pictures along the way. This is a cool way to do one off stuff, but lost wax is much better for detail. Would you guys like to see maybe how to do the ring in the photo or any suggestions on something else?
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 12:02:26 pm »

When you do Cuttlebone casting, don't you get a pattern from the Cuttlebone?  Is that one of the reasons people use it over lost wax, because you get the pattern?  Or do i remember this wrong and its just another material that is easy to fabricate for a nice pattern?

I have been checking out cast jewelry, especially rings, for awhile and thinking how great it would be to cast the shape, rather than trying to solder the band together and then soldering on more details, hammering patterns, and/or grinding down the metal to the final design.  The really complex designs would be so much easier by casting and i would really like to try ti one day.

Mark
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Marty
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 12:33:43 pm »

When you cast using cuttlebone you will get some pattern from the bone. You can see in the pictures a swirl wave which is from the bone. It will be more pronounced in softer bones and less in hard ones. The cuttlebone comes in different hardness so it will depend on the one you pick to use. I cut the bone in half, sand the soft bone flat on both pieces so they go together like a sandwich.  You make your impression by carving out the area in the flat area you sanded or crush in the object and remove to make the shape. You cut a sprue hole and small vent sliced areas for gases to release. Then put the two pieces together with wire around or tape to hold together and pour your metal in molten. It will stink like hell for a bit and hope for the best. Then put it under water to cool or just wait a bit and then undo the wire or tape and instant casting done. Most of the time the bone will be wasted so one off is what you can expect. Usually you will have to clean up the shape with files or saw. You can cast rods ,wire .sheet, squares and make you findings from that instead by buying premade stuff to fabricate from.
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 01:05:06 pm »

Really sounds kool and one way or another, i think i will try casting this year.  I don't think that i can easily fabricate the rings i would like to make and casting seems to be the only "affordable" option.  Please post more and keep us up to date.

Mark
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Marty
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 04:33:14 pm »

This afternoon after fixing my friends brake line on his Ford, I did a quick casting to take some pictures and show the process using cuttlebone. Though the casting is not perfect, mainly because I poured too slow, it will show the order of events. First pictures are cutting bone in half, sanding flat, making indentations in the bone


* casting 1 001.JPG (2736.47 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 11 times.)

* casting 1 004.JPG (2681.47 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 13 times.)
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Marty
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 04:37:57 pm »

After this step you fine tune what you want and add cutout for pouring in metal. I used a Map gas torch  and some scrap silver for the pour


* casting 1 005.JPG (2239.47 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 7 times.)

* casting 1 006.JPG (4325.06 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 10 times.)
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Marty
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2015, 04:45:21 pm »

After silver is melted good , pour quickly, too slow and it will not fill the mold before it cools as I did. Being out of practice and trying to take pictures don't help. After it cools take a look what you got , if everything is right it will turn out great. Its kind of a skill but after a few flops you will learn this quick.


* casting 1 009.JPG (3081.27 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 6 times.)

* casting 1 012.JPG (2740.91 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 6 times.)
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Marty
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2015, 04:50:02 pm »

Now to see what happened! Don't laugh, but it could have been better if I wasn't rushing things. Lets see what you guys can come up with down the road. The bullet was done last year same process.


* casting 1 014.JPG (3248.1 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 8 times.)

* casting 1 017.JPG (2191.11 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 10 times.)
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PhilNM
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2015, 05:37:36 pm »

have you ever tried pouring a wax first, then metal second in case you wanted a duplicate sometime down the road?
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Marty
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2015, 05:57:46 pm »

I think wax would stick to the bone and be a big mess trying to get out. The bone is firm but has a powdery surface and is porous. They have this silicon mold putty that is in two parts that you knead together and you can make a mold with that for pewter casting that is lower temp. They sell it at craft stores. You can then take the pewter cast to crush into the cuttlebone. I have used Bondo in the silicon putty mold to get a copy to crush into the bone. You could get creative and do three to four piece molds on more complex shapes with cuttlebone too. But one thing is for sure, the lost wax casting is the best for detail and this way is very primitive but easy, fairly cheap and fun.
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hulagrub
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2015, 10:04:21 pm »

So how did you cut it in half?
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2015, 04:12:01 pm »

Good question! The answer is a razor saw. They are sold at hobby stores or hobby supplies places. Cost around 5 to 7 bucks. There are different sizes you can buy. It is a strip of steel with very sharp teeth and has a handle formed on the back edge so you can saw. Great tool for accurate cuts on balsa for model making. I think the brand is X acto. That is what I use a lot and find it will cut many things better than jewelers saw blades because of the stiffness of the blade. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2015, 10:07:26 am »

Thank you Marty!
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hulagrub
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2015, 07:31:29 pm »

Thanks Marty!!!
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2015, 06:21:31 am »

This thread brings back some old memories.

I tried this once about 35 years ago and ended up with 2 pieces because I pored to slow. bricks

I still have the 2 pieces. Maybe I will put my parts together some day for a vacuum caster.

The next time I go to the city am going to a pet store so I can try again.

Bless
Shawn
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Marty
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2015, 07:50:29 pm »

 I had fun making this tutorial and am happy that you enjoyed reading it. I will do more castings in the future and post some pictures of them for your viewing pleasure. I actually need to buy some more cuttlebone myself as that was the last piece I had left from last years batch. I have a few ideas for future castings I would like to try out and I hope that some of you will try this sometime too. It can be addicting, be warned! LOL ... All the Best, Marty
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2015, 06:54:24 pm »

Very kool Marty.  We need more posts like this.  Thanks for taking the time to introduce us to Cuttlebone Casting.

Mark
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travelerga
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2015, 01:11:12 pm »

If you have a pet store that sells large birds, they will also have large cuttle bones, I get mine from a bird seller for about 3.00 each and they are about 10 inches long.
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Marty
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2015, 08:38:41 pm »

travelerga have you done any castings using this method with the cuttlebone? I plan on ordering some this week sometime and try out some new ideas I have been thinking about. I just got a new Durston rolling mill and I am rolling out some of the plates I cast along with some wire from casting square rods from scrap silver. These will be used in  some other fabrication  work. I plan on trying out casting some Celtic style Trinity pendants with the cuttlebone though. I did one last year and it came out good. It sold fast, wish I took a picture so I could post it. But anyways,  I learned a few things and the next one will be better. I hope that others will give this a shot and post some pictures of their successes or failures, as this is fairly inexpensive casting method to attempt to do.
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2015, 01:50:54 pm »

I have done three,  one failure the other two ok.
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