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December 11, 2018, 05:18:39 pm
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Lost Wax Casting

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Author Topic: Lost Wax Casting  (Read 2641 times)
Debbie K
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« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2013, 04:47:08 pm »

Rick:

It was pretty funny and pretty tragic. Classical example of not thinking things through. The flask in question was  7" x 5", and with the base it was just a little too tall to fit under the dome, so I had to improvise fast. After this fiasco, and when the investment set up, I proceeded to steam out the wax. I tried to pick it up with the flask tongs - absolutely impossible, it weighed so much it bent the tongs. I resorted to fireplace tongs and it was so heavy and I was pressing so hard they broke. As it was only at about 300 degrees I picked it up with gloves and put it in the kiln. And that was the only way to get it out of the kiln at 1000 degrees, as it would just fit in the kiln. After I got it out I was able to pick it up with a modified filter wrench as the water had all burned out and it was a lot lighter.

I think I've learned my lesson - some things need to go to the foundry. I've used that flask once since then and the second time had someone with me to protect me from myself.

One thing I'll say about the rapping or the vibratory technique (and vacuuming, but to a lesser degree) - make sure that your wax is very well sprued or expect sprue failure. I've had one float out, had to stop everything and wash it off and start over.

Debbie K
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gemfeller
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« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2013, 05:52:42 pm »

Debbie,

That's a huge flask.  I'm glad you weren't injured in any way.

Yes, I've vibrated waxes loose too.  Forgot to mention that possibility.  I guess we all learn (and learn and learn) from our mistakes.  And when we've finally learned from the old ones we make new ones!

Rick
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Bentiron
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« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2013, 05:55:57 pm »

I've done a 6" round x 10" long in a modified centrifugal casting machine, that was OK but it sure was a lot of metal to be spinning around. When I did a lot of bronze casting 65# was the biggest I could do by myself and I used asbestos gloves(now they use kevlar) but it still gets plenty hot handling hot flasks. Three hundred is good temperature to pull them from the kiln just before the pour. I used to make my own investment out of 1/3 plaster of Paris, 1/3 hydrocal and 1/3 silica sand, yes, I know that hydrocal and plaster of Paris are very close to the same thing but when the you use the two together you get a much better investment than when you just one or the other as they  have slightly differing properties from each other in set times and strength. I would still paint the surfaces of the wax with Satin Cast to pick up the finest of detail.
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Goldsmithy
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« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2013, 05:47:21 am »

"Cuttlebone casting" is a simple fun process and it gives a very nice initial texture.   http://ganoksin.com/blog/primitive is a good article on the process. Very little specialized equipment is needed.
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Mlou
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« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2014, 06:18:26 pm »

I highly recommend Tim McCreight's book on Casting. Also The
Complete Metalsmith.
 - M'lou
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Carol M
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« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2015, 12:26:08 pm »

Another option to 'gently dip your toe into casting' without too much danger is Delft Sand Casting.

Like Cuddlebone Casting, Delft Sand Casting is not as versatile as Lost Wax, but it's a good way to get a start, and it's much quicker for smaller 'one-offs' than most other methods.  And WAY less expensive to start.

Check it out here - there are 7 Chapters video clips with each phase. yes


Note - when Chapter 1 starts, it takes about 40 seconds before any audio starts and that's just an overview, and then it takes about a total of 1:40 for the actual tutorial to begin, but then when one Chapter ends there's a button to click to go straight to the next Chapter [7 in total].
These are one of the best tutorial videos I've seen on Delft Sand Casting, as it's put on by the Delft Sand people in the Netherlands.

Worth a watch if you want to learn how to do it properly. ura
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Ciao,
Carol M
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"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

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« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2015, 04:41:42 pm »

Usually the cheapest way to get started in casting and to see if you want to go further in the craft would be to contact the local gem and mineral club to see if they have any classes/ equipment.  Another possibality would be a class at the local community college if offered.
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Carol M
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« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2015, 10:20:06 pm »

Usually the cheapest way to get started in casting and to see if you want to go further in the craft would be to contact the local gem and mineral club to see if they have any classes/ equipment.  Another possibality would be a class at the local community college if offered.

I don't know about all cities, but here in Toronto, I took a Learn4Life class on Lost Wax Casting. 

It was not complete, but was centered around learning to carve/create a wax mold.  Then the molds were weighed by the teacher, and we paid by weight for the silver needed for the model.  Then the model was delivered by the teacher to a local casting company to be actually sprued and cast [by a master caster at a casting company]. 
Then we got it back the next week, with the sprue just roughly cut off the tree, and we finished sawing and finishing the cast in our class.

This was done, I'm sure, because of the space requirement and cost for all the vacuum machine, and burn out kiln and centrifical machine etc. to do the actual casting.  It wasn't as neat as doing the whole thing 'in class' but we did learn a lot about model making, which was very useful. [another option if this sort of class exists locally]
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

Debbie K
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« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2015, 08:17:41 am »

Carol:

Your class was probably limited to only carving a wax because of liability. The casting equipment (kiln, vacuum caster and/or centrifugal caster) are expensive, but the insurance to teach newbies probably makes it prohibitive, especially for an individual. That said, I've only had one incident casting, and since I use a Neycraft caster the molten metal was contained to the tub instead of being flung around the room.

The mold making aspect is even more dangerous. I was in a mold making class with a bunch of people who seemingly had absolutely no idea the damage that a scapel could do; it was so scary I actually left because I knew what was going to happen. I spent years carving wood with sharp pointy objects and have seen enough of my blood and other's to last me a lifetime. I was justified in my fear; three people cut themselves that day, one of them the instructor. I never cut a mold unless I am fresh. If I start getting tired or frustrated I get up and walk around for 15 minutes or so until I feel focused and refreshed enough to proceed.

I learned to cast at a local gem and mineral society. It isn't offered at any Community College in my area and I live in a MAJOR city. College classes require a ridiculous amount of prerequisite courses before you are "allowed" to take casting. If I were in a sparsely populated area, I would look around for an individual who makes things that are cast (looking for them in local galleries or markets) and see if they would teach me. I would never teach anyone myself, as I couldn't afford to take the financial hit if they did something stupid and hurt themselves. But I have had people come over and observe the process as guests. I thought about teaching some things at my house, but would have to get business type insurance to make sure that folks were adequately covered for medical care if they did something stupid, and it just didn't seem worth it.

It isn't all that dangerous if you follow the steps correctly and take precautions. I never cast without a "buddy" who has a fire extinguisher in their hands and wear adequate protective clothing. But the potential is there for something to happen.

I actually think the mold making process is much scarier and dangerous. It's my least favorite thing to do.

Debbie K
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Carol M
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« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2015, 08:34:38 am »

Good grief, Debbie....I had no clue it was so dangerous.

I do know what you mean by students doing stupid things though....like standing with an annealing torch [which is turned on] and they stop to talk to someone, meanwhile the flame is pointed at the hose to the tank.

Happily a number of us have taken this series of classes several times [in the early days because we didn't have our own equipment]....more recently [because we've become friends and like to see what each other are working on].....but happily, we 'older students' are helping the teacher when we can, by noticing stupid moves and 'gently cautioning newbies' about dangerous practices, before they blow us all up. hide

One lovely thing about these night classes is, they're put on by the TDSB [Toronto District School Board] and they're very reasonably priced, so anyone can afford them.

Happily, re health care.....no worries in Canada.  Healthcare is free [which I totally LOVE].
Many 'things' are more expensive up here, but 'ya gotta pay for OHIP somehow' [smile].
I also love that people who don't make much money still have access to terrific healthcare for free. [commercial ended now] (giggle)
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

Debbie K
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« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2015, 09:01:17 am »

Carol:

Know what you mean about people with torches; scary. My first jewelry class in college I observed a guy talking while holder a torch and turning around holding it, totally oblivious to where it was pointed. I decided then and there I would buy a torch (Bernzomatic) and asbestos pad and solder at home, as I had hair down to my waist and no amount of tying it back or braiding it would render it non-flammable. The next week, a girl got her hair set on fire and she was burned pretty badly.

Once you've hurt yourself once or twice you usually learn to work a little safer. I think that most folks have no idea of the potential damage tools can do and don't respect them. Case in point: I am scared of skill-saws, routers and table saws, but think of Dremels as being "harmless", yet I took out a hunk of flesh on my finger that took two years to grow back. I knew a man who took off half his thumb getting it caught in a grinder.

As far as all this goes, I actually hurt myself cooking more than I do making jewelry. Many, many more burns, cuts, etc. in the kitchen than in the shop. Maybe I'm just a klutz.

Debbie K
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