To all silversmiths and gold smiths:
I am proudly announcing the debut of my company, AAICA LLC!
At the present time, AAICA’s main product involves working with Tufa
as a casting aid for casting silver, pewter, and low temperature
What is Tufa?
Tufa is a naturally occuring rock that from fossilized volcanic ash.
Molds created from this material are the historic method for silver
casting used by the Navajo (Dine’) people residing in portions of
the Southwestern United States.
AAICA LLC resides in Apache County, Arizona, very close to the
eastern border of Arizona, where a lot of the Navajo jewelery
activity takes place.
AAICA hopes to relieve some of the thankless drudgery involved on
the part of those Navajo silversmiths who would rather design and use
molds than cut them. AAICA would also welcome anyone else interested
in supplementing thier cuttlebone or investment casting with Dine’
Anyone familiar with cuttlebone casting can easily make the
transition to casting with Tufa. Tufa therefore presents advantages
over using cuttlebone:
Larger molds can be created out of Tufa blocks than cuttlebones.
Using Tufa instead of cuttlebone can help conserve oceanic
Tufa presents an alternative for people who have religious or
philisophical objections to using animal products as a part of
Tufa also presents advantages over the lost wax casting method:
Like cuttlebone casting, TUFA is a far “lower-tech” method,
requiring less expertise and less money for the beginner or small
crafter to begin using.
The pure silica particles comprising many investment powder are
far more hazardous to inhale accidentally than the particles from
AAICA can take 2D or 3D images or artwork to:
- cut and square TUFA blocks to order for freehand artists
- produce a catalog of off-the-shelf shapes
- creating molds to 0.01 inch accuracy using a 3 axis CNC milling
0.01 inch accuracy is all that is typically needed by the vast
majority of cuttlebone and TUFA users who presently work by hand.
BobCAD, BobArt, and Python are used for generating the necessary
Gcode. The Gcode is executed on AXIS running under Ubuntu Linux with
the Magma real-time kernel modification.
I will be on summer vacation between 10 June and 25 July, but I will
be happy to take bids for later jobs over this period. I will also
be very happy to entertain any or all suggestions or requests by
potential customers and other interested parties.
Andrew Jonathan Fine