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Cad/cam metal molds

I wanted to thank everyone who has responded to my metal mold issue.
The one thing that I learned is there are many jewelers out there that
can and will lend a hand for metal mold production. I own a model
master three axis mill and cut butterboard and hard wax. I am about
to start with alumilite molds. If anyone can give me some tips on
feed/plunge rates I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks to Aufin, and
Neil for your helpful tips. Neil runs a metal mold production shop in
Ft. Lauderdale and says he cuts 30 metal molds a week. People this is
the real deal. Rubber molds are fine for short run productions(1-50)
but if you have to produce 500 pieces then its a wise investment to
hire someone like him to make the mold. I think the people at Kerr
have developed a wax injector that will work with metal. I just
purchased one and when I get this alumilte thing going I will report
back… thanks

Scott Isaacs

Hi Scott, You mention that metal molds are the only way to go for runs
over 50 pieces. There are a few problems with the statement that I
wish to point out/ clarify without any offense to you, but rather for
the general Orchid public at large who may misinterpret.

Metal molds are excellent for many types of jewelry , Mostly related
to emblematic detail such as school rings and flat items with deep
design/ lettering etc.

It is not suited for complex 3d type of jewelry such as basket ring
settings and items with deep undercuts.The tooling ro do that type of
work is in many cases impossible or cost prohibitive.

We do have cad/cam/cnc capability and make many models with this
system and also produce metal molds for our production items that
require it.

However, when there is a “choice based on experience” between metal
molds or rubber molds,The rubber molds will win out. specifically in
large quantity runs The reason I mention this is the following:

  1. rubber molds are very inexpensive to produce versus metal
    molds.You can easily make 10 rubber molds for the cost of 1 metal

  2. Wax production in metal molds is much slower than rubber molds .
    With 10 rubber molds running , we can achieve over 1000 waxes/
    day/employee. with metal molds, it does not matter how many molds you
    have,You can only inject and remove at max speed about 40 pcs / hour
    or 320 pcs/day. The methods used to clamp metal molds closed for high
    pressure injection take much more time and also many metal molds
    require a combination of release spray and/or powder to get the detail
    to really come out perfect.metal ring molds are usually 3 to 4
    seperate parts that need to be assembled in the proper order and
    disasembled the same way to remove a wax. This is time consuming and

There are applications where metal molds far exceed the quality of a
rubber mold, but that is not the "normal " jewlery that many people
on orchid produce.

Just my Dollars worth of input. Daniel Grandi We do casting/molding
finishing in gold, silver, brass/bronze and pewter
for people in the trade.

For anyone interested in more about the pros and cons of metal molds,
I wrote an article on this very topic for AJM that appeared in the
August 2000 issue. If you don’t subscribe to AJM and/or already tossed
that issue, you can order a reprint at the website, Reprints are free for MJSA members, and
$5 for non-members.