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Casting a mesh


#1

Hello, I tried to cast a piece of plastic netting, used to hold
onions. I found the idea in The Art of Jewelry Making, Classic and
Original Designs by Alan Revere (2001, p.47). Ira Sherman presents a
mesh pin in this book, part of which is a textural section from a
plastic netting used to hold veggies. I followed the instructions
very closely: I took a piece of plastic grovery mesh and warmed it up
over an open flame (I also tried to cook it). The mazes become
smaller and the plastic becomes somewhat harder. I attached several
tiny sprues to it and tried to cast it in Sterling - this was the
only deviation I made from the instructions as Sherman casted his
mesh in 14K gold. I also overheated the metal a bit, giving the metal
an extra instant to flow, exactly as Sherman advices. Still, the
result is deplorable and I have to figure out what I did wrong. Does
someone has any experience with casting super-detailed pieces such as
a mesh? What could have gone wrong? Any advice will be very
appreciated. Thank you for reading, Will


#2

Hi Will, I have cast such things with good results. I suggest you
take a piece of wax sprue wire (8ga) and attach it to an entire side
of the mesh, joining the wax to each point along the way. give this
wire several heavier sprues to a trunk and give plenty of button when
casting. It is more important to have a high flask temp than overheat
your metal. Yes, you can heat the metal a little more than usual, but
your flask temp is the key. Try casting it quite hot, like 1325F.
Also, centrifugal casting will work better for this application. It
will work! John, J.A. Henkel Co., Inc. Moldmaking
Casting Finishing, Producing Solutions For Jewelry Artists


#3

Hello again Will. You may have tried to cast too large a piece.
Try to close your eyes and think like molten metal, which is cooling
the minute flame leaves it. Imagine trying to go from crucible to
the outer limits of the model - how are you going to get there ? Are
there plenty of sprues to give entrance to each of the mesh areas?
A better way than sprueing such a thing is to simply weld the end of
each thread to the sprue button itself - the large size center button
can allow this. You could also thicken the mesh by adding wax to it

  • dip it - or spray it repeatedly with a thickener like lacquer,
    paint, whatever. Even nail polish. ( Mind you don’t hang over the
    burn-out fumes.)

You might cruise the aisles of a craft-supply store. There are
plastic meshes of many sorts for other purposes than fruit bags that
could work better for you - heat and form them. I have found the
plastic net bags wonderful for roller-printing metal. One looks
almost like alligator hide. Have fun with your experiments, and
do keep notes. You think you’ll remember it all but you won’t.

Pat


#4
 Any advice will be very appreciated. Thank you for reading, Will 

Dear Will, There are a number of wax pattern meshs which are used in
prosthetic dentistry as retention devices for acrylic parts attached
to castings of partial dentures. I have used these myself to cast
mesh bows i n sterling. They should be available in dental supply
companies, but if you have difficulty locating one, feel free to
email me and I will hunt down a source for you. Joe Dule


#5

You are going to have more trouble filling sterling as opposed to
14k. Superheating your metal is good but also try raising your
flask temp. also sprueing (gating according to al) is critical and I
would recommend centrifugal casting.