A question was asked regarding tufa. this has been
posted on Ganoksin previously and I am just pasting it in; I have
contacted him, but I wanted larger pieces to cast into than he has.
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
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' methods.
Anyone familiar with cuttlebone casting can easily make the
transition to casting with Tufa. Tufa therefore presents
advantages over using cuttlebone:
1) Larger molds can be created out of Tufa blocks than
2) Using Tufa instead of cuttlebone can help conserve oceanic
3) Tufa presents an alternative for people who have religious
or philisophical objections to using animal products as a part
Tufa also presents advantages over the lost wax casting
1) 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.
2) The pure silica particles comprising many investment powder
are far more hazardous to inhale accidentally than the
particles from Tufa rock.
AAICA can take 2D or 3D images or artwork to:
1) cut and square TUFA blocks to order for freehand artists
2) produce a catalog of off-the-shelf shapes
3) creating molds to 0.01 inch accuracy using a 3 axis CNC
0.01 inch accuracy is all that is typically needed by the vast
majority of cuttlebone and TUFA users who presently work by
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.
Sincerely, Andrew Jonathan Fine, Owner, AAICA LLC, aaica.com