Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Casting set-up for $150


#1

Was: Good place to buy used tools

By all means, please tell me how to do a casting set-up for $150.
Thank you. 

You would be amazed at what can be made from casting with delft
clay, a gen tech (generic little torch) with the melting tip, and
some disposable mapp gas and oxygen gas canisters. It uses very
little energy. How many watts and amps do the kilns and electic
meters use up?


#2

Hello Sally,

It is quite possible to cast silver with very modest materials. As
an undergrad, I steam cast a rather intricate ring using free or
cheap stuff. Of course, one does have to have enough scrap silver, or
(gasp) gold!

Here are the materials:

a gas barbeque, a clay flower pot covered with tin foil, a plumber’s
torch (NOT a little creme brulee torch!), a small box filled with
dirt, a 2 to 3 inch piece of iron pipe (at least 2 inch diameter), a
wooden “stamp” with several thicknesses of old terry cloth stapled to
the flat pad, a wax model and the proper investment.

I Googled “steam cast silver” and found several sites. I also have a
booklet describing the steps. It’s an ancient process.

Judy in Kansas


#3

Sally. Although I now have all the necessary items for
casting–programmable burnout kiln, vacuum investment/caster, and
Centrif uge when I first started, I had just a few items and did
some nice casting. I did steam casting, which only required a hot
plate, with an inverted flower pot for the burnout, A jar lid
attached to a doweling, for the steam caster and for flasks I used
some pieces of steel pipes which a friend cut down for me. Some steam
casters used tin cans (not aluminum ones though). Directions for
steam casting can be downloaded from the Internet. So, for the cost
of the hot plate, and the flower pot (under $30), one had a great
casting set-up.

Last summer when I spent some time with a friend at the coast, we
decided to do some casting, and used the old steam casting method. It
was cheap and fun. Best of all, our castings came out perfectly. Alma


#4
By all means, please tell me how to do a casting set-up for $150.

Sure Sally,

Melting metal is relatively easy, and casting it only requires
practice.

For $150, you need one of these :- http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1si

Adapters so that you can fit this torch to a standard POL fitting on
a 9 kg BBQ cylinder.

You can make one of these :- http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1sj

A thimble crucible.

A bag of Portland cement

Some motor oil.

This small unit is quick, and will melt enough metal for most
jewellers needs 250g. If you need to melt more, I have another home
made device that’s easy to construct, and costs a little more to
make, but will accept a 1.5kg capacity crucible.

There’s a talented chap on another jewellery list that uses the
above setup, but powers it with a small cylinder propane torch, so
his cost far less.

The bad of cement is mixed with the motor oil, to make a casting
medium. It makes a textured finish, but it’s not unattractive. You
could opt for lost foam, and just use very fine sand, but you would
have to use polystyrene models

The micro furnace body, will cost you about $20 (max), if you bought
everything. I recycled a milk drink container (about the same size
as a coffee can), so it cost nothing. A K26 fire brick packed around
with Kaowool, the Kaowool needs to be sealed.

Regards Charles A.


#5
By all means, please tell me how to do a casting set-up for $150.
Thank you. 

Be cheap and have no $$ I have had a couple of spining machines,
both surplus and or used. It is pretty difficult to kill one with
neglect. Cheaper still is to vac cast. People put old fridges on the
curb all the time and these contain a half decent vac pump. Illegal
as hell to vent the freon, a dark moon less nite advised. Safer is a
box of donuts and a good story at a local fridge fixing place. Ya
still need some tubes and fittings but the $150 limit is possible.
Burn out kiln can range from a flower pot on the stove to a pile of
fire bricks.

It is going to not be pretty, I started out like this 15 years ago.
Prices have since gone up but it is possible to cast on the cheap.
Sell a few pieces and upgrade the set-up.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#6

You can make a steam casting setup with the following items: Two 8"
or so terra cotta flower pots, some aluminum foilwrap, an old
electric hotplate that works, a screw on jae lid, a 4 or 5 inch
length of wooden dowell 1/2 or 3/4 inch, a screw to attach the
dowell to the center of the jar lid and some newspaper, a small
juice can, some modeling clay and a hardware store propane torch, a
torch lighter, a small plastic bowl and a small spatula of some sort.
The flower pots and the hotplate are your oven. Line a pot with foil
and place the other one over it.Keep the holes in the bottom clear to
let the smoke out. After you have attached the dowell to the top of
the jar lid, cut outsix or eight layers of newspaper to fit inside
the lid.Your flask is the juice can with the ends cut out. You place
it on a flat surface, maybe a plate or piece of thick glass, and seal
around the bottom of the flask with the modeling clay. You set your
wax model or cone or bug or whatever on a tripod of 16 ga. wax wire.
Mix the investment in the bowl and pour down the side of the flask.
Holding the model by the sprue, that is, the wax wires, you lower the
model into the investment, holding it until it sets well enough to
remain stationary. After a period of time, when the investment has
set, you scoop out a depression where the sprue wires are sticking
out of the investment. The flask is placed on the hotplate and
covered with the pots. burn it out for maybe three hours. You can use
a pair of kitchen tongs to remove the hot flask and place it, sprue
holes uppermost of course, on some fireproof surface. Firebrick for
example. You place the metal to be used in the depression in the end
of the flask, sprinkle a bit of boric acid powder on it and heat it
with your torch. You have soaked the newspaper in your caster with
water. When the metal is melted and you see a bright rim around it,
pass the caster through the flame snd pop it down on the flask. The
water will flash into steam and force the molten metal into the mold.
You hold it there a couple of minutes to make sure the metal has
cooled sufficiently, quench the flask a there you have it!I first
used this system over thirty years ago and use the same basic thing
today. Long ago I graduated to a real burnout oven, real flasks and
an and other more professional equipment, but it’s still steam
casting. I had a centrifugal caster for a while, but found that for
my needs and space limitations steam worked better for me. There used
to be a booklet out which described the procedure in more detail than
I did here and for all I know may still be available. You might check
Rio Grande’s publication section in their catalog. Good luck!

Jerry in Kodiak


#7
Cheaper still is to vac cast. People put old fridges on the curb
all the time and these contain a half decent vac pump. 

Compressor pump from auto air conditioner unit will work as vacuum
pump. I used one here in Denver, 5000 ft above sea level. Just
reverse, use inlet to vacuum.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#8

Alma,

Although I now have all the necessary items for
casting--programmable burnout kiln, vacuum investment/caster, and
Centrif uge when I first started, I had just a few items and did
some nice casting. I did steam casting, which only required a hot
plate, with an inverted flower pot for the burnout, 

Dead right. Although since collecting fancy tools (bad assed tool
junkey) I started in much the same place as you. I might have even
started out maybe more primitive. Hole in the back yard, bag of
charcoal, flask holder and crucible of mud, straw and cattle dung
for a gravity pour. The cow shit was the hardest to source living in
the suburbs. Rhio doesn’t carry the stuff The hole in the ground is a
experiment not worth repeating. Too much sun, and I was running out
of beer. High tech solution with a hair drier (some folks would not
approve :slight_smile: Casting came out OK in bronze.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9
Compressor pump from auto air conditioner unit will work as vacuum
pump. I used one here in Denver, 5000 ft above sea level. Just
reverse, use inlet to vacuum. 

Refrigeration or air conditioning compressors are a reasonable DIY
vacuum pump. However something to keep in mind is they are intended
to have oil in them for lubrication and to help the vanes seal. The
oil is mixed in with the refrigerant when these are in their intended
use but when you repurpose them they may not get all the oil they
need and therefore not suck as well as they could. Make sure to try
to keep some oil in them for longer life.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#10

Thank you Alma, Charles, Jerry, Jeff, Judy, and Bill for giving me
tips on casting for less than $150. You really went to bat for me.
Right now I am working at the UC Davis Craft Center, with their
equipment, but someday I plan to strike out on my own. At least I
know that when I strike out I won’t have to spend much money, and I
might even reach first base.

Blessings, Sally


#11

An old compressor from a junked window air conditioner, refrigerator
or freezer can be used as a vacuum pump. Will work on 110 volt(in
US). You can usually find one for free.

Cut the cord off of the old appliance and attach to the compressor
leads. Attach vacuum line to the compressor suction tube. On the
exhaust side of the compressor bend the copper tube up and then into
a downward facing U. Put a jar or can under this as the compressor
may spit a little oil.

A few pieces of plywood some fittings and a bell jar wil l get you
started.

I have used an old compressor for years with no problem.


#12

James and All

If you bend the exhaust tube up and in a U you will find that you do
not lose very much oil. If you did need to add oil it would be a
simple matter to add some oil through the suction side. I will attach
a photo of a compressor that has been used for several years with no
problem.

[Edit]

Attachment removed:

How can I share files and pictures with the list?
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ftp

Or… send the files to the attention of service@ganoksin.com and
we will upload them for you…

[/Edit]


#13
Right now I am working at the UC Davis Craft Center, with their
equipment, but someday I plan to strike out on my own. At least I
know that when I strike out I won't have to spend much money, and
I might even reach first base. 

Sally you have access and use, usable to make your machine up
bigger/nicer machines take notes, there is nothing wrong with using
other peoples experience when you build one (or personal use)


#14

Has anyone tried any of these Delft Clay Casting Kits? Just curious
if they are worth it.http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1uz

Carin Jones
Jonesing for Jewelry


#15
Has anyone tried any of these Delft Clay Casting Kits? Just
curious if they are worth it. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1uz 

Just buy the sand, the rings are okay, but you can find a better box
for less money.

Although the Sand casting flask down the bottom of that page is
nice.

Regards Charles A.


#16

Check out:

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1qa
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1v4

I’ve been very happy with the sand and the mold frames.

The delft sand would have to be way better than this sand to
convince me to pay three times as much for it.

I think the tongs in the kit are way too light-weight for real use,
but maybe that’s just me.


#17

I haven’t used the Delf kit but this was a solution I used back in
the 70s.

In the mid 70’s I bought a casting “kit” for $99 called JewelCast by
Classic Industries in Culver City, California. The actual casting
’machine’ was just a tin box with a receptacle on one end where you
would drop in a burned out one-ring flask that sat on a gasket. On
the other end of the tin box was a handle/plunger. You would heat the
metal right on the flask in a small bowl shaped in the investment
with a spoon. Pulling on the plunger would suck the metal into the
ring cavity in the investment. That 99 bucks bought the casting box,
gaskets, sprues, tongs, propane stand and a tiny kiln with a setting
from 1 to 10. There was everything you would need to cast a
ring.(except the gold :wink: I cast “hundreds” of rings with this kit
successfully. It was hard to get it wrong.

These little units made casting available to everyone. If you Google
’jewelcast hobby casting’ it will find Popular Mechanics - Dec 1973.
Scroll down to the 3rd kit. Maybe some entrepreneur is paying
attention.

Cheers,
Greg Miller
Vancouver


#18

Well what do you know. I still have one of those JewelCast machines.
Havent used it for ages, as I now have a complete casting set-up.
The little machine worked just fine, but one had to remember to
really get a good tight grip on it before pulling the plunger. Wonder
why it was discontinued.

Alma


#19

The Delft clay “is” very good, but this is my opinion, I haven’t
tried Pro-Craft.

Is there anyone on the list that has tried both?

I’m willing to use a different brand if it can get as good results
as Delft Clay.

Regards Charles A.


#20

Hello Orchid Members,

I have been reading so much lately about “CASTING SET-UP FOR
$150.00”

If someone is looking to do there own Casting, why not just purchase
a Centrifugal Casting Machine that is manufactured for the Jewelry
craftsman.

In the “Featured Products” section of this Orchid Digest is a Made
in the USA Centrifugal Casting Machine Model #750 ‘Giant’ which is
Manufactured by the LUCAS Dental Company in Brooklyn, NY.

This model has been manufactured by the LUCAS Dental Co. for over 50
years and is sold everyday for a sum of $285.00 and you get all of
the accessories that is illustrated in the photo. This machine will
last for many years to come.

No other Company can offer a Casting Machine of this quality & price
and still say Made in the USA.

For more you can contact LUCAS directly at
1-(800)-332-5573 or 1-(718)-789-2604 or Email: [Lucadent at verizon
dot net]

Thank you for your time,
Sincerely,
Richard Lucas, V.P.