Casting stainless steel

I’ve cast a lot of silver and bronze, but I’ve never tried casting
stainless steel before. But I’ve got an induction casting machine,
and I’m thinking about trying to cast some. I know it takes some
special investment; what’s recommended and where do I get it? Do I
have to use flux? Are there any special procedures I need to follow,
or can I use the same vacuum-casting techniques I use with silver?
Do I need to melt it under a gas blanket, and if so, what gas should
I use? Are there any particular safety measures I need to take, like
wearing special goggles? Is the amount of hexavalent chromium
released from a jewelry-scale melt something I need to worry about,
and if so is simple ventilation enough to deal with it, or do I need
to wear some kind of breathing apparatus? I’d really appreciate some
input from people who have done this.

Andrew Werby

You want to use a high temperature investment that is typically used
for platinum. I don’t use any flux for casting stainless. You need
to use a ceramic crucible not a graphite one. Will your induction
machine work with a ceramic crucible? Vacuum casting may not give
you the results you want. Stainless is going to be around 2600F-2900F
when you pour it. It will freeze very fast so a centrifuge will be
more likely to fill thinner sections and complex detail. You
definitely want to melt it under argon cover gas. A minimum of shade
5 safety glasses. Hexavalent chrome is more a problem when TIG
welding or grinding it.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts