Bobby you have asked some good questions, and I am sure you will get
I suggest that you get the Tim McCreight book on casting as it has a
wealth of on different casting methods.
As far as keeping costs of materials down, When I give a workshop on
casting some of the students don’t want to use precious metals, so I
have themget bronze which is purchased from Reo. Very inexpensive
and casts beautifully.
To really keep costs down Try steam casting which does not require
any expensive equipment,— just a flowerpot to serve as a kiln, a
small hot plate and a disposable propane torch. The internet has
loads of n this method.
Also, try cuttle bone casting. You will find detailed on
the internet as well as in Tim McCreight’s book.
You have lots of choices for inexpensive casting.