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Easiest way to cast metal


#1

Hey Everybody!

When I was a young’n my dad put a coffee can on a camp stove filled
it with old lead fishing weights and, while that was melting, had us
kids press our hands into some wet sand in a cardboard box. He used a
pair of pliers to pour the molten lead into our hand-print
indentations and once cooled we had a bunch of lead hands.

Decades are passed and we now know that Dad’s process was rife with
danger, but I long for a way to cast metal with the same ease and
accessible tools.

I want to make tiny primitive charms and they don’t have to be gold
or silver, but being new to the world of jewelry making, I am not
sure what tools or metals I need to use. Lie what melts the easiest?
Pewter? Bronze? And can I use my propane torch? Or do I need a kiln?
Or is there another tool I’m not thinking of?

So what would I use in place of the lead, the coffee can (and
pliers), the sand, and the camp stove?

Please forgive my ignorance, but I have to start somewhere and this
seems like the perfect place to ask.

Bobby W. Baker


#2

Bobby you have asked some good questions, and I am sure you will get
many responses.

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.
Alma


#3

Oil sand and pewter. The coffee can and the camp stove will still
work fine. Get a little steel ladle to pour the pewter into the
model’s indentation in the oil sand. Tinned copper wire can be used
as a bail, be sure to dip it in a soft soldering flux.

Casting oil sand
ebay item 321693522539

lead-free pewter
ebay item 261046256627

There’s also oogoo (corn starch and silicone caulk). I’ve cast
pewter buttons with an oogoo mold; I used tinned copper wire for the
shank. About 20 castings can be made using an oogoo mold before the
mold starts losing detail.

Karen T


#4
So what would I use in place of the lead, the coffee can (and
pliers), the sand, and the camp stove? 

Lead free pewter. Otherwise, all the same tools and materials would
still work for that kind of one-off playing around. I’ve cast pewter
using a charcoal grill for the heat source, and a catfood can for
the melting pot…

Ron Charlotte
Gainesville, FL


#5

Pewter will work. So will lead, aside from the poisoning effect.
Might want to think about aluminum. Melts in a hot wood fire. Use a
stainless pot from goodwill. Do the sand thing and have fun


#6

Lead free pewter melts at a temperature just a bit higher than soft
solder, so can easily be melted with a plumbers torch.

For the simplest castings you can pour into open backed molds. This
is how the pilgrims’ badges were produced in the Middle Ages, though
they were cast in lead, being cheaper than pewter. The Medieval molds
were carved in a soft stone, like soapstone, which made them
reusable.

If you don’t want to carve your molds, you can carve your originals
and pour into sand. As long as there’s a channel and sprues it should
be fine. You just don’t want to pour the molten metal directly into
the detailed depression.


#7

Micro Mark has a book on casting low temperature metals. They also
carry supplies too. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/bk

Happy casting,
Vicki K


#8
Pewter will work. So will lead, aside from the poisoning effect.
Might want to think about aluminum. Melts in a hot wood fire. Use
a stainless pot from goodwill. Do the sand thing and have fun 

I have melted and poured pewter from a small, oiled cast iron fry
pan heatedon a hot plate.