Having parts cast

Dear Sarah, Speaking as a jeweler (and former full-time wax
modelmaker) who uses castings almost exclusively, Yes! it is fine to
use castings for your production. But do not be fooled, it does not
always make production go faster. Finishing castings can be as
frustrating and sometimes more so than fabrication. When I get a
casting back from my casting house I must…

  1. Cut off the nub of metal called the “sprue” and sand it down.

  2. Sand the piece with 220 sandpaper (on a split mandrel on my flex
    shaft) to remove the outer layer. (Sometimes I even start with a
    rotary file before the 220- use with caution)

  3. Sand it with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth it out

  4. Use a variety of flex shaft and hand tools to clean up the nearly
    inaccessible corners.

  5. Finally, I go through the usual bobbing to rouge routine.

I don’t want to discourage you, like I said, I use them almost
exclusively. Just don’t jump into it whole hog unless you’ve tried
cleaning a few first. Also, be aware that there is shrinkage if
final size counts.

-Jade “takin’ no flak from them pesky sprues” Moran

Jade Moran Jewelry
257 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA, 02143

Dear Jade and Sarah,

I’m not sure you’re aware that some casting houses have the
facilities to finish castings, using mass media techniques. The guys I
use, semi-finish the castings for me using tumbling media. Very
little, if any finishing necessary, other than polishing. You might
want to check into this, it saves me tons of time. Hope that helps,

Dean D. Amick
Hamilton Jewelers
Princeton N.J.

Hi Sarah,

Finishing multiple castings can indeed be a chore. Some folks
fabricate a piece or design a one-off wax for a customer and then mold
it as an afterthought. Casting and then finishing a lot of pieces from
such a mold can be daunting. It’s great that you have a snapshot
(mold) to work from, but these molds seldom make good production
molds. To get the most of the casting process it is helpful to design
with casting in mind…before the model is made! It can be slower to
work this way but it really pays off later and the mold will give you
thousands of easier to finish castings. Over the years, as a caster to
many talented art jewelers, I have taught a one day workshop called
"Design For Casting" This one day workshop gives you the ins and outs
of designing “producability” (is this a word?!?) into you model from
the start. We discuss what drives up the cost of casting and slows
down production time.The participants bring models and drawings. We
then map out the way to production success. I am going to be at
MetalWerx in September teaching this workshop back to back with a two
day workshop on moldmaking. Whether you are doing your own casting or
are farming it out, when you know more about the possibilities you can
indeed save lots of time and money over hand fabricating each piece.
John, J.A.Henkel Co.,Inc., Moldmaking, Casting, Finishing

This thread is so relevant to some of the issues I have been tossing
around in my own mind. I have been a hand fabricator for about 10
years now (1 person studio), and am interested in wax modeling and
casting. I have taken some classes and am familiar with the process.
It seems to me the only way to save time over the hand fabricating
process is to have models made to inject multiples in wax. Certainly I
would rather spend my time designing and model making. The process of
casting and the monetary investment in the right equipment does not
interest me, right now, maybe later.

Can some fellow orchidians recommend reliable, affordable, affable
casting houses in the Northeast? Thanks! Always great helpful

Lori @Lori_Lochner

Lori - the best caster that I have found is Jeff Pyle at ArtTech
Casting, PO Box 54, Scottsville, NY (800) 418-9970. Jeff has done
beautiful work for me with a minimum of clean up. Hope this is helpful - Gini in Fl.

Larry Paul Casting in Philadelphia has been doing my casting for
years, and I have been very happy with them.

Larry Paul Casting 740 Sansom St. Philadelphia PA 19106 215-928-1644

Janet Kofoed

Hi Lori,

Try Art Tech in Scottsville, NY. Their number is 800-418-9970.
They’re the third and hopefully last casting company I’ve turned to. A
small shop with people who know their business. They offer deox.
sterling and gold which I’ve found great to work with.


Hi Lorri,

We have a casting and finishing company in Cranston ,RI that may be
able to help you. We cast in Gold, Silver ,Brass/ Bronze and Pewter
for many designers and stores who would prefer not to cast their own
parts.We also do finished products for customers in Europe. In
addition, I am a model maker and a mold maker and often offer advice
to those who are doing their own model making. Please feel free to
call anytime between 9 am and 5 pm eastern standard time if you
should need some assistance. Daniel Grandi
http://www.racecarjewelry.com Tel/Fax: 401-461-7803 Racecar
Jewelry Co. Inc. 52 Glen Rd., Cranston, RI . 02920 USA

Billanti Casting Co., 299 South 11th St. New Hyde Park, NY
1-516-775-4830 I may have the phone no. wrong) is the caster we use
the most. They deal with a lot of crafts type jewelers, are very
quick, reasonably priced and VERY high quality casters. We rarely
have any problems with any castings from them. Their only problems
are that they don’t do platinum, they don’t do palladium white gold
and they won’t use your metal. Other than these minor issues I can’t
recommend them enough. We use Irving Lang in NYC for our platinum
casting, but frankly, they are a little hard to deal with sometimes.
Their casting quality, however, is almost as good as Billanti’s.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

For platinum casting I have had excellent results from MMD Platinum
Casting. Very nice castings and really fast turn around. Generally
in and out in about 48 hours. A.J.

    Can some fellow orchidians recommend reliable, affordable,
affable casting houses in the Northeast? Thanks! Always great
helpful advice!!! 

Would you settle for two out of three? I’ve dealt with Billanti (Hyde
Park, N. Y.) for years, now- they’re fast, competent, reliable,
inexpensive and good. Affable doesn’t apply. They can create molds
from your wax or fabricated original (molds usually cost $15-20);
charges on pumping the wax/spruing/casting are generally $2-4.00,
depending on complexity. Virtually no flashing. But your basic brusk
New Yorker’s.- Stephanie


   Can some fellow orchidians recommend reliable, affordable,
affable casting houses in the Northeast? Thanks! Always great
helpful advice!!! 

For platinum casting I have been very impressed with Jaguar Casting
in NYC. They also cast gold. Their process produces the sharpest
detail I’ve found yet, particularly from rubber molds. They have a
very good mold cutter as well. They are fast and helpful when
there’s a problem. Expect to pay them COD. Anthony Toepfer, Keene, NH