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How to do investment casting?


#1

Could somebody (or several people) please guide me to a resource for
learning investment casting. I would like internet web pages,
books, magazines, video tapes, etc. to teach me how to do this. Here
is what I am trying to accomplish: I make titanium wedding rings
with complicated surface carved designs (Greek key patterns and
Celtic knot patterns) and I would like to be able to cast silver,
gold, and platinum into these carvings. All of the carvings are
continuous around the circumference of each ring and therefore the
precious metals would be continuously bound around the ring and would
not require bonding to the titanium.

I am not looking for the ability to cast more than one ring at a
time, and I would like to purchase a small scale apparatus for this.
Preferably something that works under vacuum so that the heating of
the titanium does not form too much of a surface oxide or nitride.
In addition to the articles on how to do this, I would also like to
know what minimum equipment (and where to buy it) that would be
needed. Please assume that i know nothing about casting and have no
equipment. So what would I need to purchase and how much (roughly)
would I need to spend?

Thanks for any and all help. If you look at my website, you will
see many precious metal inlaid titanium designs, but these are all
done by hand using a channel setting technique, and it VERY time
consuming on the more complicated patterns.

Daniel J. Statman, Statman Designs
www.statmandesigns.com


#2

Dan,

AJM Magazine would be a good resource for you. They have done
numerous articles on setting up a small casting shop. I think the
most recent is due to be published within days, in the August 2002
issue. But other good sources of info would be the August, 2001,
issue, which includes an article by Greg Todd on casting basics; and
August 1998, which includes an article by Elaine Corwin on setting up
a shop for platinum casting, and ine on tips for sprueing, by Timo
Santala. There are lots of other articles available on this topic as
well: You can search for them on AJM’s web site at
www.ajm-magazine.com. Copies of individual articles can be ordered
online or by phone; there is a small fee for non-MJSA members. You
might order a copy of the November issue, the Technology Sourcebook,
as well. It usually includes a section on casting equipment (the Nov.
2001 sourcebook did). The sourcebook tends to be weighted toward
high-tech equipment, but it will give you an idea of your options if
you have the cash to spare and a need for some type of
production-level casting. MJSA also produces a Buyers Guide that can
help you locate equipment dealers. (You can also find supplies online
at their website, www.mjsainc.org.

For platinum casting I suggest you get in touch with
Jurgen Maerz at Platinum Guild International. His entire job is to
offer technical to the jewelry industry regarding working
with platinum, so I’m sure he’d be happy to help you in whatever way
he can. (Phone: 949-760-8279, www.pgi-platinum-tech.com)

The Hoover and Strong web site also includes a wide-ranging
selection of reading on casting. Their site is
www.hooverandstrong.com.

Hope that helps!

Suzanne


#3
 I make titanium wedding rings with complicated surface carved
designs (Greek key patterns and Celtic knot patterns) and I would
like to be able to cast silver, gold, and platinum into these
carvings 

It seems to me that in a specialized situation like this, it is hard
to expect your casting skills to catch up with your fabrication
skills immediately (how long did you work on fabrication before
producing these rings?). If it were I, I would consult an expert,
such as our own Daniel Grandi at Racecar Jewelry.(
sales@racecarjewelry.com ) . If it can be cast, he can do it for
you, and I have found him quite cost-effective. He is also generous
with his expertise and advice. Good luck! --Noel