Welcome to Orchid!
You came to the right place! You'll probably get more help than
you know what to do with here! Some really helpful folks hang out
here & are willing to share.
I am very interested in casting techiques that don't
require big dollar investments
You might try looking in the Orchid archives for Flower Pot
Burnout Oven & Steam Casting. These 2 tools/techniques cut the
biggest expense from the casting equipment budget.