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Making your own casting machine


#1

hello

i’m interested in finding instructions on building very simple,
inexpensive casting machines forgold jewelry, from basic sling types
to vacuum casting, centrifugal etc, for small volume casting. can
you recommend any particular books or instructions/articles for this
subject considering i am a beginner in these field, but have an
engineering background?

thanks


#2
i'm interested in finding instructions on building very simple,
inexpensive casting machines forgold jewelry, from basic sling
types 

One book to check out is “Procedures in Experimental Physics” by
John Strong. originally published in 1938 it has been reprinted by
Lindsay technical books, among others. A modern reprint is MUCH less
expensive than an orignal and just as good. A google or Amazon
search will locate it or request a catalog from Liindsay’s, their
website does not always list all that they offer. The last chapter
or two describes how to build both a vacuum and centrifugal casting
machines and has some good basic info on the processes. These are
not step-by-step type plans, but there is plenty of info there to
get you started. You may even want to try out the setup described to
make your own lab grown sapphires and rubies! There is lots of other
interesting reading in this book as well, especially if you have an
engineering background.

Al A.


#3

Hi,

there is a book

Lost wax or investment casting.
by James Sopak

it goes into making all the equipment. I’m not sure the time would
pay off against the effort. I have made some of my own, vacuum
chambers, flasks, casting table,silicone seals, mould frames
vulcanising press to go in an oven, wax pens. But the bigger stuff,
kiln, wax injector is tricky to get right IMHO

regards Tim.


#4

Hello,

You asked about simple inexpensive casting machines for gold
jewelry. Have you considered steam casting? It certainly is simple
and definitely inexpensive. A Google search will give you several
descriptions, including previous Orchid postings. I have done
relatively complex items using steam. I think I have a pamphlet in
my library with photos, tips, and complete instructions. Let me know
if you are interested,

Judy in Kansas


#5

If you have access to archives of old jewelrymaking magazines, try

(1) Rock & Gem, Nov.1973, pp.60-63,for an article, “5$ Casting
machine,” by George H. Eash,

(2) Lapidary Journal, June 1964, pp.410-415,“A Low-Cost Centrifugal
Casting Machine,” by William Hazeltine.

Best wishes,
Judy Bjorkman


#6

Judy I am definately interested in steam casting. I have never done
it and was googling it when I saw your post.

Leslie


#7
(1) Rock & Gem, Nov.1973, pp.60-63,for an article, "5$ Casting
machine," by George H. Eash
(2) Lapidary Journal, June 1964, pp.410-415,"A Low-Cost Centrifugal
Casting Machine," by William Hazeltine. 

I would like to find these, being over 30 years old these will be
ahrd to find.

Any one have copies of these jourmals and are willing to make copies?

Jerry


#8
I am definately interested in steam casting. I have never done it
and was googling it when I saw your post. 

Leslie, I don’t know if I am the “Judy” to whom you refer (there
seem to be lots of us on this list!), but here are some references to
doing simple steam casting.

  1. T. McCreight, The Complete Metalsmith (1991) p. 96

  2. A. Sprintzen, Jewelry: Basic Techniques and Designs, p. 86

  3. von Neumann, _The Design and Creation of Jewelry _(3rd ed.),
    p.115

  4. T. McCreight, Metalworking for Jewelry (1979), p. 130

  5. _Rock & Gem _magazine, February 1972, pp. 64-67 (good photos),
    “Steam Casting,” by Lee Martin [subtitle of article: “Your equipment
    investment: an electric hotplate and a flower pot”]

  6. booklet, Lost Wax Steam Casting, by Felisky.

Best wishes,
Judy Bjorkman
Owego, NY


#9

Just for fun last summer a friend and I tried some steam casting.
This came about after a discussion as to whether or not it really
worked. Both of us traditionally use our centrifuges and vacuums, and
doubted that such a simple method as steam casting would work. We
made our caster out of a large jar lid attached to a 1" dowel.
However, we used my regular burnout kiln and not the flower pot,
electric plate. Also we used our regular flasks and not the tin cans
that some sources recommend. There was a limit to just how low tech
we wanted to go.

We followed the instructions in Tim McCreight’s book, and to our
amazement got good castings. The biggest problem was working with the
recommended thin sprues. I think we used 16 and 18 gauge.

I would definitely recommend that anyone who has avoided lost wax
casting because of the expense involved with all the equipment try
steam casting.

It is certainly a good way to use one’s scrap metal.

Will I switch to using steam casting instead of my centrifuge and
vacuum?

Probably not, but it is good to know of alternative methods.

Alma Rands


#10
Any one have copies of these jourmals and are willing to make
copies? 

I hate to admit I have copies of these, but, like all of you, I’m
short on time. If I only have one request, I’ll copy and mail (I
don’t have time to learn how to use our scanner) Otherwise, it’d be
nice if someone would do the search to see if these old magazines
are available on line or through interlibrary loan. Keep me posted.

Judy Bjorkman


#11

Hi…I have done steam casting with the 2 inch cylinder (a small
item works the best)…I took a mayonnaise (large) jar lid, punched
a hole in it…put a screw up through the hole and made a handle out
of a 1 inch dowel about 4 inches long. Filled it full with wet paper
towels. When the cylinder was taken out of the kiln, put it on a
fireproof base…I slammed the lid with the wet paper towels down on
the open end and held it there until the steam quit rising. This must
have been in one of the publications mentioned because I have been
doing this for over 20 years.

RM Christison


#12
I have done steam casting with the 2 inch cylinder (a small
item works the best)....I took a mayonnaise (large) jar lid,
punched a hole in it...put a screw up through the hole and made a
handle out of a 1 inch dowel about 4 inches long. Filled it full
with wet paper towels. When the cylinder was taken out of the
kiln, put it on a fireproof base....I slammed the lid with the wet
paper towels down on the open end and held it there until the steam
quit rising. This must have been in one of the publications
mentioned because I have been doing this for over 20 years. 

Well ok but my question is I put flask in kiln melt out wax and get
flask to temperature then remove it and melt the silver how? buy
putting it in top of heated flask and returning to kiln? or torch I
mean take it right out and slam it down where is the metal?

Confused sorry I need to master this technique as it is my last
resort

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#13

Teri, Carve a small bowl shaped depression into your investment
while it is still soft (before you do the burnout). Carve deep enough
so that you can see the sprue wires. After burnout, remove flask from
kiln. Put it on a heat proof surface. Pour measured metal into the
bowl shaped depression and melt it right there with your torch. When
it is all molten, slam the lid over it and the steam generated from
the wet paper will force the metal into the mold. I would recommend
that you get the Tim McCreight book on casting as all of this is
explained in detail. It is a very simple process.

You might be interested to know that instead of using a large jar
lid filled with wet paper, you can also use a large raw potato. Just
slam it over the flask, and the steam from the potato will force the
metal into the mold.

Alma


#14
...and melt the silver how? buy putting it in top of heated flask
and returning to kiln? or torch I mean take it right out and slam
it down where is the metal? Confused...... 

Teri, if I understand your question correctly (lack of punctuation
produces more confusion!), I can quote something by Charles
Lewton-Brain on steam casting, which I got off the Orchid Bulletin
Board some years ago:

“…One melts the metal in the sprue base in the investment…”

See also the on steam casting in Don Norris’ website:
www.frii.com/~dnorris

If you can find it anywhere, there’s a nice booklet entitled, Lost
Wax Steam Casting
, by Barbara Felisky, published by California
Crafts Supply, Anaheim [or perhaps Orange], CA (copyright 1971). [I don’t think the business still exists.]


#15

Hi Alma

I tried a potato experiment yesterday but I had only partial success
so I will be carving out larger metal holes and trying again today I
do have Tim McCreights book but learning from reading is very hard
for me so I like to check out people who have experience to make sure
technique it is correct before I do something.

I will also be trying it on simpler things like one ring at a time
not sure home much of a sprue tree you can expect steam to cast for
you

Teri…practice practice practice silver remelts and potatoes are
cheap lol

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#16

Teri, If you only had partial success with the potato, make a caster
out of a large jar lid and a dowel. Also, remember, spruing is
different with steam casting. Sprues must be no larger than the
recommended 16 to18 gauge. Also, keep the item small—one ring at a
time. I doubt very much that steam casting will work with a sprue
tree, and from what others tell me, sprues larger than the 16-18 size
just will not work… Follow the directions in McCreight’s book. And
remember it will take practice before you master the process. You
will soon learn what works and what doesn’t.

Alma