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MJSA Article on Casting

It’s not that often that I contribute here. This time, however, I have to say thank you for the wonderful article on casting in the latest issue of MJSA Journal (August 2021).

There are very specific and scientific papers and essays covering different aspects of the casting process in this forum, contributed by renowned members like Eddie Bell, Tyler Teague, Steve Adler, Juergen Maerz, just to name a few and those who put their experiences into this article.

When I read this article, I remembered all the trade shows I exhibited and sold my casting machines and related products at - with most of my time having spent on time consuming Q&A discussions on the same topic. As a rough estimate I’d say that something around 90 percent was to explain the different steps in the casting process and the principle of cause and effect. Probably eight percent left for product presentation and the remaining two was for huge sales (of course).

To make a long story short, I enjoyed reading the article, not because this covers all aspects of casting in one epic piece of literature, but presents the entire story in a comprehensive, yet compact article for all those, who might stumble into casting jewelry for any reason.

For those who prefer pictures, let me draw your attention to the video section of this forum, showing the entire process either step by step like:

Casting an Orchid Flower

or as a video like this one:

Casting-of-small-series-of-jewelry

May all your flasks have a complete fill.

As a member, again, thank you MJSA. I’ll remember your approach next time, when face to face with rookies and professional bench jewelers alike. Stay healthy everyone.

Sandor Cser
Ti-Research

3 Likes

Super :slight_smile:

I really liked the casting of the orchid flower.
Now I’m curious, since I can guess that the longevity of many/most flowers can be very limited even straight from the freezer.

Are there ways to stabilize the delicate structures of flowers to get some more time to work with?

Orchids may be quite forgiving due to its “thick” petals, but there are many other flowers with less stability.

Any tricks that can revealed in public about this?

Sincerely Per-Ove

Some thin flowers can be thickened by wax dipping , hairspray, or laquers .
Either dehydrated or frozen or natural ( every one is different, and will require some experimenting ) .
When I’ve cast organic materials I’ve done a few at a time to have room for error , if you are casting heavier organic materials as light wood , heavy leaves or insects sometimes you can blow some air from a compressor in to the sprue ( be very carefull and wear
Glasses ) some 10-15 minutes before casting to blow out any ashes that remain in the flask ( and put it back in the kiln to re stabilize temperature ) prior to casting.

Yves

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Rather than casting, you might consider electroforming, which consists of spraying the flower with a metallic paint and then electroplating the flower, first with copper and then (if you want) with silver or gold. If you want, from this electroformed flower, you could make a mold and then cast. I think this might work better than spraying to stiffen the flower and then investing it, but I have not done either, so I can’t be sure. Electroforming natural objects (flowers, seeds, insects, etc.) is fairly common. -royjohn

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hi royjohn,

electroforming is at the top of my wish to learn list!

julie

Hi Julie,
Electroforming is one of those things I investigated but never got around to doing. There is a specific, expensive spray impregnated with powdered metal that you apply to your model, but my recollection is that my mentor told me that any copper paint spray with a lot of metallic flake in it would work. You would need to consult some website or jewelry text to find the electrolyte and voltage to use…I know the process is detailed in Van Neumann’s jewelry text, and probably a lot of others. There are also youtube videos and on line sites that detail the process. You just build up the amount of metal you need out of copper and then plate in a precious metal…good luck! -royjohn

Some of these things look fabolous.
I’m thinking that babyshoes, pinecones, twigs and such that are gilded are done this way.
Correct me if I’m wrong.

But I do not like the idea of doing this with decomposable objects like flowers, fruits and such.
Then the idea of putting it directly into the investment seem more appealing.

Well well, it will be a long time until I’m ready to try any of these, so it will just linger in the back of my head for the time beeing.
Who knows, it may ripen with some new ideas, or not… :slight_smile:

Regards Per-Ove

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hi,
hmmm…,yes…voltage…maybe i fear voltage…that’s probably why i haven’t learned yet…haha

julie

I’ve also been looking into electroforming; it does seem like a good way of incorporating some of the organic objects I’m interested in, and setting stones and inorganic objects into jewelry without mechanical stress. But the only metal you hear about using is copper. Is there a way to build up fine silver in a similar way? Does anyone here do that, who’d be willing to share some tips?

Yes, you can build up any metal you want — silver, gold, copper, probably several others. You just need to spray a metallic paint on the object which will conduct electricity and then proceed to plate. Usually people plate a thick copper layer which gives strength and provides a surface for the silver to adhere to, but there isn’t any reason but cost which would prohibit using just silver. IDK enough about the process to tell you whether a thin copper strike would be necessary before starting in silver plating, but there are numerous sites and youtube videos that explain the process. Usually silver plate is only 0.01" or less thick. I think unless you mixed your own electrolyte it might get expensive using a thick silver layer. You would certainly need a silver anode, but that is easy enough. The sources I consulted in our archive recommended a 10amp DC current source, so there is some fair amount of current involved, Julie. Perfectly safe if you are careful and keep hands away while running the current.-royjohn

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