New machines and tools arrive today. Any advice?

Hi all, I started out on a lathe I hand made with a small hand torch and scraped up and FINALLY, my kiln for lost wax casting came yesterday and my arc welder comes today. I also got my Smiths Little Torch in the other day. So…Im scared to light my Smiths because of going through a house fire, and my argon tank is sitting outside and Im scared to death of it because the guy at Airgas gave me all the scenarios that could happen. Lol. Any advice on the 3 would be greatly appreciated.

Sadly, i realized you still need the vacuum even after getting the kiln, as well as a smelter, so now ive got to figure that out. God our business is expensive. Lol. Is there something i can do until i can afford those to go ahead with my lost wax casting?

Also, i saw on the @RioGrande instruction videos that you can put permanent jewelry on easily with no guard etc but i saw on some of the arc welders they came with a piece of leather. Do you suggest i use something like that when doing permanent jewelry?

I was a bit disappointed when i opened my $900 kiln to find its much smaller than expected and wish id gotten the small one at Rio instead of the Amazon one, but it will work. Also, do you guys test your Smiths for leaks before every use? And how do you store your extra disposable tanks? Sorry for all the questions.

Let me try to tackle some of your questions.

First with the torch. You mentioned that you’re afraid of burning down your house. It’s not that I think you’re going to burn down your house, but that’s not an unreasonable concern. In addition to setting up your torch and torch area safely, you also need to be prepared for the worst cast scenario. Part of that preparation should be covering yourself legally. That means getting approval or a permit from your city, county, state and your insurance company. I only know one person whose house burned down from a jeweler’s torch, but it was an insurance nightmare. I also have a jeweler friend who has decades of professional experience. She has recently started setting up a jewelry studio in her attic to begin working from home. Getting approval from her city’s fire department has been quite an ordeal (what her city requires). For many people, renting a commercial space, ends up being the best solution. Many towns and art centers have shared studio spaces available. Setting up a jewelry studio in a home, has its own issues and not all of them are obvious. You should do your research. For my personal situation, my jewelry studio is in a shed in a meadow on my land away from my house. I told my insurance company what I do. Since it’s in a detached shed, it was simple, but I had to promise that I only do office work in my house.

In another thread that you started, there is a conversation about argon safety. A number of years ago Orion/Sunstone invited me to their headquarters in Utah to visit and talk about welder product development. It was incredibly cool to see how the welders are made! I asked that question about argon safety. They said that while it is possible for argon to displace all of the oxygen in a room, it’s unlikely because the tanks usually aren’t that big. The biggest safety issue is that argon is a compressed gas (like oxygen). When the tank is full, it’s at least 2000 pounds pressure. Your tank needs to be securely mounted upright, so it can’t fall over. If a 2000 pound pressure tank like that falls over and the end somehow gets knocked off, the tank can travel like a missile through multiple walls. (That might have been what AirGas was warning you about?) It’s important to remember that all gas tanks, small or large, compressed or uncompressed gases, need to be securely mounted upright.

Now onto casting. There is no doubt that a full set up of jewelry casting equipment is expensive. I’m a big believer in buying equipment slowly as your business requires it and you can afford it. I have a bunch of friends who make incredible cast jewelry, but they don’t do the actual casting themselves. They send all of their waxes out to be professionally cast. Professional casting companies are often surprisingly affordable. They can make rubber molds and make multiples for you. Pretty much whatever you want. It’s up to you, but it might make sense to sell your kiln and send your stuff out to cast for a bit?

I don’t have good advice about welding permanent jewelry onto a person safely? I was taught that metal jewelry should never be permanently attached any body part, so this new jewelry movement is kind of confusing for me. I also don’t have any tank storage advice, except that you’ve got to figure out how to keep your tanks upright and get necessary approvals from your town and insurance company. In my area, storage is handled differently from active use. All extra tanks in storage have to be stored outdoors in a secure area (but that’s in a commercial setting).

I hope all of this helps!


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Thanks so much. I agree about permanent jewelry. I mostly got this to do my small intricate welds. Permanent jewelry sounds dangerous to me.

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