I used to do quite a bit of specialty casting for 15 years in the
previous incarnation of my studio. Not anything approaching what
Daniel Grandi does on a commercial scale however (sawatdee khun
I cast very delicate wax sculptures for a select group of artists as
well as some of my own jewelry which at the time involved wax work.
My setup was a spring driven broken arm centrifuge mounted in a
galvanized washtub, bolted on a waist high countertop. Next to the
caster on the right was my kiln, elevated so that the floor of the
kiln was about the same height as the cradle in the caster.
My sequence was:
heat the crucible, add the metal, resume heating until semi-molten.
With torch held in left hand keeping flame on metal: open kiln with
right hand, remove flask (with tongs), place flask in cradle.
Close kiln door, set down tongs, pick up carbon rod, stir molten
metal, release spring arm, turn off torch.
Aside from moving my right arm to manipulate the kiln door and flask
I was standing in a stationary position and did not need to shift my
balance or make any other physical movements.
The action of removing the flask from the kiln and placing it into
the cradle without moving the flame off from the metal and then
closing the kiln and releasing the spring arm was a well rehearsed
and choreographed movement. Keeping the metal under the torch at
casting temperature while placing the flask and having the melt ready
to release without the flask temp cooling was the key for me to very
I cast anywhere from a flask or two to perhaps a dozen at a time in
sequence without pausing in-between other than to adjust the weights
on the arm of the centrifuge or change the cradles for differing
The current incarnation of my studio/classroom does not involve
casting, my casting outfit is still in a crate 4 years later.
Michael David Sturlin