For those who wish to learn more about setting up a small casting
space and casting in general, Linus Droggs of Au enterprises and I
will be presenting at MJSA in New York. Linus will be talking about
casting on a very grand scale, as well as the difficulties associated
with some materials (Craig - palladium essentially acts like a big
"sponge", and wants to absorb any bit of oxygen it can - in order to
cast it successfully, you need an inert atmosphere. Pull a vacuum,
backfill with argon, and melt and cast away!). I will be talking
about my quest to add the most versatile casting system to a studio
that was already, er, quite full of tools!
I am a proud and extremely satisfied owner of the ti-research
casting system. I say system, because the whole is what makes it
unique. Sandor Cser, the inventor and owner of the company has gone
out of his way to create a system that is safe, works extremely
well, is versatile and takes up little space. And - the consumables
(the wax disks, investment, moldmaking materials that others have
mentioned) are reasonably priced - actually same or better price
than the consumables used by other methods.
And, the fact that everything fits inside a small cupboard and
drawer, and takes less then three minutes to deploy - well, that is
Perhaps most telling was the comments made by my assistant the first
time she used the ti-research system with me. She had taken a
casting class, and had actually seen a flask fail in a Ney
centrifugal caster, and had quite a distaste for the whole process,
from investing to (failed) casting. She was hanging back, and I
asked her why, she told me the story (didn’t even finish the telling
before I had removed the flask from the kiln and cast it). She said,
upon completion of the casting, “OH! Wow! I didn’t know it was that
easy to cast!”. She further expounded on the cleanliness, lack of
investment dust and simplicity of the whole process.
The investing is simple, and the mixing bowls are incredible. Sandor
uses an adaptation of a water induced vacuum pump (essentially using
the venturi effect) that works with your sink - no worries about a
large vacuum machine, nor bubbling over - nor do you need to check
the oil levels of the pump (when was the last time YOU checked the
oil level!!?). Also - the mixing container is covered - much safer,
much less chance for loose investment to be floating around your
shop and into your lungs if you forget your protection.
The flasks have a tong that picks them up by indexing into small
holes - nearly impossible to drop. Then, the flask locks into place
before you can even close the unit and start it spinning. Flask are
in three sizes, and it is easy to cast production runs of "average"
jewelry size pieces.
As mentioned by other Orchidians - the sprue is much smaller - in
fact, the manufacturer recommended amount of extra metal to add is
between 10 and 15 grams, depending on the density of the metal.
Moldmaking with the system is wonderful as well - RTV materials that
leave incredible details, and work will with most anything,
including organics. They use a smaller version of the mixing bowl
and the vacuum pump adapter mentioned above.
The long and the short of it - I was an experienced caster in both
vacuum and centrifugal casting, and after much research, I chose the
ti-research system for many, many reasons. It was a hands down
winner, even though it meant saving up a little longer prior to
purchasing it. Look carefully at the other systems, and add in what
it would cost to make it truly operational - I think you will find
that the great savings produced by the water vacuum pump, moldmaking
system and a few other items, as well as the obvious safety
advantages of the system makes it as affordable as the products that
are out there and not quite as safe.
I’m happy to answer any questions off or on-line about the system.
Usual disclaimer - just a delighted customer who recognizes the
clear value and technology, the safety and innovation that a well
designed tool and system can deliver - not to mention how it can
influence production ;-)!
Chris Ploof Studio