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Setting Up A Casting Studio


#1

Craig,

Thanks for the review/info. I agree that it sounds like a
really useful machine, but I think it’s expensive for most. It
sounds like a huge benefit for casting things like palladium, etc.
I’m not sure how many cast and work in palladium but that’s not
really important I suppose." "One thing that caught my eye was your
mention of consumables. Are you saying that you have to buy your
supplies from the maker of the casting machine? Is there something
special about the consumables? "

I think you misunderstood my post - you can’t cast palladium in
anything less than an inert atmosphere. You can, however, cast
palladium white golds and other materials with results superior, in
my opinion, to that obtained by using vacuum casting or other
centrifugal casters (please see Jim Binnion’s comment to this effect)
in a small studio environment.

As far as consumables, others have mentioned this as well - they have
wax rings you must use, as well as provide optional investments and
moldmaking materials - not mandatory, but damn helpful, and actually
less costly than20 some of the other options. Again, this harkens
back to the “system” theory.

As far as expensive, it depends - the only way to get ahead is to do
the best work you can - this goes for casting as well as any other
thing you do. The castings from the ti-research machine are superior
to those that I have obtained from the vacuum and centrifugal casters
that add up to only a bit less in price, and take up a lot more space

  • and don’t have some of the safety features the ti-research machine
    does. Don’t forget - to cast centrifugally, you still need to be able
    to de-gas the investment, which necessitates the vacuum pump set-up,
    as well as have mold making capabilities. With the ti-research
    machine, the water vacuum and mixing bowl will provide this at a
    lower cost than purchase of a vacuum casting machine, as well as less
    maintenance, and take up MUCH less space. With careful shopping for a
    reasonable kiln and wax injector, you can set up a casting studio
    with the ti-research machine for not much more than the cost of your
    typical casting set-up as suggested by some of the Orchidians earlier
    on in the posts. My though is when the best solution (IMHO) is
    available for only a bit more, I have never been disappointed by
    getting a better tool, IF it allows me better results. My customers
    depend on me for this

But, a budget is a budget, and if it is too expensive to justify,
then a vacuum casting setup will allow you to cast most materials,
perhaps perfectly adequately for your needs. Perhaps try taking a
local casting class at a center for the arts to see if it will work
for you - it may be money wisely invested, just to be sure.

And always keep in mind the number of fabulous contract casters out
there - they are a fantastic solution to the problem of what to buy,
or the problem of not wanting to spend the big chunk of money on
casting equipment of any type. For not too much, you can get waxes
cast, molds made and productions run.

I’m a tool geek, and wanted to have casting in house for singles and
one of production runs, and had the money to invest in casting
equipment, so I bought what I believed to be the best solution based
on the versatility of the machine, and have not been disappointed.

Best Wishes,
Chris
Chris Ploof Studio
www.chrisploof.com


#2

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the great I’ll be honest in that I’ve not
experimented or done anything with palladium other than read about
it in the trade magazines. I’m often not too worried about creating
the correct environments as my father has been in the heat
treating/thermo-chemical R&D field for over 35 years and can build me
any piece of equipment I want (given I have the $$ of course). It
really isn’t that hard to create an inert atmosphere if you have the
proper setup. I currently have a complete casting setup but I like
the idea of something that takes less space than what I’m using
(centrifugal arm).

I still say the machine sounds very good, but I hesitate to be tied
to a vendor for my consumables (unless of course I misunderstood you
again). If they go out of business where do you get the necessary wax
rings?

I guess I really don’t understand why it’s $2500. I know it is
small, well designed, has safety features, etc… But what exactly
about it makes it that much money? Is it the design? What is that
based on? I just don’t think it’s competative when you can buy a
whole setup with accessories for around $2-$3k (vacuum caster,
burnout oven, flasks, investment, etc, etc).

Oh, and I just have to add I love your work. I just visited your web
page and your stuff is incredible.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#3

Hi Craig,

Thanks for visiting the site!

So here goes - if you have more questions, contact me off list - I
hate the fact that I sound like a salesman ;-)!! As far as
consumables, I don’t have any feeling that the company will be
disappearing any time soon - the only thing you are “locked” into is
the wax disc - which would be a simple shape to cast yourself if
necessary (think candlemaking in the 70’s). Not ideal, but you’d be
all set.

Sounds like your dad is a good guy to know. I agree - it is not too
difficult to create an inert atmosphere - but something big enough to
also support casting of materials best suited to an inert process
would take up quite a bit of space. And it would be used for so few
things…and boy, talk about locked into specific parts purpose
built for something!

As far as price for setting up a casting studio - when I researched
what it would take to cast most of the common alloys and produce
castings (as well as molds), cost is actually higher than you
suggest - sure, you could probably have a bare bones setup that would
not account for production or moldmaking at around $1500, but once
you look at a system designed for production of small runs, that
offers vacuum and centrifugal as well as mold making, you are at
least $3500, but more like $3800-4000.

But - and here it is again - I’m getting better results out of this
machine than any other machine I have used. As an apprentice, we did
contract casting of golds for several customers, and this was with
vacuum - which was my first logical choice when adding casting to my
studio. But after careful research, and talking to others who owned
the system, the Ti-Research system was the system suited to MY
needs. It sounds to me like it is not suited to your needs, and I
respect that. It’s good to know limits, and to follow your business
plan.

As far as your questions why it cost so much - you’d have to contact
the company for specifics, but in my simple terms, I’d say, “because
it works better.”. The castings out of this small, space saving
machine are of higher quality than the other small studio vacuum and
centrifugal castings that I have seen and made. The safety is great,
and the much smaller sprue is also an advantage if casting precious
materials.

The moldmaking system provides you with very high quality molds,
that are also RTV, so you can take impressions of parts that normally
heat would damage.

And, in case I did not mention it before, it takes up very little
space.

And - it works better.

I’d be curious to hear of others results who own the ti-research
machine - I think by now we all know I like it!

Usual Disclaimers.

Chris
Chris Ploof Studio
www.chrisploof.com
508.886.6200 (EST)


#4
I'm a tool geek, and wanted to have casting in house for singles
and one of production runs, and had the money to invest in casting
equipment, so I bought what I believed to be the best solution 

Wondering what the fuss was about, I went to the web site and looked
at this. It looks nice, I’m not going to rush out and buy one,
though. I’ll just point out that the technology - pouring into the
center of a spinning mold, is the one used in white metal casting -
has been for I don’t know how long - 100 years? Except that they do
it directly into silicone molds - no waxes. Just to say that the
method isn’t new, it’s been time-tested and proven to be good…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com