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Silver and Bronze casting - electric melter, or torch?


#1

For someone just getting into silver and bronze casting, and doing
it in a basement/garage, would folks recommend a small electric
melter (Kerr electromelt or similar), or a torch?

I’m leaning towards the electric melter for my own perceived
convenience, ventilation, and safety reasons, but wanted to get a
reality check just in case I’m being short-sighted in my decision.

Thanks!
-Bill


#2

Bill,

If you are going to vacuum cast I favor the Kerr electro melt
furnace over a torch for the following reasons: 1. The electro melt is
easier to use. Put the metal into the crucible and let the furnace
work. If you buy the electronically controlled unit you can do other
things while the metal heats up. The furnace will heat the metal to
your selected temperature then hold it there. If you buy the manually
controlled unit you will have to monitor the melt closer. You have to
set the control so that the unit does not burn itself up.

  1. Temperature control of the electro melt is better. The temperature
    of the metal at the time of the pour will be more consistent with the
    electro melt than with a torch. The thermocouple will monitor the
    temperature in an electro melt. Your eye ball monitors the
    temperature when melting with a torch.

  2. The electro melt is safer to use. Pouring the metal from an
    electro melt is as easy as pouring coffee from a cup. You do not have
    to handle a very hot crucible with tongs as you pour.

  3. Ease of melting large amounts of metal. The smaller electro melt
    will felt around 20 ounces of silver at a time. Melting that amount to
    metal with a torch is much more difficult.

  4. Metal is melted in a reducing atmosphere in the electro melt.

There is a less expensive melt furnace on the market that requires
removing the crucible from the furnace with a pair of tongs when
pouring the metal. I recommend you stay away from this one. I
recently wrote a post comparing the two melt furnaces. You might want
to check that post out.

All that being said the electro melt is expensive and you will still
need a torch for any soldering jobs.

If you are going to centrifugally cast the torch would be a better
idea.

Lee Epperson