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Stainless steel casting first attempt


#1

Dear fellow jewelers,

I just made my first attempt to cast stainless steel and I’d say it
was a miserable failure. I’m using propane and oxygen and have very
easily cast platinum on a regular basis. At some point sparks flew and
some black gooey substance started to pool and I practically melted a
hole through a hi heat wesgo crucible all with no sign that the
stainless was melted.

I realized too - I didn’t even know if I need any flux, a special
flux or no flux.

I’ve been trying to research this for a while, have written to orchid
and other metal forums before too and I haven’t been able to find any
info.

Anything would be appreciated- even some leads on how/where to
research this.

thanks a lot

Miche
http://www.sumiche.com
http://www.eco-gold.net


#2

Dear Miche,

I have read about casting stainless steel in the firearms industry.
From what I learned, stainless steel can not be melted into a liquid,
or even a pasty state. The method used is to mix powdered stainless
steel with a binding paste, inject that into lost wax moulds, bake
the binding paste to solidify the casting, remove the casting then
heat to near melting point in order to burn out the binding paste and
sinter or fuse the stainless steel particles. There is a lot of
shrinkage in the last process, but the industry boffins have it
worked out so that the final product is amazingly accurate and well
finished. The resulting stainless steel is very strong, but is
microscopically porous and not completely “stainless”. Cold or hot
working may eliminate the porosity.

Try seaching for “lost wax sintered casting”, I believe it is also
used for casting other non-castable metals like tungsten.

Good luck in your endeavour,
Alastair


#3

its possible that the technology is completely different i believe
the steel mfg.'s use some type of electric arc method for melting. is
there a steel mfg. in your area? there are still one or two left
here in the midwest to remind us of our past glory and that our
national pride was once a thing of reality. of course when tig
welding you have the benefit of the argon insted of flux do you have
an arc welder? if so you could possibly use a carbon rod and some
argon. maybe the arc would work through a borax shield even then once
its molten you have the difficulty of getting it into the flask. it
sounds alot easier to machine the band on a lathe stainless rod or
heavywall tubing can be had. which i have considered machining sstl
bands ( which is why i always recomend a larger lathe for the
jewelry shop) -goo


#4

This is the only advise I can offer I hope it helps Stainless steel
melts around 1370C. or 2500F. They will need to superheat 100
degrees or so. They need to use plat investment and should slow down
their spin from normal Pt speeds or they will get flashing. SSteel is
much lighter than Pt and will fin if you use all that force to send
it in the mold. We have only cast SSteel once in a very unofficial,
unsanctioned test. We used new tumbling shot as our source metal.
So, I don’t have a lot to give you. Sorry.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


#5

If you are casting stainless steel in small quantities you might
check with your friendly denal tech. partial dentures are based on a
stainless steel frame work. most can be torch cast and the burnout
is pretty much a standard technique. The investments however are
specialized and altho they are not expensive, i am not sure you
could use them in any other application.

Mike & Dale
Your ultrasonic cleaner repair guys.
Lone Star Technical Service.


#6

I don’t understand why everyone wants to re-invent the wheel. There
a several companies on this list that can cast your pieces and do a
great job for less money than you paid for all your attempts (metal,
plaster, gas, crucible, and time). I understand that some people need
to find solutions and experiment with new materials, but the need to
expand ones understanding can not interfere with the delivery or
development of the product. If I can help feel free to contact me
offline. If you continue with your path please be careful.

Linus


#7

if you can remember where you saw that article i would really like
to read it. sounds like a world of possibilities could open up-goo


#8

Hi,

You are unlikely to be able to cast stainless steel in a 'hobby’
environment as the temperatures required are too high. The only way
to achieve the right conditions practically is to use an electric
induction furnace which is not practical at home - you just wouldn’t
be able to get enough power. There are a number of specialist steel
companies round here who do this kind of work with all kinds of
special alloys and a furnace to melt maybe a couple of pounds of
steel at a time might have a footprint of about 8 feet square and
will take hundreds of Amps current.

Best wishes, Ian
Ian W. Wright
SHEFFIELD UK - the home of fine cutlery and special steels…