Vacuum casting equipment

Hi all I am looking to purchase a small vac casting set up and am
tempted by the V.I.C. 9 system in the Rio Grande catalogue (in my
1998 version anyway - current issue in mid-atlantic I suspect). I will
add a programmable furnace and small electro-melt and wax injector
possibly from UK suppliers since 240v versions not available for
everything. Any comments, suggestions, good or bad experiences of
this unit welcomed before I jump in. What about the EZ-CAST from
Pepetools ? - ad in July 2002 Lapidary Journal.

Any help appreciated since I can only do this once!

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Tel: 01229 584023

Hi all I am looking to purchase a small vac casting set up and am
tempted by the V.I.C. 9 system in the Rio Grande catalogue (in my
1998 version anyway 

Andy, I noticed from your web site that you are not above making
some of your own equipment. Why not the vacuum table? It has to be
one of the easiest and least expensive (other than the pump) pieces
of equipment you could make. On past threads, there were discussions
on vacuum pumps. Everything from refrigerator compressor, auto air
conditioner compressors, and refrigeration service vacuum pumps. I
like the later because of its small size, and its capacity. They
will pull the needed vacuum in short time. All that is needed past
the pump is a three way valve, an aluminum plate, some 1/4" plastic
hose with a few fittings and a silicon rubber gasket for casting.
You can make a second table from another aluminum plate and a bell
jar for de-bubbling the investment. I am guessing the total cost of
parts at around $450 US for new. Much less that the current vacuum
casting machines which are starting at about $850.


Dear Andy:

You can get 220volt equipment from US suppliers they are usually
cheaper than the European suppliers & the present value of the
dollar is in your favor.

For instance a 220 Volt wax injector will cost you $280.00. It
weighs around 30 lb… A table top Combination vacuum and investment
machine 220v complete made by Procraft is available for $820.00 it
weighs around 75 lb… Before you buy the Pepe equipment please check
the vacuum pump CFM rating. (Most of the good machines have at least
3CFM.) The Procraft uses a very good Pump.

I do not have pricing info about the Kerr electromelt 220 volt it is
available in England. I would check for the price at Walsh (London).
If you cannot then I can find out the price for you here. Some
electromelting machines are made in Italy and are very cheap but I
would stay away from the cheaper ones.

Regards Kenneth


Have you considered making your own casting equipment? There is a
lost wax casting group in Yahoo that give instructions on vacuum
casting and how to make the equipment with good support as well. I
have designed and built a small wax injector myself which is ideal for
a small workshop and was cheap to do as well. Photo and build
instructions are on the Ganoksin FTP site. The yahoo group is called
jewelry_cast - very helpful. Regards Alan

The Watch & Jewellery Workshop

Andy If you choose to build your old vacuum casting machine. You will
need the following products that are available off the shelf
available locally in UK. Vacuum unit with motor and switch, Vacuum
gauge & Hoses, & a Valve for Vacuum.

You will need the following from a supply place or have to make your
own. Vacuum Chamber, adapter plates for 3" 3 1/2" and non perforated
flasks and the Silicon Gaskets for the Flasks. We supply this as a
kit (Aluminum Chamber with Steel adapter plates and Silicon Gaskets)
for $95.00 each.

Kenneth Singh

I would not go back to vacuum casting unless someone turned all my
wax in my studio to gold overnight. Centrifugal is so much easier,
fails almost never. You still need vacuum to invest well. Caution: Go
by the tables for weight and water carefully and have a good scale to
weigh on otherwise expect fins and other oddities…Jay Cardwell

Thanks for all the points folks. I have a tendency to build equipment
and get sidetracked by the build rather than the use! I am actually
spending a grant (around 4000 USD) and am limited by the conditions
as to what it is spent on. I am on the yahoo casting group - lots of
good data there. I may just be nervous about a centrifugal caster but
also have space considerations and if I need vacuum to invest why not
cast with it as well - made sense to me. Am I right in thinking that
most commercial casters use vacuum (apart from platinum obviously) ?
albeit possibly big Neutec units.

What I particularly crave are user experiences of particularly the
V.I.C unit as sold by Rio Grande.

I use Walsh a lot and they are a good company but even with a 10%
discount off the top US prices are lower and the current exchange
rates make them even better. My experience is also that the
equipment is often better - admittedly comparing mainly on Lapidary
gear eg Diamond Pacific.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Tel: 01229 584023