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What are my options for silver casting

Hello!

I am wondering if any of you knowledgeable folks out there can help me solve this conundrum

I am trying to cast multiples of a very simple one-sided piece in Sterling silver. (Think a stamping blank: organic shape, flat-ish back, slightly rounded front.)

I can easily make an original by melting some wax into a puddle and flattening it a little, but my issue is how do I create a mold that I can pour molten silver directly into and REUSE?

Apparently Silicones don’t handle the heat (especially for repeated applications).

I could create an investment boxed mold situation with multiple wax ‘originals’, but I would like to not have to re-make this mold next time I need more.

I am not all that familiar with steel -as in if I could carve a shape into it?…

It’s a very simple shape and doesn’t need to have amazing detail, just has to be a clean surface.

Any and all suggestions welcome!
Thanks in advance!

Usually things like that would be struck, but there’s a big investment in die making and buying or building a coining press.
You could cast in Delft clay, which is a sand-casting process. The cast pieces will show the texture of the clay, but you can clean it up either by hand or in a vibratory tumbler. The investment in equipment is minimal for sand casting.

I second Elliot’s suggestion of delf clay. I make originals out of polyester resin and use them over and over as a delft clay casting model.You might also look into the world of hydraulic presses. Look at Kevin Potter at www.potterusa.com. Definitely buy and read Susan Kingsley’s book Hydraulic Die Forming for Jewelers and Metalsmiths. There was a similar question asked recently. You might look for it in the archives. Good luck…Rob

I would offer a third vote for resin masters and casting in Delft Clay. You would have to be sure of not having undercuts in the original. Lots of tutorials on Youtube and many folks here will answer questions.

Have fun.

Don

hi,

another option, would be to make your wax master, and send it out to be cast into sterling silver metal master.

they could finish the metal master for you and then do a rubber mold, and then shoot waxes from the mold and cast more pieces for you.

or they could send the metal master back to you for finishing, and then you send it back for rubber molding, shooting waxes, and casting

or, you make the metal master, finish it, and then send it out for rubber molding, shooting waxes, and casting

you can call ahead and get estimated costs for each process to see how it works for you

just a thought…not sure how many pieces you are considering

julie

Native American jewelers used a process like that to make simple shapes like squash blossoms. I believe they either cast into soapstone or tufa molds (I haven’t tried this myself). But it’s not optimal for surface quality, since it doesn’t provide for shrinkage, and it tends to waste material, making things heavier than they need to be. Ideally, castings are contoured to insure they have a constant thickness; this produces the best castings as well as keeping the weight down. So, generally, a closed mold works better than an open-faced one.

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In my original reply I forgot to mention that I have a pdf on my website that takes you through the process of creating a resin model and then casting it in delft clay. If you are interested in looking at it, go to my website www.robmeixner.com, click on the “More” tab and then open the “Rob’s Links” page. You should find several instructional PDFs and other interesting (at least to me) links…Rob

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Since flat backed castings are difficult, I suggest something different.

You could carve the negative in micarta or mild steel and press the shape, either in a hydraulic press, vise or even a rolling mill, if the steel were thin enough. It may be slightly concave on the back, but it certainly would be a lot easier than casting.

If your determined to do multiple castings, rmeixner’s suggestion is a good one.

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Thanks, all!

I think I’ll start with the delft clay and resin master since I work in resin as well.
I appreciate all the suggestions and thoughtful responses.

As an alternative, depending on how large the pieces you’re creating need to be, I’ds suggest you check out Buffalo Rutland’s line on shot plates and concho dies. Cody Rutland will also create an individual die/plate to your specs if that’s what you need. Contact him at: