Where did this vacuum casting device come from? At mark 35 to 38
seconds into the video.
Looking through some of the linked videos from the same poster, you
find he's the manufacturer of this cute little system. Sells via his
etsy page at:
Interesting system mostly because he's using a microwave oven to
both burn out wax models, and melt his metal, by building "furnaces"
that apparently use the microwave energy for those purposes (you
can't just put a crucible in the microwave and have that work...)
However, cute as this system is, I can't quite get past the whole
impression of a totally reinvented wheel, that's come out slightly
out of round and doesn't realize that good bearings would help. If
you want to do lost wax casting on a totally cheap budget, there are
easier, and probably cheaper, ways than this somewhat Rube Goldberg
setup that seems limited to those tiny little flasks and tiny little
crucibles, while not addressing things like flask or metal
temperature that any decent modern system allows.
On a budget? You can, if you wish, burn out a conventionally
invested casting flask using just your kitchen stove burner (gas or
electric. both work), if you put the flask on the burner, and cover
with a clay flower pot that's had a layer of insulation, in the form
of furnace tape (used to be asbestos, now other minerals) and
aluminum foil added to the inside. And instead of vaccuum casting,
steam pressure casting is simple, and works. The casting "machine"
is a bit of dowel or broom handle or the like, with a jar lid screwed
to the end, packed full of newpaper that's been soaked in water. The
flask is prepared a bit differently, with a crucible cavity carved
into the investment where the usual cone shaped sprue opening would
be. And sprues are multiple smaller diameter (like 14 guage) wax
wires so the resulting sprue openings in the bottom of that cavity
are small enough so metal melted in that cavity with an ordinary
propane torch will sit atop those openings via surface tension, until
the jar lid is pressed down over it, when steam pressure forces the
metal in. Simple, and cost ends up in the couple dollars range, not
the couple hundred dollar range this "microfoundary" costs. The
microfoundary does do one good thing, though. Using little graphite
crucibles in an enclosed space like that, limits oxidation of the
metal while melting quite effectively. Perhaps more so than torch
melting for some metals. But still, I find that system to look like
overkill for not enough capability. At least from the videos. But
it's no doubt inventive and ingeneous to say the least, in it's
ability to use a microwave for the heating...
And just my two cents regarding your thoughts of changing orchid's
Don't fix it if it aint broke. It's worked well like this for two
decades. The advantage of this simple seeming system is that it's
accessable to virtually anyone. All you need to reach the current
orchid list is simple email.
Unbelievable as it may seem, especially to younger users of the net,
not everyone on the planet has unrestricted access to the web. And
more "modern" platforms bring with them things like browser
compatibility issues, virus and malware issues, and more. Email is
virtually universal, and you can use simple email software that's
immune to malware, if you use simple non-HTML text based software
that doesn't recognize things like scripts or automatically running
links. These factors are part of why there ARE the restrictions on
posting graphics or links or the many seemingly more modern features.
With the features come problems that simply are not there with the
current mail list system. Yeah, it may not allow instant editing of
your own posts, but that just means you need to think twice before
hitting send. And the delay is great for allowing a little cool off
time when people start arguments. The current system may initially
seem too simple or limited or archaic, but it's tried, true, and
pretty bomb proof. And the text only aspect also greatly reduces
bandwidth issues, and thus, costs.