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Where did this vacuum casting setup come from?

I was curious if anyone knows where this vacuum casting design came
from or is this completely custom made? I believe the guy is in UK.

If you have second, go to mark 35 to 38 seconds after clicking the
video and let me know if I can buy one of these puppies or do you
think he made it? Looks simple and effective.


Either my link was lost after I sent the email or I simply forgot to
include the link to the video. I do tend to multitask far more than
I should…

Anyways, at mark 35 seconds of this below video, did he make this
vacuum casting set up or are these sold in the UK?

Hi, I do not see the link. Please advise, thx Bruce

Hello, I was please asked to re-post this link because it did not
survive the forum posting.

Thank you.

Where did this vacuum casting device come from? At mark 35 to 38
seconds into the video.

And while we are on the subject of the forum, I was curious if the
powers that be knew that it would actually be less work for them to
use a modern forum software. One reason why I would really for the
Orchid forum to adopt a modern and much more efficient message board
software like PhpBB is because of problems like this. It is extremely
inefficient to post this current way as it takes up to 2 days before
we could edit or add to our own post. For example, in a modern
message board you can see exactly how your post looks, add links or
photos, and even fix or edit the post if you notice you forgot
something after you posted the thread.

PhpBB and VBulletin would allow for us to help manage and edit our
own threads and take a lot of the burden off of the good people that
run Orchid. In fact, it’s easier to even delegate moderating these
modern forums by assigning forum admin. moderators to review any
trolling, spam posts, or rule breakers. So a few people who have been
members for a long time could volunteer if Ganoksin wanted this and
they would not have to manually manage the current forum which
obviously has a lot of glitches and is inefficient.

With PhpBB or VBulletin, it would be 100% managed by bots and
volunteers, so I’m just curious why the current format is still used?

Love the place either way,


Hi Richard,

It’s a frankenstein, but I have a vague memory that he’s selling
them too. Somewhere down in your neck of the woods, as I recall.

(Google around for ‘melting metal with microwave’.) The blue bottle
is a vacuum ballast tank, and he’s pumping it down with the input
side of a car emergency air pump. Not a bad idea.

There are a great many things about it that I’d do differently, but
it seems to work. The technical purist in me is horrified, but
again, it seems to work for him.

Would someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I have this memory that
silicone caulk releases something wildly toxic if it burns.

My objections to it are:
(A) another lollypop sprue. Really?

(B) flask wildly overheated for casting.

© Probable toxic fumes from the silicone caulk. Could do almost as
well with wet newspaper.

(D) He’d get better draw if he left the line to the pump open, and
kept pumping during the pour. (You’d have to with newspaper.)

Cool things: melting with microwave, probably burning out with it

So I’m at sixes and sevens about it. Yes it works, and some parts of
it are slick as hell, but others are suboptimal if not downright


Where did this vacuum casting device come from 

It is part of a system made in the UK for using a microwave oven to
melt your metal and cast small items, called Microfoundry, never
tried it, seems to work though.

There used to be a table for sale 20 or so years ago that you could
put 2",3"and 4" flasks onto, but I have not seen one for sale for
many years unless anyone else knows different.

I have a larger one made for me which works well, the drawback is if
the molten metal breaks through the bottom of the flask it is a pain
to get out of the system. If I started again I would go for a flat
plate with a chamber underneath that could be opened. Just stuck
together with silicone caulking. The beauty of vacuum systems is
that they hold themselves together when the vacuum is on.

keep casting!

I am betting that the casting setup is from a dental supply place.
That is really small for more then a crown or a bridge. I suspect
the flasks were sized to fit in the grooves so a sealant was not
needed. Just make sure the top of the investment is low enough to
allow the flask to sit in the grooves.

Or I could be completely wrong and it is just a cobbled together

Gerald A. Livings
Livingston Jewelers

The good man Charles of solved this mystery.

His Google searching skills are excellent.

Anyways, the guy machines his own simple vacuum casting parts on a
lathe we assume and sells them as kits. It seems very simple and yet
effective for small flasks.

Here is a link to a picture of this setup.

Very clever and exactly what I’m looking for. For anyone who does
not understand why a simple broken arm centrifugal machine that just
has a main spring in it cost 700 bucks, this simple vacuum casting
set up for small flasks is the way to go.

Does anyone on the forum know this very clever UK jeweler?

I can’t post a link to the site where he sells the items but his
username is Steedcraft and he is in Coventry, England.

anyway, thanks for the great find, Charles,


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.

Peter Rowe

That’s awesome. It is totally Frankensteined as mentioned

Could do away with the silicone completely and just use the high
temp rubber gaskets that come with other casting systems. I love the
cheap tire pump. More power to him. We had in school a set up with a
table that took the flask on top but had an old style metal vacuum
mounted under it and that worked. I have kinda the same thing but a
couple feet of tube going horizontal and a 90 bent up at the end with
a large round plate that yout can also the bell jar on. That has an
all metal vacuum also but it sits horizontal. It’s all about the
seals. Put your hand over the end of your vacuum at home. Then put
your finger over the hole on a vac u cast, it’s essentially the same.
He’s burning out on a hot plate. That to me is ingenuity and complete
cheapness, both which are fine with me. He did put some money into
That though in fittings and parts. SD

Yes, I am always leery of such things because people will do
dangerous things and say whalaa less expensive. Me I will save and
buy a system from Rio that has the safety pour lever I have been
saving since 2008 for it, but with my physical needs that is a dream
machine. I can wait until then my casting abilities are left to
casting with potato power.

Interesting insight, everyone

I was just interested in how he made a mini Vacuum casting
port/table. I agree with everyone on the forum that his micro
foundry/furnace and using a microwave is not really practical.

The small adaptable vacuum port that he machined is pretty clever
and I think can be improved on if needed. I should have been more
specific about which part I was asking about.

I also think that the vacuum pump should be 2 or 3 cfm, not 1. I
guess because his flasks are so small the 1 cfm pump works.

Thanks for the insight, I think I might still go with the larger
well built broken arm centrifugal set up until I can afford a proper
vacuum casting machine.


Microfoundry Lost Wax Casting System

What do you think is dangerous about the demonstrated small-scale
vacuum casting setup, Teri? There are things I don’t know about it,
but from what I can see and assess, it seems much safer to keep the
hot parts relatively still, rather than having to concern myself with
enough equipment to fling it around at high rotational velocity! :wink:
The main concern I could imagine would be some total failure of the
vacuum system where it would act in reverse and spew molten silver
from the investment. But I cannot imagine a vacuum system doing that
(its failure would just fail to produce a vacuum at which point you’d
be relying on gravity and the slow porosity of the investment, still
not spewing anything). Also, I don’t see anything special in what
he’s machined, it looks like any suitably-sized fitting (that matches
the investment vessel). We are able to cast so easily today because
of a wide range of innovations made by experimenters through the
ages. now if your workshop requires OSHA approval, I would not
suggest such experimentations, but if you’re a tinkerer with a
scientific mind then I think these variations are easily available. I
say most of this, however, because I want to build my own vacuum
casting setup and I think I have 90% of the parts :slight_smile:


Thanks for the insight, I think I might still go with the larger
well built broken arm centrifugal set up until I can afford a
proper vacuum casting machine. 

Rick, if you can afford a vacuum pump, the rest of what you need to
assemble for a vacuum casting setup would not be costly to make
yourself. You don’t need a big “well” or anything. Just a flat piece
of aluminum. I’d suggest around a square foot, a quarter inch thick.
A bit of drilling and tapping for standard iron pipe fittings puts a
hole in the middle that can connect underneath to your vacuum pump.
Arrange it (again, basic hardware store plumbing pipe parts can do
it) so there’s some sort of reservoir or sump so that if investment
get in there, it won’t make it to the pump, and so if metal gets in
there, you can disassemble it to retrieve your metal. Add cheap
silicone rubber gaskets, and you’re ready to cast. Put the whole
thing mounted on springs so you can jiggle it (optional, but helps)
and buy a bell jar, and you can use this for vacuum investing too.

Aside from the pump and bell jar and that sheet of aluminum (or
steel. Whatever you can find. Just rigid enough to not deform when a
vacuum is pulled on one side), the rest is trivial. Would cost less
than that microfoundary setup I think, though you still need to be
able to burnout your flasks and melt metal.

But you need that with a centrifuge too. You can build a serviceable
vac table for casting and investing for less than the centrifuges

Vacuum is easy also and you do your melt with a torch. No need for a
melting furnace. Pouring from a crucible with a handle is easier
than the way they show on that video anyway. You can burn out in a
charcoal grill if you have to. When aluminum foil melts go ahead and
cast. Understand that people have been doing this for thousands of
years. They didn’t all have vac u cast machines. Biggest concern is
that you don’t start a fire where you don’t want it.