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  1. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    So, after a lot of thought, research, and discussion, my wife and I have decided to purchase a lost-wax casting system. Essentially this is a system for casting any metal with a melting point below 2000 deg F into jewelry, minis, etc. Unlike the spin casting used by companies like Reaper, this will be low volume with only 10 to 50 pieces a day possible. I should note right away, that I do not intend at this time to go into minis production/sales on my own. So what do I intend to do with it: Make jewelry for my wife and our business. Eventually (10+ years), we would like to get into producing our own line of gold and silver jewelry and become seasonal vendors at various Ren Fairs as a retirement career once the kids are out of college. Of course this is a long term goal and won't happen for a long time yet. I'll practice on copper and pewter first. Make rings for our sister parish in Haiti. Due to various cultural reasons, most Haitians won't get married until they have a pair of rings. This can be very hard for some of the poorer people, so they just stay apart and don't get married. My wife can by old jewelry under value and I'll be able to melt them down and make them new rings and send them down to them as they need it. (We've been giving them the rings she finds, but this way we will be able to cast them in the shapes and sizes they actually need/want.) Make armatures for my sculpts. I spend a lot of time resculpting skulls and basic forms because I have to start from scratch. This will allow me to make a library of animal armatures and other stuff to speed up my sculpting. Also, I will be able to produce better sculpts by being able to control how much and what type of metal is in the armature. I don't ever want to send Reaper another piece of furniture that warps on the mold again (bookcase, I'm looking at you). For sculpts I can't/don't want to sell, I'll be able to make copies for my friends and I (maybe even some goodies for things like the BOGW ). I'm sure I'll think up other uses as I get more skilled at it. I started reading, studying, and taking some classes on the subject in the past few years. I'm at a point where the only way forward is to take the plunge and buy the equipment so I can begin practicing and learning for real. My finances are at a good spot for it now, so I took the plunge and ordered a kit from Gesswein. The following equipment is on its way: Rubber mold vulcanizer (small single figure version of what Reaper uses) Wax injector (for making wax copies in the rubber molds) Burnout oven (for baking the wax copies out of the molds before casting) Vacuum casting machine (for removing air from the molds and later pulling the metal into the molds during casting) Flasks, investment, wax bits, rubber, and lots of other materials needed. Here is a picture of the kit I bought: I won't be able to just jump in and start casting right away. I still will need to get a method of melting the metal (either a torch or an electric furnace). I'll also need to rework my basement studio with new benches, electrical outlets, and venting to make it safe, which is where this thread comes in, as I thought you all might be interested in this, so I plan on documenting everything here, from the unboxing, to the building, to the first cast piece. I'm very very excited! Andy
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