TaleSpinner

My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

133 posts in this topic

Woo-hoo!  Congrats! 

 

Indoor foundry envy!  I've been trying to find a day to get outside and fire up The Black Dread to do some melting and casting for a couple of months now, but it keeps on raining anytime I have a little free time.  It's getting ridiculous, frankly, and someone really ought to put a stop to it.  I can only rebuild my waste oil burner to pass the time so often...

 

Can't recall if you've said whether you de-bubble your investment under vacuum, or if your equipment is set up to be able to do that?  If not and if you want to start, look to the internet for DIY solutions before shelling out for a "real" bell jar (as in, "real" expensive) - Why pay so much more when you can do the same thing with an old pressure cooker and a scrap of polycarbonate for a lid from the plastic supply store's scrap bin?

 

Also, aonemarine on youtube (AKA DavidF on Alloyavenue) has many great vacuum assisted investment casting videos that may be of interest.  Good tips and tricks there.

 

I mean, holy cow, did you guys catch that hint?  The super secret new Talespinner sculpts have CHINS!  :)

 

Kang

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45 minutes ago, Kang said:

I mean, holy cow, did you guys catch that hint?  The super secret new Talespinner sculpts have CHINS!  :)

 

Kang

 

7 of them. ::P: 

 

Yes, I vacuum de-bubble, which I am sure is why this is my first one.  These sculpts were pretty big and there was a pocket under the chin that it got caught into, but i always make a few extras, just in case something like that happens. I am actually surprised that this was the first time.

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Chins!  Madness!! ;)

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On 5/5/2017 at 10:14 AM, Kuro Cleanbrush said:

Yay!  Awesome work!

 

It's so fun to hold a perfect little pewter casting right after it's made!

As long as it has cooled down, right?:blink:

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16 hours ago, knarthex said:

As long as it has cooled down, right?:blink:

 

By the time one CAN touch the pewter, it has been thoroughly quenched, scrubbed, sprayed, doused, scrubbed, brushed, hosed down, and cleaned.  Getting the investment off of the pewter sucks.  For my 20th anniversary gift at my company, I chose a power washer, just to help with this. Unfortunately, I don't actually get it until my anniversary on June 2.

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I found a few suggestions of using a power washer on the alloy avenue forum.  But not from people who had tried it...  It certainly sounds worth trying.  Hopefully the power washer will do a good job removing the investment but not the sculpted details from your 7-chinned mystery monstrosities.  Good luck!

 

One suggestion I also found interesting was to use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner (definitely not the fast way), pre-soaking the castings in vinegar if needed to help break down the investment.

 

I would try soaking an expendable piece of pewter first to make sure the vinegar won't eat up your castings.  This is just speculation, but if it works, it might be just as helpful when using the power washer as with the ultrasonic cleaner.

 

There were also some suggestions to sand blast, or rather blast with other gentler media such as crushed walnut shell or glass bead.  Again, if you try it, make sure to test first on something expendable!  They were not talking about pewter castings, and I have no idea how that stuff would hold up to blasting with these various media. 

 

Kang

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On 5/12/2017 at 8:08 AM, Kang said:

I found a few suggestions of using a power washer on the alloy avenue forum.  But not from people who had tried it...  It certainly sounds worth trying.  Hopefully the power washer will do a good job removing the investment but not the sculpted details from your 7-chinned mystery monstrosities.  Good luck!

 

One suggestion I also found interesting was to use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner (definitely not the fast way), pre-soaking the castings in vinegar if needed to help break down the investment.

 

I would try soaking an expendable piece of pewter first to make sure the vinegar won't eat up your castings.  This is just speculation, but if it works, it might be just as helpful when using the power washer as with the ultrasonic cleaner.

 

There were also some suggestions to sand blast, or rather blast with other gentler media such as crushed walnut shell or glass bead.  Again, if you try it, make sure to test first on something expendable!  They were not talking about pewter castings, and I have no idea how that stuff would hold up to blasting with these various media. 

 

Kang

 

Power washer works great.  I used it on my last batch.  I'll be using it tomorrow too, as I just cast a bunch of leaves.

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Hey,

I'm new to the forum and been reading through various articles. This one is really close to my heart as I've been learning how to cast with a similar set that you have: I specialize in bronze and silver jewerly, small everyday items and miniatures. Among the first problems were the investment removal- that stuff is demonic! It took hours to get all of the tiniest bits off from the models...and after hours of scrubbing and washing, some of the stuff were still holed up in some of the models. I'd previously bought an ultrasonic cleaner for my jewerly work (not as expensive as they used to be) and went through some testing with different kind of cleaning liquids. Here's what I found: dentists use a product to destroy investment from the casts and what it basically is, is citric acid.  Vinegar reacts to alloys like bronze, so could not use it for my work...but citric acid does not. You can buy food grade citric acid from any pharmacy. What you do is scrub away most of investment by hand (old toothbrush will do) get some boiling water, add the acid and the tree into the liquid. Let it soak. If you do have an ultrasonic, place the acid water and the tree into a thin jar (used soda bottle, anything that has thin walls will do- I do this, because it's easier to clean the bottle than the whole cleaner) the investment will be ripped off from the models in about half an hour. I do change the water a couple of times to be certain to get rid of all of the investment.

 

If you do have any questions, I'm happy to help :)

~Julia

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18 hours ago, Julia said:

Hey,

I'm new to the forum and been reading through various articles. This one is really close to my heart as I've been learning how to cast with a similar set that you have: I specialize in bronze and silver jewerly, small everyday items and miniatures. Among the first problems were the investment removal- that stuff is demonic! It took hours to get all of the tiniest bits off from the models...and after hours of scrubbing and washing, some of the stuff were still holed up in some of the models. I'd previously bought an ultrasonic cleaner for my jewerly work (not as expensive as they used to be) and went through some testing with different kind of cleaning liquids. Here's what I found: dentists use a product to destroy investment from the casts and what it basically is, is citric acid.  Vinegar reacts to alloys like bronze, so could not use it for my work...but citric acid does not. You can buy food grade citric acid from any pharmacy. What you do is scrub away most of investment by hand (old toothbrush will do) get some boiling water, add the acid and the tree into the liquid. Let it soak. If you do have an ultrasonic, place the acid water and the tree into a thin jar (used soda bottle, anything that has thin walls will do- I do this, because it's easier to clean the bottle than the whole cleaner) the investment will be ripped off from the models in about half an hour. I do change the water a couple of times to be certain to get rid of all of the investment.

 

If you do have any questions, I'm happy to help :)

~Julia

 

Thanks!  My wife has an ultrasonic cleaner, so I can try this.  I found that my power-washer works great for getting the big stuff off, but a final hit with citric acid in the cleaner is exactly what I am looking for. 

 

Thanks and welcome to the forums.

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Glad to hear it: remember to use hot water with the citric acid- if the water is cold, it slows down the process to a crawl. And rinse well with clean water. Let me know how it worked ::):

 

And thanks again for the welcome.

Ah, before I call it a day- what are you using to finish the castings? Do you have a tumbler? Any ceramic media to go with it?

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14 hours ago, Julia said:

Ah, before I call it a day- what are you using to finish the castings? Do you have a tumbler? Any ceramic media to go with it?

 

So far I am just cleaning them up with my rotary tool and bits.  I haven't tried anything but pewter yet, and they have all come out as clean or better than typical minis.  After ReaperCon, I'll be taking the plunge into bronze and silver.  I do have a good tumbler from my rock-hound days, but haven't done the research into how to use it on castings yet.  I also just got a nice 2-spindle polisher at an estate sale recently. I have a lot of clean-up to do on that yet and need to setup a polishing station for it.

 

After ReaperCon, one of my big priorities is Jewelry Shop: Phase 2.  I will be cleaning out a section of the basement next to the foundry and adding more lights.  Then I am going to build myself a good Jeweler's bench.  About 20 years ago, I was at a building materials outlet store and picked up a lot of 1" thick, hard maple boards for $1.00 a linear foot.  It has been stored on my wood rack in the basement all these years, waiting for the right project..  I'm going to take a bunch of that maple, cut them into strips, and laminate them together into a nice 2.5 inch (6 cm) thick, butcher block top for the bench.  I want to build into it a bench pin slot and steel hammering plate.  The bench itself will have several storage drawers and a sweeps drawer. I might also make a built-in soldering station.

 

Once all that is done, I'll be adding a Foredom rotary tool to my arsenal to replace my old and not so precise Dremel.

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Oo! Oo! I want to see the bench design.  It appeals to my word working and construction mind.  As for lights we just added 2x4 LED panels in the basement, twice the light for a 1/3 of the wattage.  I am so happy with the outcome.

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3 hours ago, chaosscorpion said:

Oo! Oo! I want to see the bench design.  It appeals to my word working and construction mind.  As for lights we just added 2x4 LED panels in the basement, twice the light for a 1/3 of the wattage.  I am so happy with the outcome.

 

I'll post the designs once I draw them up.

 

Yeah, I've been upgrading everything to LED too.  They are far superior.

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