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How metal minis are made

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Also - We named our Metal Spin casters, too. 

 

We have 5 production lines running, Romulus, Remus, Dora, Artemis and Loki.  Each machine has its own name, and each caster has their preferred machine.

 

In the video above, if you look carefully you can see that I gave the tour using Dora.

 

 

No, Not Dora the Explorer.  Dora the German Death Machine - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwerer_Gustav#Dora

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A guy on a forum I frequent that is dedicated to metal casting was asking about making minis the other day and hinted that Reaper uses the lost wax method for some of their stuff in addition to the standard type of spin-casting in rubber molds that traditionally have been the way minis are made.

 

I'm curious, did the other guy say why he thought they must have used the lost wax method?  I assume there is something (perhaps a large miniature) that must have convinced him of that.  Does he know that larger figures are cast in multiple pieces rather than one large piece?

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Thomas the Death Engine.

 

I'm still mad that we've had him for over  year and never bothered to add Angry Face to the front.

 

That's your next painting project. DOOOOOO EEEEEEET!!  ^_^

 

Next Reapercon, everyone on the tour gets to fill in a Paint By Numbers section on the front until they are all filled in.  Take an early tour, get a bigger section.  Delay taking the tour... you just might not get a section to paint!.  I am sure we could snag a couple of the Artist in Semi-Residence to sketch out the face during the Meet and Greet on Wednesday night.

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Hrm.. I think we Need to make a video of Melissa operating Thomas and have a "How Plastic Miniatures are Made" to add to this.

Wait, you're naming your plastic injection machines?

 

 

Wait, how did you NOT know this?  :huh:

 

Doesn't everyone name their machines??

 

We still use boring alphanumerical codes. LO01 for loaders, HT01 for haul trucks, etc.

 

I want more death machines!

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Wow… no one?  You all disappoint me.

 

 

 

First, a mommy miniature and a daddy miniature meet each other and fall deeply in love...

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Also - We named our Metal Spin casters, too. 

 

We have 5 production lines running, Romulus, Remus, Dora, Artemis and Loki.  Each machine has its own name, and each caster has their preferred machine.

 

In the video above, if you look carefully you can see that I gave the tour using Dora.

 

 

No, Not Dora the Explorer.  Dora the German Death Machine - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwerer_Gustav#Dora

A guy in my local hobby group did a 1/72 model of Dora last year. It was impressive. Most impressive.

 

 

Wow… no one?  You all disappoint me.

 

 

 

First, a mommy miniature and a daddy miniature meet each other and fall deeply in love...

Gah! I was going to post this earlier today when I saw the thread title, but got busy at work... :down:
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Hrm.. I think we Need to make a video of Melissa operating Thomas and have a "How Plastic Miniatures are Made" to add to this.

Wait, you're naming your plastic injection machines?

 

 

 

 

Doesn't everyone name their machines??

 

I do.

 

Wow… no one?  You all disappoint me.

 

 

 

First, a mommy miniature and a daddy miniature meet each other and fall deeply in love...

Too easy.

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I was pretty sure it couldn't be true; Pingo summed up the reasons quite well above, lost wax pewter minis just didn't make sense...  Thanks for the confirmation!  I'm off to watch those videos now...

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Man 4 years makes a lot of difference! I was so much younger!

 

Is it the four years or the three Kickstarters (and the stresses and headaches that come with them)? 

 

Thomas the Death Engine.

 

I'm still mad that we've had him for over  year and never bothered to add Angry Face to the front.

 

Reapercon contest? Design the best angry face for Thomas and Izzy will paint it on?  :devil:

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Lost wax casting was done by the model railroad industry a lot. It was used to make a single master from a harder metal (like bronze) which would then be used to as the prototype piece (think of it as a green) to create white metal masters to create master molds. It is not necessarily a one and done process.

Edited by Heisler
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Now that makes a lot more sense.  They could even make several waxes from the same mold taken of the green (or whatever, the original sculpt) almost as easily as making a single one, tree them up on a single sprue to lost wax cast a bunch of those prototypes all at once or a few at a time to use for making round molds like the ones shown in the video, I imagine. 

 

The video explains how a mold for casting one copy of the green is made, but he doesn't go into detail about how the other (ie.) 11 copies of each piece appear in a 12 piece mold.  ReaperBryan said above that they don't use lost wax, so I'm assuming that they pour 12 single copies of it using that first mold the same way that is shown in the video (possibly using a different low temperature alloy, though perhaps not) and use those to make the mold with the multiple copies.  Or else they make 12 wedge shaped rubber molds of the green and glue them together into a wheel shape somehow.  Or something.

 

I didn't notice any leather aprons or face shields or anything hanging around the casting area.  Don't the casters there normally wear more PPE than gloves and a T-shirt?  Dora looks really safe compared to a lot of spin casters I've seen pictures of, but an accidental splash while moving the ladle over from the crucible wouldn't be quite as easy to clean up if it landed on someone's skin!

 

Anyhow, it looked like an awesome tour!  You had me at, "the metal is still a little over 450 degrees, you can tell because I can still manipulate it with my fingers"! 

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In lost wax casting the original (we could call this a green) is the wax piece, usually built from something called victory wax. This is not the same wax you use for making candles. In the case of the lost wax process the original is completely destroyed, hence lost wax. That's why its important that the casting be as near perfect as possible.

 

In the case of the process used by Reaper and other miniature companies you are close to being correct. The green is cast in a single mold, this becomes the master mold. From this enough castings are made to fill a production mold. These are master castings (and occasionally these are what are given to the artists to paint, I have one from Crocodile Games). These master castings are cleaned up of imperfections, like mold lines, and these are then used to create the production mold or molds. The production molds just start out as two hard rubber discs and heat and pressure are used to press these together around the castings to make the molds. Once that is complete then the channels and gates are cut into the mold so that the liquid metal can fill it. The same metal used to create the miniatures you buy is the same metal used to cast the masters.

Edited by Heisler
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