Metal Casting Basics Vol. 1 

This information is provided "as is". The author, publishers and marketers of this information disclaim any loss or liability, either directly or indirectly as a consequence of applying the information presented herein, or in regard to the use and application of said information. No guarantee is given, either expressed or implied, in regard to the merchantability, accuracy, or acceptability of the information. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of this material in any form is strictly prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the author/publisher. The author, publisher, and distributor, of this product assume no responsibility for the misuse of this product, or for any injury, damage and/or financial loss sustained to persons or property as a result of using this book. While every effort has been made to ensure reliability of the information within, the liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use, misuse, or abuse of the operation of any methods, strategies, instructions or ideas contained in the material herein is the sole responsibility of the reader. 

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Metal Casting Basics Vol. 1 

Table of Contents 
What Is Casting? .............................................................................. 5 Learn The Casting Process ................................................................ 7 Art Casting ....................................................................................... 9 Aluminum Casting .......................................................................... 12 Brass Casting .................................................................................. 15 Bronze Casting ............................................................................... 17 Casting Associations and Groups .................................................... 19 Casting Furnace Types .................................................................... 21 Casting Jewelry .............................................................................. 24 Casting Molds ................................................................................. 26 Casting Patterns ............................................................................. 28 Casting Sand and Green Sand ......................................................... 30 Casting Supplies ............................................................................. 32 Casting Tools .................................................................................. 34 Casting Torches – Furnace Torches ................................................ 36 Crucibles ........................................................................................ 38 Cupola Casting ................................................................................ 40 Die Casting ..................................................................................... 42 DIY Casting Furnaces ..................................................................... 44 DIY Casting Movement ................................................................... 46 Gravity Casting ............................................................................... 48 Iron Casting ................................................................................... 50 Lost Foam Casting .......................................................................... 52 

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Metal Casting Basics Vol. 1 
Lost Wax Casting ............................................................................ 54 Resin Casting .................................................................................. 56 

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Metal Casting Basics Vol. 1 

What Is Casting?
Metal casting is an ancient technique that has a variety of applications and purposes. Civilizations from the dawn of time to present day have used metal working as a way of creating artistic, religious, and practical items. The process of metal casting involves melting metals at high temperatures and using molds to then shape the metal into new items. The furnaces used in metal casting helped pave the way for the Industrial Revolution, without which the course of history would be dramatically different. Metal casting is just one form of metal working that has seen a recent surge in popularity as resources are becoming more affordable and communities are springing up to share information, ideas, and projects. Metal casting requires specialized equipment, knowledge, and some creativity. While metal casting is used on an Industrial level as the process cuts cost and proves to be highly efficient, many individuals participate in metal casting as a hobby and in artistic endeavors. Many people are drawn to metal casting for one reason or another, although there seems to be two main motivations that stand out. The first motivation that brings hobbyists to practice metal casting is need; people may need to create items or parts for other ventures. Metal casting is a great way to build hard to find pieces for models, restoration projects, and even just small replacement parts needed for common household items. The second motivation for using metal casting is using it as a way to create sculptures or other artistic endeavors. Whatever the reason, small scale metal casting is attractive because that it can be done right at home, either in the backyard or workshop. Individuals working in metal casting are able to create home made tools and equipment like furnaces and molds. Metal casting is only limited by the individual’s desire, so for those with the time and the need, virtually anything is possible. The actual casting process in metal casting has several forms, the most popular 

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Safety advice can range from simple common sense such as "never look directly into a high powered flame" to more specific warnings such as "when molten metal contacts a nonporous surface with water it is liable to  Page 6  . It is vital that anyone wanting to work with metal casting take all the proper precautions. the process can be dangerous if undertaken by the reckless or ill informed. With time. Afterwards. This type of casting proves to be the most economical. splashing hot metal everywhere. or 530 degrees Celsius.MetalCastingZone. dedication. the metal is allowed to air dry and the mold is removed. Sand casting involves creating a mold from sand which can be created at home.Metal Casting Basics Vol. anyone can practice the craft of metal casting. 1  being sand casting." The use of appropriate safety gear such as gloves and goggles is necessary as well.000 degrees Fahrenheit. http://www. and some know how. Since metal casting involves working with metal in its molten form. and then pouring the liquid metal into the mold. but other types of casting can provide fuller detail and higher quality results. The melting points of several metals are well above 1. Metal Casting is a very enjoyable and rewarding craft but it does require a certain amount of education to get started.

pouring. not to mention the mold and the furnace and all the other tools. the process involved in metal casting can be understood and even mastered. 1  Learn The Casting Process Metal Casting presents a great opportunity for artists and hobbyist as it gives them a certain amount of control and creative license with regards to the end result. and then finishing it all off by cleaning. The casting process which is so crucial to the entire form is where one takes melted metal and creates an object based on a pattern by using a mold. molding and the actual melting of the metal. Metal Casting is an ancient practice that is still used to this day in industries such as manufacturing airplane components to small scale hobby casting. This means that if you have the will. you have the way.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Metal casting does take technical know how and skill. On first glance the entire casting process seems complicated and even convoluted but with a little patience and time. The casting process for most forms will include making the pattern. it is advised to read up on it before you try your hand at the technique. it will be important to research the process involved with each individual casting type but it is always great to have a base to build from. So. The most common casting method is sand casting which is probably the best way to start out a metal casting career. for example. Investment casting uses wax and not sand and die casting uses centrifugal force where most other casting processes do  Page 7  . making the core. you do not have to be born with a golden furnace to cast.MetalCastingZone. Luckily. The specifics for each casting process will differ of course since. if one is needed. http://www. What I will attempt to do is to provide a general overview of the basics in metal casting. most of which will be spent reading. Since each casting method differs slightly from the other.

You will allow the metal to solidify. make it nice and clean. For this purpose it will be important for you to do some reading and some research so that your attempts at casting will come out just as you would like. The core is collapsible so it can be removed after the casting process without any damage to the finished product. The molding contains the flask which is created by an upper half or the cope and the lower half which is the drag. sand is packed into the molding where the pattern is placed. The casting process is a lengthy one involving many steps. Once the sand is rammed or packed the pattern is removed then preparations can be made for pouring. and then remove the mold very  Page 8  . The Crucible is what the metal is melted in and the Crucible handling tools will allow you to safely move the crucible to the mold where you will pour the molten metal. and ready for whatever intended purpose you had in mind. If the object being made is hallow or has parts with holes or other empty spaces. you will need to make a core. The pattern is considered the original and can be any needed shape from a bolt to a figure of a horse. The core is inserted into the mold so that the casting can take the appropriate shape and that metal does not fill in areas that should be left empty. Depending upon the kind of metal and the type of furnace the melting step will vary. http://www. You will have to first determine what is needed for your project. During cleaning you will be removing any excess bits and pieces on the finished product and in essence. In the sand casting process. beyond the general ones stated here. 1  Pattern making is the first step in any casting process.Metal Casting Basics Vol.MetalCastingZone.

so did the Romans. The Lost Wax Casting process is the preferred method used when art casting. There are few examples of bronze statues left from antiquity since the alloy became scarce and many of the statues were melted down for weapons and other sculptures usually for new emperors or victors.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper that has been used to make weapons and sculptures since its discovery by man. the Lost Wax Casting process is called Investment Casting. Art casting is one of the more enjoyable reasons to fire up the furnace and get into metal casting. and garages are able to use the Lost Wax Casting process with a certain amount of professionalism.MetalCastingZone. casting is a popular skill and craft used by a wide range of people for varying reasons. The process remains. bronze is the alloy of choice since it is both beautiful and easy to work with. Bronze is able to fill in the fine detail of molds making it very desirable to artists. This process was used in ancient times to create bronze items. Commercial foundries that specialize in custom pieces will http://www. While most think metal casting to be strictly limited to hobbyist and historical re-enactors. essentially. When used in commercial manufacturing or jewelry making. When art casting. and pretty much any civilization with a strong interest in art. 1  Art Casting Art casting is an ancient method of creating statues and sculptures that has been in practice in  Page 9  . China. Commercial foundries and professional art companies use the Lost Wax Casting process as well to create custom items and monuments. and Ancient Egypt since 2000 BC. the same since the ancient craftsmen who first pioneered the method. Artists see the need to have metal casting skills as it allows the artists to have direct control over the process instead of out sourcing it to a commercial foundry. Small foundries like the type found in backyards. The Greeks practiced it. personnel workshops.

You will place paths for the molten metal on the wax copy. multiple molds will be needed. The Lost Wax Casting process is rather simple when compared to other casting methods but it can be time consuming and attention to detail is  Page 10  . Try other metals http://www. When cool you are going to remove the shell carefully to reveal the finished product. This process is called spruing and is done in wax. When dry. 1  often charge outrageous prices for their services. If the piece to be cast is large. The original can be made of other substances like clay or even metal but wax seems to be the easiest to work with. You will repeat this step until the shell is thick enough for the piece. Most molds will be made out of latex or other materials to help transfer the fine detail into the mold cavity. This is common in art casting and completely possible with the use of shims and keys that will allow placing the pieces together after the casting process easier. Art casting on your own is often times economical and just smart. The bronze is poured into the top of the hollow shell. and finished up however the artists choose. The artists will start with an original piece sculpted from wax. If you are going to use the Lost Wax Casting process then you do not have to stick with bronze. painted. Art casting can be done with any metal or alloy. this wax copy is removed and chased which rids the piece of imperfections and is used to combine the pieces. You will also place a cup or funnel at the top of the copy. You will then heat the item which will melt the wax inside. The original is often destroyed during the mold making process upon removal. The shell isn't really ceramic but a sand and liquid silica combination. The wax runs out of the shell through the paths placed during spruing. The bronze sculpture is chased. The original will be used to make the mold. A ceramic shell is placed around the copy. Molten wax is poured into the mold until the desired thickness is achieved. Then comes the part for the molten bronze.Metal Casting Basics Vol.MetalCastingZone.

http://www. 1  until you receive the perfect look for your  Page 11  .Metal Casting Basics Vol.

Metal Casting Basics Vol. Many of the small home furnaces that are found in most hobbyists’ foundries will be able to easily melt aluminum. 1  Aluminum Casting Aluminum is the most common alloy used in metal casting.MetalCastingZone. Aluminum is often used as a practice alloy for the first time metal caster or for casters who are trying out new methods and ideas. If you do choose to use soda cans for your source of aluminum you are going to need a fair amount depending on the size of the item to be cast. Since any metal casting process can be used with aluminum the choice will rest with you. and investment casting. There are three casting methods out of the numerous methods available for aluminum that seems to be preferred by small time metal casters. These methods are sand casting. artist. Make sure to crush the cans as much as possible before placing in the crucible or other area that will be used to melt the  Page 12  . Sand Casting http://www. There are several reasons for this. Many metal casters have access to a large amount of aluminum with soda and beer cans that they crush and melt down. For your first run at casting. aluminum can be used with any metal casting process so do not be afraid to experiment. though. Remember. Aluminum has several desirable properties for the metal caster no matter if they are a hobbyist. Many who cast aluminum also love the alloy since it can be used in all of the varying casting processes giving it a wide range of possibilities. lost foam casting. or are casting needed parts for home repairs. but the main one seems to be availability and quality. charcoal should be fine. It may even be possible to use charcoal though many just use propane since they have it on hand for other alloys.

Casters use sand mixed with a bonding agent to create a mold around the item to be cast. The foam vaporizes and the aluminum replaces it filling the area in the ceramic shell. is removed very carefully revealing the mold. The entire process is relatively cheap and when used with old soda cans casting aluminum this way is great on the budget. foam is not all that expensive. Lost Foam Casting Lost foam casting which is sometimes called evaporative casting. Removing the shell will reveal the aluminum casting. This method is great for fine details but the copy is lost to the ages. The molten aluminum is poured into a cup that in inserted into the copy. Investment Casting Investment casting is commonly used by jewelers as it allows precise castings with full detail. Many choose not to use sand casting since it does not allow for fine detail whereas other casting does. but it is inexpensive. This form of casting has been around since ancient times under the name of lost wax casting.  Page 13  . 1  Sand casting aluminum is very common and is a popular way to break in a new furnace. The core can be made of sand and is placed so that the molten metal fills the area of the mold around it. Luckily. A foam copy of what you want to cast is created and surrounded by a ceramic shell. Investment casting involves creating a wax copy which is then covered in slurry creating a shell. say you're making a picture frame you will place a cone where the glass will go so the molten aluminum will not fill that area.MetalCastingZone. The lost foam casting is a form of sand casting. The molten aluminum replaces the wax which melts out of the shell and can be http://www.Metal Casting Basics Vol. If there will be any empty spaces in the finished product then a core is added to the mold. much like the kind of shell in lost foam casting. The item. You will place the copy in loose sand which will help to hold the shape during the pouring process. or pattern.

 1  collected for reuse.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Artists and casters that need high precision parts favor this technique.MetalCastingZone. Many metal casters use aluminum far more then they use other alloys like brass. or iron. To help decide which aluminum casting process is best consider factors like quality and cost.  Page 14  . Given the number of options that aluminum presents to the caster finding the right casting method will involve some time. bronze.

Artists or metal casters looking to create decorative brass pieces or sculptures will find that the lost wax casting technique will meet their needs far better than other techniques and methods. Generally there are three casting methods that prove to be suitable for brass casting. playing alchemist isn't really an option or necessary and scrap brass is perfectly acceptable in many cases. for the home foundry users. Lost Wax casting is usually associated with bronze casting but can also be used for brass and for really any other metal. http://www. Metal casters may choose to experiment with different methods and should not allow themselves to be limited. By adding and subtracting alloys from bronze one can successfully make hard or soft bronzes. and of  Page 15  . Lost wax casting is used when a high attention to detail is needed. whatever else they may choose. has been around since our prehistoric ancestors. an alloy of zinc and copper. artisans are able to inject the molten alloy which replaces the wax.MetalCastingZone.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Locating scrap pieces of brass should be sufficient enough for whatever project you have in mind. and other decorative items. many artists will use the alloy for sculptures. Chipping away the shell will reveal the brass piece. Aluminum and tin are sometimes added to bronze to create a layer that is not corrosive and very durable. Many believe that brass. Other metal casters may choose to use brass for general hardware needs or vintage car restoration. The low melting point makes brass a really great material for metal casting since even the smaller home grown furnaces can be used. Of course. jewelry. By using a wax model and covering it with a ceramic shell. Today brass is used for a multitude of products from coins to trumpets not to mention a whole bunch of other musical instruments. Due to brass' gleam and yellow shine. 1  Brass Casting Brass is a great metal to cast with as it can provide some really great looking results.

 1  Die casting is yet another method used for brass casting. Whichever casting method is used for casting the brass really depends on the individual. Die casting is normally used in commercial foundries since the initial start up cost is undesirable for the smaller home foundries. Many find that casting brass to be fun and easy since it does melt rather easily. The brass is poured into sand molds and can create a unique look which may be preferred for the artisans. plumbing fixtures. and even musical instruments http://www. Many have even been able to melt brass in small ceramic pots using charcoal! Some ideas of what to make with brass include candle holders. A large expensive furnace is not a requirement when casting brass so first timers using small home made furnaces will find this alloy attractive. Sand casting tends to be the most economically sensible for small foundries and if the casting does not have to be incredibly attractive then this method is preferable for many.MetalCastingZone.Metal Casting Basics Vol. the caster will be able to create scores of identical products. Die casting with brass should be used if the caster or artists is planning to make multiples of one product and can find a viable market for those pieces. By using a reusable mold created from steel. Sand casting is probably the oldest type of casting and is still a popular method especially for small  Page 16  .

except of course for steel. These metal casters employ the Lost Wax Casting method which proves to be the best when dealing with the alloy. The Lost Wax Casting is making an original of the sculpture from wax and then creating a mold using this original. sculptures. and general pieces of hardware. the artist will crack the shell and reveal the bronze piece. Afterwards. This shell will help form the molten bronze which will melt the wax. Many small foundries like the kind that can be found in a backyard or workshop find that bronze is a great material to work with and with a melting point of 1. These tubes will be how the molten bronze is going to travel into the piece replacing wax with the alloy. The Lost Wax process is still used to this day and its modern equivalent Investment Casting is very popular with jewelry makers. and lends itself easily to the molding and casting process.Metal Casting Basics  Page 17  . The properties of bronze tend to be stronger than most other alloys. 1  Bronze Casting Bronze Casting has been practiced for centuries.700 Fahrenheit or about 925 Celsius many homemade furnaces are able to melt down the bronze quickly and efficiently. This method allows the transfer of very exact detail from the wax to the bronze. Molten wax is poured into the mold which is chased or smoothed of imperfections. Many modern day artists create their own furnaces with the metal casting in mind. Many civilizations have used this alloy for weapons. Often times the original is lost during the mold making process so keep that in mind if you want to hang on to the original for whatever reason. any other pieces are attached and small wax tubes are placed into the piece. When this is complete the artist will create a ceramic shell around the wax model.MetalCastingZone. http://www. During this point. Bronze is the preferred alloy for metal working artists as it's relatively easy to work with and resistant to corrosion. The popular way to cast bronze is the Lost Wax Casting process which was first used sometime in the 3000 BC near ancient Sumeria. When the molten bronze is poured the bronze takes place of the wax.

Modern day artists choose to go with a very high polished bronze instead of using these compounds. large sculptures. Ferric Nitrate will make the bronze take on a red or brown color while Sulphurated Potash will make black and Cupric Nitrate will create blue and green. The only limitations in bronze casting are with the caster himself. Bronze casting will remain a popular medium until another alloy is developed that exhibits properties that are easier to manage and are more resistant to corrosion. http://www. This step depends solely on the artist’s taste and the look they are going for. Making anything from small figurines. and even cabinet handles can be accomplished with the use of bronze.MetalCastingZone.Metal Casting Basics Vol. 1  Patina is added to the figure at the artist's discretion. Casting the alloy is easily done so metal casters that want to experiment are encouraged to do so. The Patina is a chemical that when applied to bronze creates colors and makes the bronze take an aged look. The Patrina compounds used depends on the type of color  Page 18  .

A top reason is the need to create parts and pieces that are no longer available on the market or that are just too expensive to purchase. Luckily. On the internet. there are several metal casting associations and groups that are more then willing to share information and exchange ideas. Industrial metal casting sites can be http://www.Metal Casting Basics Vol. projects. For those new to metal casting or for those wanting to try some of these other methods may find it difficult to find information on your own. Since then small foundries have developed to meet the needs of the individual caster. 1  Casting Associations and Groups Metal casting has endured through the ages since the time of Ancient Egypt. metal casting associations and groups are either message boards full of casters where they can ask questions. Given the wide scope of metal casting there are several methods and techniques that have developed. home improvement projects. and pictures of the goings on in the their home foundries. Jewelers even use metal casting to create complex pieces that would just otherwise be impossible to create. and pictures or are websites that are maintained by a set group of people offering general information and educational resources. or hobby building like model planes and trains. post ideas.MetalCastingZone. There will be more industrial foundry and metal casting information than sites directed at the small home  Page 19  . Both of these types of websites are incredibly helpful to metal casters who can benefit from the educational purposes of some of the sites tempered with the real life applications and experiences of the message boards. possibly longer. Those who get into metal casting for this reason are usually interested in restoration projects. Artists are the other group that see metal casting as a cheap and easy way to create sculptures from small to large. There are several reasons that people choose to create their own home grown foundries.

This casting group was developed and maintained by experienced metal casters and enjoys a high amount of activity. One of the most popular message board type sites for information is the Casting Hobby Group found through Yahoo Groups. pictures are posted on the site to give visitors ideas about what other furnaces and foundries look like. and There is even an online store. The information provided on the site is great for anyone wishing to follow advancements in metal casting The Association of Backyard Metal Casters is located at http://www. The American Foundry Society is mainly for the industrial metal casters and companies but they also promote information and education to consumers. This is a great place to go to for quick information and ideas not to mention photos and even furnace building plans. there actually doesn't seem to be very many of them that are. and even live Casting Basics Vol. The Casting Hobby Group can be found at http://groups. This online metal casting association has an extensive membership complete with informative articles. is the online home for the American Foundry Society. Don't worry if you're foundry isn't pretty. Use both small metal casting sites and industrial sites to your  Page 20  . ideas.abymc. http://www. Now. It is a great idea to join any of the groups you can in order to share and find knowledge. For the most part metal casting associations and groups exist on the local level more than a unifying force on the web. Of course.afsinc. What does exist on the web is a great source of information. forums. 1  wonderful sources of information so do not skip by these.

This is not saying that you should only have one furnace at any given  Page 21  . and other waste to drop from the furnace. which will allow the excess metal. though aluminum can also be melted when attention is paid to keeping the temperature low. but this way you will know what project will work best for which furnace. which will allow the slag to flow out easily. the basic component of a cupola furnace is the same.MetalCastingZone. The cupola furnace must be elevated above the ground and installed with a drop bottom usually hinged.Metal Casting Basics Vol. 1  Casting Furnace Types In Metal Casting. Many metal casters enjoy making their own furnaces and have done so quite successfully. fuel source. The primary fuel source for cupola furnaces are coke using limestone for flux. While individual designs of these furnaces differ due to varying resources and design ideas. the Cupola furnace is able to melt the metal at a faster rate. But before you rush off to find the blueprints you may want to take time to learn about the types of casting furnaces available to help determine which one will suit your needs. Since cupola furnaces can achieve high melting temperatures they are primarily used for the melting of iron and bronze. the type of furnace you have at your foundry. or workshop determines a lot of the work you can or can not do. The plans for home made furnaces are eagerly shared among the enthusiasts so finding blueprints and instructions should not be difficult. By not using a crucible. Many casters construct their own cupola which proves to be cost effective and highly efficient if done properly. higher then the tap hole. http://www. The tap hole and shaft which will allow the molten metal to flow from the furnace and into the ladle and air shafts are also required. Cupola Cupola furnaces are among the most popular with backyard foundries. A slag tap hole can be placed on the furnace usually in the back.

and many other ores can be melted in a reverberatory furnace all depending on the construction of the actual furnace and the heat of the flame. the metal does not come into contact with the fuel or the flame.Metal Casting Basics Vol. the cupola furnaces are preferred over that of other furnaces for its high melting rates and for how easily the construction of such a furnace can be. The basic idea of a Reverbeatory Furnace is to use the heat reflecting off a surface. the heat rebounds to melt the metal. Many casters will adjust the length of the flame since a longer path will mean that the heat will be more intense. Most hobby casters do not use these furnaces due to  Page 22  . This process is also used in Puddling Furnaces. which is aluminum in most cases. usually brick. Reverberatory The Reverberatory Furnaces are commonly found in industrial plants but there have been quite a number of home grown foundries that have used this furnace type with much success. This type of furnace has been around since at least the Middle Ages and was used primarily for bronze work. Electric Arc Electric Arc furnaces are normally used in Industrial foundries. 1  With most small home foundries. This way. all of which will include exhaust ports and the rear of the furnace must be able to withstand the intense heat and be able to bounce it back into the chamber. aluminum. the direct and indirect. http://www. By placing the metal in a shallow depression and then directing an intense flame over that depression and to the wall. to heat the metal. There are two forms of the electric arc furnace. There are many designs for the reverberatory furnace. Bronze. space issues.MetalCastingZone. and a general inconvenience. The name Reverberatory and Puddling are often used interchangeably. tin.

com  Page 23  . The different furnace types do affect the quality of the work being produced.MetalCastingZone. These furnaces tend to be harder to construct though there are resources and companies online that sell rotary furnace. This creates an incredible amount of heat and so water jackets and other cooling devices will be needed for operation. The indirect arc just uses one electrode and works in much the same way as the direct arc furnace. you should find the perfect furnace to fit your needs so you can start building one of your very own. 1  The direct arc has three electrodes which are used to heat metal by way of the arc.Metal Casting Basics Vol. so it is important to keep that in mind as you cast. http://www. With a little trial and error. Electric Induction Electric Induction furnaces are becoming all the more popular with large industrial size foundries that enjoy the clean burning and efficiency of an electrical furnace. Rotary The Rotary style furnaces are hailed for their ease of use being fully or at the very least partially automatic. Copper coils surround the crucible with the metal inside which can reach extremely high temperature suitable for melting most metals.

This ceramic shell will then be heated so that the wax is melted out. The Ancient Egyptians are usually credited with perfecting the process but casting jewelry was also practiced by meso American societies and cultures located in Asia and the Middle East. Lost-wax casting involves a number of steps. Generally. When the mold is finished. Before you begin. While the Lost-wax process is mainly used for the casting of rings and bracelets. 1  Casting Jewelry Casting Jewelry is an ancient skill that has been around for as long as there has been jewelry in the world.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Investment casting is another name of this casting jewelry method and both are acceptable terms it just depends on the speaker's preference. When making jewelry this way. By the name of the  Page 24  . The Lost-wax casting process has many benefits. the cost of commerce. the sculpture of the piece is created using wax though some prefer having a metal master copy in case of mistakes. Many of these companies may overcharge. The molds used for casting jewelry allow a great amount of detail. There are several companies and individuals willing to cast the piece for you for a price. one can guess that wax is involved of which will be lost. The casting process is called Lost-wax and is still very popular with craftsmen who enjoy making hand made jewelry. the caster will be able to make identical pieces quickly and efficiently. so if you have the resources and ability you might be better of casting your own jewelry. The ceramic http://www. If followed properly and with precision the artist will find the process enjoyable. You are going to create the mold using the original.MetalCastingZone. you will need to come up with an idea for the piece of jewelry. you are going to fill it with wax to create a wax copy which will then be coated with sand and silica. other items such as sculptures can also be created. The wax can be reused so make sure to safely collect it during this step.

this is a good place to start. Extra care and attention has to be paid to polishing any imperfections or patching any variants during the casting process.Metal Casting Basics Vol. While this move is smart for the jewelry business as it reduces the production cost.MetalCastingZone. Afterwards. The end result of the Lost-wax process is usually very detailed and exact creating a beautiful piece. Casting jewelry can be a profitable business depending upon your skill level and creativity. http://www. Several things can go wrong during casting especially when you remove the mold so take care to be extra careful and attentive during this time. 1  copy will be hollow and you will have to test it for holes before pouring the molten metal. This skill is diminishing as the jewelry companies switch to computerized and automatic means of creating their pieces. Casters will be able to use the mold created during the Lost-wax process a few times before a new mold has to be made. Casting jewelry is a valuable skill to master and if you plan on making any money from your home foundry. the end result lacks a certain desirable element that hand made jewelry  Page 25  . you will lightly hammer the ceramic shell away to reveal the finished product.

and even metal. wood. the bottom. Now. and drag. fiberglass. However. You will then fill the flask with the molding material and then place the original into the mold. Most molds will be made from latex. 1  Casting Molds Casting molds are an essential part of the metal casting process as it will be used to shape the final result.Metal Casting Basics Vol. molds created using sand or other materials will not have a very long shelf life. Most molds can be used over and over again. you will remove the flask and carefully split the mold to retrieve the original. The molding box is called the flask which has a cope. This is not generally seen as a huge problem just a minor annoyance since mold making is relatively cheap and easy. wax. Nearly all metal casting methods will use some type of mold. The cores are made of sand or wax. The top of the flask. the basic construction is pretty much the same. In Permanent Mold Casting. sand. When the molding material is dry. but not all of them.MetalCastingZone. the mold is created from metal. if you want to cast a tiny metal elephant. if you want to make sure that there are some empty spaces in the cast to be finished then you will place cores into the  Page 26  . in this case the tiny elephant. http://www. the top. So. or even metal into the drag of the flask. The mold itself can be constructed of several materials depending upon the casting method. If this is done in sand you will ram the flask until the sand is packed tightly around the original. No matter what material the mold is made from. you will place an original of the elephant usually made from clay. The entire flask is then rammed or vibrated making sure everything is packed in nice and tight. The standard mold will consist of a cope and drag that when together is called a flask. the cope is then placed on and more molding material poured in. Sand molds are the most popular since Sand Casting is commonly used in small home foundries. Certainly the metal molds can be used multiple times without loosing any quality from the finished product.

In some cases. we all know the  Page 27  .Metal Casting Basics Vol. Metal molds have little use in small foundries unless you plan on casting a lot of tiny metal elephants. Usually. and complexity of the pattern to be cast. Not only are molds used in metal casting but in other casting types as well. and in some cases those toy building blocks. As long as the flask can hold the mold material until it dries it can be used. pre-made molds are used in miniature castings. The flask can be made of wood. alloy. Mold making is an invaluable skill for metal casters as it is so very important to the casting process. Many individual metal casters prefer to make their own molds since it is inexpensive and allows them greater control over the finished casting. It's not only about independence but about saving money as well. Resin casting and other plastic casting requires a mold as well.MetalCastingZone. http://www. Metal casting involves several sets of skills and mold making is one of these skills. metal. Making your own mold is just cheaper. 1  The type of mold used depends heavily on the type of casting. Every metal caster should learn how to make a mold instead of relying on others. pre-made molds can be found in hobby shops or through company casting companies.

In order to make a casting of metal.Metal Casting Basics Vol.MetalCastingZone. An example of this is the Lost Wax Casting Method which will use wax as the pattern. Weapons and sculptures were traditionally created using this method but as the DIY movement gained momentum many modern day casters have found a use for metal casting to make plumbing fixtures. Today. you will need a furnace capable of melting metal alloys at high temperatures. a cope and drag. garages. The pattern can be made of any material like clay. door  Page 28  . Usually. The pattern material really depends on a few factors like the casting method and the availability of the material. http://www. 1  Casting Patterns Metal casting is a useful skill that has its roots in antiquity. There are some casting methods that call for the patterns to be made of certain materials. It is in the mold that you will set the pattern to form the mold cavity. replicas of Civil War era weapons. Common pattern castings include complex engine parts for models. but anyone can create a pattern even if you have no artistic skill what so ever. The mold is a handmade item placed in a flask which has two parts. Pattern casting is an art form in itself. and even jewelry. sculptures. The mold cavity will be an impression of the pattern including the fine details which will then be filled with the molten alloy. There are companies that will sell small scale furnaces but they are often costly. individual metal casters will construct their own furnace. small foundries can be found in many backyards. The pattern is an original which will be cast into metal. If you are able to carve wood then you can use this skill to make patterns. but can also be created using other ingredients like latex or even metal. wood. and workshops. and wax. The mold is usually made of sand. really. and many other items. The most common type of casting is called Sand Casting which uses sand or green sand to make the molds where the molten metal will be poured into to form the finished product.

gates. 1  When creating the mold. you will place the original into the drag of the flask and place more molding material on top forming the cope. When the mold is dry you will carefully remove the pattern revealing an impression in the mold. These devices will allow the molten metal to find its way into the mold cavity. If you are creating your own pattern you will need to make it with Contraction allowances in mind. http://www. If you find it difficult to make your own patterns then you can pay for pattern making services. This contraction allowance will compensate for the shrinkage that occurs in many casting  Page 29  . and risers to the pattern so that when castled these items will already be in the mold.MetalCastingZone. In order to take out the pattern without disturbing the mold. although many casters in the same situation will just learn how to make patterns to save money. The pattern should have tapered edges to allow for easy removal. Pattern casting is a valuable skill to have and can be learned rather easily.Metal Casting Basics Vol. draft allowances need to be considered as well. Many who make their own patterns will add sprues.

By ramming or vibrating the sand. Green sand is a type of casting sand that many prefer since its ability to retain the shape of the mold is far better then normal sand. Many experienced metal casters will continue to use sand casting even though their abilities and resources allow them to use the other metal casting methods like Lost Wax Casting or Investment Casting. 1  Casting Sand and Green Sand Sand casting is the most ancient form of metal casting and has been around since at least Ancient Egypt. Sand casting is a great way for new casters to get into the trade. Molten metal is poured into the mold and allowed to cool. One of the benefits of using bentonite in green sand is that it makes http://www. While sand casting has its benefits the use of green sand can greatly increase the likelihood of a successful casting.MetalCastingZone. Sand casting involves less material and less effort than the other casting methods. Too much water can ruin the mold and possibly destroy it while too little water will create a poor casting. In sand casting. The original will be a pattern of what you want to cast. and water. The casting sand used needs to be able to retain the shape of the mold. the caster creates a mold of the original. The metal caster will then break the mold and dig out the casting. After the sand is packed. Green sand is created by adding water and bentonite to the sand. the metal caster will create a mold by placing an original in the flask which is filled with sand. Green sand is not really green the color refers to the damp nature of the sand. the pattern or original is removed carefully. Finding the right mixture of sand to water is crucial.Metal Casting Basics Vol. sand. Green sand usually contains bentonite clay. Many metal casters prefer using sand casting over many of the other forms of processes because it’s cheap and the sand used is readily  Page 30  .

Green sand is growing in popularity as more casters are recognizing the properties of this method.MetalCastingZone. There are several recipes online for green sand but the most common method is experimentation. If you have traditionally used regular sand casting. green sand casting will prove to be easier to work with and will produce better casts. Many will use sand that they found out in the wilds of nature and some will buy bags of sand like playground sand. 1  the sand more permeable which allows more gas to escape. Remember to work in a well ventilated room or to wear proper face gear when working with bentonite since it will irritate the lungs. The best part about green sand casting is that is does not cost a lot of green. Metal casters can get the bentonite from a variety of sources like home improvement stores and even from household resources. Many have milled the type of cat litter that clumps since one of the ingredients is bentonite. http://www. What you are looking for when mixing the sand. As you cast with green sand you will find out which works best with what metals. and bentonite is a texture that is not wet but damp and will retain its shape when molded.Metal Casting Basics Vol. The type of sand you use to make green sand depends on you and the availability of the  Page 31  . water.

Home foundries tend to use supplies that are not too costly or that can be found close at hand. it is encouraged that you purchase already made  Page 32  . Many hobbyists will http://www. There are several online resources and stores that offer supplies specially made for metal casting and if you have the money and are unable to create your own.MetalCastingZone. 1  Casting Supplies Metal casting supplies can run the gamut of cheap to expensive. A crucible is where you place the metal which will then pool and collect inside. As for the supplies this will include the fuel source. metal casting supplies used in smaller backyard foundries are generally cheap and made of items that are available in the garage or can be found at home improvement stores. So it is important to decide what kind of casting process and what kind of furnace that will be used before you rush out to buy supplies. Sand has been used in casting since ancient times so it only makes sense that most sand types can be used. Fuels sources can range from wood to propane. The type of sand used does not have to necessarily be specially formulated. Cupola furnaces do not use crucibles. The metal casting supplies you will need ultimately depend upon the type of work you plan to do.Metal Casting Basics Vol. This reason is actually what draws many people to metal casting in the first place. Most home foundries will use propane since it produces a high temperature and is easily available. Metals with a higher melting point will need propane while wood can be used to melt pewter and possibly aluminum. home metal casting is usually a hobby and many get into this hobby since they need a cheaper source of parts and pieces that are either far too expensive or just impossible to find. Many of the metal casting processes use sand as a way to create molds and help secure those molds during the pouring. The furnace type is also a consideration. Given this. After all. If you plan to use lost foam casting you will not need any wax and in that same thought you won't need any foam if you are going to use lost wax casting.

MetalCastingZone. 1  even use playground sand to meet their needs. there is a special type of sand used in casting called green sand.Metal Casting Basics Vol. You will not be able to reuse the foam but luckily. bronze. and iron. Metal casting supplies often dictate what the caster can and can not do. Aluminum soda cans are crushed and melted and proves to a good source of the metal. The metal used in casting varies due to need. Green sand packs well and is able to hold its shape far better then common  Page 33  . the foam is cheap. There are places to buy metals in ingots if you want a purer metal to work with. Aluminum is a common alloy used in casting for a number of reasons. The good thing about this process is that the wax can be reused time and time again. Perhaps the most important casting supply is the metal itself. Supplies for lost foam can be found in home improvement stores since foam insulation is suitable to use. Keep this in mind as you plan your next project as adjustments might be needed to your plan. Now. Many casters will find scrap metal in junk yards which tend to be a good source for brass. For processes like lost wax you will need to find a healthy supply of wax since many of the steps involve the creation of wax models and molds. chief among them is availability. http://www.

Gloves will be necessary when pouring the molten metal or picking up the crucible with the aid of heavy strength tongs.MetalCastingZone. The heat from many of the molten metals will be very intense so long sleeve shirts are also advisable. it is possible to make many of the tools that are commonly found in small foundries. If you are unable to make your own tools then there are many online resources where you can buy tools and even home improvement stores will have the tools. If you already familiar with metal work then the chances are pretty good that you already have some of the tools in your garage or workshop. 1  Casting Tools Metal casting takes a certain amount of skill and knowledge not to mention the appropriate tools of the  Page 34  . Safety in the home foundry is a must since any accidents that can occur will more then likely result in devastating injuries. http://www. Even concrete can cause molten metal to splatter that is why metal casters always keep a muffin tin on hand where any excess molten metal can be safely stored. molten metal will splatter when poured on wet surfaces or surfaces that have recently been wet. Jeans and work boots will help prevent any injuries in case of spills. Without the appropriate safety gear injuries are pretty much guaranteed. Always wear goggles when working with intense flames to avoid eye damage.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Size does not matter and even the smallest of furnaces can melt your alloy. This tool does not necessarily have to be large and can even be as small as a flower pot. Most of the metal casting tools are pretty standard and can be used for the different casting processes. anyone can learn metal casting and the tools are widely available and some can even be crafted right at the home workshop. remember safety first. The absolute must have metal casting tools will be used for safety. In fact. The furnace is the most important tool of the trade when it comes to metal casting. Luckily. Remember.

Metal Casting Basics Vol. a ladle is needed to transport the mold. Metal casting involves many other tools some of which are used for all processes and some are not. Not all of them will use a crucible but all of them will use a fuel source and require a refractory of some sort to help shield the furnace and direct the heat. The sprue is where the molten metal enters the mold. When you start out in metal casting make sure you gather all the needed tools before you begin. From there you can easily increase your tool inventory as you take on new jobs. The mold consists of two pieces a cope and drag.MetalCastingZone. After the metal solidifies the sprue is cut away from the cast. The cope is the top half of the mold and the drag the bottom. 1  The individual tools used in the furnace can differ. The mold is what will be used to shape the molten metal into the desired piece. The tools needed change from job to job. http://www. The crucible is where you place the metal to be melted. It pools inside the crucible and with help of tongs which can be made in a workshop is transported to the mold to be poured. For furnaces that do not use crucibles like  Page 35  .

Many home foundries are based on home made furnaces and if constructed correctly can prove to be highly effective. a very ugly paper weight. To say that metal casting is addictive is an understatement. All the metal caster needs is an idea and red hot liquid metal. Within a few months. 1  Casting Torches – Furnace Torches Metal Casting provides the hobbyist with a great way to create personalized parts and pieces that may otherwise be unattainable or far too expensive. When searching for an appropriate casting torch the hobbyist will need to take several things into consideration. the hobbyist might find that the furnace has grown and that they are casting at every chance that comes along. and without it that chunk of metal would just sit in the crucible and never see life as something new and exciting. If the hobbyist plans to use natural gas like the kind that is provide in households they may find that the pressure is just not enough and the desired temperatures will not http://www. The crucial part of the furnace is the furnace torch. This skill is a valuable one that promises to provide the hobbyist with a rewarding past time. Except as a paper weight. this is completely natural. This is perhaps one of the greatest parts of the entire metal casting process like seeing what was once just sketches solidify from liquid  Page 36  . or whatever metal is used. Don't worry. Metal casting provides a way for an idea to materialize through molten metal. and what metals you plan to use are chief among the considerations. The torch brings the heat. Most hobbyists begin their casting careers with a modest sized furnace to fit their most basic needs. incredibly high heat.MetalCastingZone.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Many casters will use a torch that uses propane gas as it provides enough pressure and heat to melt most metals. The furnace is the pride and joy for the metal caster. The size of the furnace. Casting is an ancient art that is still is use to this day by major industries to artists to those with backyard foundries. Most will construct their own furnace tweaking the design here and there to better suit their needs.

Price is yet another consideration. and a number of other metals. Several online shops also sell torches for the hobby metal caster.MetalCastingZone. and accessories. Casting torches can be found in some hobby shops and in hardware stores. One of the furnaces functions is to help the flame reach optimum temperature and in the case of Reverberatory Furnaces. A small furnace and furnace torch can produce enough heat to melt aluminum.Metal Casting Basics  Page 37  . Torches can range in price from $40 to several hundreds of dollars depending upon the size. a furnace torch is an absolute requirement. Always use caution when dealing with a furnace torch. Many think that just because you need a furnace torch you are going to need a large furnace. iron. While it may be possible to rig a casting furnace it is not always advisable. the use. When buying a torch hobbyist should shop around in order to find the best deal. http://www. While natural gas and Butane can be used. This is simply not true. propane seems to yield the best results. The same is true for Butane. 1  be reached. Oxyacetylene torches are a favorite with many casters especially for casting iron. Many jewelers are able to use small independent casting torches but when dealing with metal casting in furnaces you will need to use a torch that can be mounted and used in such a fashion.

In order to handle the crucible which will be red hot you will need to wear boots.Metal Casting Basics Vol. crucibles have been an absolute necessity in metal casting. Crucibles are placed inside of the furnace where the metal is placed and then melted. Any crucible at any given moment can shatter or fail which is why using appropriate safety gear at all times is so important. The durability of the crucible will add a certain aspect of safety to the metal casting process. Another option is the Silicon Carbide crucible. A common material for crucibles is graphite as it can withstand the molten metal. You will never want to directly touch a hot crucible. 1  Crucibles From the earliest attempts to make lead into gold and to the more modern use of making those empty soda cans into a replacement part for that model plane. is never ever a good  Page 38  . The tools for lifting the crucible from the furnace and then the tool for tilting the crucible so that the molten metal will pour easily into the mold will vary crucible from crucible. and gloves. http://www. let's face it. Many who cast metal will prefer using graphite crucibles as it can prevent impurities from being introduced into the gold or other precious metal being used. Since the crucible will be holding metals melted at extremely high temperatures the crucible will need to be created from very strong material. even with gloves. Those that make their own crucible will be able to create them in an identical manner so the same tools can be used. which. The crucible then collects the melted alloy which will then be poured into the model.MetalCastingZone. Using a crucible that is low in quality can result in shattering. jeans. For those that either can not or will not make a home made crucible can buy a crucible and tools from any of the online stores. The idea of these tools is to make sure that the crucible can be safely and securely lifted and poured.

Always check your crucible before use to make sure there are not cracks or imperfections if there are then do not use that crucible. 1  Silicon Carbide is a great though expensive alternative to the graphite crucible. If you have always melted aluminum but decide to try melting brass then you will need a new crucible. possible to create a crucible as many of us will at one time or another. If you plan on creating your own crucible then keep this in mind. Yet another option available to the home foundry is creating your very own crucible. Spend that money and do so gladly since it is just a small price to pay for your safety. It all depends on the type of metal to be used and the size of the job.  Page 39  . Many don't really recommend this since commercially created crucible tend to be more durable and will instill a bit more confidence in the casters. There are a few areas of home metal casting where you should not cut corners. a crucible is not meant to last forever. It is. A crucible made from Silicon Carbide can handle rougher treatment then graphite so if you are not particularly gentle with your toys then this is a terrific option. http://www.MetalCastingZone. The crucibles job is the transportation of incredibly hot molten metal which can easily exceed 1. Never skimp on the price of this tool and always follow safety guidelines and use common sense when dealing with a hot crucible. Remember. When you plan on melting metals with extremely high melting points you will need crucibles made from material that will cost a little extra. This is done for safety reasons.000 degrees Fahrenheit and is really the only thing between you and this metal.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Crucibles should only be used to melt one kind of metal. these definitely include crucibles. Crucibles come in a variety of sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.

When the coke is hot enough the alloy is introduced in the top of the cupola.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Remember. The common appearance of a cupola furnace is that of a smokestack. The molten alloy will drip through the coke to collect in the well near the taphole. The refractory used in cupolas are usually brick with the bottom being clay and sand as this is just temporary anyways. Some will place the alloy then fresh coke and then more alloy. Air can be pumped in to increase the burning of the coke. cupola casting does not involve a crucible. the cupola furnace is supported on four legs with a drop bottom to remove any waste from the furnace.MetalCastingZone. the taphole is opened and then alloy runs into a  Page 40  . When enough has poured the taphole is closed with the use of a refractory plug. Commonly. When the level of the molten alloy is high enough. though other alloys like aluminum can be melted as well. The common fuel source for cupolas is coke with limestone acting as a flux. The slag tapholes are located near the back of the cupola a little higher then the other taphole. This type of furnace does not use a crucible so the metal caster will place the metal to be melted inside of the furnace. The furnace is fitted with a sprout and runner to pour the molten material which is called a taphole. The furnace can be of nearly any size which is perfect for backyard metal casters. Cupola casting usually involves working with iron and bronze. 1  Cupola Casting Cupola furnaces are the easiest and most economical furnace to work with for the small foundry owner. Crucibles are traditionally used to melt the alloy and the collect it in the molten http://www. Sometimes cupolas are fitted with a way for slag to be removed. Hobby metal casters are always on a look out for a cheaper alternative which will provide safety and yield quality results and the cupola furnace delivers all this.

With the use of tongs the crucible is carried to the mold and poured. then it is worth a shot just be extremely careful.Metal Casting Basics Vol. http://www. Cupolas have been made from coffee cans large pipes and really just matters on what materials the caster is able to procure. Cupola furnaces can either be purchased or constructed. You may want to find someone in your community that can aid you in your endeavor. By making your own furnace you will be able to customize it. The ladle takes the place of the crucible in this  Page 41  . 1  state.MetalCastingZone. The chances are pretty good that if you are into metal casting then you have some of the technical knowledge needed to make your own cupola furnace. after all. Many will need a furnace to be small and portable. If not. The metal caster pours the molten alloy which is in the ladle into the mold. Many hobby metal casters prefer to construct their own cupolas finding it difficult to find a furnace to fit their size requirements or their budget. No one wants to leave a furnace out in the rain. The most common metal casting process is Sand casting which lends itself well with cupola furnaces.

com  Page 42  .MetalCastingZone. The name Die Casting comes from the molds which are called dies. If sand molds were used in a Die casting procedure then the mold would crumble. backyard. This is especially helpful in certain industries where http://www. 1  Die Casting Metal Casters have the luxury of choosing between several casting methods to accomplish their goals. Often times the metal caster chooses one method and sticks with it for several years until need directs him to another. These molds are reusable and are often made from steel but other alloys can be used as long as they can withstand high pressure. But who said that having fun and trying new things was ever economical? The process of Die Casting involves a simple concept. The reason dies must be created from metal and not from sand or other material is due to the high amount of pressure used to get the molten metal into the mold. The molten metal is injected with high pressure into the mold or mold cavities. There are plenty of advantages of using dies in a casting procedure which makes this method desirable for anyone wishing to create a high volume of similar castings. Many small foundries. sand casting might be the most popular but what about Lost Foam or Investment? What about Die casting? Die casting is used by industrial foundries and manufacturers to create practically anything and everything. like the one in your garage. Sure.Metal Casting Basics Vol. of workshop may find that die casting is really just not economical. there are those adventurous few who like to sample each casting method to find the best fit. Die casting is perfect for anyone that needs to make a lot of the same thing without any quality or pattern deviation. The mold used in die casting can have several small civilities of either the same pattern or different pattern. such as die cast cars. Of course.

those that need a high number of casts in the shortest amount of time possibly will benefit greatly from the investment.MetalCastingZone. While the initial cost of Die Casting exceeds several of the other casting procedures. There are two types of machines used in the Die Cast procedure. The die can have one cavity or several cavities depending upon the need. http://www. used vary in life cycle depending upon the material used to create the die. The Hot-chamber machine melts the alloy and feeds it into a section of the machine referred to as the gooseneck. A piston then forces the alloy into the mold. A separate furnace is needed to melt the alloy which is then poured into the injection cylinder and then shot into the mold. These machines are essentially the same and are called the Hot-chamber and the Cold-chamber. 1  quantity and quality count. The molds. or  Page 43  . who knows when you'll need a small battalion of metal soldiers which can be made quickly and easily with die casting.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Many hobbyists may have no use for die casting on a practical basis but will often try at least one Die casting for the sake of trying. Everyone should try die casting at least once if they can afford the initial cost. A separate furnace is not needed but the draw back of this is that metals with higher melting points can not be used. smooth casting surface. Besides. Die casting is commonly used to create commercial goods as it yields a high volume. The advantages of using Die casting vary but the most noticeable advantages are the repeated quality. The Cold-chamber is used for metals that can not be used by the Hot-chamber such as aluminum and copper. and the quick production of casts.

Metal Casting Basics Vol. chances are you will have the needed skills and tools in your workshop or garage already. Many hobbyist and metal workers find out. to their dismay. because without the furnace the entire metal casting operation would be nonexistent. There is really no need to run before you can walk when it comes to something that will be using intense heat and melting iron which can be rather dangerous.MetalCastingZone. Making your own furnace is not as far fetched as it may seem and if you already a Do It Yourselfer. This is actually how many people get into metal casting to begin with. Sure there are plenty of companies that will gladly sell furnaces for the hobby metal caster and while this can be a viable solution to your furnace needs many metal casters prefer another method. There are a variety of reasons why people make their own furnaces. The artisans who use metal casting to create sculptures and other pieces find that making their own furnace grants them a greater amount of control over the entire process. your first furnace is going to be a small and rather simple one. Not to mention the fact that the traditional methods of metal casting is quickly becoming forgotten as the industry turns to electric furnaces. This is no surprise really. The most common reason is fulfilling a need. Most likely. So many hobbyists find that constructing their own furnace is an absolute necessity and a great way to preserve a piece of craftsman history. 1  DIY Casting Furnaces The most noticeable item in any backyard foundry is the furnace. they feel the need to charge an outrageous sum. The furnace can take really any size and form depending upon the need and budget of the metal caster. What really makes home metal casting furnaces really unique is how many of them come into creation. http://www. that the local commercial foundries can not make the needed part or if they  Page 44  .

The cupola furnace which is going to resemble a smoke stack is a simple design and is relatively easy to make for anyone with mild craft skill. your first furnace is going to be a simple cupola variation.MetalCastingZone. and leather shoes.Metal Casting Basics Vol. protective eye wear. While you are at it you might as well buy all the safety equipment like gloves. While there are a few components that really should be bought like the retractor to line the furnace walls which should be resistant to high temperature for a prolonged period of time along with special connectors and regulators. http://www. 1  Home made furnaces have been constructed from coffee cans to trash cans or sheet metal welded together. most of the furnace can be created in your own home. You should be able to find most of the components that you can not make at hardware stores or plumbing supply stores for relatively cheap. Along with the furnace parts you will also need to buy a crucible which will hold the metal as it melts along with the appropriate tools that you will use to handle the crucible. DIY casting furnaces are a great way to connect yourself with your metal casting work giving you more control. once you delve into it you will find the experience enjoyable and fascinating. There is other safety equipment that you will need depending on the type of work and the type of furnace you are going to  Page 45  . This type of furnace will not require a crucible since you will be able to pour the molten metal from the furnace itself into a ladle that can then be poured into the mold. While building the furnace can be complicated at first. Most likely.

but one of the oldest DIY projects has to be metal casting. Metal casting is the act of taking molten metal and shaping it with the use of molds into something new. and other such items. jewelry. The concept behind DIY is undertaking a variety of projects either home improvement. and a sense of community for Do It Yourselfers that was simply not available years ago. which is quite some time. Today. The term. Several of these sites provide ideas. or arts and craft without the help of paid professionals. DIY projects can include any number or projects and ideas.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Many metal casters are drawn to the skill because it provides a cheap alternative to purchasing items or having commercial foundries make custom items. The DIY casting movement has been around ever since metal casting itself has been around. message boards. Nearly everything used in metal  Page 46  . small model parts and miniatures can be created. Many are finding that DIY projects are easier to undertake with the help of instructional websites which provide step by step instructions and real advice from people who have actually accomplished the DIY process. DIY metal casting is used to create parts and items for use in a variety of hobbies and restoration projects. Recently the DIY movement has received a boost of popularity with the aid of the internet. Metal casting has been used in the ancient world for the use of making weapons. For hobbyists. restoration. DIY was popularized in the 1950s but the concept has been around for ages. This includes home improvement items as well. Metal casting possesses the true spirit of Do It Yourself. Even artists use metal casting for sculptures and jewelry creation.MetalCastingZone. cabinet handles. Certainly the most common projects include home improvement such as cabinetry or installing plumbing fixtures. and even religious icons. Metal casting can be used to make door knobs. photos. 1  DIY Casting Movement The Do It Yourself movement is certainly not a new one.

molds. These communities act as meeting grounds for casters to share and exchange knowledge and ideas. http://www.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Metal casting is the pinnacle of DIY projects as it involves the fabrication of items from metal. The furnace.MetalCastingZone. The molten alloy is poured into the mold and allowed to cool. Like other DIY projects. 1  casting can be made by the caster. The cast is removed to reveal a copy of the original pattern. tools. or aluminum in a furnace. In the spirit of DIY. The DIY casting movement is really gaining steam as many realize how cheap and fun this alternative is. After creating a mold of the desired item the caster will melt down iron. not to mention blueprints for furnaces and ingredients for casting materials. metal casters strive to make the best for the  Page 47  . There are several casting methods so undertaking a DIY casting project can be very involved and addicting. A great source for aluminum is soda cans and many casters gladly travel to scrap yards for iron or brass. brass. and many others are made by most casters. the DIY casting movement is being helped along my communities that are found online.

The basic idea behind this casting process is pretty much exactly what the name suggests. The metal is introduced into the mold by the force of  Page 48  .Metal Casting Basics Vol. Also called a die. In fact every major civilization from the Egyptians to the Romans practiced metal casting. Some of the earliest casting examples have been found in China dating back thousands and thousands of years. Not everyone is going to be casting heavy pieces like engine parts or cast their own motorcycles.while playing with molten metal... The reason that Metal Casting has survived the test of time is a matter or efficiency. Metal Casting is really a great way to save money. Gravity casting seems to be especially useful when dealing with aluminum and other light alloys. many more processes available to the backyard foundries. 1  Gravity Casting Metal Casting is more than just an excuse to play with molten metal it is actually a great way to create art and complicated pieces of machinery or other items that would otherwise be nearly impossible to make. the permanent mold is really only economical http://www. One of the most common uses for gravity casting is when permanent molds are going to be used. This skill came back into vogue during the Renaissance and has continued to advance and evolve from there.MetalCastingZone. Most other casting process either use natural pressure difference like the kind in certain sand casting procedures or they use forced pressure like in centrifugal casting to get the molten metal into the mold. While Sand Casting is the most popular casting process there are many. For artists creating small scale statues or embellishes and for hobbyists that need a decorative touch to their model plane or boat might want to consider using gravity casting for their needs. So for those that just want to make decorative pieces you will not be using the same casting process as these heavy duty casters.

While some temporary molds can be repeatedly used the quality of the finished product will begin to suffer over time. Gravity casting is usually used when the finished product is more visually based then structurally based which is why this method is a favorite of artists and even some jewelers. they will be more costly then other molds. If you have never tried gravity casting then you should. 1  for those planning on using the same mold numerous times and will need to keep the quality at a constant level. For the sake of humor. With die molds the quality will remain the same. For those that need the strength but still want to use gravity casting. Die molds should be seen as an investment. http://www. they are created using cast iron. Yes. With Permanent molds.MetalCastingZone. make an apple and see what happens. and other metals. Gravity casting is used for the permanent mold process with pleasing results. more of the molten metal will need to be used which will increase the weight. Relying on gravity will take patience.Metal Casting Basics Vol. The loss of strength is due to the lack of pressure used in this process. although it will be needed for larger products. however they will outlast cheaper options for molds.  Page 49  . because you just may be surprised by what such a simple thing like gravity can create.

If not. Cupola furnaces resemble smoke stacks and can be home made for those with enough confidence and some mechanical know-how to attempt it. Many will use propane and some will use coal. This is assuming you have a pattern in mind that you want to cast. then go ahead and figure something out even if it’s a small piece in order to test your iron casting ability. 1  Iron Casting Many believe that iron casting is just simply out of reach for small furnaces but this is not the case. Since sand casting is the most popular casting method you might want to http://www. bronze.MetalCastingZone. but there have been some casters that have succeeded with waste material. Artists and hobbyists have also used brass. The most common furnace type used by home foundries is the cupola furnace. Don't be afraid to experiment with different fuel types to find the perfect fit for your furnace and need. Casting iron provides an easy and effective method of making such large structural pieces and even smaller pieces for around the home. The cupola is a basic furnace type that does not need a crucible as it allows the caster to pour the molten metal directly from the furnace into a ladle which is then poured into the mold. While alloys like aluminum are more prevalent in home  Page 50  . and even iron to fulfill their casting needs. For iron many would recommend the use of propane.Metal Casting Basics Vol. After you locate your iron you will need to prepare your mold. and even bridges. The fuels used to heat the metal in a cupola furnace depend on the caster's resources and preference. There are a select few that will use waste material such as old scraps of metal and the powder at the bottom of bags of barbecue coal to fuel the cupola. like cast iron pans. Finding a source of iron can be difficult and a trip to the scrap yard might be in order. This is just one of the exciting ventures that metal casting can provide you. Industrial foundries commonly use iron for a variety of items like cookware.

Since all metals melt at different temperatures don't be impatient if iron takes longer to melt and don't be surprised if it’s quicker. You may also want a heavy duty leather apron and a pair of goggles. http://www. jeans. When the molten iron is ready you are going to pour some into a ladle and the pour that into the sand mold.800 degrees Fahrenheit or about 1538 degree Celsius. As with all metal  Page 51  . After making the sand mold and placing the runner for the molten iron you will melt the metal. The sand mold is held in place by the cope and drag. which is the top and bottom part of the mold. Accidents with molten metal will always be very painful so make sure you wear gloves. boots. you will need to follow the appropriate safety steps to avoid any accidents. remove the cast from the sand carefully and there you have a cast of iron. The melting point of iron is 2. and a long sleeve shirt. When the iron is cool.Metal Casting Basics Vol. Iron casting is a great way to create restoration items or pieces for around the home and even for artistic purposes. The runners are in place in the mold to allow the molten iron a place to enter. 1  use it for the iron casting especially if you are familiar with the method and not with iron.MetalCastingZone.

and it is really quite a sight to behold. The foam original will be replaced by the molten metal unlike the Lost Wax Casting where a wax mold is made of the original and then coated with a ceramic shell in preparation for the molten metal. Each casting is going to be one of a kind since the original casting of foam is lost during the process. The metal will replace the foam by vaporizing it. most foam is pretty inexpensive so the loss of the original shouldn't pose a significant financial loss. Lost Foam Casting is a form of Investment Casting much like Lost Wax Casting. After spruing the foam original you are going to dip it into a solution to create a shell and then pour the metal.Metal Casting Basics Vol. just an annoying creative loss. The first patent for Lost Foam Casting was made in 1958 but it was not until 1964 that what we know commonly as Lost Foam Casting was introduced. You will need to place a sprue into the foam which will allow the molten alloy to spread into the foam and adopt the shape of the item. Though there are many who prefer to adopt the procedures used in Lost Wax Casting for the Foam casting. 1  Lost Foam Casting Lost Foam Casting is a relatively new casting process compared to other metal casting procedures that date far back into  Page 52  . Packing the foam and sprue in sand is a good way to insure that the mold will retain its shape through the pouring process. http://www. The use of foam has many benefits to the artisan like ease of use and shaping and the relative inexpensive cost of the material.MetalCastingZone. Foam is easily shaped by hand held tools but even still some practice may be needed to prefect the sculpting of the material. Luckily. The goal of this is to create a cleaner surface. The key material of Lost Foam Casting is of course foam which is not used in other metal casting methods.

and the proper shoes. Never forget that you are dealing with material that can very easily harm and disfigure or worse if not handled properly. The popular foams to use are the polystyrene kind which is used to pack electronics and the polystyrene foam used for insulation. Lost Foam Casting is kind of like alchemy. Many use Lost Foam Casting a quick and easy way to create something when visual appearance isn't all that important. 1  Whichever method you choose is really up to you. Many first time casters begin with Lost Foam Casting since it doesn't involve mold making but if you are experienced and never attempted this method you will still want to be careful. Many refer to Lost Foam as the "quick and dirty method". http://www. Urethane foam is toxic. As for the type of foam to use you are going to want to steer clear of anything that will give off toxic fumes when heated. transforming something inexpensive into something  Page 53  . Don't forget eye and face wear and of course gloves. Whenever you cast. make sure to take all proper safety precautions and wear safety gear. Always wear a long sleeve shirt. jeans.Metal Casting Basics Vol. These foams can be found at many home improvement stores and even a few all purpose retail stores.

the wax. steel. The mold is usually created from plaster with latex lining to help preserve the details of the original. the first time around. While jewelry makers are the primary ones to use the Lost Wax Casting. The most noticeable difference of Lost Wax Casting from other castings is exactly what's in the name. To use Lost Wax Casting you do not necessarily have to be an artists but some skill in sculpting might be  Page 54  . Everyone from small jewelers to large industrial foundries can use Lost Wax Casting. This is normal and if you do want to prevent this from http://www. The original piece is usually lost after the construction of the mold. or copper.MetalCastingZone. This process is quite involved but not all that complex as long as you have some kind of metal casting know-how. many others use it to achieve a number aims and goals. Remember metal casting is a skill that must be learned by research. 1  Lost Wax Casting Lost Wax Casting is an ancient technique that has been used to create very complicated metal castings and involved pieces that would other wise be impossible either because of economic reasons or manufacturing reasons. If this is your first attempt at Lost Wax Casting you may want to make an original without a lot of detail just to get the feel for the entire process and so you do not become discouraged if something does not work out. Lost Wax Casting is the ideal and preferred method for artists who are interested in making items like sculptures or rings from a variety of alloys like bronze. For anyone wanting to experiment with different casting methods Lost Wax Casting is a great option because it involves a few materials and methods that are not normally found in other methods like Sand Casting. You will then create a mold of the original. and error.Metal Casting Basics Vol. trial. This process is also called Investment Casting when it is used in commercial industries. You are going to start off by creating a sculpture from wax that will be the original. Chances are that you will not be completely successful.

you might want to try Lost Wax Casting once or twice to get a feel for it. Traditionally. Spruing is the act of carefully placing paths that will let the molten metal in and air out. you are going to remove it very carefully from the mold. Afterwards. When the mold is ready you are then going to pour molten wax. Wax can be reused a number of times and if you are on a budget or are just trying out different designs and methods. This way you have another casting process at your disposal. into the mold. you're not ready for metal just yet. Afterwards. it is up to you to finish the piece to your liking and preference. and in some areas still. http://www. The shell is still on the sprue tree so pouring the metal is an easy process. like the wax and spruing tree. When the metal has hardened. At the very least. 1  happening you can create the original from material other then wax like a metal alloy. The amount of wax needed for this step depends on the desired thickness. collecting the wax is encouraged. If you want to reuse the wax then collect it during this step. The shell is hardened in the kiln and the wax melts out. You will remove any of the impurities from the  Page 55  . animal dung and dirt is used to create the shell. Once the wax is gone and all that remains is the hollow shell you will want to run water through it to make sure there are no leaks. You will then sprue the copy. The shell isn't really ceramic but a combination of liquid silica and sand. then break the shell carefully and remove the cast. Once the copy is ready.MetalCastingZone. You are going to want to reheat the shell before pouring the metal to avoid shattering the shell.Metal Casting Basics Vol. a ceramic shell is created around the copy. If there are then you will need to patch them before pouring the molten metal. The Lost Wax Casting process is an enjoyable experience but it does use a few tools that you might need to purchase before hand. The choice of which shell material you want to use is up to you. This is called chasing.

most notably resin casting. The first kind is the one that more closely resembles metal casting. and the possibility to make nearly anything. Metal and their alloys are not the only things that can be used in casting. glowing molten metal.Metal Casting Basics Vol. crucibles. coins. Resin casting is a great way to make several pieces at once so you can avoid shelling out money you may not have and waiting several weeks for delivery of your items. Resin casting does not involve the use of furnaces. Who has that kind of time anymore? Like metal casting. If you don't feel like buying these pre-made molds or just http://www. and time. and other objects in the resin to make anything from charms to magnets. The pendant is now encased in hard plastic. resin casting will require you to build a mold. Resin casting using mold is generally used by those who work with models and miniatures. There are actually two forms of resin casting. uses a mold and even gates and runners if it's complex enough. After the resin dries you can pop it out of the tray. or casting sand. In fact all one really needs for resin casting is a mold. You can cast leaves. 1  Resin Casting Metal casting is known and loved for the high temperatures.MetalCastingZone. Casting in plastic. At the very least it's a great way to get rid of some of the clutter around your house and disguise it as art. This form is usually employed by jewelers and crafty moms but tends to be fun for everyone no matter age or  Page 56  . some resin (of course). is becoming popular with artists and jewelers looking for something odd and unique. The second type of resin casting is simply incasing an object in the resin. If you are fortunate enough then you can easily find pre-made molds. especially if you are working with miniatures. An example of this is using an ice cube tray and placing an object like a small pendant in one of the tray's cavities and then filling it with the resin solution.

The set time for the resin should be stated on the bottle. with the original in the middle. then you will have to make the mold yourself. Many who work with smaller objects find that working with toy building blocks to create this molding block work extremely well and will provide added convenience. This cup or funnel should be placed at the top of the mold. When ready crack the mold open and remove the cast. You are going to prepare the silicone rubber and catalyst which will be used to create the mold. http://www. or flask. Make sure to add a way for the resin plastic to enter the mold. it's still fun. will not have a top or bottom. covering the original. 1  like doing things the hard way. Place the mold back together and prepare the resin solution. but for most it will take up to 30 minutes. remove the mold from the box and very carefully split the mold to remove the original. just the four walls. Slowly pour the rubber into the flask. This is a fun process involving a vacuum pump. Pour the resin into the top of the mold. of course. You should have two parts now. Follow the instructions on the labels since each type will vary. A process called degassing can be used which will remove all the air bubbles from the rubber. Often  Page 57  . Place molding clay at the bottom of the flask and insert your original. Resin casting can be a great family craft project but just make sure to follow all of the safety guidelines. Not to mention that resin casting can be a bit smelly so working outside or in a well ventilated room is advisable. Remove the molding clay and repeat the process using the bottom part of the flask. When dry. This can take up to a day to dry.MetalCastingZone. so be patient. the solutions and chemicals used in resin casting are poisonous if consumed.Metal Casting Basics Vol. The box. Don't worry. where you placed the cup. follow the instructions to the letter. A wooden box will work as well. or drag. You will need to find a molding box this will hold the rubber that will be used to make the actual mold until it dries. This type of casting can still be dangerous even though you are not dealing with molten metals.

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