Investment casting is one of the oldest known metal-forming techniques. In general, the jewelry cast part obtained by allowing molten steel to solidify in a mold then clean and removed to polish and further assembly if necessary.
Steel jewelry castings allow the production of irregular shapes that usually can not be done or are too costly and time-consuming to produce using CNC machine, one of the main fabrication methods for stainless steel jewelry.
Steel jewelry casting is a process of making jewelry pieces that involves the pouring of liquid steel into a mold. It is usually referred to as lost-wax casting because the casting mold is created using a wax model that is melted away to leave a hollow chamber in the middle of the mold. The technique has been used for thousands of years, and is still widely used today to make reproductions of stainless steel jewelry.
The steps in steel jewelry casting
1. Choose a model for casting. A model could be a piece of jewelry that you want to make a mold out of. You can use any piece of your own jewelry that you are interested in reproducing.
2. Build a rubber mold using your model.
- (1) Prepare an un-vulcanized rubber molding compound. You can purchase it at your local arts and crafts supply store.
- (2) Press your model into a appropriately sized mass of the rubber molding compound. Make sure to surround the model entirely to ensure an entire mold for casting jewelry. The compound are going to be soft and pliable till you cure it, therefore we don’t need to worry about damaging your model.
- (3) Subject the rubber mold to heat according to manufacturer’s directions so as to vulcanize, or cure, the rubber. The finished product can similar in consistency to a rubber bouncy ball.
- (4) Use a surgeon’s knife to dissect the model out of the mold. Slice down the middle of the rubber mold, length-wise on the model, making a mold that opens like a book. Watch out at this stage not to harm your model with the surgical knife.
- (5) Remove the model, being very careful to stay the mold intact, as any imperfections in your mold can lead to a imperfect wax casting.
- (6) Cut a shallow channel into every face of the mold, resulting in the hollow chamber left by the model. The two channels ought to meet once the mold is closed along, making a tunnel in which you will insert the syringe.
3. Inject the mold with melted wax. Use any kind of crater’s wax that you purchase from an arts and crafts supply store. There are many different types of wax, and they each have different melting points, therefore experiment with a variety to find one you like the most.
- (1) Melt the wax in a double-boiler, referring to the package directions for the proper melting temperature.
- (2) Use a medication dosing syringe to inject the melted wax into the closed mold, inserting the syringe through the divot channel you created within the jewelry casting mold.
4. Allow the wax to cool completely. Cooling times vary, base on the particular wax you purchase. Follow package guidelines for cooling times.
5. Take away the wax model from the rubber mold. This may currently be your model for the lost-wax jewelry casting process.
6. Make a stand for the model. Cut a thin stick of hardened wax, simply large enough to support the wax model, and fix it to the model with melted wax.
7. Secure the wax model stand to the bottom of a casting flask, using more melted wax. The model ought to be propped up within the flask. It’s ready for the jewelry casting process.
8. Combine the dry ingredients of the gypsum plaster-based investment mold material with water, as per manufacturer’s directions.
9. Pour the investment mold molten steel mixture into the flask, compassing the model completely. 10. Enable the investment mold to set.
11. Place the entire flask in a kiln set to close to 1100 degrees F (600 degrees C). This may harden the mold and melt the wax away, leaving a hollow chamber within the center of the cast jewelry mold.
12. Remove the mold from the flask. 13. Pour the casting.
- (1) Place your metal of choice in a pouring crucible, then melt it inside a foundry. The melting temperature and time are going to be determined by the sort of metal you are using.
- (2) Pour stainless steel liquid metal from the pouring crucible into the mold through the tunnel left by the melted wax support stick.
14. Enable the metal to cool.
15. Tap the mold gently with a hammer to break away the mold and reveal the jewelry casting.
16. Buff out any irregularities on the jewelry piece using a metal buffing wheel.
Please note that the above method will enable you to produce steel jewelry using casting process but you probably encounter quality issue such s porosity, shrinkage etc..
For high quality steel jewelry casting the process must be carefully monitor and should be done using Vacuum casting machine specially designed for stainless steel jewelry.
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