Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Update on Casting....

So today I called the caster I used to ask him about the issues with my castings. The powdery substance on the mold was parting powder. Which in most instances is not a problem, but with granulated surfaces, more powder is not good for definition. But the problem comes in removing the model from the mold and not tearing it- there has to be powder. And from what he said, that was probably the best mold material to use (non-shrink silicone). So, just part of the process.  But, I chatted with another caster from my Metalsmiths Unite II group on Facebook and he says that could be remedied by using a silicone spray instead of casting powder next time.

The orange-peel texture was from the freshly-casted pieces being put into the magnetic tumbler for a few minutes, with stainless steel pins/needles. It does a GREAT job cleaning out all the investment debris, but also leaves that texture. It also removes the gray casting skin. The caster said he can not do that in the future if I so wish. However, when I talked to my caster contact on FB, he doubted the texture was formed by this, or by the metal cooling, which the caster also said could cause the texture. He thinks it was caused by the mold having this texture, because if the mold-making is good, it can pick up fingerprints! So maybe the molding effort was the weak point in the company I used.

I am going to try another company or two, get estimates, and see what my best options are. I suppose every caster has elements in their production which are weak links. One jewelry friend said her caster didn't make the best waxes. 

Another thought is maybe I could eventually look into doing mold-making and waxes myself. It certainly would cut certain steps out of the process, save me money in the long run, and give me some control to the process. Time will tell.... in the meantime, I need to find a caster who is good and doesn't charge a lot, because the company I used was quite expensive. It makes it harder to create a lower-cost line of jewelry. Stay tuned.....

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