A general hello to the Forum.
While I was working on a project I found I needed to make a flat wax slab.
Anyone who has ever worked with lost wax casting has found that wax
has a bothersome facet, when it cools down it contracts. As it cools
down from the outside it contracts. from the center.. This action leaves
I had the opportunity to work in a factory a long time ago that formulated
different types of waxes for different purposes. I remembered that they
heated the wax with steam to melt it. Direct steam on the wax. I also
knew that wax floats on water.
So, I experimented with melting wax directly on a pan of water. I was
hoping to get a thin slab with a bit smaller void that I could pour more
wax in to fill. What I ended up with surprised me completely. I found that
I could melt the wax directly in the pan, remove the heat and let it cool.
When it was completely cool it was nearly perfectly flat on both sides.
It seems that the hot water keeps the wax almost the same temperature
throughout the cooling process. This keeps the wax from shrinking.
The only difficulty arises in getting the wax out of the pan. You have to
cast the slab larger than you want and cut it out. Here are a couple of
pictures of my early attempts.
They show that a variety of sizes can be attained easily.
Another trick that I came up with was to strain any wax before use. And
what I found works best will make you laugh, but it actually works very
well. ...nylons.. One morning I was scratching my head trying to figure
out how I could get some very dirty wax into a useable condition. I noticed
a pair of my girlfriends nylons. On a whim I tried to see if the wax would
strain out of them without melting the nylons. To my great surprise yet
again it worked perfectly. I have a number of really, really dirty chunks of
wax and it works every time.
Here is a picture of what I can now work with again....
I hope this helps someone out there. You have all helped me greatly....
I used to boil water and beeswax together to clean the wax. I would also add some hydrogen peroxide to lighten the wax. I let it cool in the water and ended up, like you said, with a flat piece of wax. Mine had a lot of gunk on the bottom, anything that was in the wax that would float on the water. I just scraped it off. I got away from doing that and started using a solar melter that filtered the wax through some cheescloth and then some cloth from the fabric store called Toole. It's a lot like nylons but not as fine. The sun light would also turn the wax a nice light yellow color instead of the dark brown I started with.
I had forgotten about the water trick. I'll have to try it with some machine wax and victory brown to see how it reacts. What kind of wax are you using?
Thanks for the tips.
Did Zap and I start something around here? Lots of talk lately about wax. Lol Wax and plaster are two very cheap and important parts to those that are petrobond challenged. I appreciate the wisdom guys, as i'm trying to cut down the time it takes to get to point B. Keep the slick ideas coming... feel free to add them here or in the pita wax thread. Good stuff.
Pita= pain in the ass for those that dont know. Lol
Panty hose? No kidding? I had thought about using them for a split second, but thought it would melt them into crotchless quickly. Hope zap sees this. He can filter the melted furnace parts from his chunck of wax. Lmao.
As to what kind of wax I'm using...well who knows now. I believe that it originally was a microcrystoline type. But if I remember right, the company I was working for was experimenting with a new formulation. It wasn't what they were trying to get and they gave it away to anybody that wanted it. I've had it for a bunch of years. And, as for the pantyhose you will be amazed at what it will filter out. Even from perfectly clean wax you will most likely find some particulate matter.
There are so many different types of wax. I guess it just depends what you want to use it for.
I done a little lost wax, then Jag and Zapp is really into waxes, and of coarse others like Rasper who live in the whole wax world. Maybe we need a new category for lost wax casting. I know things ca get mucked up by too many of anything but sometimes it helps to order things a little.