Dear AlloyAvenue forums,
I'm new here! I don't have too much experience in casting, but I'm looking to get into it more. It's something that really fascinates me and that I really enjoy.
Anyhow, I have a project right now that involves casting a metal part. I've tried different methods and so far have not had much success. So first let me say that I'm trying to cast a metal part based off of a 3D print. So far, I'be just been using a 50/50 Plaster of Paris to Fine Sand mixture as an investment. I started off using a printed part made of PLA and attempted to try to burn it out of the mold as seems to be standard practice. This unfortunately did not work because I do not have access to a kiln. I used different methods, but just simply was not able to heat up the mold hot enough.
Now, my new plan is to cast using PVA. If you don't know, PVA is a water soluble plastic. My plan initially was to make a mold using the PoP sand mixture, then simply submerge it in water and watch the PVA dissolve away. This also did not work. Since the plaster/sand is rather brittle -- especially when soaked in water -- it began to flake apart, ruining my mold. It also doesn't help that as the PVA dissolves, it soaks up water which causes it to expand. This cracks the plaster even more.
So, my basic question is: what do you reccoment to use in place of my plaster. It needs to be capable of being submerged after it sets without altering its strength whatsoever, also needs to be relatively strong, resistant to cracking/chipping, and not overly expensive. I need about a gallon of the stuff (when all mixed up) and hope to not spend more than $20.
Thanks guys for any insight you can give. Also, before you mention it, using a kiln is not an option, I DO NOT have any access whatsoever to a kiln. Thanks!