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Thread: abby's foundry [Lost wax casting]

  1. #11
    Senior Member
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    Abby what investment and wax would you recommend for a beginner who wants to do bronze? I want to try aluminium bronze. I have some copper water pipe and some aluminium wire, going to try for 90/10 if I can get it to melt together.
    For a first attempt I am going to try for about an 1 oz. using a torch and a hole in some silica sand. I dont think my pile of bricks will get that hot, plus i have no crucible for that heat.

    which would be easier melting the copper and adding the aluminium or the other way around?

    cx
    If you are not having fun, you are not doing it right.

    Truth comes in two formats: enlightenment and collisions with reality.

  2. #12
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    cxevalo I really would not recommend ally bronze for a first go, it is a difficult alloy to pour as it oxidises very quickly. It is usually bottom poured to get clean castings.
    When making alloys it is usual to melt the highest melting point metal first.
    What do you intend to cast ? for sculptures silicon bronze is preferred because it runs easy and is very clean but small quantities will be expensive. You could add lead to your copper .
    Japanese art bronze contains up to 25% lead. To get this much lead alloyed you will have to melt your ingots 3 times. Each time lead will be squeezed out as the ingot freezes , but each remelt will get a bit more in.
    The resulting alloy will cast well and produce the beatiful patinas seen on antique japanese sculptures.
    You have a manufacturer in the States named Kerrs , all of their products are first class , if a bit pricey.
    There have been some posts on very simple lost wax for beginners which will be worth the read , but to be honest you will need some basic equipment , probably be best to start by using the ancient method of encasing your wax pattern in fireclay and burning out in a fire , you can find several descriptions of this on the web.
    I use an American wax made by Freeman Chemicals it is called Tuffman green and here in the UK it costs around 7.00 per kilo.
    If you buy investment - I use plaster based - the choice will depend upon the type of pouring that you decide on but there is not a great deal of difference at lower temperatures.
    You can have limited success with home made investment of approximately 1/3 good quality plaster and 2/3 refractory such as chrystobalite , or similar refractory flour , its all a matter of how much you have to spend and how what results you expect.
    Be prepared for dissapointment but keep at it and you will suceed beyond your first expectations, even now after many years I am still learning and often suprised by the results of trying some variation.
    I don't really need to say - but will - if messing with refractory flours , wear a good dust mask. They contain silica and will destroy your lungs over time.
    The man who never made a mistake never made anything!

  3. #13
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    Thanks Abby I found out about aluminum bronze and its oxidation this afternoon. I used my oxyacetylene torch to melt some copper then fed aluminum wire into the puddle. wow I got more dross than metal. but I did get this:


    about 1 inch across.

    I want to try casting some rings with the ally bronze, I am going to steam cast them, so that should work. This is just a diversion while I work on my melting furnace and a burn out furnace and nc machine.

    I am also building what I think is called an indexer. A 4 axes mill without the y-axes. Actually there is a y axes but its not a primary in my thinking right now I have all most all of the parts for that including a computer setup with EMC2. Just have to hook the bits and pieces together with the odd stitch weld, and maybe a few cast aluminum parts and some
    duct tape. I want to use this to machine wax to then be investment cast.(maybe foam too)

    So you ask yourself "what is this idiot up to?". well I want to make somethings that have
    minor utility that are pleasant to look at and pleasant to the hand. Like a cast bronze
    cylinder decorated with Celtic knots that holds a few pencils. Maybe a bronze container
    with a fitted lid that sits on your desk to keep some favorite memento safe.

    For now I am doing everything on a close budget. Your input is very welcome I can't afford
    to go down too many unproductive alleys.
    If you are not having fun, you are not doing it right.

    Truth comes in two formats: enlightenment and collisions with reality.

  4. #14
    Looks like a hart out of a long dead guy.

    See the face in the center with the open mouth :?:
    That's art. 8)
    Heat them up, mold them out.

  5. #15
    O, and what, pray-tell does this mean ?
    I am going to steam cast them,
    Heat them up, mold them out.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by HAVEHEATWILLCAST1
    O, and what, pray-tell does this mean ?
    I am going to steam cast them,
    Using steam to force the molten metal into the mold, you can read more about it HERE.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Jammer's Avatar
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    Abby, You mentioned adding Carnauba wax to beeswax for sculpting. Do you have a receipe or ratios and what properties could I expect from the wax?
    I imagine it will make the beeswax harder.

    I sat in on an art class in Columbus and they were using a beeswax compound and molding it like clay. Then they were going to dip it in a plaster and cast them in Brass. I was interested in trying something like that.
    I didn't make it back to see the final steps. There were some other pieces around, I think they used too much patina. If I'm going to cast something in brass I want it to shine.

    Thanks

  8. #18
    I see you got your whistle all wetted Jammer. 8)

    If I had a shop, I would do lost wax and let the burn-out keep me warm. :P
    Working outside sucks, I have to put everything up each day.
    Heat them up, mold them out.

  9. #19
    [quote="HAVEHEATWILLCAST1"]I see you got your whistle all wetted Jammer. 8)

    If I had a shop, I would do lost wax and let the burn-out keep me warm. :P
    Working outside sucks, I have to put everything up each day

    ditto that :twisted:

  10. #20
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    Dunno the best proportions as I haven't mixed any but start at 50/50 and add more beeswax to soften it . You can also add lanolin and micro-crystaline wax , I have found the wax that they use to cover cheese - like babybels - is great for small models and sculptures.
    The man who never made a mistake never made anything!

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