How I Do It
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  METAL ARTS STUDIO  
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HIDI - HOW I DO IT - VACUUM CASTING  
 
This is a how I cast Sterling Silver, Gold and Bronze using a vacuum setup. Tips and such have been adapted
from postings by Daniel Grandi at Racecar Jewellery on Orchid. Some equipment looks pretty crude
but it does seem to work for me. Your results and procedures may differ but here it is.
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How I vacuum cast Sterling Silver, Gold, Bronze

   
  Temperature controller made up of a household
reostate and duplex receptacle. Night light is
to show it's on.
Wax pen is a cheap soldering iron. Base is a
flat can filled with type lead with spring
embedded as a holder.
Project 1 - Settings in a 2" sprue base.  
   
  Project 1 - Mounted on base. Paper cylinder liner is plasticized paper from
local print shop offcuts. Holes are to fix the
investment to cylinder.
Liner fixed in place with Scotch transparent
tape along seam and over the top.
 
   
  Masking tape 'sleeve' to allow overfill. Ready for investing. Project 2 - Cylinder is stainless steel tube
squished to fit longer narrow pieces.
 
   
  Base is plywood with 3 layers of inner tube
and springs set on eye screws.
Top of cylinder with same liner material as #1. Bottom of cylinder. Guess it's not a cylinder
anymore.
 
   
  Setup with waxes mounted. Setup ready to go. Setup with masking tape 'sleeve'.  
   
  Finished setup. Investment, scale, rubber mixing bowl,
powder bowl, water, cylinders.
Vacuum setup. Pump with homemade table.
Table plumbing is household copper tubing
and fittings on aluminum plate.
 
   
  Vacuuming. Vacuumed cylinders. Overfill is shaved off, a cavity is carved in the
center, trough is cut around circumference
and channels cut to join center and outside.
 
   
    Project 2 - Filled, vacuumed and set. Overfill shaved flat. Needs to be flat for vacuum
to be effective.
 
   
  Center cavity, edge trough and connecting
troughs,
Center cavity is placed over vacuum table hole
so vacuum is formed at bottom and up the
sides where the paper liner has burned out.
Where you pour molten metal once you have
completed your burn out cycles and is at
casting temperature.
 
   
  Programmable kiln. Use whatever cycles
work for you.
Very fancy vacuum casting table. Copper
sheet with household copper tubing and
heavy rubber[?] hose to pump.
Since casting temperature burns the silicon
pads I've gone with wet but not dripping
newsprint as seal.
 
   
  Vacuum pump, not high end. Only draws
about 23 - 25 inches of mercury but seems
to do the job.
Casting setup. Welding torch with 'rosebud'
tip [oxy-propane], hard kiln brick surround,
 vacuum table, kiln.
Torch 'holder' is a modified microphone
stand. Leaves hand free to set up cylinder
while keeping metal molten.
 
   
  Finished cast. Break-out area. Cleaned but not pickled.  
       
    Cleaned up and pickled finished casting.    


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