hi new looking to get into the lost wax process

hi new looking to get into lost wax process but need to know what equipment i would need and where to look for it and what is the stuff called investment that is poured over the wax and flowers ? is that plaster of paris?

jtobako8 years ago
Jewelry catalogs (like Rio Grande or Otto Frei) will have what you need, but are expensive for hobby use. Investment is a form of plaster with extra ingredients to hold up to the molten metal hitting it. Plain plaster of paris won't work, but I've heard that adding an equal amount of very fine sand does (no promises-I haven't tried it or heard from anyone who has gotten it to work). Investment goes bad after a while, it absorbs moisture from the air and gets weak, so don't try to save money a buy more than you will use in, say 6 months (less in humid areas like Florida, maybe more in dry areas). A soft, rubber bowl makes cleanup easier. Don't dump investment or plaster down the drain-it solidifies in the pipes :( You need a burnout oven-a kiln that gets to 1300 F. There are several ways to improvise, including a terra cotta flower pot over an old fashion electrical hot plate or camp burner. You need to be able to melt the metal and get it into the investment. For jewelry size pieces, you need something to force the liquid metal into all the little details. Spin casting, centripetal casting, vacuum casting and steam casting are all options, centripetal and vacuum being used most often. You need a way to get the investment off the metal. A mild acid called pickle (can be anything from vineger through citric acid to sulfuric acid) will help break up the investment so you can scrub it away. You will probably need to polish your piece afterwords. That's probably the most technical part : ) Depending on the piece and what effect you want, you can use a combination of sandpaper, hard and soft buffs and brushes with tripoli and rouge, and/or burnishing or tumbling with ceramic media or (stainless) steel shot. Take a look around Yahoo Groups, there are several that will give you a place to start and answer specific questions.
jtobako jtobako8 years ago
Oh, forgot the wax : P Any wax or plastic will work. Candle wax is very brittle and hard to see what shapes you have made, Bees wax is very soft and can be distorted by the investment being poured on it. Commercial carving waxes have a range of properties, from slightly flexible to silver/gold color : ) Mostly it's find something you like. You can mix your own, but that takes time. I'd suggest you get a small sample of professional wax just to see what you are aiming for if you are going to mix your own. Carving tools are anything that will mark the wax. Knives, chisels, files, dental picks, sandpaper, dremel burrs, re-shaped nails, even a small torch or lighter fluid (for smoothing out the final surface). Sprueing (getting ready for investment) is a complicated and simple thing that I will leave to books or other instructibles : )
ChrysN8 years ago
I'm not very knowledgeable about that, but there is a good instructable about it.