I made a die out of metal for an end of the semester present for the best teacher ever. One of the best times in that class was when we illegally recreated the board game "Catan". She made photos copies of the cards and board and even laminated it. We had the some pretty awesome games I might add. She is moving now and I wanted to make something so she could remember 2nd period bio. So what better than a new die to put in our class game? This one's for you, Mrs. Jenny!
Step 1: Cut Out Foam Casting.
Using a hot exacto knife or a foam wire, cut out the exact form or shape you want the final product to look like on some polystyrene foam. Don't add too much detail, as this is easier done once the metal is cast. You also want to make a small rectangle coming out of the top where you will be pouring in the molten metal. Submerge this into the sand cup until only the top of the rectangle is barely at the sand level. Your form is now ready to be cast.
Step 2: Melt and Pour
I am using new pennies as the metal to cast with. It is easier to get and melt, and literally only costs a few cents. Also, the zinc won't rust like steel or iron would. When melting pretty much any metal, make sure to remove impurities, so take out the dark grey foil crap that ends up being in the mixture. This stuff actually burns, a beautiful blue, green and lime yellow but isn't very safe. you should be left with a large metallic bubble that is shiny. Heat this up to a nice viscosity and pour it on the top of the foam. The foam will burn away in seconds, leaving a beautiful casting of zinc in place. Pour out the sand into a container exposing the casting. Don't pull it out from the top as this can cause the still new casting to bend.
Step 3: Clean It Up
Cut off any excess from pouring and begin to file down the rough sides. Use a rather fine file instead of course to add accuracy and precision to you finally product. After you are satisfied with the filing, begin to sand the a smooth finish. Be sure to get all rough edges and corners.
Step 4: Add Fine Detail and Finish.
Add all the fine details you want and sand down will a fine grit. Finish it to a mirror with some ultra-fine steel wool. Congrats! Your done!