Step 16: Lost Wax Casting Process

O.k, so while I might have the nerve to try and carve a wax ring, I don't have the skills or resources to cast metal.

So, I did a little looking around and found a local trade Jeweler/Supplier/Instructor who could do the tricky casting, finishing and stone setting for me.

It cost me a little bit of a premium to have someone do all these steps, but it is probably worth it.
I used The Jewelers Warehouse in Silver Spring, MD.

I recommend taking a look at this great instructable on the lost wax casting process, which shows the process in detail.

Or'' take a look at this video:

Briefly the casting process happens as follows:

The ring is prepared for investing. Investing simply means to surround the wax with a hard substance, in which it will leave a hollow behind when melted. This then becomes the mold for casting the metal ring.

Before investing the ring a wax sprue, and button, is added to it.
The sprue is a thick wax wire which is attached to the base of the ring band, which will form the pipe for the metal to be poured into. The button is a wider piece of wax on the opposite end of the sprue which will form the basin to pour the molten metal in.

The button (with sprue and ring attached) is placed on a rubber diaphragm base, and a flask is attached to the base.

Investing media is mixed as a liquid and poured into the flask around the ring.

The flask is then placed on a vacuum table and the bubbles forced out of the investment media, as it is left to set.

Once the investment is set the rubber base is removed, and the flask is placed upside down in a burn out oven. This burns/melts out the wax from the investment. The wax ring is 'lost' during this process, leaving only a perfect hollow of itself in the investment, hence the name "lost wax casting".

The investment is then heated in the oven to a specific temperature. When it is hot enough it is placed in a centrifuge powered by a large spring. The metal of choice is then melted in a crucible next to the investment and the centrifuge released, pushing the liquid metal into all the hollows of the investment mold. Sometimes the centrifuge is skipped and the molten metal is poured into the mold on a vacuum table instead.

Once the metal has cooled very briefly the still hot investment is quenched in water causing it to fracture away from the metal. The remaining investment is either broken away using brushing, concussion/vibration, or dissolved away using chemicals. After which you are left with a metal cast of the original wax ring.

<p>Three stone is nice, but to me, &lt;a<br>href=&quot;http://mytwogether.com/collection/gold-type/14k-white.html&quot;&gt;two<br>stone diamond ring&lt;/a&gt; is much better looking for me.</p>
<p>Great read about making a three stone engagement ring.Very inspiring and interesting post. I will definitely try it.</p><p>http://www.diamondwarehouseusa.com/3-stone-rings.html</p><p>Thanks!!</p>
<p>Thank you for this Instructable, it was a big inspiration for me to go and make MY fiance's ring! I ended up focusing on the other side of things by doing my own casting. I 3D printed my ring (since I did poorly at hand carving; makes me admire your dedication), converted to wax, and then cast. All your tips and suggestions were keys helping in the final success. You can see mine here:</p><p>https://www.instructables.com/id/Casting-Rings-From-Startup-to-Finish/</p><p>And she said yes too!</p>
<p>Nice work! I've been looking into 3D printing jewellry recently. Looks like the future to me!</p><p>Congrats on your ring, (and engagement)!</p>
This is a great tutorial but I'm a little stuck on attaching the wax prongs. Do you have any more images, I'm confused where I put the glue and which areas I weld? Is there a reason why some are green and some are blue? Help please
<p>Great job man. Happy she said yes. I made my own ring for myself years ago, just a basic yellow 14k band. Gave it to her in the beginning with a chain and said don't give it back unless you want out or marriage. The marriage vow is only as good as the man who makes it, and this man makes a ring as a symbol of his promise.</p><p>Obviously I was a bit more romantic and flowery than that, but she cried and nodded too. Gonna ask her to marry in a few days. Wish me luck.</p>
:3 awww
It's far and away the most beautiful ring I've ever seen (and in my favorite color no less, you immensely considerate rogue, you). I don't think I've ever been so happy in my entire life. The most talented, thoughtful, wonderful person in the world wants to spend forever with little ole me...it's so amazing and surreal, it takes my breath away--and ability to hold tears back--whenever I think about it. It's a feeling beyond words. Guys, you'd all have a winner with this plan...although I feel like the biggest winner of all, because I have my Ed. ;) ~"She said yes!!"
<p>I cant believe after all this time, your comment is hidden down in here and no one, that i can tell, has responded to it!! I hope things are still going wonderfully for you guys, Congratulations on your marriage, sounds like you guys found the One in eachother :) Nothing beats that :). My wife and I have been together for 21 years now, next year will be our 20th wedding anniversary, and Ive asked her to marry me again :) She said yes ;) Now im wondering if i should get her another ring... your guy here might have gotten me in over my head LOL. </p>
<p>Thank you so much! We're going on 5 years now and hope to hit 20 and many more in the future! Congratulations to you too! So lovely to hear from you and best wishes for your future together. With or without a ring, I'm sure it won't make a lick of difference to her :).</p>
i once heard of some one doing this and spent alot of money on the dimond and got turned down lol
<p>I never understood that.. if you dont know whats in eachothers hearts by the time you ask... maybe you shouldnt be asking hehe. I knew she was the one from almost the first moment, but it took her a little longer to be sure, but by the time i actually got down on one knee, i already knew she would say yes... I'd already made my intentions clear long before we got to that point, and she had made hers clear to me as well... I think thats the way to go considering we are getting married again in June...on our 20th wedding anniversary ;) Knew what she would say this time too ::grin:: (thank God i didnt have to buy another ring.... or do i? Man, NOW ive got something to worry about hehe)</p>
A very detailed instructable, most importantly I'm glad the outcome was a positive one as you went to so much effort with the engagement ring, that deserved a yes in its own right. What did she say once you explained this process to her ? I bet she was so overjoyed?!
This is very informative and encouraging! I am planning on proposing soon, and I have been set on making the ring myself for some time now. When you took your ring to be cast, did you provide the raw materials (the gold)? Or did the jeweler take care of that?
I love this Instructable! It is clear and concise and states the materials and instructions expertly!! Thank you for such a great Instructable! and for the encouragement from one beginner to another!!!<br> <br> With the help of this tutorial myself and a friend made a beautiful ring that turned out spectacularly and with a much lower cost that at a store. It was made with diamonds that another friend brought home from the diamond mines in northern Canada (the workers and their family members&nbsp;are given a&nbsp;discounted price as employees, score!! :)).<br> <br> I can't help but add that the comments made by MDEBLASI1 made me very sad that he is a part of our Instructable community, (A community that is meant to help and encourage others to think outside the box and&nbsp;push yourself to do things that you otherwise would not have thought possible),&nbsp;and only&nbsp;made me to want to do this more just to prove&nbsp;him wrong!! Which we&nbsp;did!!&nbsp;<br> <br> Excellent job, and thank you for teaching others to believe in themselves and try things that they didn't think possible!
Glad this instructable was of some use to you, and congrats on your rings! <br>
I must also add that I was given Illustrator as a gift at work, we were all given some sort of dumbed down version of it to try and I love it!! It really is awesome for this type of work. <br> <br>It's very very very simple to use and very straight forward and I've started using it for making designs for stained glass rather than drawing it on paper. and I suggest everyone give it a try, it's awesome!!! It's so simple! <br> <br>I used to use Corel Draw and Cad, and still do sometimes, but Illustrator is my go-to now because of it's simple layout and easy details. I used these programs due to their user friendly aspects and since i am not a Cad Tech or Engineer I needed something simple to use that didn't require training or lots of practice.
You need to write an Instructable just on how to create that good of a design in Illustrator!!! I assume you've had a length of training and practice, but any chance there was a quality tutorial or book that would help getting to that point?
This is really impressive. The finished product is absolutely stunning. Actually, stunning doesn't cut it. I honestly can't think of a word suitable enough to express how beautiful I think this ring is. Your wife to be is one lucky girl.!! Congratulations on everything!!
There is one important thing that you did not include in your parts and materials list. . . The years of experience it takes to become a proficient bench jeweler / wax carver.&nbsp; <br /> I have access to a complete jewelry studio and have been metal smithing since 2001 and I still wouldn't trust myself to carve accurate seats for faceted stones So yes, I love your work and was deeply impressed by your instructable, but shouldn't it have been posted on <a href="http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/orchid.htm" rel="nofollow">Ganoksin Orchid</a>?<br /> <br />
I find your comment rather pompous. Doesn't this prove you don't need to be a metal smith since 2001 to do this? I also find it interesting that this guy put his whole heart into this having no previous experience AND took the time to share with us. That's what this website is about. You should make YOUR own instructable, since you have so much experience and appear not to have made one yet. Then, you could add what you want on the materials list.
Modeling in Wax for Jewelry and Sculpture, Lawrence Kallenberg (Amazon used) $45.00<br> Jewelry Wax Modeling, Adolfo Mattiello (Amazon used $73.00)<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Does your library carry these books? Mine doesn't.<br> Equipment: (<em>It looks like he may have gotten his supplies from Contenti &ndash;I priced RioGrande, basically the Sears of Jeweler's supplies.) </em><br> Bench: (The cheapest) $600<br> Work bench (made from some free wood from ikea), $0.00<br> Bench Pin $5.00<br> Bench Vise $250.00<br> Magnifying Visor $25.00<br> Carbide scriber $10.00<br> Degree Gauge $10.00<br> 3&quot; Scribing Dividers (<em>the cheapest</em>) $15.00<br> Vernier Callipers $33.00<br> Ruler $8.00<br> Ring mandrel $25.00<br> Jewlers saw frame (<em>the cheapest</em>) $10.50<br> Saw blades 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 <em>(Approximately $4.00 for a 12 pack * 3=)</em> $12.00<br> Fine spiral saw blades $4.50<br> Wax needle file set $20.00<br> Standard needle file set (<em>average cheapest $50.00</em>)<br> Large flat wax file $15.00<br> Double ended half circular wax file $35.00<br> Fine round needle file $15.00<br> Spiral Drill or Pin Vise $10.00<br> Drill bits, 0.8mm, 1mm, 1.3mm, 1.7mm <em>(the cheapest are sold in 10 packs for $10.00) </em>$40.00<br> Fine wax detaliers $10.00<br> Exacto knife <em>(you've already got one of these&mdash; I'm going to give it to you) </em>$0.00<br> <em>I suggest $45.00 in wax. </em><br> Wax carving tools (<em>the cheapest</em>) $20.00<br> Alcohol Lamp and denatured alcohol as fuel. $8.00, l<em>et's just agree you have the fuel</em><br> Cordless wax pen <em>(from Contenti, with replacement tips)</em> $25.00<br> <br> <em>He used a CAD program for the design. Let's not include the $2000.00 that costs? And pretend you know how to hand draft</em>.<br> Ring tube sizer $25.00<br> <em>Flex shaft system entire, cheapest: </em>$200<em> includes all components below</em><br> Flex shaft:<br> Flexshaft motor #30<br> Handpiece<br> <br> Wax burs (<em>the cheapest</em>) $20.00<br> Wax detail burs (<em>not sure what he wants here, lets throw in $10.00 to be conservativ</em>e)<br> Wolf Tools wax trimmer $40.00<br> Cylinder bur 11.1mm (<em>The cheapest) </em>$10.00<br> Jiffy Jig (Contenti) $12.00<br> Wax: approxomately $45.00<br> Wax wire assortment Wax tablet assortment Wax ring tube assortment<br> <br> <em> Now we cast the ring&mdash;Let's send that out, for $100.00 rather then buy an oxy acetlyine rig including the gas, a crucible, casting investment, a casting form and a place to set all this up </em><br> <br> <em>It's time to polish the ring, I don't see that on his parts list, but in the photograph, there are still price tags on his polishers, from 7-15 dollars per. There are 14 tools in that holder lets say</em> $140.00<br> <em>There are also 3 setting burnishers to the side, The set seems to cos</em>t $70.00 <em>Not listed stone setting pliers </em>20.00<br> <em>Stone setting burrs for flex shaft</em> $20.00<br> <em>Polishing compound, three standard grades</em> $15.00<br> <br> We're not going to tally the cost of the metal, the stone, and the hours worked, because, That's the gift, right? So where are we?<br> <br> <strong>$2091.00</strong><br> Just about what it would cost you to set up a nice amateur jeweler's studio. Which is exactly what I said he had at the out set. Now that you are about 10 months late to the party Icasta, Thanks for bringing your troll.
First, If you are going post prices to prove a point don't overestimate them for effect.<br><br>Second, stop and think for awhile why I didn't post the prices of things on this instructable, which was really made to document for my wife how her ring was made....perhaps it was because leaving the price tag on a gift is the height of bad manners.<br><br>But since you went ahead and priced everything anyway, let me correct you, as I kept detailed notes on this:<br>The tools and wax cost $450 total.<br>I paid a trade Jeweller $110 to cast and polish the ring, and set the stones.<br>So, no Idea how you ended you with $2k.<br><br>The main cost of this ring was the gold and diamonds, and there's no way I'm telling you what they cost.
I don't know what the problem is with this instructable. I began by saying that in my <u>experience</u>, this could not possibly be done by a beginner, simply because of the cost of the tools involved.<br> No one believed me, People on <em>your</em> instructible were rude to me for mentioning it----rude months and months after I made the point!<br> I use these tools every day, I know where they come from and I know what they cost,<br> I also know what diamonds and gold costs and I know what a persons time is worth---like I said, that was the &quot;gift.&quot; But the tools are an investment. A huge investment. Why in the world was that so impolitic to point out?<br> <br> Finally, I think my estimate to cast was $100.&nbsp; You paid $25 more than that for the shop to set and polished the stone --- great! congradulations!<br> How in the name of god is it any skin off any one's nose to suggest that aside from that, you did work, not magic; and work costs money.
So my &quot;be nice&quot; comment is&hellip; I just bought everything on his list for $550 but upgraded quite a few things since I may want them in the future. I am an artistic guy and believe I will have quite nice results. Incase anyone is wondering the true cost of these tools.
Oh, and warning! Noob mistake, you don't need the #30 head that he suggested in the parts list since it comes with the flexshaft&hellip; Gotta return that one.
And ya ended with troll wow!!
I can't speak for those that offended you, but it seems they took umbrage at your implication that a beginner could not do this, and that it would cost a fortune to do so.<br><br>I am a beginner, I did this, it did not cost me a fortune.<br>Now, can we let sleeping dogs lie?<br><br>If I could delete this whole thread I would do so, perhaps you would be so kind?<br><br>
Um, I&nbsp;think his work made it pretty clear that those years of experience aren't absolutely necessary. After all, this isn't &quot;ExpertsImproveTheirSkills.com&quot;!<br />
You may persist in believing so.&nbsp; I tend to think otherwise.<br />
Ah, you're so cute when you act all serious. Who's a good little jeweler?&nbsp;You are! I could just eat you up!<br />
I beg your pardon?<br />
Don't beg!&nbsp;You're cute enough as it is!<br /> <br /> Make that disapproving face again... please?<br />
lmao @ mdeblasi1
&nbsp;&nbsp;I think the point is to show people that they can do it. I try a lot of things on here and they don't turn out so good. Most of them look nothing like the pictures posted. Lol. But I feel inspired to try new crafts and sometimes it inspires a serious interest in something. You shouldn't not post something just because there are people on here who don't know how to do it. Isn't that the point of the website?
Hi, thanks for you comments.<br /> <br /> I appreciate the skill and time needed to learn a craft to a professional level.<br /> But, this was the first ring I ever carved (well the second if you count the disastrous first attempt with the wrong kind of wax).<br /> <br /> Is it something you could sell in a jewelry store? Probably not, it's a bit squiggly, and the pillars aren't exactly the same length. But those imperfections are exactly what makes it so special to my wife and I, it's hand made, truly unique, one of a kind, flaws and all.<br /> <br /> The day people stop doing things outside of their comfort zone, simply because they don't have the experience, is the day the human race stops innovating. I wonder how many airplanes there were before Mr Wright built his?<br />
Bravo, well said Sir.
&quot;I wonder how many airplanes there were before Mr Wright built his?&quot;<br><br>Several, the Wright's just perfected what was already out there. Another step in the evolution of manned flight. Their was plenty of knowledge and experience out there, they just added to that knowledge base with their own ingenuity.
Not really my point, but sure. <br>
Hats off to you Ed.&nbsp; This is an admirable first wax carving project., but don't be so quick to discount that first disaster.&nbsp; Every time I melt something, or break something in the studio I try to take a sanguine attitude towards it, and say &quot;well, I learned never to do that again.&quot;&nbsp; <br /> <br /> A really tremendous thing about being a metal smith is the fact that your materials are recyclable; if you melt the pendant, roll it back out into sheet and start again.&nbsp;&nbsp; And our tool kit, we really have one hell of a tool kit, from hammers torches and tongs, to the finest files and tweezers.&nbsp; <br /> Cheers,<br /> Marya<br /> By the way, are you a member of Orchid?<br />
I kinda hope I can find this again in like 70 years when I'm ready to settle down.
Thanks For Sharing.
and this isn't what you do for a living?! You, sir, are insanely talented.
this is amazing.<br>If my man did that for me I would be endlessly thrilled!
i love this one. a great look at the process. if i tried this it would look something akin to the clown bed homer made for bart.
WIll plaster of paris work for the lost wax process?
&quot;Apollo have limited inventory, but do sell loose stones to the public.&quot;<br>I was looking on their website to buy a diamond and it says,&quot; Apollo Diamond will be selling it's cut and polished cultured diamonds in finished pieces of jewelry. At present loose stones are not available.&quot; Is this information old, did they change their policies, or you buy your side diamonds elsewhere?
I bought mine from them two years ago. So they may have changed thier policy since I bought the diamonds.<br><br>However, I gave them a call and spoke to them directly when I ordered the stones, they were very nice and sold me them loose.

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More by edwatkins:Making a three stone diamond engagement ring. Making an army of Gromit's (Claymation Mold making) 
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