Introduction: Create Custom Metal Parts at Home| (with Pewter and 3D Printed Moulds)
This is a short tutorial that shows you how you can make metal parts, at home, in less than 1 hour, in a few easy steps.
If you like this instructable you can support me having a look at my IndieGoGo campaign here; you can now get your LumiPocket 3D Printer, a project that I started one year ago as a simple hobbyist, and now has became (hopefully) my full time job.
Safety is important!
Casting metal is serious business, and very dangerous. Even when using proper safety gear, and observing all necessary precautions, serious accidents can still occur. Lack of proper safety gear, unsafe surroundings, or unsafe procedure increase both the likelihood and severity of accidents.
Read more about metal casting safety here
Step 1: Required Materials
Pewter is a malleable metal alloy. It has a very low melting point, that makes possible to cast it with just a propane torch. Today, pewter is used in decorative objects, mainly collectible statuettes and figurines, game figures, aircraft and other models, (replica) coins, pendants, plated jewellery and so on.
In this guide we will use:
- Lead free pewter
- Propane torch
- LumiPocket 3D Printer (you can get your here, hurry before the campaign ends!)
- Industrial Blend FunToDo resin
Handheld Infrared Thermometer
Step 2: 3D Print the Moulds
You can model the moulds with any CAD program or download one of the many 3d molds already available on websites like Thingiverse.
Once you have the 3D file, use your 3D printer to create them.
This instructable covers how to print them using the LumiPocket; other similar 3D printers can be used, of course.
This is the setup we used int this guide:
- LumiPocket 3D Printer
- Acer P1500 projector on standard tripod
- Pc with Control Software
- Industrial Blend Red Resin
- Layer curing time: 1,5seconds
- Layer height: 100 micron
- Total printing time: 25 minutes
- Post-Curing : 30 minutes under UV light
Open you STL file with the provided software and print it. Use the Industrial Blend Resin (you can find more info on the resin here) for printing. This is important since it has been tested from -45C to +225C.
Step 3: Pewter Casting
Using the propane torch and the ladle, take the pewter to its melting point.
The pewter suggested in this guide has a melting point of 138°C. Using and infrared thermometer will allow you precise control of the melting pooint and gives the better results.
Using the ladle, pour the melted metal in the molds.
Let me remind you again to check all the Safety and Health information before. You can find some here.
Step 4: Results
The results in this guide are just one of my first attempts, and practice will give you better control over small details.
A good design of the moulds is also very important for good results.
Not bad if you think they have been made in just one hour!
Note: the mould shows a little wear in the photos after pouring the pewter.
The reason is that because I had only available at home a lead free version of pewter with a melting point of 240°C, and the mould was made with Industrial Blend Resin that is tested up to 250°C, so I was really close to its limits.
In the guide I suggested using a low melting point pewter with a m.p. of 138°C so the resin will show no damage at all and can be reused. Have fun!
Step 5: Some Improvements
By using French talk on the mould, and a lower melting temperature powter, results become interesting!