Introduction: Mandalorian Beskar - Kinetic Sand Casting
This is the way! No really, Kinetic Sand casting really is the way. It is affordable, easy to do, fun to play with, and yields fantastic results. I was absolutely shocked at the level of quality that came out of these casts.
If you look on ebay right now, similar Beskar will cost you around $90 per bar! For that similar price, you can get just about all of the materials you need to make around 3-5 bars of Beskar and set you up with all of the tools needed for this new hobby!
In this Instructable I will teach you how to make Beskar from The Mandalorian while also teaching you how to cast using kinetic sand. From beginners in the hobby to the experts, the results of Kinetic sand casting will surprise you!
I am so excited to make this with you!
- For this project, you will need:
- A Flat Object to Cast (we will be using a Beskar STL file (use Rev2) but feel free to use whatever object you like) - STL file credit to Miketastic. Be sure to show your support to him by tipping if you can!
- Lee Melting Pot
- Kinetic Sand - this sand is cheaper than traditional casting sand
- 2 lb. Pewter Ingot
- Basic Household Steel Ladle
- Basic Household Steel Pan / Pie tin (Buy a cheap one at Walmart)
- Basic Oven Mitts
- Steel Tongs (Get a cheap pair at walmart for $1)
- Bristled Brush
- Sand Paper
Like the pictures I take? Get the camera I use!
- Black and brown acrylic for weathering
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Step 1: Melting Pewter in a Lee Pot
Before you start melting the pewter, place your Lee Pot in a well ventilated area and crank the knob to "4". This setting will be sufficient for all projects involving pewter. You will notice that once the pot starts getting hot, smoke will start to come off of the surface of the Lee Pot. Don't worry - this is normal. The heat is just burning off whatever oils/residue that came from the factory. Nevertheless, try not to breathe this smoke in. I'm sure it is not good for you. :D Your pot may also discolor slightly from its original state. Again, this is also normal.
Once there is no more smoke coming off of the Lee Pot, place your two pound pewter ingot in the pot. This should melt rather quickly. You know your metal is ready when there are no more solids in the pot.
Note, you may see some metal hardening on top of the liquid metal. We will talk about that in the "Pouring" step.
*Be careful there is no water around when you are casting! Water can cause hot metal to pop and spray which could lead to injury* Safety is first!
Step 2: Kinetic Sand / Making the Mold
Kinetic Sand is non-toxic and will never dry out. This is great because you can continue to use the same sand over and over again without compromising your health or having to buy new sand. I cast 6 pieces total and some of those I had to re-do. Nevertheless, the sand stayed just as malleable each time I used it.
Disclaimer: If you use other high melting point metals such as gold, aluminum, and copper, your sand will most likely dry up due to the high temperatures involved. Kinetic Sand however won't dry out specifically with pewter and other low melting point metals.
To make the mold, pull your sand out of the bag and place it inside your pan/pie tin (I used both to see what worked and what didn't. Both worked fine but the pan was slightly better). With a flat object, like a small block of wood, or the bottom of a glass, firmly push the sand down until it compacts tightly.
Next, to get a flat surface, I turned the pan/pie tin over which revealed a very flat bottom. I placed the compacted sand back in the pan so that the smooth surface was on top. This is ideal when sand casting so you don't have to worry about pouring on a downward slope which could ruin how the pewter dries or even your casting altogether. The flatter the better!
Finally, using the 3D printed Beskar or the object you would like to cast (you can find the STL here - use Rev2! Also be sure to show support for Miketastic by tipping him if you are able!), firmly push down so that the image of the object is transferred into the sand. Remember how far you push down the object into the sand will also determine the thickness of that object so keep that in mind!
If you mess up, don't worry! Just start from the beginning and repeat the process. Making a mold in this way takes only around 2-3 minutes.
Once you are done, you should have an identicial representation of the object in the sand.
Step 3: Pouring Molten Metal
Once the metal is melted, and you have successfully made your mold, it is time to pour the metal into the mold.
You may have noticed a small layer of build up on the surface of the liquid metal. This is where the metal has started to oxidize with the air to create a hard surface. Impurities in the metal itself will also be found here. With your ladle, carefully scoop this top layer off while simultaneously draining any metal you may have scooped up with it. (Think of it like scooping up chunks of food out your soup while leaving the liquid behind) When you have removed the solid layer on top, gently tap it on a separate surface to remove the dross from your ladle. Don't tap too hard or you might splash yourself with hot metal.
There are two methods that I found useful when pouring the metal: 1. Pouring with a stainless steel ladle 2. Pouring by picking up the lee pot and physically pouring it out.
Method 1: gives the best results when you can successfully fill your entire mold in one scoop of your ladle.
Method 2: gives the best results when you can't successfully filly your entire mold in one scoop of your ladle.
For example, when I did the Mockingjay pin and the Hogwarts symbol, I used the ladle because I could cover the entirety of the mold in one scoop. But for the Beskar, it would take around 5-6 scoops which caused uneven drying and it didn't look very clean. So instead, I picked up the pot and poured the metal out hovering just about an inch above the mold. Never pour from up high or you might splash molten metal around. *SEE PICTURE FOR DEMONSTRATION*. (Note: I didn't demo this during the actual casting so I could maintain a safe work environment without trying to hold a camera to take pictures)
When you have filled the mold cavity with the metal, allow it to cool for approximately one minute. Remove the cast piece from the sand with some steel tongs.
Step 4: Touching Up Surfaces + Paint
Once the piece is removed, allow it to cool to room temperature before handling. Then, with a bristled brush, remove the excess sand that may have attached itself to the piece. Be sure to remove the sand over your mold area so that you can reuse that sand for a later casting.
If you spill the kinetic sand, it is easy to vacuum up/sweep away so don't worry too much if you spill.
When all of the sand is removed from the surface, you may notice some imperfections on the surface that may take some time to remove. For example, on my Beskar, you can see a spot and some build-up on the surface. To remove this, take some fine grit sand paper and dip it in some water. The water is to prevent scratching and enhances the surface finish.
Now with the surface looking clean, it is time to weather/paint it to look more like the show. If you want your Beskar to look pristine and clean then you don't have to do this part. With a small amount of watered down black/a little brown acrylic paint, apply the mixture to the entire surface of the piece. It should be completely covered like in the photo. Then with a paper towel, try to clean away as much of the paint mixture that you can. Repeat this process until you achieve your desired amount of weathering.
You can really see the difference between each of the pieces from when it was cast, to wet sanding, to the weathering/painting.
Step 5: Extra Metal? Make Your Own Ingots!
When you are done casting, you may have some extra metal left over. If you do, you will want to make some ingots.
I did this by simply carving out some holes in the sand and pouring the metal directly into them. The ingots don't have to be pretty, they just have to be a reasonable shape and size that you can store easily. You can tell by mine that they don't need to be the same size or shape at all!
Now when you are ready to cast again, just place those pieces back into the pot and melt them down like you did before.
Step 6: One More Word About Kinetic Sand Casting.
You might be asking yourself, what if I want to cast an entire object instead of a single face? The answer is two part sand casting. This is a little tricky and requires a little more preparation than just tossing some sand into a bowl.
This is achieved by making two boxes for two separates molds. One mold for one half of the object and making another mold for the second half of the object.
When these two molds are made, you hold them together side-by-side to create an empty cavity of the entire object within the sand. Then you pour in the metal through a funnel-like area called a sprue. The cavity fills with metal and voila! You have a solid non-flat object made from metal.
I did not demonstrate this technique here, but if you are interested in expanding your 2 part sand casting skills there are plenty of other Instructables that can teach you how. If you pack the Kinetic Sand tight enough, it will work just as well with two part sand casting!
Step 7: Done!
Now that you are done casting your Beskar, you can truly save Baby Yoda with the confidence of a Mandalorian warrior. This is the way! I would encourage you to look for other objects that you can cast with your remaining pewter. For fun, I also cast myself a replica of a Mockingjay Pendant and a Hogwarts stamp! Also, look for other creative ways to implement casting into your other projects! I know I will have some coming up in the near future!
Thank you for checking out this Instructable. I hope you enjoyed learning how to cast and make Beskar as much as I did.
To all of my fellow Mandalorians, I thank you and I will see you on the next Instructable!
Runner Up in the