Intro: Casting Silver Jewelry With the Ember Printer
This Instructable will walk you through the core steps needed in taking a castable resin based Ember 3D print into a final piece of jewelry. Our Oakland based caster, Alexis Pavlantos, was kind enough to open her studio for us to capture the steps she takes to cast our jewelry design prints.
Step 1: Repair Printed Models
First things first, wax based resin are quite fragile so be careful. That means don't handle them with impatient Hulk hands (I have definitely broken this rule many a times). Keep this in mind when you are scraping away unwanted support pieces, smoothing out bumps and even solder back on broken wires. When you get it all dialed in just remember that ever nook and cranny will show up on your cast so be as anal as possible about cleaning up the prints.
Step 2: Attach Models to Feeder Gate
The Feeder Gate is like a highway for the metal to flow down. The Sprue Gate is the exit off ramp from that highway where you want all the silver to flow to and ultimately end up. Gravity is your only friend here. Bad model orientation or resin residue left on the models could ruin an entire flask so keep it neat.
Step 3: Measure and Mix Investment
Alright lets put on our bartender hats now and mix up an investment cocktail for out flask. Measure out the investment powder referencing the Kerr Chart (above). About 4 minutes of stirring should do the trick.
Step 4: Investment Prep for Cast
Time to vacuum out all the imperfections and pour it into the plastic wrapped flask. Make sure to not overflow the bowl during this process. The better you prep the investment the better it will take shape around the pieces inside the flask.
Step 5: Resin Burnout
Now its time for the disappearing magic act. After you remove the Sprue Base and preheat the Furnace, place the flask inside and wait (check appropriate burn out cycle chart). This step allows the hot resin to melt right out of the flask which is also know as TheBurnout.
Step 6: Adding Silver Bits
Once the Kiln is hot and ready for the flask, add your Silver Bits and watch them melt down into a warm comforting glow of molten silver. This is pretty satisfying so be careful not to find yourself staring at it too long.
Step 7: Remove Model From Investment
Are you ready for the fun part? Take the flask out with the designated tongs and dunk it into a water bucket, the heat exchange alone is enough to break it all free in an majestic display of boiling bubblage (its a technical term). Your piece is ready, pull it out and just stare it, can you believe you that all happened in under 5 minutes.
Step 8: Let It Loose
Alright, lets go ahead and cut this guy loose. Cut closest to the piece to reduce post production grinding time. Often times the piece is very delicate and using a band saw is necessary to get a cleaner cut.
Step 9: Buff and Tumble
Lets hit the weights and buff this puppy up. The tumbler machine is your best friend. With a good cleaning solution this machine will give you that mirror finish shine you have been dreaming about. You are ready to go out on the town with your finished piece.