DIY Wax Foundry

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About: I am a technical artist working in the game and software industry. 3D printing is a side hobby of mine.

About:

The aluminium drink can is one of the most commonly consumed products in the world. This project's intent is to combine a used drink can and re-purpose it into a cheap diy wax foundry for intention of recycling wax materials with the help of a 3D printer.

WARNING: As this project involves heat sources and sharp objects, adult supervision is advised.

Requirements:

  • 1 250ml can or 1 355ml soda can.
  • Cutting tool such as scissors or a Exacto knife.
  • Pliers (Optional).
  • Small heat source such as a lit candle, fluid lighter, or a heat gun.
  • 3D Printer.
  • * 3D Printing Filament (ABS).
  • * Wax material such as candle wax or crayons .
  • Casting Mold (3d Printed or Purchased).
  • Mold release agent such as cooking spray or Vaseline.

*Important Notes

  • Crayons have a melting point between 48C (120F) - 64C (147F)
  • Most candle wax have a melting point around 37C (99F)
  • Use small heat sources such as a candle or a cigarette lighter. Heat source does not need to exceed 66C(150F). Anything hotter can melt the the 3d printed handle and both 3d printed materials and wax materials are flammable.
  • As 3d printed elements will come into contact with heat, it is highly advised to 3d print elements in ABS or other materials with a high glass transition temperature. ABS can become rubbery at 104C(220F) and begins melting around 220C(428F) - 250C(482F) depending on the brand.

Step 1: Download 3D Print Files

Starter 3d print files are available on the myminifactory.com platform for free download. Visit: https://www.myminifactory.com/object/diy-upcycle-wax-foundry-55330 to get started.

Additional 3d printable mold files can be found online on other platforms such as thingiverse.com, cults3d.com, and pinshape.com in addition to myminifactory.com.

Step 2: 3D Print Handle

Starter files include a handle for a 250ml can and a handle for a 355ml can. As handles will surround the can and the can will come into contact with heat it is highly advisable to print files in a high temperature filament such as ABS to avoid having the 3d printed material becoming soft and potentially melting due to heat retention of the aluminum can.

Print Settings

Layer Height: 0.3 mm

Fill: 15%

Fill Pattern: Rectilinear or Honeycomb

Supports: No

Raft: Optional

Step 3: Attaching the Can to the Handle

  1. Mark 25.4 mm (1 inch) from the top.
  2. Cut with scissors.
  3. Mark 50.8 mm (2 inches) from bottom of the can.
  4. Mark off at least thee 19 mm (0.75 inch) tabs around can and at least one 31 mm (1.2 inch) tab.
  5. Cut markings. Cut out 31 mm tab completely.
  6. Insert can through bottom of handle until the 2 inch mark made previously.
  7. Fold tabs over handle ring. Use pliers to bend tabs into a more secure position.
  8. Trim access tab material.

Step 4: ​Prep the Spout.

  1. Cut up wax into small pieces and add a little to the can.
  2. Hold can over heat source to melt.
  3. Once melted pour the wax out slowly onto a a piece of cardboard, wax paper, or something disposable.This will help guide future melted wax and help prevent spills.
  4. Wipe of any access spillage around outside of can.

Step 5: 3D Print a Mold

Print Settings

2 Heart Mold:

Layer Height: 0.2mm

Fill: 15%

Fill Pattern: Rectilinear

Supports: No

Raft: Optional

Large Crayon Mold:

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Fill: 15%

Fill Pattern: Rectilinear

Supports: No

Raft: Optional

Bear Mold (Advanced):

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Fill: 20%

Supports: No

Raft: Optional

Tips & Hints

  1. Higher resolution prints create smoother molds and better fittings.
  2. Depending on your printer you may need to sand you print to create a tight fit for 2 piece molds. You don't want wax seeping though the cracks between the two pieces.
  3. Use rubber bands and tape to keep 2 piece and 4 piece molds together.

Purchase A Mold (Optional)

Alternatively you can purchase molds online or in retail stores.

  1. CrayOn 2 Double Tipped, Triangular Silicone Crayon Molds - Makes 16 Crayons (Total)
  2. Silicone Chocolate Molds & Candy Molds - Ankway Set of 3 Non Stick BPA Free Flexible Hearts, Stars & Shells Mini Wax Molds (15 Cups)
  3. Zicome 8-Cavity Adorable Flower Leaf Silicone Soap Mold Cake Decoration Mold, Set of 2

Step 6: ​Measure Wax

Bear Mold: requires approximately 1.9 oz of wax (about 10 full crayons)

Large Crayon Mold: requires approximately 1.5 oz of wax (about 9 full crayons)

Two Heart Mold: requires approximately 0.2 oz of wax (about 1 full crayon)

Step 7: Casting

  1. Apply mold release agent to mold.
  2. Cut wax into small pieces (about 1/2 inch) and add to the can. Small amounts will melt quicker and bleed less into other colors.
  3. Hold can over heat source.
  4. Once wax is melted fully, pour into mold carefully. Let mold sit and and wax to cool for a few minutes to a hour or more depending on the mold used before removing wax casting.

Tips & Hints

    1. For two piece molds use rubber bands to hold the mold tightly together.
    2. Make sure waxes are of the same brand or they'll melt at different rates.
    3. Smaller bits will melt more quickly therefore have less time to run and bleed into neighboring colors.
    4. To speed up the cooling process, transfer molds into the freezer after the wax begins to firm up.

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