Hello Everybody -- Michelle here... I decided to create this informational page after receiving an order from a very well known
Publishing Company for several hundred of one style number they needed for a
certain book-release party...
I let them know that since it was such a large order of one item number,
it would be about 6 weeks until we'd have them ready for shipment &
she (the buyer) asked,
------------ drumroll please ------------ "No Problem, but Don't They Just Have
to Dry?" "Um, No... I Wish It Was That Simple, Though..." - I reply
Nope, the process isn't Very Fast or Glamorous, but Interesting! :)
Please Find Below a Description (with Pictures) of the Lost Wax Casting
Before ya ask... No, we don't make EVERYTHING on the site...
But for those Sterling Silver items that are :
IN THE BEGINNING....
All Items begin with a Master that has to be carved, sprued & then
cast. Then a Mold is made of the item.
Yep, lots goes on before what I'll be going into below...
I'm not going to go into that here, but rather, I'll start with once
the Mold has been made....
1 - Squirting the Waxes All items are hand-squirted with the help of a wax injection machine,
Yes, how very fun... and time-consuming....
Different injection pots & wax mixes are used for different items.
If the wax is not perfect, it is rejected as the finished piece will
not be good... That's the rejects in the wax-catch bin.
Next comes... 2 - Mounting Now that each wax has been squirted, it has to be mounted (again One-At-A-Time)
onto a wax base using a hot wax pen.
Different-Sized Bases are used depending on the item.
In General, About 20 to 50 squirted waxes are mounted to each base...
One base is dedicated to each item.
After the mounting is done, each base is then Flasked (covered with
a metal flask cover), weighed & taped to proceed to the next step....
ELAPSED TIME... SEVERAL DAYS SO FAR.
3 - Investing OK, Now Comes a Fun Part... Investing (or 'Making the Muffin Mix').
Investment powder & water are weighed out on scale & then added
to a mixer & given a whirr....
After the water & investment has been thoroughly 'mixed', but working
very quickly... it then has to be vacuumed to remove air from the mix
& distribute the investment tightly around the waxes.
The investment is then poured into the flasked & taped flasks...
& Vacuumed again!!!
The 'Muffins' are now done...
They are then scribed with the Silver, Gold or Copper Weights...
And left to dry for a couple of hours...
The flask bases are then removed & the flask covers are then scraped
Then a Bunch of Clean-up Happens...
ELAPSED TIME... SEVERAL DAYS SO FAR... Investing, however, is done in
Generally 21-flasks or three batches of 7 flasks are done at one Investment
4 - De-Waxing and Burn-Out The evening before a casting day, De-Waxing & Burn-Out Occurs.
OK... This is why this method is called the 'Lost
Wax Casting' Process.
After the flasks have dried for a few hours, the flasks are then placed
in a De-Waxing Chamber.
The wax is heated up & 'drips' out the bottom of the flask through
the channels created by the sprue...
The Wax is 'Lost' -- Get it???!!!
<NOTE TO SELF... GET A PICTURE OF A FLASK THAT'S BEEN DE-WAXED>
After the flasks come out of the de-waxing chamber, they go into a Kiln.
Overnight, the kiln goes through a heating process/program that raises
the internal temperature to over 1300°F -- which burns out / vaporizes
any remaing wax left in the flasks.
It then slowly cools & holds at around 900°F.
5 - Casting - Centrifugal
Casting Process Burn, Baby, Burn... Disco Inferno! -- It's a 70's Disco Song... I'm
showing my age!
Anyway, here's the 'Intense' Part of the Process.
To Reach the temperatures needed to melt the metals, an Oxygen &
Acetylene torch is used.
Sterling Silver Melting Temperature - 1640°F | Copper Melting Temperature
14k Gold Melting Temperature - 1615°F
As the metals reach melting point in the crucible, the tensioned casting
arm is released,
the cradle & arm spins at a high rate
& the metal flows into the crevices created by the sprue via Centrifugal
This is why this casting method is also called 'Centrifugal Casting
In some circles, this is also called 'Spin Casting'.
The hot flasks are then 'quenched' in water.
6 - Cleaning & Finishing There are Several Cleaning & Finishing Processes involved...
This part, like the 1st processes are the most labor-intensive &
takes a few days.
NOTE: Items don't look lovely until the very end.
The 1st finishing process is cutting the Pieces of the Base -- the base
is then termed a 'Button'.
After each piece is cut, it then goes a few hours in the 2nd cleaning
process to remove the remainder of the Investment material.
Then the sprue is cut off of each piece & is individually sanded.
Then they all go into the tumblers again.
--Many more mechanical and hand-finishing processes happen over a few days.
FINALLY Items are dried, sorted, and sent out to YOU!!!
If you want to learn more, here's a book recommendation:
THIS PAGE IS FOR CUSTOMER-INFORMATION PURPOSES
ONLY!! Sorry, but please Do Not Contact Us if you are wanting to learn how to cast or
are having casting problems... Please see book recommendation (above)
if you wish to know more...
Hoping you Find this Page Interesting!!
We'd LOVE to hear from you if you do!
Enjoy Your Visit & BB!
~ Michelle, Dianna and Joseph ~
The Family-Owned & Family-Operated Team of Silver Enchantments LLC. PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA!