I did "Lost wax casting" in High School. It was for an Art elective, had to have one to graduate, I was the only one in the class who had come from the Metal Shop program. Basically my teacher outlined what the projects were and he let me run. Bronze was my metal of choice, silver and gold being too expensive when I was 17.
We had a Dentist's centrifuge. Basically you melted the metal in a pot and released the arm on the "fuge" and centifical force would inject the molten metal into the casting, after you had melted out the wax. I still have the bronze ring I maid. Very little cleanup, basically just the sprues had to be cut and filed and sanded to finish.
That's the major points I remember, unfortunately its been just a litttle over 20 years ago. Hope this helps you out.
Thanks blazerbender. I did some more looking at it last night. I even found an article by David Carodeine(?) the kung fu guy. He was making bronze castings of heads he had done in clay first. I guess I need to look at how much the ceramic material costs and how cheap you could make a forge and get a book on aluminum casting. The wife drinks enough pepsi to keep me in aluminum so thats not a problem. I even saw something on plaster casting that looks promising also.
Might want to take a look at this. Don't know if it would work.
I thought that I had a link to lost wax casting. The big thing is heating the mold so that it doesn't break when casting.
Thanks Gunter, that looks like its a lot easier than the lost wax casting and it looks like you don't have to heat the mold either. They even had a forge design you can make out of an old 20lb propane tank which I have!
Just an Idea
I also did some hight school projects in aluminum. I have an old Charter arms survival rifle which is 2/3 plastic and aluminum. It has a steel barrel liner & everything else is basicly plastic & aluminum, if you found someone who fires clay pots you could try a trial balloon for cheap. Just an idea.
Thanks for the idea. I do happen to know someone that does pottery but they live about 6 hours away. I also have an uncle that does blacksmithing on a coal forge but he is also about 5 hours away. I have some fun money comming in from a side job and think I'll try to get a setup. It looks like you can even use charcoal with a blower which would be a pretty cheap setup. The only thing would be the smoke so I'm looking at propane for a heat source. I have a old 20lb propane tank to use as a shell and it looks like the refractory cement is about $50 shipped. I'll keep an eye out for an old gas grill to use the regulator and valve from (like I did for my parkerizing tank) and bust up the aluminum shell for some free aluminum. I think I'm going to give it a shot. If it doesn't work out I'll still be able cast other stuff.
Gunter , you will want to consider some alloy like pistonium instead of pop cans. Al alloys have many different working properties and straight al is fairly weak. As I recall the normal shrinkage is considered to be 10% off of the wax casting. Here is a couple of sites that may give you some more information. Lots of reading time , but looks like a fun time to me. If your going to use propane as a heat source , I would consider using a turkey fryer regulator as they are variable and not just the .5 psi... not considered hot enough to melt much.
metalcasting and general metalworking links
ABYMC :: Index
WOW! thats a lot of info. I had been looking at this guys site today Foundry Thanks mauser, the turkey friers will be on sale for xmas pretty soon also.
Yes , I spend hours reading on those two sites. I am enthralled by casting , whether Al or Cu or precious metals.
I did aluminum and bronze casting in college. Take any university fine art program, and they will have a sculpture class that teaches all you need to know about this technique.
One thing that will work great is to make a silicone mold of your part, let's say it's a receiver. Then you could do multiples instead of just one part at a time. Reuse the silicone mold, and cast the part in resin. Then check for defects, shrinkage etc. THen, if you like the output, cast the parts in wax. The next thing you know, you are casting several wax receivers. Not sure of the legal aspects of doing this, but it is an option. I wonder if this would work on say a glock frame? Hmmm.
Lost wax and lost foam are two simple techniques, lost wax being hundreds of years old technique. Super fine detail can be had with it. Not sure about metal hardness, or voids. etc.
Be safe what ever you do!