Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Ideas On Using Scrap Metal

In my last post, I discussed the option of sending your unwanted fired metal clay to a refiner in order to regain value from scrap and fired pieces you just don't want to keep or sell.

Another way of reclaiming your metal from a fired metal clay piece is to melt it down and cast it into something else. There are several ways of doing this.
  •     Water casting
  •     Sand casting
  •     Cuttle bone casting
  •     Straw casting
  •     Lost wax casting
All of the above processes involve using a torch to melt the metal in a crucible and then pouring the metal into the mold. Each of these processes use a different mold type including water, sand, cuttle bone, straw or investment for lost wax casting.

Water casting is fairly simple and only takes a few tools to complete: a crucible, flux, stir rod, torch, and metal bucket of water. You can do this with gold, silver, sterling silver, bronze, brass, or copper. If melting bronze, brass or copper, you may need a hotter torch as they have a higher melting temperature than the other metals. Water casting produces small organic shapes that can be used independently or conjunction with other metal pieces by soldering, riveting, or embedding  in un-fired metal clay.

Sand casting involves using commercially created sand that is mixed with glycerin, making it clump together, and a metal casting frame. Sand casting allows for 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional casting. The sand is packed into one side of the frame, talcum powder is spread across the inside sand as a parting compound, and then the other side of the frame is packed with sand. The sand can be carved into or you can make an impression into the sand with an object. Supplies needed for this casting include sand, frame, talcum powder, crucible, and torch. Here is a link to a video on casting in sand, (slide the player button up to 1 minute to get past the introduction.) Sand Casting Video.

Cuttle bone casting uses the Cuttle Fish bone as mold for casting the metal. Cuttle bone is the white chalk looking item placed in bird cages for them to peck on. Its easily found in pet supply stores. Cuttle bone casting is much like sand casting in that it can be carved into as a mold or an object can be pressed into the soft side, making a mold. The molten metal is poured directly onto the cuttle bone. Cuttle bone casting can give a texture to metal or you can keep it smooth. Here is a quick video about it: Cuttle Bone Video.
I also have a step-by-step tutorial on cuttle bone casting for sale on my web site at Cuttle Bone Casting Tutorial.

 Straw casting, also known as broom casting, has less of a controlled outcome. The process involves pouring the molten metal over wet broom straw stacked on end in a tin can.  The metal forms around the wet, burned straw. The finished product looks like dripped metal. Here is a short video showing broom casting: Video on Broom Casting.

Lost wax casting involves making a wax model, encasing the model into a plaster-type substance called investment, melting the wax out, leaving an open cavity and then forcing the molten metal into the open cavity. This process takes expensive equipment. You can hire a knowledgeable jeweler to create the mold and cast the item. There is an article written on this subject in the October edition of  Metal Clay Artist magazine. Check it out on page 56.

Until next time have fun claying around.


by Janet Alexander
Technical Advisor


kim said...

awesome post Janet! i love sand casting and will have to one of these days give it a go with cuttlefish casting :)

Boutique said...

The sand is pressed into one side of the casing, talcum powder is spread over within sand as a separating compound, and after that the other side of the edge is stuffed with sand. The sand might be cut into or you can make an impression into the sand with an article. Supplies required for this throwing incorporate ductile iron castings sand, outline, talcum powder, pot, and light.

Sophia Wright said...
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