Today was Day 3 of Casting class, so here’s the rest of the wrap-up!
Before class started, I borrowed a coarse file and removed the remainder of the sprue from the bottom of my ring, so it’s now ready to (more finely) file, sand, and polish. (I ran it through the magnetic tumbler, which shined it up somewhat, but also scratched it up quite a bit, so in hindsight I wish I hadn’t bothered with it. Oh well.)
Today we were vacuum casting, and it did seem to go somewhat faster than the centrifugal casting (in part because the instructor took charge of melting the metal.) Each student removed their flask from the kiln, set up the vacuum on the flask, poured the molten metal, removed the vacuum, removed the flask for further cooling, and quenched the flask and cast object. It was, again, slightly frightening to go through the process, and I over-filled my flask, getting metal onto the vacuum chamber (oops.) The excess, I poured into ingots for re-use.
So how did it come out? Well…
The texture cast perfectly, as far as I’m concerned. There’s still a lot to clean up — there’s lots of tiny crevices where investment is lurking — but the zebra plant leaves are sharp and amazingly textured, and the gollum jade leaves are plump and weird-looking. There were a few minor issues with shrinkage and porosity (since the piece couldn’t be vacuumed after the investment was poured in, not every bubble was dislodged), but over all, I’m pretty happy! I need to have someone cut off the bottom to flatten it out (right now it wobbles like a Weeble), so it’ll sit properly.
One bonus to casting this piece in bronze is that I can patina it, using any number of wonderful recipes. Since you can only do so much with sterling, and I don’t really work in other metals that patina well (like copper, or bronze), it’s an exciting prospect!
Thanks again for following along! More posts (with actual, finished, non-class-related jewelry) coming soon.