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Mass Production?

Wax mold example

Wax mold example

My wife Gloria sold some of my lost wax silver work today. That’s good! But now I have to get busy and and get some more made. Lost wax casting is not exactly a factory operation around my studio/workshop. Hand carving usually takes several days just on the carving. The CNC mill carving requires about a half day to do the carving if the code is already written and proven.

I do get a little faster carving when I make things several times. That’s just the wax carving part. There are quite a few involved steps before I have a finished piece. The time spent making the wax as perfect as possible is time well spent.

The casting process does not fix any flaws or errors in the carving. Trying to change what is cast in silver is very difficult but usually not impossible. However, it is far better to get the wax master correct than trying to correct the flaws in silver.

I haven’t gotten into wax injection for duplication. That’s the next step in making several of the same items. A silver piece is cast and finished to perfection. Then it is used as the master for making a rubber mold. The mold is designed so that when the master silver casting is removed, the rubber mold can be injected with hot molten wax which hardens into an exact copy of the master. This second wax is then used in the silver casting process. It is this wax that gets “lost” on every cast.

The rubber mold can be used multiple times for making wax duplicates of the original part. If I make one Celtic design from scratch, I can make a dozen exact copies if needed.

Apparently I am heading in that direction so I am giving it some thought. It is a system that all serious lost wax casting artist use any time duplication is desired. There are minimal injection system available for the small operations like myself. This is another big step in the lost wax process as it adds a completely new step ( actually several) to the process.

My little wax carving interest is turning into a bigger and more complex business.

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