Lost Wax Casting
For almost six months, I have experimented with three-dimensional printing to produce masters for investment casting of jewelry items. It’s the same process as lost wax casting, except the master model is printed in layers using Ultra Violet (UV) sensitive resin.
The printing process creates outstanding models. It requires skills in making CAD designed models and mastering the combination of printer power and resin exposure. A somewhat technical process but one that produces very detailed models from designs first created in the computer.
The problem is the casting process. The resin does not burn out of the investment the same as wax. It usually leaves resin ash or debris, or damages the internal investment mold surface. Casting results are occasionally satisfactory but far from routinely repeatable and therefore dependable.
KautzCraft Studio continues the thousands of years old process of lost wax casting as our primary process. Wax remains the superior master model material in the “lost wax” casting process. I will continue making and using real wax master models.
Resin printed masters are experimental research at KautzCraft. Items made with resin masters will be labeled as such, not using the term “Lost Wax“ in the product description. They will proudly be labeled as “investment cast” clearly stating using a “Three Dimensional Printing” process.
Three dimensional printed models should not be considered inferior in any way. When the issues with clean casting is resolved, three dimensional printed models will be the dominate high quality process in investment casting. I look forward to when that becomes reality for me.
A Valentine in Silver
I saw a coloring book design while looking for valentine heart designs. It was very complex. I wanted a small design I could use in about a 1 inch diameter pendant. This heart looked so interesting I used it in one of my Ramblin Dan blogs that I called, "Feel the Love". Later on I thought maybe I could make it work in a less than a square inch of area as a pendant. I made several examples and played with the design a lot in my Aspire CAD program. It took more than two days of work cleaning up the drawing.
I next ran across a Celtic border design I thought I could make into a pendant. Or perhaps ear dangles... It's not a ring...
First thought was to recess the design into a silver bar and darken the background. Playing in the CAD, I pushed the design all the way through the bar. I liked the look!
The cross wax model was made years ago. Just waiting for an available flask to get cast into silver.
So, here are the new designs I just finished. When I get some jump rings and bales on them, I'll take a more formal disply photo.
Happy New 2018 Year!
Client Custom Designs
KautzKraft is improving! I am working on a new process of producing high detail Lost Wax Cast, client requested, custom jewelry. My plans are to have it fully operational in the first quarter of the new year.
I have long been using CNC milling of wax for my high detail pendants and other items. That will remain, along with my hand carving. The new process is high quality three-dimensional printing to produce the casting masters. This process is the favored method for many, if not all, the major jewelry designers.
High quality jewelry 3D printers are now within affordable reach of small custom designers like myself. I have more than two years’ experience with 3D printing. Printing provides a level of in-the-round detail not attainable by other methods, including hand carving.
I will let the results tell the story within a few months after the new year (2018). I have great expectations for use, especially with custom client requested designs in mind. Full size examples can be examined before committing to the casting process.
Tell me what you would like to see… Can I make something just for you?
I ordered some business cards. At last! …I was embarrassed at my first show by not being prepared with a proper business card. I had to borrow my daughter’s. Fixed that. A business card is like the sacred first step in being a real business. Especially one that has face to face contact with its customers.
I have another business selling small machine tools. All sales are made over the Internet and I almost, but not never, see my customers face to face. I should have a card to put in my packages and for the times I do see my customer. That’s next. I may opt for a more generic card without fancy graphics.
My KautrzCraft cards are kind of fancy, feminine looking. I decided they needed to have some style since the product is jewelry and mostly feminine jewelry, but not always. The guys will just have to deal with the look, and buy something for the lady in their life. Ha!
Silver is a good metal for jewelry. Sterling is a hard silver and makes great durable jewelry. Tarnish is a bit of a problem. Argentum is an alternate silver that doesn’t tarnish but is a bit of a different color. It’s also a product made from recycled silver and not a produced in the USA. For now, at least, I’ll cast with sterling from USA sources. I never say never…
I am capable of casting gold; the process is the same as silver lost wax casting. But the extreme cost is likely to make it very hard for me to sell. I think I will leave gold work to the better-known producers. Expensive pieces are sold as much for their brand name as well as the quality of the work. I may need many years of high end work to gain the instant name fame recognition to sell high dollar jewelry. Ha!
I am happy being the little guy with a niche, doing nice specialty silver work. My goal is not to build a dominate presence in the world of cast silver jewelry. At age 70+ I have something I enjoy designing and spending time creating and people are willing to own. Reward enough.
The new business card will help my best salesperson, my dear wife Gloria, present my work. About time I did that for her.