Gravity Casting – Playing with Fire

Melting silver scrap for gravity casting

Melting silver scrap for gravity casting

Kicking off the summer class schedule at Danaca Design is Gravity Casting July 11 & 12, 10:30am – 5:00pm. This class is only offered once a year and features, among other things, sand casting and tufa stone casting. Gravity Casting is a great way to learn metal casting with out a huge set up like lost wax casting and is a great class to use up any scrap silver you might have laying around. 

Gravity Cast 4

Keeping the metal hot right before pouring into the mold.

Gravity Casting 

Gravity Casting is a permanent casting method where metal is heated until it is molten and then poured into a mold. The molds can be made of many materials such as metal, sand, tufa stone, and cuttle bone. In jewelry making the most frequent mold materials are sand casting, tufa stone, and cuttle bone. 

 

Learning to cast isn’t just about making jewelry components. By knowing how to cast you can alloy your own metals; for instance creating sterling silver out of fine silver casting grains or pouring ingots. An ingot is a block of metal typically oblong in shape. Ingots can be rolled out in a rolling mill (creating sheet or wire) or can be forged. Pouring ingots is a great way to use up small bits of metal scrap and shavings getting the most out of your precious metals.

Melting the metal to pour into a sand casting mold.

Melting the metal to pour into a sand casting mold.

Sand Casting

Sand casting is a metal casting process where sand is used as the mold material. Jewelers and industry uses the sand casting process and it is the most commonly used method in industrial casting. The basic process is that a pattern is made in the sand and then molten metal is pored into this recess. Once cooled the casting resembles the pattern made in the sand.

Pouring into a tufa stone mold

Pouring into a tufa stone mold

Tufa Stone Casting

The Spanish coming to New Mexico and Arizona is what brought the tradition of silversmithing to the American South West. They taught the Navajo and Pueblo people how to cast molten silver to create jewelry and other items. The mold material that they used was tufa stone. Tufa stone is a soft and porous volcanic stone that can be found in many parts of the world including the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Tufa stone can be easily carved and withstand high heat making it an excellent mold making material. 

 

 

Have we got you interested in sand casting yet? Come check out this class and all classes on the summer schedule at Danaca Design by clicking right HERE!

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