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James Higson

Ceramic Shell Recipe Questions

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Dear Hivemind,

I am soon to be casting a set of bronze pommels and crossguards. I am going to be using ceramic shell and lost wax to do this hopefully. As it happens I have a basic idea of what I need but as I have never made a refractory slurry before I don't know exactly what I need and in what ratios.

I have been looking at sourcing raw materials and this is what I think from exhaustive googling that I might go for:

https://www.artisanfoundry.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=281

And

https://www.artisanfoundry.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=142

My question to the omniscient lot of you is... do I just mix these two together and bam, I have a refractory slurry, then each dip add fine sand, allow to dry, then repeat? Are these not ideal for small bronze castings? Is there something easier/cheaper/better?

Thank you for any advice you can give!

James

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I can't help you at all for better resources or pricing, especially on your side of the pond, but hopefully I can add a couple pointers for you.  

  1. Definitely follow the directions they give you (and ask for directions if they don't give you any).  
  2. You'll probably need distilled/deionized water too, not just the binder (again, follow their directions).  
  3. You'll need to maintain a consistent/proper viscosity, so get yourself a hydrometer too.  
  4. Dip, let all drips run off, coat in "fine" sand, let mostly dry, repeat. 
    1. After the second coat of fine sand subsequent coats can and probably should be coarser sand.  
    2. You'll probably want at least 6 coats, maybe 8-10.  
    3. After the final coat, it is often nice to give it on final dip so you don't have sand rubbing off the outside of it.  
    4. If it dries too much the shell can crack if it isn't thick enough.  So after the 3rd or 4th coat you can let it dry completely before the next dip.  
    5. They say this can be used for the fine backing sand, but I think -200 mesh flour is too fine for that.  
  5. That binder will have a shelf life, measured in months; so don't order too much at one time.  

 

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You might want to look up Complete Metalsmith and get the instructors edition.  It will give information on the lost wax method of casting as well as other forms.

Doug

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Thank you Jerrod and Doug, I'll have a look at the Metalsmith and see if there are any instructions that come with the binder etc.

Cheers!

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