Silver Casting Guide

Introduction to Silver Casting

Casting is a process that has been used in myriad forms over the last 5,000 years. It is opined that the very first metalworking skill was that of casting (lost-wax casting or investment). Silver casting possesses a great allurement owing to its superior gauge and fine quality of silver. Silver casting items are handmade, often in two halves, bringing forth to delicate and first-rate detail. Casting was the method of choice for several celebrated silversmiths such as Paul de Lamerie and Paul Storr. Metal casting is an amusing, extra-hands-on approach. It lets you create unparalleled inventions (water casting and sand casting), recycle your own metal scraps, and multiples of your designs or found gadgets (casting in cuttlebone or silicone molds). Furthermore, silver casting has wide-ranging benefits for all types of jewelry makers.

Fun Facts about Silver

Silver is a precious metal used in applications extending from photo processing and coins to eating utensils and dishes. Silver also has considerable strength and a low melting point to which makes it a perfect metal to be cast without difficulty. It is looked upon as the best conductor of electricity and heat compared with any other element. Silver is often used to make mirrors, since it is the best reflector of visible light. It’s the most malleable and ductile metal, which means it can be forged into thin wires and shaped into thin sheets without shattering. Silver forms from star explosions called supernovas like gold. The explosion of smaller stars produce silver, while the explosion of larger stars creates gold.

One of the more omnipresent uses of silver is in jewelry. As a comparatively malleable material, silver products can be made in a variety of ways including casting. Silver casting is a process in which; generally, molten materials are poured into prepared molds. What’s more, there are a variety of casting techniques in which silver can be used.

Casting Techniques

● Lost Wax Casting

One of the most famous casting methods in use is called lost wax casting or investment casting. In lost wax casting a model is forged from wax and affixed to the bottom to hold it in place. The model is placed in a flask and housed in a type of plaster, after which the flask is put into a vacuum chamber to take away the air. Once the plaster placed with the model in position, it is fired or kilned which causes the wax to melt or evaporate and leave the plaster with empty space inside that replicates the model. The melted silver, or we can say alternate metal, can then be poured into the mold and began to cool down.

● Die Casting

Die casting is commonly used in large-scale operations, on account of its high set up and equipment cost involved. The molten silver is mechanical forced into a specialized mold called a die in the die casting process. Dies are permanent molds, frequently made from steel, and among them may be held shut mechanically or with manual clasps. The mold is opened to let out the cooled product once the metal cools down.

● Sand Casting

Sand casting is the oldest method of casting. For clarity, a illustration of small-scale sand casting offers a general process run-through. Sand casting is done with two mold frames, originally made of steel or aluminum, which are opened on the back and the front. The model is put into one of the frames and sand is packed around it very tightly. The other half of the frame is filled entirely with sand. A groove or casting gate is made on both sides of the frame that reaches from the top of the molds to top of the model depression. The sand is dried and then molten silver can be poured into the casting gate and began to cool down. Sand casting is probably the simplest casting process to perform in a non-seasoned setting.

● Cuttlebone Casting

Also commonly considered “cuttlefish casting,” this easy, conventional metal casting technique takes benefitting of the splendid properties of an exquisitely porous bone-like internal organ that is shared by all members of the cuttlefish family. The animal uses it for buoyancy control. Even though cuttlebone purchased commercially is likely to have been harvested from a cuttlefish caught for food, remnant cuttlebone from died-naturally animals can be collected from beaches in numerous parts of the world.
The internal facet of the bone is comprised of porous aragonite, a crystal form of calcium carbonate. It is also naturally impervious to the heat of molten jewelry metals like gold and silver, though the mold is destroyed during the process of casting.

● Broom Casting

These are some of the more foreseeable, manageable types of metal casting. Broom straw is bathed in water then outflowed and tied into a loose bundle, stood up in a soup, and the molten silver is poured into the edges. The bundle of straw is opened to see what an astonishing silver casting types are to be discovered inside after quenching.

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