For this process you start out with wax that you carve, or shape in the designs you want. One wax I use is a tube, and you use a cool shaving mandrel that shaves the hole to the size you want. From there you can carve the outside to be what you want. I also use a lot of wire wax, this wax is in strands of varying thicknesses. I find this to be easiest to work with when making rings that look like branches. :)
|Wire wax is the left picture. Carving wax tube is on the right in 2 different profiles.|
|You start out with the ring you want to put in the investment.|
|You add the yellow sprue wax, weigh the ring, and then mount it on the rubber base.|
|Showing you how it looks when mounted, from above.|
|With the metal cylinder before and after pouring the investment.|
After the mold is burned out, you can then cast the ring/jewelry. The way you do that is on a centrifuge type contraption. You mount a crucible on an arm that spins after winding up and releasing it.
But first you need to get your mold hot again. Usually 400 degrees F is enough to get really good detail out of your mold. When your mold gets hot enough, you mount that on the arm along with a crucible. Depending on the metal you should get the crucible hot first. In my class we use a large torch. Once the crucible is hot, you add the metal and flux (keeps the metal from oxidizing). Melting the metal can take 10 minutes for silver, you have to get it to where it is liquid. Silver melts at 1,763 degrees F, so you can see that is very hot. Once the metal is liquid, you release the wound up arm, and it spins the whole thing around very fast. In doing so, the liquid metal is shot into your mold. Once your mold and crucible spin slow enough that you can stop it, you take the crucible out and set it on a firing block, so it doesn't burn the table. Usually 5 minutes is enough for the mold and metal to cool enough to quench it.
Once the mold is cool enough (not glowing), you take tongs and submerge it in a bucket of water. I usually use a butter knife to dig my pieces out of the investment. Unless the mold is still quite hot, then the piece usually boils out of the investment, making my job a lot easier.
|This is what you end up with after digging the (now metal) piece out of the investment.|
|After cutting off the sprues (now in metal) you have a lot of work to still do!|
Now you have a piece of jewelry! But your work is not over yet! You then have to cut the sprues off your piece (which are now metal). Then you have a lot of post work to do to clean up your jewelry! Filing, sanding, and polishing are just some of the things you still need to do to your piece.