Sand casting is a classic method for producing metal parts. Both common metals like iron and precious metals like sliver can be used for this process. The general idea is to produce a void in a box of sand, fill the void with molten metal, and shake the sand away from the cooled metal to reveal the completed casting. With some careful planning, you can create jewelry items or other unique items from cast silver.
Things You'll Need
- Part pattern or patterns
- Casting sand
- Binders (if appropriate)
- Core (if appropriate)
- Chaplets (if appropriate)
- Silver ingot or scrap
- Pouring ladle
- Personal protective equipment
Prepare sand and silver. Mix sand with binders and pack into a box. Heat the silver in the furnace until it reaches a molten state, which should be around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Press the pattern needed for the mold. If this is an open mold, then this step is as simple as pressing the pattern into the sand and removing it. Should a top and bottom portion, respectively known as the cope and drag, be necessary, create both halves of the mold. For a mold with two halves, you will also need to create a runner, gate, vent and pouring cup to ensure the molten silver fills all internal voids while preventing gasses and impurities from becoming trapped in the casting.
Assemble the mold. If there is only one piece to the mold, this step has already been completed. Otherwise, carefully align and assemble the cope and drag. If there are any internal voids to create in the casting, be sure that any appropriate cores are placed and suspended in place with silver chaplets before putting together the cope and drag.
Don personal protective equipment. Protect the hands with flame-resistant gloves and wear an apron. Be sure to wear a face shield to protect against any splatters.
Pour the molten silver. Dip a ladle into the furnace crucible and fill it with the molten silver. Pour slowly and gradually so that the metal reaches all the internal features of the mold properly. This also prevents the mold from collapsing.
Release the casting. Once the mold has had sufficient time to cool, simply knock the sand away from the mold to reveal the cast piece. Finish the casting as desired.
Tips & Warnings
- The best way to master sand casting silver is to practice it often.
- Exercise extreme caution around molten silver to avoid severe burns.
- Photo Credit silver sugar bowl with silver spoon image by Alex White from Fotolia.com
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