The Micro-Foundry offers an affordable introduction to lost wax casting in Brass, Bronze, Silver or Gold by using a combination of:
- Non-specialist, cheap, widely available 'hi-tech' kitchen equipment
- Traditional 'lo-tech' equipment as used by lost wax casters for 1000 years
- Full instructions for the safe use of this equipment, describing each stage leading to the casting of a piece of jewellery.
The Micro-Foundry can be setup on 1.5 metres of clear workbench with 1 metre of
clear space in front and a 220v power socket.
The Micro-Foundry for Jewellery and Micro-modelling crafts, consists of an A5/0 crucible micro-furnace (MFJ) and matching burn-out furnace (BFJ) for producing small, precious metal castings by lost wax investment from a wax model.
MFJ (Micro-Furnace for Jewellery) - Melting the Metal
The MFJ is the 'Melting' furnace and will melt 10cc of Brass, Bronze, Silver or Gold in an A5/0 crucible. The maximum working temperature is 1200°C.
To put this crucible capacity in perspective, 10cc of Silver costs 85 GBP, 10cc of Gold costs 5,500 GBP (2011). Granulated Hi-Brass costs around 35 GBP per Kg and so provides an affordable 'learning' metal.
- The MFJ furnace draws it's energy from a domestic microwave oven
- The MFJ can be used to melt any metal with a melting point below 1100°C
- The MFJ will not melt: Steel, Iron or Nickel alloys
- The MFJ will for example, melt 50g of gold in approx 20 minutes from cold
BFJ (Burnout-Furnace for Jewellery) - Burning out the Flask
The BFJ burns out the investment to 650°C clearing any remaining wax residues and stopping the investment chilling the molten metal when casting. The BFJ can be used for burning out a 38mm (1 1/2inch) max dia by 75mm max height investment flask.
The BFJ is more bulky than the MFJ due to its higher refractory content which is needed to keep the investment flask hot after burn-out. This gives the BFJ furnace an overall height of 190mm needing a 'loading height' of 200mm over the rim of the plate, this requires a 'family' sized microwave oven, rather than a 'compact'.
The MFJ, BFJ, Instructions for Safe Use plus other items shown in the picture above, form the basis of the Micro-Foundry for Jewellery and Micro-modelling making and are offered by CompUCut as a boxed set.
The user provides:
- 1 'family' sized microwave oven, typically 800-1000w, fan cooled with a rotating plate
- 1 halogen bowl
- A safe working area as described in the Instructions for Safe Use
- Moulds, patterns and consumables as required
Auxilliary items such as wax injector, vacuum assisted casting table etc. can be purchased from CompUCut if/when required.
- These products are not toys and are unsuitable for use by children or anyone for whom lifting 2Kg without dropping could be a problem.
- Whilst no previous experience is necessary, successful results will require a degree of skill that only comes with practice in the use of the equipment.
- The tutorial can be completed without the auxilliary items.
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