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Guide to DIY Metal Casting

Making a cast of something involves pouring a liquid into a mold and allowing it to harden. Metal casting involves the heating of metals to make them into a liquefied, molten material. It's possible to perform metal casting work as a hobby in a home workshop. A home foundry can be an exciting addition to hobby equipment, enabling you to make a variety of metal objects such as jewelry and home decor.

Materials Needed

Metal casting requires the use of various tools and materials. For example, the vessel to hold the molten metal is called a "crucible." Other tools and equipment necessary for metal casting include a furnace, mold boxes, a hand ramming tool, crucible tongs, a vent wire rod, a hand sieve, and water spray. Casting grains such as green sand or clay enables you to create the mold for the molten metal. Common metals for casting include zinc, copper, tin, aluminum, and silver.

Types of Crafts

Designing and creating your own metal objects lends itself to many different types of crafts. You can fabricate your own objects, create decorative auto parts, and make jewelry. Additional crafting possibilities includes designing and making unique tool handles and candle holders. It's even possible to design intricate metal stamps for use with wood burning projects.

Steps Involved

The first step in metal casting involves making the mold. You can use sand or clay as casting grains. When molding zinc, it's possible to use a silicone mold. After completing design of the mold, it may be necessary to fire the mold, depending on the material. Firing hardens the mold and prepares it for the molten metal. The next step involves melting the metal to enable you to pour it into the mold. After the metal liquefies, pour it into the mold carefully. Metal hardens quickly. Within a few seconds after pouring the metal, you should be able to extract it from the mold. The final step involves filing and polishing the metal cast.

Safety Precautions

Working with molten metals and a furnace has specific risks, so safety precautions are important. Hobbyists must wear protective clothing, including closed-toe shoes, long pants, long sleeves, insulated gloves, and goggles. A well-ventilated area will lessen the risk of dangerous fumes. It is also important to keep a dry chemical fire extinguisher near a work area to extinguish fires if necessary. Keep a clear work area to ensure that accidents do not occur as you transfer the hot items.

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