Thank you for taking the first steps in your new hobby, or perhaps in sharing it with others.
Metal Casting is a very old technique and stretches back to making actual tools, ammo and weapons. Over the centuries the uses diversified to include hobbies like making miniatures and also used many different materials to create the moulds from (e.g: slate, plaster and steel). Our very first moulds in the 50's and early 60's were plaster, but with the introduction of vulcanised rubber, we changed our process as the benefits of rubber moulds was so overwhelming that it was obviously the future.
Benefits of rubber moulds:
- Tough and durable.
- Flexible and resiliant.
- Easy to use and reuse.
Learning how to cast is actually pretty easy. Just follow a few simple and logical guidelines and you will be casting in minutes. You can boil down the whole procedure to just this: Melt some suitable alloy in a ladle and after assembling the mould, pour the metal into the holes provided, let cool for five minutes and disassemble the mould. Remove the casting and trim and polish it. Simple as that. The equipment needed are very basic and excluding the heat source, are all manual non-electric devices and tools, like brushes, snippers and ladles. The heat source can be any electric cooker, hotplate or special electric pot. Other cookers can be used, but you need to keep in mind the size of the ladle with any flickering gas flame or induction hob.
What kit should I use?
We provide a wide variety of kits and the contents are shown in the product description. The most basic casting kit is PA2000 which has the essential tools for casting, and you can add the metal alloy bars and chosen mould(s) of your choice with it. We have a custom kit as well that allows you similar freedom but is more suitable for a gift for someone as it comes in a lovely sturdy box.
The most basic tools, excluding metal, heatsource and moulds obviously, are:
- the release agent (also known as talcum powder), stops the metal sticking to the mould and lets air escape.
- support boards, which sandwich the assembled mould to improve spread of pressure and insulate the mould,
- metal ladle, where the liquid metal is held and transported to be poured into the mould.
- metal clamps and/or thick elastic bands (which hold the boards and mould together).
- a wooden stick or long wooden match or stirrer to both test the metal temperature and also push away any gunk or dross that floats on the surface of the liquid metal (caused by impurities and oxidation).
All of these are in PA2000 basic kit and will also be in the larger starter kits. Other accessories like the super snipper (A flat sided snips) and files and brush are highly recommended to clean up the resulting casting but you may have similar suitable alternatives at home already.
Some of the larger kits may include paints and brushes, which serve to let you prime and paint the casting if you so choose.
We have many videos in our tutorials area that will assist you in learning about casting and also includes advanced techniques like venting and soldering metal parts together. Short videos and written guides are free to view.