DSCN02793D printed master model.

For almost six months, I have experimented with three-dimensional printing to produce masters for investment casting of jewelry items. It’s the same process as lost wax casting, except the master model is printed in layers using Ultra Violet (UV) sensitive resin.

The printing process creates outstanding models. It requires skills in making CAD designed models and mastering the combination of printer power and resin exposure. A somewhat technical process but one that produces very detailed models from designs first created in the computer.

The problem is the casting process. The resin does not burn out of the investment the same as wax. It usually leaves resin ash or debris, or damages the internal investment mold surface. Casting results are occasionally satisfactory but far from routinely repeatable and therefore dependable.

KautzCraft Studio continues the thousands of years old process of lost wax casting as our primary process. Wax remains the superior master model material in the “lost wax” casting process. I will continue making and using real wax master models.

Resin printed masters are experimental research at KautzCraft. Items made with resin masters will be labeled as such, not using the term “Lost Wax“ in the product description. They will proudly be labeled as “investment cast” clearly stating using a “Three Dimensional Printing” process.

Three dimensional printed models should not be considered inferior in any way. When the issues with clean casting is resolved, three dimensional printed models will be the dominate high quality process in investment casting. I look forward to when that becomes reality for me.