The recent article I wrote in my “Dimension Print Studio” website titled, “A Thinly Veiled Secret” is a wake-up call for me about some of my cast silver jewelry designs. I tend to leave heavy sections in pieces where thinning is possible. This ignores some of the rules of fine design. Light weight is one signature of professional work. Massive weight has a place but is generally not desirable in wearable jewelry. Unless you are a “Mr. T” or designing a Super Bowl ring.
Thin, light, skinny design requires more creative care as models become fragile. Especially when hand carving. Thin, three-dimensional printing becomes fragile too. Therefore, I have a habit of producing heavier sections in my models. These thicker castings are a “safer” form of silver work. Functional but less refined, less “fine art”.
Casting silver or any metal is by its nature, a more solid process than working with sheet metal or wire. But it doesn’t need to be massively heavy. Lost wax casting is an excellent media for displaying very fine shapes and detail. Once cast in metal, the fragility is gone.
I took formal lessons in the “lost wax - fine art” design and process for casting silver (or any metal). I learned emphasis on design such as thinning and reducing weight; also, to produce perfect models. Lost wax re-produces very fine details from the model. I occasionally stray from that training. Call it creative license; rules to break at my own risk..
The casting procedure is a production process, separate from artistic design. Thin sections can be managed.
The difficulty with three-dimensional resin master casting models, is thick sections in the model. So why are they there? A very good question. I put them there by design.
So, thickness is an inherent problem with resin curing. It is also a wake-up signal for examining the silver work I design. I can improve my designs. I have no control of the resin. Thin is in, and always has been. Ah-ha! There IS a future for castable resin in my studio.
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.
I thoroughly enjoy the craft and art of creating lost wax silver cast items. The creation is where I find the enjoyment. The finished product is… well, just the finished product. I like what I make but I like making of it better.
I realized that there is art in the steps of creation and I am usually the only one who ever sees it. At least in my shop. I work almost exclusively alone. I see it, enjoy the moment, and then it is gone forever. Unless I take a few photo’s along the way.
I have been taking photos and publishing the sequence of creation for years. They are the basis of the many blogs I publish of the things I love to create or make.
Here are a few shots of my most recent private art show.
This silver pendant project I call a CrossNote. Suitable wearable for church choir member, church musician, or someone who just enjoys Christian liturgical music.