Wax Casting and Silicon Moulding

I have finally got my successful 3D print after much modelling on rhino and zbrush I can finally create my wax cast to start the lost wax bronze casting process.

silicon mold process

The process of creating my silicon mould left to right

Silicon is weird stuff, it literally gets in to every crevasse what your trying to mold it got into every section of my 3D print in spite of how thick and gloopy it is. I made my mould with a very fetching pink mix, the main reason for this colour was to make sure that the two part mixture combined thoroughly and fully.

It is also largely a waiting game, i had to wait a day to complete each half of the mould, creating registration holes with a pen helped keep the two parts aligned. i was in a bit of a panic when i did the second half as i had forgotten to create a spout hole to later pour the wax in. In the end i had to cut this hole with a scalpel. The end result of creating these moulds was a like for like perfect replica negative of my 3d print. It was very weird to see my medal almost inside out if you will.

Next came the wax.

Ah playing with hot wax, those were the days, I used to pour hot candle wax on curbs to skate them. Here I am years later, using it for something a bit more sophisticated.

This was a bit of a lottery for me, I didn’t have much control over how the cast would form inside the mould. I had issues with air bubbles or wax not reaching every crevasse in the mould. Sometimes I would lose alot of sharpness in the detail.

In the end I had to compromise, and settle on having a mould with a few air bubbles that I would have to manually patch up.

IMG_1415I ended up with a few good casts . I needed to start smoothing out rough areas, making sure everything  fit together I was working with millimetres here, I didn’t have much to forgive, things needed to be precise.

Wax is pretty hard to manipulate when its cold, so I used few scalpels and a candle to heat them up. I had a few different scalpel shapes and sizes to work with so I could get into the small areas and work them into shape.

I needed to get those platforms smooth and flat for the acrylic slabs that will eventually be stuck on. I went around each step and made sure everything fit perfectly.

medal-prog

I lasered out some test acrylic pieces and pushed them into the wax to get a solid fit.

Using some clay scraper tools I smoothed out the wax getting rid of the imperfections that the 3D prints texture left and then I started to work on the quote.

IMG_1422Through out this whole design process the quote was something I didnt really know how to tackle. I assumed I would just take my time and scribe it by hand. I had an idea to write up the quote in illustrator and put it in a box the equivilent size of the medals circumference. I increased the boldness of the letters then i lasered out the quote onto strips and used them as makeshift stencils. This worked great, to a degree, but it just didn’t look as good as I know it could have and I didnt have the time to think of another solution. So I decided to smooth it over after a few attempts and I think I may look into getting it professionally done.

update: leaving the quote on the wax a good idea!

IMG_1451In trying to repair the figures arm on my medal, I ended up chopping off his hand by mistake, so I had to perform some surgery on him.

I took one of the figures from one of my other casts, chopped it off, thinned it out and stylised the blank side with some energetic streaks. I then reattached the figure to my original cast with some hot wax.

IMG_1429

all in all im rather chuffed.

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