You might think that metalworking requires a lot of elaborate, expensive forging equipment. However, metals with relatively low melting points, such as pewter, may be cast using only a few, easily obtainable materials. You can design your own pewter objects, such as belt buckles, in one medium and then make a mould of it. Using this mould, you can then make casting after casting from pewter.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sculpting material
- 4 plastic tubs
- High-temp RTV silicone kit
- Face mask
- Mixing rod
- Metal tray
- Face plate
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Protective apron
- Melting pot
- Polishing cloth
Design your belt buckle and sculpt it. You can use any medium for this, either clay, epoxy, or wax. This piece will be your prototype for making a mould.
Place your prototype at the bottom of a plastic tub, with the detailed side facing up. Place the plastic tub in a well-ventilated area with a layer of newspaper underneath. Don a face mask and gloves.
Open your RTV silicone mould kit and retrieve the two bottles of moulding compound. Place them each next to an empty plastic tub. Make sure you use silicone specifically designed to withstand high temperatures. Several companies make silicone intended for casting metals with low melting points, such as pewter. Do not use any other kind of silicone.
Pour an equal amount of the liquid from each bottle into the separate tubs. Then pour the contents of each tub together into a third tub. Stir the contents with a mixing rod for a full minute.
Pour the mixture slowly into the tub with your prototype until there is at least an inch of silicone mixture over it. Let the silicone cure overnight.
Tip the bucket upside down and tap on the back to dislodge the silicone. Remove the silicone from the tub and pry the prototype out from mould.
Brush the inside of the mould with graphite. Place a metal tray on an inflammable, well-ventilated work surface and pour sand on top of it. Place your mould on top of the sand.
Don a protective apron, heat-resistant gloves, and a face mask. Place the pewter in your melting pot and set the temperature to 193 degrees C. Your pewter will melt.
Dip a ladle into the melted pewter. Pour the pewter from the ladle into your mould. The bed of sand under the mould will catch any pewter that spills. Allow the pewter in the mould to cool. The time this takes depends on the size of your buckle.
Remove the pewter buckle from the mould. You can now polish it with a silver-polishing cloth and do any other treatments to it that you wish.
Tips and warnings
- Metal casting is dangerous work. If you are new to working with pewter, work only under skilled supervision.
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