Same program and 5 revo mills and 4 solidscapes and formlabs2 incase you need anything
Art, is this sterling silver? Do you mind me asking what metal temperature? Thank you so much!
And thank you, @George_Earussi!
I’m in Austin, Texas. ZBrush, Form2…
I use tru silver casting grain from hoover and strong. I cast at 1825F metal temp and 900F flask temp. Using a memco electrovac with a nitrogen/ hydrogen gas mix.
George, any chance you cast stainless steel? have a customer for some motorcycle logo rings but wants stainless
Ah…I had to look up TruSilver. I’m using something similar from Rio…anti-oxidation casting grain. I’ve actually had problems trying to get it to take a nice patina. Thanks for the info on the temperatures…I’m casting at around 1865°F (1018°C), which is at the top end of what they recommend…I was having a problem with it not being fluid enough. Using a KayaCast vacuum system. Sounds like you have a really nice setup!
So, The Bluecast… How is the post-print shrinkage? Are you casting immediately as they recommend or taking your time? Seeing your pieces I’m sure you understand the issue here.
I was going to try this stuff but the shrinkage issue has me stalled.
I have been making the models 2.5% larger in preform. Sizes have been dead on.
Sometimes I cast right away. Sometimes a few days later. Have not had that be a problem yet
I’ve found bluecast to have a variable shrinkage rate, depending on environment and time from print to investment. In the summer, I was losing 1 ring size from the original model to the cast piece. In winter, that went down to half-a-size. However, I get these results only if I print, rinse/dry/repeat 3 times, and then invest on the same day - preferably right away.
If I leave a print for a day or two - even in a drawer or dark cupboard, there’s a noticeable shrinkage.
I now only use bluecast for models where precision isn’t totally required - like pendants without gem settings, or prototype models. For anything else, I go back to formlabs castable. (I’ve found by properly curing my prints, using R&R Plasticast - finally available in the UK - drying my invested flasks overnight at 20°C and holding the oven initially during burnout at 143°C for 2 hours, I’m getting great, non-porous results).
I am using the previous version of BlueCast, and there is a little shrinkage if I leave the model sitting around for a day or so. If I invest within a couple hours, I don’t have a problem with shrinkage.
I don’t have a set percentage, but I’ll add about 0.2-0.3mm to the size of stones, for example. Following that, I can usually bezel-set a stone with little to no cleanup.
I’m in Austin, Texas…we probably sit more on the humid side of the spectrum. I understand that BlueCast is “hygroscopic” and seeks water…
I understand the new version of BlueCast is supposed to have addressed the shrinkage issue.
@Charles_McManus, are you also getting successful casts from the Castable V2? If so, do you mind telling us what burnout you’re using…and what type of casting setup you’re using? Many thanks!
I’ve experimented endlessly with different investment powders, burnouts, etc. I’m on the east coast of Scotland, and differences in temp and humidity make a huge difference. What works for me is the following (with Castable V2):
-Print the model (I was getting good results with my formlabs 1+. Since upgrading to a form2, I’ve found the results even better).
-Rinse in dirty then clean iso. Dry with an airbrush. Stick in curing chamber for 4-8 hours, depending on thickness.
-Invest in R&R plasticast. Seriously. I’ve tried 4 other investment powders. Nothing else comes close.
-Place the flasks in a steady, room temp environment overnight.
-Warm your oven up to 143°C for an hour. Put the flasks in. Burnout at:
143°C - 2 hours
177°C - 30 mins
ramp up to 750°C at 200°C an hour - hold for 4 hours
Ramp down to casting temp. Flip flasks to let any carbon monoxide escape. Leave to settle for 3 hours. Cast.
My setup is pretty old-school. A large oven, an electro melt, a vacuum pump and chamber, and a MAP torch to cover the metal as it’s pouring.
It’s not always perfect, but I get more successes than failures these days. You can check out my work at www.circinn-studio.com to see the kind of stuff we’ve been casting.
I cast the piece on the right using the newer version of Bluecast, the piece on the left is done in FL castable, the issue I’ve had with the FL product is the orange peal that you can see on the left, I invested the Bluecast within 24 hours of printing , the material is 14k white gold, there were 14 pieces in 4 flasks, a mix of yellow, white and sterling, I’m still processing these and 2 of them were for clients right now,
you can see that I’ve tried multiple spues and more , honestly I’ve tried everything and have more time into this than I want to. I hesitated to use the Bluecast and went ahead and ran a batch use FL castable last week…again , just to give the product a solid shot at this thing, I’m sorry I did because it was a waste, the Bluecast is the answer to the problem of poor castings using V2.
I’ll post some more here later, thank you guys for all your help in this, your experience and willingness to share has been invaluable to me
thanks for posting the side by sides. Have had good success with the blue cast. Had the same issues with the FL castable… Also kike that i don’t have to cure the bluecast
I’m a huge fan of not having to cure, and having good results with BlueCast, but am going to go back and apply what I’ve learned over the past year to my Castable V2 and see how it works.
Paul, I’m wondering if a longer burnout would work on the Castable V2 version? There was one of your other rings that might have had residue (one of the heavier signet rings).
Thanks so much for showing them side-by-side!
Converting for those of us who live in a backwards country that never embraced the elegant metric system:
143°C is 290°F for two hours
177°C is 350°F for 30 minutes
1382°F for 4 hours (392°F/hr ramp)
Ramp down to casting temperature (I’m using 975°F for general casting).
Thanks so much, @Charles_McManus!
I have more news. So, I use the same vacuum setup for investing and casting. The other day, I’m casting. My vacuum pump is a heavy duty model that cost me quite a few pennies. It stops pulling a vacuum. I shrug, figure it needs the oil changed (probably clogged with investment particles) and switch over to my backup pump (about 2/3 the strength of the big bubba). I have a lot of commissions to get through, so I put the big pump on the to-do list of future Charlie and carry on.
My next 2 casts are terrible. Really bad - orange peel, porosity, and flashing. Not just the formlabs, but the wax models too. I adjust my burnout schedule to a slower ramp, etc. but it’s even worse. So, I email R&R and get no response. Finally, I download the datasheet for plasticast, and find the answer: The initial degas of the investment has to happen in under 2 minutes. Normally, that’s fine, but with my smaller pump, it’s closer to 3 minutes. Plasticast does not like that. It especially does not like me reducing the amount of time I’m mixing the investment so I can pull a full vacuum on the slurry.
Long story short - the quicker you can get a collapse on your initial degas of your slurry, the better your casts are going to be.
I don’t think this is true of all investment powders - I’ve tried 4 so far with this resin. However, it does appear to be true of the R&R plasticast. The bigger your pump, the smaller your chamber, the better.
Interesting observation…I read the R&R instructions awhile back, but never noticed anything about that.
Charles, do you know what your elevation is? I’m in Austin, at 489 feet from sea level, or 150 meters. When I was in Denver (5290 feet, 1612 meters), I know that my pump acted differently, although I’ve been back in Austin for almost three years. Mine’s a Kaya-Cast, but I’m guessing that doesn’t have a “bad boy” pump!
Other than a larger pump, is there any other way to affect the speed? I saw you said “smaller chamber.”
I’ve actually never timed the initial degassing. I’ll do that on my next casting session.
Thank you for the info on the plasticast Charles, I did not know about the quicker the degassing the better the casting, I do believe the harder you mix the investment the harder the investment will be , I don’t have any proof of this but I do mix as vigorously as I can. I always make sure there is no investment residue in the flasks or bases, someone told me along the way that the residue can cause the investment to set inconsistently, the people that work for me probably get tired of me reminding them.
This is one of the pieces Kat that I think you are referring to, I’ve melted about everything else, its obviously been polished tumbled and burnished, he gave it his best to make it work but it didn’t, the porosity is sharp edged and it is mainly at the top of the ring, to me it looks like contamination from a poor burnout, I am running the burnout to 1380 and holding there for 4 hours.
This is the other issue we are all having using V2 castable, I took this at 15x using my phone so its a poor photo but we all get the idea
this is the same part cast with the bluecast, very usable, FL customer support told me today ( 2-14 ) that they believe the porosity issue I’m having with the V2 is from inconsistent curing
this is a piece I cured in a curebox for more than 40 plus hours, (no typo), you can see the porosity at the top of the bezel, considering where the porosity is it feels like the ash is gathering at the very top of the casting, this model was bleached gray after 40 hours, its not a heavy ring with thick and thin spots, its like a size 4.5, so I don’t think it is a curing problem here. I used the V2 to cast this because I could not get as fine of detail using the bluecast… Ill just replace the bezel , burnish and laser and it and it will work fine , another shot of the piston ring , you can see just how rough the overall casting is, the other 2 pieces were printed using the bluecast, they are simply smoother
When I first started using the Form2, I had a platinum ring to make, I sent the print out to be cast and the caster sent it back covered in the orange peel and a lot of breakdown, he said the print was bad and sent along a 3000 dollar bill for it, it was completely unusable. I printed another one and attempted to cast it myself using a little TI casting machine, mine was better than the first one but not usable, what I’m getting at is, I used a dental investment and burned it out to 1800 degrees and had the same problems as I did burning it out at 1380 so I don’t know if its the burnout temp
we will get this Thanks you guys
Cheers, Paul. I hadn’t heard that about the investment residue. I’m off to scrub all my flasks!
I totally feel your pain and frustration on this one - I’ve been experimenting with Castable V1 and V2 for about 2 years now, and it’s only now I’m getting consistent results, and only after tweaking and trialing every stage of the casting process.
Here’s the document I found on plasticast. Step 6 is where it talks about degassing:
@katkramer, I’m 44m above sea level. I know what you mean - the weather changes quite a bit here on the east coast of Scotland, and I find my casting setup needs to be tweaked in Autumn and Spring. My big pump pulls at 12CFM, which means it creates a 99.9% vacuum in a 30L chamber in a little over a minute. Before buying a bigger pump or a small vacuum pot, you can try displacing the air in your current setup - e.g. if you have enough space in the bottom of your vacuum pot for 2 bricks, then put 2 bricks in there - the air that their mass has displaced is air you don’t have to pump out of your chamber, and should speed up your degas. Just an example, but you get the idea. I would definitely time your degas.
It took me a long time to get the times and mixes right on the plasticast. The mfg instructions did not work for me at all. I had to add more water than they recommended and cut down vacuum times and mixing times… Took me awh
ile but finally have good castings
Paul, the 1800°F burnout is too hot, according to R&R. They’re reasoning was “investment breakdown” but also that there’s not enough oxygen at that temperature to completely eliminate the ash. They say that the investment breaks down at a certain temperature (I’ll have to look it up, but I know that the recommended burnout temp from BlueCast was WAY too hot according to R&R’s engineer. They recommended going back down to 1350°F and holding longer (732°C). My thought on the crud on the top of the Sober Riders ring is that it’s ash residue. I’d try 4 hours.
I had heard something from a glass casting instructor about investment (plaster) residue in mixing bowls and tools causing plaster to “flash set” and set too soon. That would make sense with what you’re saying.
I’m casting on a small scale, so I just use a KitchenAid hand mixer in a rubber bowl, then degas in my combination vacuum caster. I’m not really fussy about it…I’m mixing at the 40:100 ratio, and mix more or less for three minutes (depends on if I have my Apple Watch handy to time it), and mix on the highest setting.
In glass casting, we let the investment/plaster mixture “slake” and let all the liquid combine before mixing. With R&R Plasticast I’ve finally gotten over that and just jump right in with the mixer. I’m also not paying any attention to using a separate timing for the initial mixing…as soon as I get the powder in the bowl, I start mixing, and count that as part of the three minutes.
I would say my recent casts have had no “general” porosity or “scaliness” like my earlier casts, but I have had a couple small pits that are consistent across casts…I usually cast three of each model, which I then pick the best, finish, then make a rubber mold. I have noticed on a couple models that I get a small pit in the same place on each one, which makes me thing it has something to do with the sprue placement. That said, I’m also not doing the same kind of models as Paul…mine are more like charms and basic rings with a single, if any, stones.