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Cuttlefish casting is a quick and accurate casting method. Its applications are limited only by the thickness and size of the cuttlefish and the fact that you can only cast once. It is difficult to achieve fine detail on the surface of the casting, but the cuttlefish creates a very unique pattern on the surface.
Step by Step for Cuttlefish Casting:
- Deciding what to cast
If you are looking to use an existing ring or article the material should be firm and solid such as a plastic, metal, hard wax and wood (no soft spots) in order to withstand being pressed into the cuttlefish.You can carve and scratch a personal free hand design by shaping the chalky bone using wax carvers, scalpel blades, burs, files or any other necessary tools you can find.
- The Casting Mould
A medium sized cuttlefish should work perfectly when cut in half and placed together. The two surfaces should be so flat, that no light should be allowed to shine through the surfaces when held together. The halves can be abrasively rubbed against each other in order to get the two parts to fit together optimally. Place the ring or design in the thickest part of the cuttlefish and then place the second half of the cuttlefish bone on top until the two pieces sandwich the original ring or design.
Next you will separate the two mould halves and model, without damaging the mold in the process. Using wax carvers can assist to prise open the moulds. Cut a funnel shaped sprue into each halve from the design up to the top opening of the cuttlefish, it must be around 5mm wide. Cut small vents for air on the sides to free pressure as the metal enters the mould.
Let the mould dry under a warm surface such as a lamp.
When dry wrap the two together tightly with binding wire so that it doesn’t shift or move when casting process begins.
In general the molten metal should be poured at the lowest temperature possible in order to prevent the mould from being permanently burned.If you pour too slowly it will solidify quickly and not cast correctly. Sprinkle a little borax in with your molten metal to make sure its perfectly clean.
With the process described above, you are now ready to start your journey with cuttlefish casting and create anything from rings to necklace charms.