Metal Jewelry Making and the Crucible

Metal Casting Crucible

Metal Casting Crucible

So now that we have gone over furnaces lets talk about another of the tools we will be needing for casting jewelry. The cool thing about casting metal is that once you get the main couple of tools, you can just make all the others. So without further ado, lets get started.

So now that we have a furnace to melt the metal, we will be needing a container that is heat resistant to melt the metal in. This is what is referred to as a crucible. A crucible can come in many shapes and sizes and can be made out of many things, when thinking about the size just remember that a crucible is placed inside the furnace, metal is then added and melted down, so you will need to get a crucible based on the size of your furnace. It should be stressed that the quality of a crucible is of the utmost importance, burn through can happen and we do not want molten metals falling into our furnace. Shattering is another issue we will need to keep in mind.

Steel crucibles can be easily made at home with some welding tools, and is just fine for melting less precious metals like aluminum because it’s low melting point is well below that of steel. However if you are wanting to melt more precious metals or metals that require higher melting points then you will not want a steel crucible. Reason being is that steel has a problem with scaling “flakes” that will scale off the interior of the crucible and contaminate the melt. Because of this commercial crucibles are a lot of times made out of graphite or Silicon Carbide. Both of these refractory materials prevent contamination of the metal, while being extremely heat resistant. For the most part you will be able to create most of every tool in your foundry however, while it is possible to make your own crucible’s, again it really isn’t something you will want to skimp on. When casting jewelry safety is key and cannot be stressed enough!

Just a couple of other points:

  • You will want a crucible for each type of metal you will be casting. This is another safety precaution. Melt aluminum in your aluminum crucible, brass in it’s own.
  • Store crucible’s in a warm dry environment.
  • While inserting and lifting out crucible, be very cautious as to not hit the sides of the furnace. Keep it in the middle of the furnace and move it slowly.
  • Never ever touch the crucible!!!!!!
  • Always loosely place metal into the crucible. Never pack it in, wait for the metal to melt, completely melt before adding more, and always be aware that if there is moisture on the metal it can create a steam explosion.
  • Never, EVER touch the crucible!!!!!!
  • Always pay attention as it very well may shatter at the least opportune moment.
  • Always wear boots, jeans, and gloves while handling the crucible which will be red hot.
  • Make sure the crucible is completely empty after use. Metal expands when it solidifies and can break the vessel.

You are now well on your way to making metal jewelry, ring casting and creating all sorts of other goodies!

I hope you have enjoyed this article on casting jewelry, please return often as new posts will be added. Until then make sure you check out “Metal Casting: Appropriate Technology in the Small Foundry” A great book on everything you need to know about starting your own small foundry. Thank you for visiting CastingJewelry.org! Visit back often and also make sure to join our RSS feed to receive automatic updates in your email whenever there is a new post. Have a great day!Casting Jewelry

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