The Casting of Metal

The Modelling and Casting Process at Work

Stage 1: Generation of Master

Working to a draw design which I then translate via tracing paper pinning the outline into the wax for the overall shape before I build up the base or high relief detail.

Stage 2: Sculpt Master

Once I have finished the modelling in wax I move to the workshop ready to make the mould.

The wax portrait of a Great Dane is ready to have its mould made and I surround the work with a wax dam and pour the two part silicone rubber mould.

Stage 3: Generate Silicone Mould

Once the silicone rubber mould is truly cured, usually I leave for a full day, the mould can be prepared for electrotype copper casting.

Stage 4: Prepare Mould

Copper wire clips are prepared.

I twist a pair of copper wires to provide a conductor which is pinned around the edge of the mould.

Once in place the circuit and mould I hold it in place on a perspex backing board by lacing it in place with fishing line.

Stage 5: Wired Mould

Once the mould is ready for plating it is then made conductive.

Stage 6: Apply Conductive Material

Painting the graphite powder into the cavity mould. Once brushed in, gives a polished sheen.

Stage 7: Machine Settings

The power source has been running suffieient time for the heater to raise the temperature to 20°c.

Stage 8: Into the Plating Bath

The mould and backing plate is placed in the acid and the two copper wires attached to the front conductor bar. The amperage is set dependent on the size of the piece to be cast and adjusted over the 6 or 8 hours necessary to deposit a solid copper coat into the cavity mould.

Stage 9: Cleaning in Progress

The plating salts which discolour the casting are removed by wire brushing or rubbing wire wool, which reveals the bright copper relief in detail.

Stage 10: Materials for Chemically Patentating the Casting

Various waxes used to complete the patentation, can be supplied from art shops and shoe shops.

Stage 11: Finished Piece

Copper quickly oxidises but I use a range of chemical patenating agents to speed the process to produce a finished cast ready for the framemaker to create a complementary frame to show off the work.