Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 11:48 am

scbb11Sketch
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So I have an .stl that I want to make into a metal casting. I want it to be silver plated bronze. I'm having a hard time finding a good company that will do it for a reasonable price (read - "cheap"). Does anyone know of any reliable companies that will take my computer file, make a wax, and then cast, finish, and plate it?
Thanks for any help!

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 12:13 pm

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NURB
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First step is to not make it bronze. If you're plating it, make it steel. 1 off casting is always expensive. The more you can provide to them, physically, the better. Why not try a Rapid Proto company first?
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Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 12:25 pm

scbb11Sketch
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It's a decorative piece, and I want it to have some value, so that's why I said bronze. But I could do steel or something I guess.
Ok, so let's say I get an SLA of the piece. I still need a company. I'm in Chicago if that helps. It's hard finding these places.

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 12:33 pm

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The first place that comes to mind is Matthews International. They work primarily in bronze and aluminum, and do exceptional work. But expensive. http://www.matw.com/memorialization.html

Otherwise, here's a quick TomasNet search http://www.thomasnet.com/nsearch.html?c ... prodsearch in your area.
Chris Haar

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Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 1:42 pm

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asango
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what size is it?
do you only need one?
any fancy details like undercuts?

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 2:13 pm

scbb11Sketch
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H - 3.2"
W - 2.13"
L - 2.37"
Volume - 3.42 cu. inches

I want to make about 20 so I can start to sell them. It's this:
http://www.coroflot.com/public/individu ... d=2247638&, but this one has proportion issues. So I want to make it from a computer file so it's perfect.

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 2:32 pm

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What are you getting for quotes? 20 pieces is a pretty small order for something that, if mass produced, might cost $20-30 retail if done in plated steel. And at that scale, how are you going to differentiate between the cheaper candle holders out there?
Chris Haar

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Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 2:43 pm

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Looking at the design, I might say another process could be better suited. have you considered lathing each piece from something (even solid aluminum would look sweet), then welding and grinding them. Depending on the materials, you might not even need to plate it, but it's always an option if you choose the right material.

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Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 2:49 pm

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another option.... is to make the part an sla or stl, ... weight the part with led and bondo over the insert hole.... use a copper bath to dip the plastic into.... color the coper to look like bronze.
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Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 4:16 pm

scbb11Sketch
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Some interesting ideas there.
What are you getting for quotes? 20 pieces is a pretty small order for something that, if mass produced, might cost $20-30 retail if done in plated steel.
That's the thing. One quote I got was like $1100 for one piece. I know there are cheaper places out there, I just haven't found them yet.
Looking at the design, I might say another process could be better suited. have you considered lathing each piece from something (even solid aluminum would look sweet), then welding and grinding them.
Well I don't have a shop like that at my disposal or any welding knowledge. When I did that first one I posted, I was still in school, and we did a lost foam cast in our foundry. Now I can't really lathe metal or weld everything. I'd rather pay someone else to do it.

So I'd like to have it all metal and either made from a mold made from an SLA or have the wax 3D printed itself. And silver plate would make it somewhat valuable. Now I just need a place.

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 4:29 pm

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Try here: http://www.rapid3d.com

They'll build you an SLS model and then electroplate it with nickel. Shouldn't cost too much and it will look like & feel like steel (albeit much lighter).

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 7:14 pm

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Another, possibility is slip casting, there are a number of metallic finishes available, including a selection of ceramic lusters. They could be produced rather easily and inexpensively. Also I have experimented with electroplating ceramics with interesting results.
I know you want the piece cast in metal... your best bet for doing it "cheap" is to connect with someone locally. Colleges or a local art center usually pour once a semester maybe you can barter and just pay for your materials, it has worked for me. :) All this new technology is exciting and great, but it's not really affordable for the little guy, sometimes it's better to do stuff old school. Good Luck!

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 8:33 pm

scbb11Sketch
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Try here: http://www.rapid3d.com
They'll build you an SLS model and then electroplate it with nickel. Shouldn't cost too much and it will look like & feel like steel (albeit much lighter).
Thanks! I requested a quote from them, so we'll see what happens there. I didn't know you could plate an SLA. Good to know! (And I can put a weight in the bottom to make it heavier :P)

Re: Metal Casting question

October 7th, 2009, 8:55 pm

mgnt8
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scbb11Sketch wrote:
Try here: http://www.rapid3d.com
They'll build you an SLS model and then electroplate it with nickel. Shouldn't cost too much and it will look like & feel like steel (albeit much lighter).
Thanks! I requested a quote from them, so we'll see what happens there. I didn't know you could plate an SLA. Good to know! (And I can put a weight in the bottom to make it heavier :P)
Great, let us know how it goes. I would have thought SLS would be the way to go because the parts are much stronger, but they would know better than me. Good guys.

Re: Metal Casting question

October 8th, 2009, 3:26 pm

scbb11Sketch
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Well after talking with them, that idea was just that. An idea. The guy I talked to told me it would cost too much and he didn't think it was a good solution. He even went as far as to say the nickel plating they do on the SLAs wasn't very good and didn't look too presentable. So I'm back to square one. Unless I can get a metal casting place to do it for cheaper, this plan is dead in the water.
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