My granddaughter (age 6) has been watching my silver work and wax carving. When she asked me, "What are you going to make for me, Papa?" What was a grandfather supposed to do? Of course, design one of these.
She had mentioned that Rose was one of her favorite names, so there is a little secret in the design of this little girl pendent.
I had a run of bad casts trying to master the vacuum assist lost wax process. I have solved the problem. (I hope) The picture on the left is two separate Sterling silver castings I made last Sunday. As you can see they came out perfect. Happy, Happy.
The center is two tags I made using CAD, CAM and CNC. This is two separate versions as I was experimenting with the code. The owl is the family crest animal. The tags are about 1" x 2" x 1/8" and each weigh a few tenths of A gram over a troy ounce. About $17.00 of Sterling silver at today's rate.
The last picture is just a couple of geegaws I and my daughter made. The acorn cap is my daughter's. I think she is planning to make a glass bead for the nut part.
I have a new passion that is growing out of my desire to be creating something very unique and artful. It is the making of small bells from silver, brass, bronze, bell metal, whatever works. My desire is to highly detail the bell as well as the decorative handle or top part. There are almost unlimited possibilities. I will be using lost wax as well as machining on my Taig Micro CNC mill and lathe.
The largest bell that I will be able to run on my Taig mill will be two inches in diameter at the wide end. That limitation is created because of the depth that I am able to go inside the bell. I have to allow room between the mill bed and the spindle face for how I hold the bell and the length of the milling bit so I can clear the end of the wax cylinder before I start the internal milling. I have only four inches between the spindle nut and the face of the bottom chuck mounted on the table. Half that distance is the total height of the bell if I have to use an up to two inch long mill.
The fact is that I will be making bells of smaller diameter depending on the ratio of bell diameter and bell height. So with a two inch diameter bell the ration is 1:1 (d:h). That will make a 1:2 ration bell a maximum diameter of one inch. I am thinking most standard looking designs will fall between those two ratios. But then I am not going to limit myself to any standard design. The only limit is that it has to fit on the machine.
There is one other design limitation and that is the wax master has to fit inside one of my casting flasks with enough room for the required investment thickness. There are many sizes of flasks available so it is not a critical design concern with the size masters I can make on the Taig mill.
I am planning for the top part of the bell to be a screw on assembly. That will give me absolute freedom to design whatever I want to finish off the top. The bell bottom becomes the support or base for whatever I design for the handle. That is another whole design area to explore.
The screw on handle also provides a way to design the clapper hanger inside the bell. That can be a machined part like a loop with screw threads. The hole drilled in the top of the bell can be smooth or threaded. I see the design coming together! The clapper can be a turned or a cast part.
I do need to start a design book with graph paper so I can sketch ideas to scale. When I have something I like then I can take it to the CAD and make the actual working drawings. In a few weeks I plan to have an example to show here. This category is sure to grow!
I have created several Celtic theme silver Lost Wax Castings because they may look a bit complex, they are still rather easy to carve. I have also kept the pieces fairly large as that keeps it easy for me to hold in my hands.
This is the second carving of this design. The first one I did in green wax but it was lost in an incomplete cast. I made this duplicate in a couple of day and used Wolf's gold colored wax. It's a bit harder wax but that was not important in this second try.
You can see the wax and how it was sprued for investment. The next picture shows it after the cast and disinvestment. The last is with the jump ring installed and all polished up. The second picture where it looks all white is after it comes out of the acid pickle. It is totally clean and the white is how silver looks before it is polished.