How to do DIY

DIY Metal Casting for Home Projects

Everything from custom doorplates, metal paving stone inlays, and decorative castings can be made by the average DIY enthusiast with minimal equipment and expense. It is a fun and rewarding way to add a custom touch to many home projects as well as a lucrative hobby if you are inclined to do multiples of some projects and sell the extras at craft fairs and venues such as that.

The simplest metal castings use sand molds.

The simplest metal casting projects involve the making of a sand mold.
This is a simple and inexpensive technique that allows you to make a custom size and shape (for example to match a paving stone pattern to put in a name plate or tribute stone). If you are matching the size and shape the sand mold is easily fashioned by making a negative (simply an impression of the stone being copied) into the sand and then pressing in additional detail such as names, dates, or other designs. This video will show the steps to making a simple sand mold.

Choose the metal based on equipment available to smelt the raw material. Lead is very easy to work with as it has an extremely low melting point and is relatively inexpensive. A steel pot and standard torch work fine with lead and the darker color of the metal helps obscure any impurities or imperfections in the finished product. There are many plans available for backyard metal casting furnaces but for a first attempt at a project keep it simple and basic. If you decide you would like to attempt other projects then you can consider an actual furnace. (Hint-Another alternative to metal for many projects is to use concrete.)

Virtually any object you can make into an imprint into the sand can be cast easily and for the more creative hand carving the design into the mold is easily accomplished. This is an excellent way to duplicate ornate pieces of antique hearth ornaments or fencing tops that may have been damaged or lost over time. This allows you to repair beautiful piece's instead of replace them with cheaper looking stamped available alternatives.

Since the molds are sand and the metal can be reused if it does not come out as well taking a couple tries is not an expensive procedure. You can even mold and paint pieces out of metal to inlay into carved wood that would be impossible to match with wood. This DIY project allows you to make new decorative items or restore damaged items equally well. If you need to make many copies of the same thing it may be cheaper and more time effectiveto use a custom castings company however for smaller numbers excellent results and reduced cost can be achieved in your back yard.

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