The Evolution of Casting
With roots that go back 5,000 years, the evolution of casting blends old and new in truly remarkable fashion. Our industry is constantly changing, adapting ancient techniques to modern technology. In this fusion of design and processes, we discover a melting pot of past, present, and future that fuels the passion of today’s jewelers.
The Evolution of Casting
The mix of customers is also evolving. What do you know about today’s customer? It is virtually impossible to create one all-encompassing description. One may come into a jewelry store and, as in years past, choose something from the showcase. But in continuously increasing numbers, customers request one-of-a-kind jewelry that reflects their unique personalities.
This customized jewelry trend has been growing for quite some time and shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you are new to casting or a professional with years of experience, you can capitalize on this growing demand for custom jewelry. Become a store that is focused on custom design. Purchase design software, such as CounterSketch® or Matrix®, and encourage your customers to let you help them design their dream jewelry. Invest in your shop to upgrade your casting equipment for efficiency, safety, and capability to cast the mountings your customers want.
Endless Possibilities with Casting
Through the evolution of casting, it’s now possible to create things that artisans of the past couldn’t have even dreamed. What was once deemed impossible is now possible due to the technological advances in metallurgy, investment, wax, plastics, resins, equipment, and more.
Think back a few years. You used to have only one investment option. Now there are different types designed for specific purposes. Some metal qualities, such as platinum and palladium, require investment that can withstand greater temperatures. Many intricate designs need a stronger investment to maintain the details better. Other metal alloys, such as Continuum® sterling silver or X1 white gold®, may need investment with a quicker breakout to lessen the stress during cooling. The beautiful thing is that there is a perfect fit for whatever you are casting.
Know Your Stuff
Knowing the material with which you are working is extremely important. Some of this knowledge comes with experience, but there are a few tried and true facts that you can always keep in mind. Waxes can be used to create just about anything. Plastics are geared more toward mass production because they require a metal mold.
Resins work completely different. The work comes in on the front end during the design process in CounterSketch or Matrix. A 3D printer actually grows the resin. Equipment has come a long way as well. You can find anything from just the basics to a complete professional manufacturing setup. Just as your customers are requesting jewelry unique to them, your shop and your casting needs are unique to you.
Whether you want something that is fully automatic or want to control every detail, there’s a machine for you. If you focus mostly on platinum and palladium, you would do well with a centrifugal casting machine. If your shop is gold and silver focused, your pick would probably be a vacuum-assisted casting machine. Today’s machinery incorporates technology and features to keep you safer and increase your efficiency.
The technological advances in the science of metallurgy have gifted artisans with more options than they have ever had. Sure, the classic gold, platinum, and sterling silver will always be top choices. But even within these, there are many options utilizing different alloys that work well for different customers and artistic endeavors. Never has it been easier to balance the design details, metal intricacies, and customer budget.
How Can Stuller Help You Succeed?
Stuller has evolved over the years as well. Our casting department started with two employees and has grown to number 34 people, most with 15-30 years experience.
As our department has grown in people, it has also grown in equipment. What began as a three-oven operation is now 30-ovens, accommodating between 6,000 and 10,000 customer-focused castings every day. This state-of-the art casting operation is clean, well maintained, and exceeds every safety standard. We also support our CAM services team by casting the CAD designs that you, our customers, send in for casting. We inspect each individually and determine which equipment will deliver the best results.
Whether you are casting it yourself or sending it to us to cast for you, you can be assured that experienced craftsmen are ready to deliver exactly what you need. Our Tech Team is just a phone call away (800-877-7777, ext.4300) when you need help. Visit BenchJeweler.com for more casting tips from our experts.
Do you cast your own pieces? Tell us in the comments section below.
*This article was written by Keri Barrouse, Marketing Copywriter, with the help of subject matter expert, Casting Director, Dennis Busby.