Cut wax for forging?

projectinspo

#1

Seems like if you could cut wax it may be usefull for making or casting simple parts?


Cutting Wax?
Carving wax
#2

I am really interested in this for jewelry casting in silver.
I think that if the power can be made low enough it might work, but wax goes from solid to molten very quickly.
I am worried it might melt too fast to hold a precise shape.
Only one good way to find out…


#3

Don’t forget too that the GF doesn’t have to be the direct tool. You could make a 3d model of what you want to cast and do a Boolean cut to make a 3d mold, make that mold for the wax out of laminated layers of, say, plywood, using 123D Make with the GF, cast wax in that mold, and then lost-wax-cast with metal. The GF helps make the tool to make the final product. This will be especially helpful when they have the 3D carving functionality up and running!


#4

I just saw on @m_raynsford’s blog that he tried to engrave wax. It didn’t work…


#5

I took a look, and he was trying to engrave on a candle, which is likely some variety of paraffin wax. The highest melting temperature I’ve seen for paraffin is around 145 degrees F. Jeweler’s wax has a melting point around 225-230 degrees F, so it’s possible it would stand up better to the laser.

I plan to give it a try when my GF arrives. :slight_smile:


#6

I would be very interested, as well…trying jeweler’s wax in the GF.


#7

If you’re after a machine to cut casting wax, a laser is not the machine for you… A Cnc mill or even a printer designed for it will/does produce much better results… (From experience) even sending a file to shape ways will get you a much better result.

(Watchmaker [actual watchmaker] and married to a jeweller who uses a wax mill fairly often, we also get wax prints from various sources)

Tom


#8

I definitely second the CNC mill approach, I’ve cut a lot of things over the years and that wax wasn’t even close to cutting. The edges were a mess and the laser just didn’t penetrate for any depth.

Another suggestion would be to cut a negative from any of the million materials that can be laser cut. There are lots of options, you just need to come at it slightly differently.


#9

Yup, from the jewellery side of things, the GF will be good for marking out things to be cut manually, creating masks for etching, packaging, display units, pretty boxes with wooden inlay… Nothing on the wax side :wink:

For my watches, I plan on using the ability to pinpoint heat anodise, create marquetry dials and boxes, and likely cut straps and wallets…

Tom


#10

Darn to bad. Maybe a different type of wax might work.


#11

Please at some point make a full cardboard or cardstock watch, and then provide it in the catalog :smile:

Sure, would be a pain to put together, but would be hilarious to have a smartwatch on one wrist, and a cardstock watch on the other.


#12

A mill is certainly a fantastic tool for cutting wax, but that does not mean you can’t do interesting things with it in a laser cutter. The key is to experiment and be open to the possible outcomes.

I imagine that if you expect to do highly precise 3D profiling in wax, you will likely be disappointed. However, if you are looking at creative exploration without a specific outcome then have at it! Maybe a little melting around the edges is not so bad, maybe a very hard casting wax would be different, maybe a thin sheet cut to profile and stacked ends up being exactly what you wanted even if you didn’t know it!

There are a bunch of different hardnesses of “jewelers” wax, and when the GF arrives I intend to refill my stocks and start playing.
(example link, not an endorsement, you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere: http://www.ottofrei.com/Store/Ferris-File-A-Wax/Ferris-File-A-Wax-Square-3-9-16-Slab-Assortments.html )


#13

That should be easy enough, the main model of my watch is already CAD’ed, just needs to be sliced and tested :wink:

T


#14

True, I would make sure I had a metal pan underneath the wax though, I imagine it’ll make a fair mess… The extra hard wax is what we use for milling, it gets all of the detail nicely… Melting temp is still quite low (for complete burnout) cutting/engraving acrylic to make a master model would be a better/cleaner finish I would think…


#15

I might be able to design and produce a custom wax with desirable laser properties once I have enough experience with both the Glowforge and various waxes.


#16

The same is true with new polymer blends.


#17

I have experience with wax for casting jewelry and as there are many types of wax in terms of hardness and other properties I am sure the GF would work. if you can cut chocolate you can cut wax. the wax i have in mind would be rigid even if very thin. I think Kerr is one vendor - i will look and get back to you. great idea.


#18

I have a bunch of wax from Kerr and Ferris from back in my casting days.
Once I get my “forever” Glowforge I will definitely be experimenting.

http://www.freemanwax.com/ferris-file-a-wax-carving-milling-waxes.html
http://www.kerrcasting.com/products/waxes


#19

People in the 3D printing world are doing a fair amount of “Lost-PLA” casting. I wonder whether that or some other plastics would be more appropriate. Acrylic melts pretty low, so you might be able to cut/engrave that and then cast.


#20

PLA is nice because it burns out cleanly (and with relatively low odor/toxicity).
Acrylic does not burnout nearly as well unfortunately.
There are some other plastics that work, but either they don’t laser cut very well, or else they are very expensive.