Hi all, I’ve been working on a custom product for my business and have had some decent success in using the Glowforge as a primary component in producing pretty intricate metal castings. Following is a brief overview of my process.
First, I used the forge to do a relatively deep engrave in acrylic of a design. In this case I reproduced one of my playing card designs into a “mini-deck” size. This went through a few variations to get the right level of detail (this early one proved to be a little too much detail for my process).
After creating the blank it was time to make the silicone mold. I mounted the blank into a shallow plastic box with superglue and then used a 2-part silicone from Amazon (Alumilite High Strength 3). This material works really well, is easy to mix and has proven quite durable.
Once the mold cured, I used a tin-bismuth metal (also from Amazon) melted in a small hot-pot and once the metal got up to temp I poured it into the mold. This is the trickiest part of the process and it took a few rounds to get a technique of pouring/jiggling to make sure all the air bubbles are out. Luckily, if you mess up just toss the piece back into a hot-pot and try again.
After a few rounds of revisions I ended up with a very cool little casting. With a few pretty cheap ingredients and a little time and creativity, I think this general process could be used for all kinds of unique items!