Casting metal is a 6,000-year-old process still used in both manufacturing and fine art. The founder melts metal in a crucible, pours the liquid metal into a mold, then removes the mold material or the casting once the metal has cooled and solidified. The most common metals used in fine art are aluminum, bronze and cast iron.
In The Crucible’s entry-level foundry classes, you will learn the chemistry and basic steps that go into making a piece of cast metal, while advanced classes further explore the intricacies of casting and metal finishing.
Begin your exploration of foundry work with this step-by-step, hands-on overview of metal casting. This class introduces foundry processes, including wax work, ceramic shell, sand moldmaking, casting and finishing. You will use the lost-wax casting method (which begins with sculpting in wax) and the sand casting method (which uses a mold made from sand). You will help pour molten metal and complete several cast-metal pieces, which can be sculptures or utilitarian objects.
Ceramic shell is a mold material used in the lost wax casting method. Your wax sculpture is clad in a ceramic shell, burned out, and replaced with molten metal. You will learn basic wax-working techniques, as well as how to create ceramic shell molds. Finally, you’ll cast your piece in bronze or aluminum. The class also covers basic metal finishing.
This class is for people with metal-casting experience who have completed waxes to cast. The class explores details of metal casting: you will prepare your wax, dip it to make a ceramic shell mold and participate in a bronze pour.
Prerequisite: Bronze Casting: Ceramic Shell Process or Foundry Fundamentals. There is an additional cost per pound of wax, shell and metal.
In this class each student will build and learn how to safely operate a small propane fueled furnace capable of melting aluminum brass or bronze. You will also learn how to approach designing and building furnaces of larger capacities. The furnace will be of modest size capable of melting 12 lbs. of bronze or 4 lbs. of aluminum and can easily be operated by one person. The basic furnace is about 16″x16″x21″high and weighs about 100 lbs. The product of the class will include the furnace chamber, burner, a crucible and crucible handling tongs. It will not include propane tank, hose and regulator.
Turn your creations into cast metal! Working with resin-bonded sand, you’ll learn the basics as you build your own mold. As part of a casting team, you’ll have the exhilarating experience of pouring molten bronze or aluminum. After your casting cools, you’ll open your mold and finish your piece. Bring a found object or a sculpture that’s smaller than a breadbox to make your impression into the sand. The sculpture can be made of wax, clay, foam, or wood.
This class introduces you to lost-wax and sand casting. You will make an aluminum bell pattern via the lost wax process, then use this reusable pattern to cast bronze bells using the green sand process. The final bell will be about six inches in diameter.
Have you ever wanted to make your own Waffle Iron? If so this class is for you, from design to iron casting a stove top waffle iron. We will take you through the steps to create a waffle iron of your own design.
This workshop takes you from making a mold in sand to completing a finished iron sculpture. You’ll learn mold construction and preparation while building your own sand mold with resin-bonded sand. You’ll learn the steps required to prepare for the cupola iron casting pour. In the final exhilarating event, you’ll prepare iron and coke charges, operate the cupola and pour molten iron into your own sand mold.
Entry-level. Offered yearly.
The right patina can be the essential finishing touch for your metal project. This hands-on weekend workshop teaches a variety of bronze patination methods and introduces other coatings and applications. Please bring some small pieces to patina. You’ll be able to experiment on small test samples before working on your own pieces.
Entry-level. Offered twice a year.
These three-hour classes make great gifts for a do-it-yourselfer, or take a class together with family and friends for a unique bonding experience. Try two skills on the same day and get a $25 discount and lunch on us!