Classes taught at The Crucible
Casting metal is a 6,000-year-old process still used in both manufacturing and fine art. The founder melts metal (usually aluminum, bronze and cast iron) in a crucible, pours it into a mold, then removes the mold material or the casting once the metal has cooled and solidified. In our classes, beginners learn the chemistry and basic steps that go into making a piece of cast metal, while advanced classes explore the intricacies of casting and metal finishing.
3-Hour Taster: Foundry
3-Hour Tasters are a great way to explore a new art form without the deeper commitment of a full course. After a basic introduction to creating sand molds, craft your own mold for a small aluminum tile or medallion, then watch our faculty pour molten aluminum into your piece. Take a Taster and meet new friends or give the gift of creativity to someone special.
Bell Casting introduces participants to bell design and the lost wax foundry technique. Each student will design, cast, and finish a bell approximately six inches in diameter. This entry level class will provide a foundation for further exploration in this versatile foundry approach.
Build Your Own Foundry Furnace
Build a small propane-fueled furnace capable of melting 12 lbs. of bronze or 4 lbs. of aluminum for your next project. The furnace you make in class can easily be operated by one person, measures about 16″ x 16″ x 21″ and weighs about 100 lbs. It will include the furnace chamber, burner, a crucible and crucible handling tongs, but does not include the propane tank, hose and regulator. Students learn how to safely operate it, and how to approach designing and building furnaces of larger capacities.
Design and Make Your Own Waffle Iron
Each student will create a 7” diameter stovetop waffle iron with a waffle pattern of your own design. We will make sand molds and use a cupola furnace to melt the iron. The spectacular iron pour will occur on a Friday evening.
This specialized course focuses on the forging techniques needed to produce sharp-edged tools of high-carbon steel. We will cover blade design, control of steel grain structure, hardening and tempering methods, steel finishes, and handle construction. Emphasis is on learning the fundamental skills needed to forge a good knife.
Foundry I: Ceramic Shell Process
Ceramic shell is a mold material used in the lost wax casting method. Learn basic wax-working techniques and explore basic metal finishing in this fascinating course. You will create a wax sculpture and build ceramic shell molds, transforming your original wax piece into bronze or aluminum. NOTE: Outside class time is required, as well as additional fees for wax, shell, and bronze.
Foundry II: Ceramic Shell Process
This class is for people with metal casting experience who have completed waxes to cast. We can also accommodate 3-D printed PLA (best unpigmented). Students will prepare their patterns, gate them, build the ceramic shell mold, cast in either bronze or aluminum, destroy the mold, and remove the gates. NOTE: Outside class time is required, as well as additional fees for wax, shell, and metal. PREREQUISITE: Foundry Fundamentals or Foundry I: Ceramic Shell Process
In this course, you will complete a finished iron sculpture. You will explore mold construction and preparation while building your own sand mold with resin-bonded sand. Learn the steps required to prepare the cupola for an iron pour. At the spectacular iron pour event, students prepare iron and coke charges, operate the cupola, and pour molten iron into their new mold.
Please note that the pour date for this class will be on a Saturday, as opposed to the normal class day!
Sand Casting in Bronze and Aluminum
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 the casting cools, you’ll open the mold and finish your piece. Bring a found object or a sculpture that’s smaller than a breadbox to make an impression into the sand. The sculpture can be made of wax, clay, foam, or wood.
Youth Adventures in Sand Casting
In this introduction to foundry processes, you’ll turn your ideas into cast-metal sculptures as you learn the basics of metal casting. You will make a sculpture, create a mold in resin-bonded sand, and then watch as molten aluminum is poured into your mold. Once cooled, you have your own unique, finished sculpture!