PLA Lost “Wax” Casting

TL;DR: It works, try it.

I finished off the furnace with another couple of pounds of refractory cement, and let it dry for a couple of days, then fired it slowly over a few hours to burn out the rest of the water. Things looked solid, so the next step was to try and cast something. Of course, my first thought was to “forge” some currency, and the results are below:

BTC: Meatspace Edition

It looks like I needed to burn out the PLA for a bit longer, as things bubbled and hissed a bit when I poured in the Metal. The plaster definitely needed more burnout too, since it cracked and released some steam, but overall, the process works. Just be patient with the burnout, and run it for a really long time to make sure you get all the water out (and/or keep your investments thin as you safely can).

Overall: Success! I’ll be doing Aluminum next, casting some 80/20 compatible parts for my new 3d printer design.

Building a Metalcasting Furnace

Yet another busy afternoon; I mixed up some perlite/refractory and started building out a furnace for aluminum casting. Things are going pretty well so far. The 4:1 perlite to refractory mix seems to work OK, although I am sticking closer to 3:1 right now. My refractory cement already has some aggregate in it, so it’s a bit intolerant of the big chunks of perlite. I wish I could add some soap to the mix to make the perlite wet out better.

I also picked up a propane adaptor for a barbecue which just happens to match the size of a cheapass propane torch. This means I can use my cheap propane nozzle to heat the assembly. Turns out that there are standards for these kinds of things. Who knew!

Next up, drilling holes for handles in my cast iron skillet/crucible, then burnout for both the furnace and my 3d printed investment, then finally a test casting in Aluminum. Gonna be a busy week.


I’ve been hanging around in the Fur section of Dressew a lot lately. Dressew is the best fabric store in Vancouver. It’s huge! They also have the largest selection of fur fabric anywhere in the lower mainland, which attracts a certain…clientelle.
Before you ask, I wasn’t buying any to wear! I’ve started on a few new projects which require vast quanities. The first is Oleg the Yeti:
Oleg the Yeti in progress
He’ll stand about 30″ tall.
I’m making a Sasquatch next!

We cut out the fox and raven parts of the pub sign today on the CNC, so I’ll be carving that soon hopefully.
Also, we’ve almost finished the clock – just need to cut out the 3 engraved brass circles and secure the clock part in place.

MAKER FAIRE IS THIS WEEKEND!! June 25th and 26th

Vancouver Maker Faire is this weekend! It’s the very first one in Vancouver so make history and be there!
Get your tickets here:
Derek and I are putting the final touches on our projects. We actually finished everything! Amazing!
Here’s a pic of the brass octopusses/pi on the bench arms. We added these this week.

We’ve put a grainy video up of the project set up in our living room.

Everything designed and built by us in 3 months. So tie-tie.

Maker Faire – Flight of the Bumble Bee

…has pretty much been the sound track to our lives for the past 4 months. Check out our Flight of the Bumble Bee video here:

This video will be playing in “ContainR” at Maker Faire.
It’s next weekend folks, step right up and get your tickets!
It’s only a 2 day event and there are a limited number of tickets.