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Casting Equipment and Metal

Now that you have made your mold it is time to think about casting that special figure, There are a few pieces of equipment essential to this operation.

Casting Metal - [Author's note: due to lead reduction in the environment efforts, pewter is now being extensively used. There is still a lot of lead alloy available, however, so the following section is still applicable.]

Now that you have the equipment, all you need is the metal. By "metal" I mean "low-melting-point solder." There are many such solders, with a melting point anywhere between 200 degrees F and 400 degrees F. To make a good casting you need to use good metal, There are many sources for it. Probably the best source is one that you know makes a good casting: scrap figures. Figures that have lying around for ages are fair game. The next time you are at a convention, check out the "bargain" boxes for cheap sources of metal. You can add some regular lead/tin solder to this and still have passable casting metal. It is a good idea to save some scrap metal for use as a "standard." It is good for testing molds to see if they fill properly.

Solder commonly found in hardware stores is usually 60/40 or 50/50 Lead/Tin (%Lead/%Tin). By itself it is inadequate for detailed casting. You need to add another metal to make a new alloy with better flow that fills the mold. "Templo" is a metal available from Walthers or is sometimes stocked by larger model railroad hobby stores. It has a melting point of under 200 degrees F. It is rather expensive at $5 per 3 ounces, but only a small amount is needed per casting. Add some "Templo" to your solder to improve its flow and fill characteristics. The finished casting will have a dull rather shiny finish that will readily accept a coat of paint.

You can purchase casting metal. Common ones are 10% Tin and 90% Lead/Antimony selling for ~$2.75 per 13 ounce package and one that is 65% Tin and 35% Lead/Antimony which sells for $5.50 per 10 ounces. The more expensive metal produces figures that bend.

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