posts tagged with the keyword ‘wax’

2019.04.28

mold-05

I made wax balls, and it worked, and I did it using 3D printed molds. I won’t get into why I want/need wax balls in this post, but I swear it has nothing to do with candle making or bath bombs. (These balls are about 12mm in diameter.)

model-02

I originally modeled one ball with one sprue, and then used the loop function of OpenSCAD to make a series of them in a row, slightly overlapping the sprues.

model-01

My original plan was to make silicone molds (like I did with this wax stick) and went as far as creating a positive and a mold box, but along the way I thought about just using a 3D printed mold…

mold-01

Here’s the 3D printed mold created using PLA filament. The holes are for bolting the two pieces together using 3mm hardware. (I used tape in the earlier versions, but it did not work well.)

mold-02

I didn’t need to fill all the bolt holes, but wanted a few options so I could get tight clamping. Wax doesn’t have the same low viscosity of something like water, but when melted is a bit runny, so I just want to make sure I can keep it from leaking out too much.

mold-03

Once the mold is assembled it’s just a matter of melting some wax and pouring it into the mold. I’ve had a few balls with air pockets when demolding, so I’ve taken to sticking a thin piece of wire in to stir around the wax in an attempt to remove the air. (I do have a vacuum pump which I’ve considered trying to use, but the chamber is currently too small to fit much in it.)

mold-04

Hey, wax balls! Originally I tried spraying the mold with mold release, but I don’t think it helped much. What does help is putting the cooled molds into the freezer for a bit (this is a known trick for getting wax candles out of glass jars.) It helps solidify the wax enough to make it come out fairly easily. I do break a few every now and then but a lot less than before I used the freezer method.

The other great thing about using 3D printed molds is that I can very easily (and cheaply) make a whole bunch of molds, which is good, because I may need a few thousand wax balls…

2019.04.01

wax-mold-00

I’ve been experimenting with casting for the last year or so and typically my “experiments” come out terrible, mainly because I try weird things, but sometimes I sort of get it right…

This time I made a silicone mold of a model of a glue stick for a hot glue gun and it mostly worked fine. I modeled a glue stick and tall cylindrical container for it using OpenSCAD and then 3D printed the two pieces. The idea being I’d place the “stick” into the container and then pour silicone in to create the mold.

wax-mold-01

I had a small amount of silicone we were going to throw out at work because it wasn’t enough to do anything useful with, and it was just enough after scraping everything out of the two containers and mixing it together.

wax-mold-02

Once again I had to destroy the original mold master to get the mold out, but since it was printed using PLA I just smacked it with a hammer a few times and peeled away the plastic to get the silicone mold out in good condition.

wax-mold-03

I could not find the cheap little cooking pot I bought a Goodwill a few years ago for melting things so I grabbed an old metal can, made a makeshift gaff tape handle, and melted down some old candle wax to pour into the mold.

wax-mold-04

Hey, it worked! A wax stick the same size as a glue stick you would use in a hot glue gun. ;)

Oh, see those rubber bands? They hold the mold together because I split it down the side to allow for getting the wax out of the mold. I may have wrapped the mold too tight or not aligned properly because the first stick wasn’t totally straight.

wax-mold-05

Here’s the second one… much better. You can see the split in the mold. I just ran an X-ACTO blade down the sides to split it.

wax-mold-07

Now, to ramp up production I may need to make a lot more molds, or come up with an alternative. Here’s a method using a metal tube and parchment paper that might work. Honestly I think I prefer silicone molds but this might be a good way to get really long sticks.

wax-mold-06

The next part of this experiment requires a hot glue gun, and most likely, disassembling it for the heating element. Stay Tuned!

2014.09.25

Wax Ring

The folks from Solidscape dropped by the DCRL at UWM to talk about their 3D printers that can print with wax. These are typically used in the jewelry industry for lost wax casting, but also used in the medical, dental and engineering fields.

Wax Ring

The resolution of the prints was simply amazing. They’ve also got some unique things that their printers do, like milling the build plate flat before each print.

Wax Ring

Their machines are not cheap, starting at $25,000 and going up to $55,000, but the quality is pretty amazing, and depending on your needs, that price may be cheap.

Wax Turbine

Obviously lost wax casting in metal is a prime use of these pieces, but there were a lot of other applications mentioned, including multiple methods of creating silicone molds.

Wax Turbine

The details was pretty amazing, and not even in the same ballpark as what I’ve seem from any FDM printer. If you get a chance to see the output from a Solidscape printer, do it. It’s pretty impressive!

Wax Head

Wax Head

Wax Tire

Wax Tire

Note: Frankie has better photos and more info!

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