Online Articles

Growth Strategy
September 24th, 2020

Growth Strategy How one jewelry caster turned to 3-D printing to better compete By Shawna Kulpa For much of the history of volume jewelry casting, practitioners followed a pretty standard formula: create a master model, use it to develop a mold (often made of rubber), shoot wax into the mold to create a new model, […]

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Stone-in-Place Casting Success for Jewelers
September 23rd, 2020

Stone-in-Place Success For the right job, stone-in-place casting can offer time and cost savings—if casters do their homework By Shawna Kulpa Gemstone setting is an art form, and a very precise one at that. It’s also led many jewelers to tear their hair out. After all, there may be few things more stressful than forcing […]

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Go with the Flow
July 2nd, 2020

Go with the Flow Effective spruing strategies By Shawna Kulpa (Originally Published August 2019) Casting jewelry isn’t for the faint of heart. Aside from the high temperatures needed to melt precious metal alloys, you’ll need to rush that molten metal into a hot flask as fast as possible. There’s also a tremendous amount of science […]

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Big Shot
July 2nd, 2020

Casting Case Studies: The Case of the Platinum Mamba Knife Handle By Shawna Kulpa When it comes to casting, bigger isn’t always better. Although many casting problems can be traced back to parts being too small, causing fine details to become muddled, larger items have their own share of problems. Take the Case of the […]

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Operating in a Vacuum 
July 2nd, 2020

Operating in a Vacuum Creating a double boiler vacuum oven By James Binnion In “A Sure Cure,” which appears in the September 2017 issue of MJSA Journal, I detailed the experiments I conducted to cure photopolymer models using a vacuum and low-heat procedure in an effort to reduce the issue of investment degradation during burnout […]

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A Sure Cure 
July 2nd, 2020

A Sure Cure A new method of preparing 3-D acrylic photopolymer patterns for investment casting By James Binnion  Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from “A New Method for Preparing 3D Acrylic Photopolymer Patterns for Investment Casting,” a paper by James Binnion that was published in the proceedings of the 2016 Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry […]

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Material Evidence
July 2nd, 2020

Material Evidence Comparing 3-D printer materials Compiled by Shawna Kulpa A casting is only as good as its model, and today many models are being built by 3-D printers. However, shopping for a printer can be an overwhelming experience. Given all the technical data you need to absorb (build speeds, achievable accuracies, build envelopes) it […]

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Vanishing Act
July 2nd, 2020

Vanishing Act How Hot Isostatic Pressing can make porosity disappear By Teresa Fryé Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from “Platinum Alloys in the 21st Century: A Comparative Study,” a paper by Teresa Fryé and Joerg Fischer-Buehner that was publised in the proceedings of the 2011 Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology. Even the […]

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Step It Up: Tips for Quality Casting
July 2nd, 2020

Step It Up Tips for improving casting quality Compiled by Tina Wojtkielo Snyder (Originally Published August 2011) Editor’s Note: Every jewelry caster has his or her own set of procedures and guidelines for turning a model into a precious metal casting. The routine in your shop might involve a combination of tried-and-true practices, passed down […]

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Sprue Design Quiz: Feeding Systems
July 2nd, 2020

Sprue Design Quiz Test your knowledge on getting optimal fills when casting By J. Tyler Teague Many factors must be taken into consideration when designing a sprue or feed system for a model, the most important of which is the alloy you are casting. Platinum group alloys are typically considered the most difficult to cast […]

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Rockin’ Around the Casting Tree
July 2nd, 2020

Rockin’ Around the Casting Tree Tips for casting success By Shawna Kulpa During these hot summer days, the last thing you want to think about is the cold winter that’s just a few months away. But as you’re sitting on the beach working on your tan or catching up on the latest bestseller, you’re probably […]

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Now What?
July 2nd, 2020

  Now What?   Tips for avoiding a meltdown when having your pieces cast   By Kate Wolf   You’ve carved a few waxes or made a piece in metal that you want to mold and have cast. Now what do you do? If you’re new to the business or this is just your first […]

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The Light Side: Casting Lightweight Designs
July 2nd, 2020

The Light Side Case studies in casting lightweight and hollow designs By Shannon L. Brown and Tina Wojtkielo Snyder It’s no wonder that as precious metals prices have risen to new heights over the past few years, jewelry castings have gotten thinner and lighter to maintain reasonable price points. It’s not uncommon today for impossibly […]

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Hit the Spot: An Unusual De-Vesting Tool
July 2nd, 2020

Hit the Spot A fabric cleaner doubles as a de-vesting tool By Gary Dawson Before you get ready to set stones or detail a casting at the bench, you have to ensure the cast piece is free of all remaining investment. My friend Gary Swank of Gary Swank Jewelers in Portland, Oregon, introduced me to […]

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Fresh Eyes: Solving a Casting Problem
July 2nd, 2020

Fresh Eyes How Jewel-Craft discovered the root of a casting problem by going backward By Tina Wojtkielo Snyder Editor’s Note: Jewelry casters are trained to look for potential problem areas in a casting—sections that go abruptly from thick to thin, sharp-edged cutouts, microscopic intricate details. But sometimes, casting challenges aren’t so obvious. They masquerade as […]

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Five Classic Casting Tips
July 2nd, 2020

Five Classic Casting Tips Best practices from industry experts Compiled by Shawna Kulpa These slow, quiet days of summer are always a good time to review your shop practices before the busy holiday season kicks into high gear. To help you prepare to successfully cast all of the pieces you hope will be big sellers […]

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Fill ‘Em Up
July 2nd, 2020

Unconventional tips to ensure complete fills and quality castings By J. Tyler Teague, JETT Research Casting has always been a mix of art and science. Occasionally, though, casters allow the art to overshadow the science, creating traditions borne of misguided beliefs. Over the years, J. Tyler Teague has taken great pleasure in debunking these beliefs. […]

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Dream Team
July 2nd, 2020

Good team communication leads to a casting victory By Shannon L. Brown Anyone who’s played a team sport knows the value of good team communication. Without it, no matter the skills of the players involved, victory is more difficult to achieve. And designer Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inc. in Carlsbad, California, knows that when […]

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Defy Tradition
July 2nd, 2020

RW manufactures personalized jewelry using a modern approach By Tina Wojtkielo Snyder Editor’s Note: Jewelry casters are trained to look for potential problem areas in a casting—sections that go abruptly from thick to thin, sharp-edged cutouts, microscopic intricate details. But sometimes, casting challenges aren’t so obvious. They masquerade as ordinary straightforward CAD designs that you […]

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Crystal Clear
July 2nd, 2020

Where the water goes in gypsum-bonded investments, and why it matters By J. Tyler Teague Most folks in the jewelry industry use gypsum-bonded investment to cast gold and silver items. In this Tech Sheet, J. Tyler Teague delves into the material science behind how the investment sets, and how that chemistry can affect your casting […]

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Cool Gold
July 2nd, 2020

Testing Blue and Purple Gold Alloys By Linus Drogs Editor’s Note: In this online exclusive, Linus Drogs of Au Enterprises in Berkley, Michigan, presents the results of his experiments casting blue and purple gold. A related study, aimed at improving the crack resistance of 14k blue and 18k purple gold alloys, was summarized in the […]

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Cutting Cues
July 2nd, 2020

Tips for making great molds By Chuck Hunner Developments in CAD/CAM technology for the jewelry industry over the past two decades have led to a slew of new model and mold materials hitting the market. All require specific temperatures and procedures to achieve the best possible results, but some basic mold-making practices hold true regardless […]

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Bi-metal Casting
July 2nd, 2020

Casting an 18k white and 18k yellow band By J. Tyler Teague It is possible to co-cast metals that don’t metallurgically bond if a mechanical bond is sufficient. To achieve a mechanical bond, a bi-metal piece must be designed with interlocking parts that, once cast, hold the piece together as one unit. Here is an […]

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Affordable Luxury
July 2nd, 2020

Casting lighter weight, heirloom-quality platinum designs By Platinum Guild International and Jurgen Maerz (Originally published August 2010) As Platinum Guild International (PGI) USA looks to the future of platinum jewelry in the U.S., it has identified an incremental business opportunity for more accessibly prices “entry platinum.” By broadening the availability of lower prices platinum bridal—including […]

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Beyond Wax
January 30th, 2020

Working with resin-based models By Shawna Kulpa You’ve been doing this for years. A wise and grizzled expert, you’ve been casting wax jewelry models since the Eisenhower days. But lately you’ve been getting more and more calls from jewelers investing in these so-called 3-D printers, creating models from this plastic-like resin material. The price of […]

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Castings from Nature
January 30th, 2020

Creating jewelry from natural objects By Daniel Grandi Designers often based their designs on nature—a leaf, a starfish, a seashell—and some take the next step and actually cast those objects. Casting natural objects poses challenges, but it can also be rewarding—if the designer knows enough about the casting process to see the problem areas nature […]

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