In this article, we will tell you how we cast bronze statues, statuettes and busts. We use the so-called lost PLA method and a shell mold that resists high temperatures. In the article you will learn how to make a bronze statuette from the model to the final finished casting.
3D model of a bronze statuette
Most casters usually work with a ready-made model (made of clay or other material) and then make a silicone mold based on this model, into which they then cast the wax, resulting in a (usually hollow) wax model based on which the gypsum or shell mold is made.
In our case, we first make a computer 3D model based on photos or images, then we use a 3D printer to print the model and then make a so-called negative shell form .
This saves one intermediate step (ie making the silicone mold on the wax) and therefore we do not use the method of lost wax, but the method of lost PLA (material for 3D printing).
3D printing of a statuette
Once we have a 3D model from a modeler, we can print the object on a 3D printer .
As a material we use a slightly more expensive PLA polysmooth or polycast, which is a material that can then be smoothed to remove visible layers created by 3D printing.
Once we have the fusible model ready, we can start creating a shell mold. We use a special industrial mixture, which after firing has the properties of ceramics and is resistant to high temperatures, another advantage is the breathability (hot metal needs air channels) and high detail of the resulting casting.
The disadvantage is the high price of the material and the lengthy production of the mold (the model is repeatedly soaked in a slurry and a special durable sand - silica - is applied to it).
After about 7 days of soaking and drying, let the mold burn in an oven, which can take up to 8 hours. First, the PLA model burns and then the mold is fired into the final ceramic form. After firing, the mold is strong and durable. The form also changes color from orange to white.
Melting and casting of bronze
In a gas furnace (own production) we melt bronze at a temperature of about 1200 degrees. Preheat the hollow shell mold and then slowly pour the bronze from the crucible into the mold until the mold is full to the pouring hole.
Then let the casting cool down (this can take several hours) and then carefully break the ceramic mold . The form is not reusable.
After removing most of the remnants of the shell mold, we then process the metal into the final smooth shape and correct any possible casting errors. Chiseling is usually half the total work and takes many hours.
Patination of statuettes
Thanks to patination, we get the final form of bronze statuettes. We have many different techniques available for the resulting metal color, from pure shiny, through dark black-brown to green-blue, and various combinations of these patinas.
Thanks to patinas, you can highlight or suppress some areas of the statue. It is possible to make the statue as old or new. A flame is usually used for patination and subsequent spraying of various oxidizing chemicals to achieve a given color.
Finally, it is possible to wax the statue and give it the final matte or glossy look according to the client's wishes.
As you can see for yourself, this is a lengthy and quite demanding process, where the slightest mistake can have fatal consequences.
However, the result is worth it and there is nothing as beautiful as an honest bronze statuette, because it is precisely the metals that have had a kind of magic in them since ancient times, which will give the ordinary statuette the character of something special.
You can read our article: Casting a bronze bust based on the character from the game.
New articles on bronze casting:
- Bronze bust to order: Masaryk
- Production of bronze busts for a world-famous Czech photographer
- Bronze bust production - Viking Halfdan
More about info about our: artistic foundry .
Are you interested in our work and are you interested in making your own bronze statuette? Just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to send you a specific offer. We make bronze, brass and pewter statuettes to order.