When melting metal or working on casting projects, any metalworker must learn the essential tools to smelt safely. There are a variety of details you should know as you begin this type of work. Understanding the purpose, types, and how it performs are crucial points regarding why you need a crucible for metalworking.
A crucible is a container made of ceramic or metal that allows other substances to be melted in or exposed to high temperatures. Historically, these vats were typically made from clay, but realistically can be made from any material that can withstand high temperatures to melt or alter the metal contents inside.
Crucibles can consist of porcelain, platinum, nickel, carbon steel, stainless steel, and more. Cast Master Elite offers clay graphite smelting crucibles in two sizes (5kg and 10kg) to allow for large batches of precious and non-precious metals to be melted. This combination of clay and graphite has thick inner walls to be able to handle direct heat and open flames. You can use them with both propane melting furnaces or the standard torch method. The design allows for the use of fuel and medium heat induction to melt gold, silver, copper, brass, and more with the ability to withstand temperatures up to 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, we offer a smaller (3K) graphite crucible that can be used with digital electric smelting furnaces. You cannot use this model with an open fire forge or direct heat. This compact piece of equipment has a grooved flange so you can hold it with crucible tongs to maintain stability as well as offer an easy pour spout.
Before beginning, a new clay crucible will need to be tempered or heat treated. This is done by heating the empty crucible slowly to 390 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate moisture. From there, it can be heated using the furnace on low power until it gets to a temperature of 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit, and finally on full power until it glows red. The most important thing to remember is it’s a gradual process—don’t rush it. Let it cool in for the rest of the day slowly inside your furnace.
HOW IT WORKS
When you place the metal you’re looking to melt into the crucible, it will undergo thermal decomposition as it heats up. Different metals require different temperatures. The crucible is set directly in your furnace to hold the metals you are melting. Using tongs, you can then pour the melted result from the crucible.
As you gather the necessary materials for the metalwork you’re doing, you’ll better understand the purpose as well as why you need a crucible for metalworking. Be sure that before beginning any work with a new crucible, you allow time for tempering. You’ll want to ensure that you have the proper safety gear as well since you’ll be working with extreme temperatures, and there is very little room for error with melted metals.