Getting to Know Plaster Molds
Metalworking has been in existent for eons. In fact, the era in which metalworking began remains unknown.
Metalworking involves smelting, the process of extracting metal from its ore. The extracted metal is then formed into a desired shape. Over time, metalworking evolved, and people who practice this process have created machines that help produce metal-based pieces, assemblies and large-scale structures. Producing different metal objects, from jewelry to engine parts, becomes easier and faster with these machines.
One of the processes that fall under metalworking is casting plaster molds.
Sand casting involves a process similar to that of creating plaster molds, except that the molding material in sand casting is primarily sand, while plaster for molds are made from plaster of paris, which is created by heating gypsum at extreme temperatures.
Today, different shapes and forms can be cast using plaster molds. Creating a plaster mold can be an intimidating task because it requires a lot of skills. However, it can always be learned. Plaster mold makers may use different processes, but it still boils down to the most basic step: mixing the most common ingredient, calcium sulfate. Although we already have several machineries that can assist in hastening the production of plaster molds, what makes or breaks a plaster mold is the skill of the creator.
Plaster molds are widely known for their artistic use. The idea behind this art medium is to form a mold from plaster. Once the plaster has hardened, molten metal is then poured into it so that the metal takes the mold’s form. The shape and size of the resulting metal pieces depend on the mold’s structure.
Aside from creating artworks, plaster mold can also be used to produce industrial materials. For one, plaster molds are widely used by the dental field. Dental technicians use them mostly for creating dentures. Dentists or technicians would combine different ingredients to create a plaster mold mixture, and then place the mixture inside a patient’s mouth to accurately measure the dentures that the patient needs. The plaster mold would then harden and used to process the dentures. Dental experts need to be careful with handling the mold because even a little mistake will ruin a patient’s entire set of artificial teeth. To make sure that dentures come out right, dentists should get the precise mold of the patient’s teeth.
Although not necessarily a plaster mold, plaster of paris is also used to create casts used by hospitals to treat patients with fractured bones.
The use of plaster molds is not limited to metalworking only. Molds made out of plaster are also used to create ceramics, pottery, sculptures, metal parts and jewelry to name a few.