Re: Metalize any substrate or object


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Posted by bruce paul fink on July 26, 1999 at 07:27:43:

In Reply to: Re: Metalize any substrate or object posted by Jeffrey V Cutri on July 08, 1999 at 22:27:42:

The term 'cold bronzing' has been used for several different processes. So first you have to find out which one is being referred to.

Bronzing, therefore, has been anything from painting with a bronze colored paint,

to painting with a fine bronze powder paint,

to leafing with sheets of bronze leaf (also called bronze gold leaf but really bronze... gold leaf is really gold),

to electroplating with real bronze (usually a copper)

to spraying with molten bronze (also called metalizing) at a temperature high enough to melt either the sintered (powdered) metal or the wire fed metal before it goes through the tip of the torch.

This metalizing is really a surface coat and as a result on anything real small it tends to give a slightly sand cast /grain surface so begins to destroy any fine detail. It is one I have used from time to time since 1969 and was originally developed (I believe in England) and that equipment is expensive but found under the company name of METCO.

I use it on large objects only (they even surface bridges with zinc wire fed through the gun) and it can spray nearly any metal

you can get in the right wire form (sometimes flux centered).

Metalizing like this also needs some 'tooth' to the surface to start to stick to when first beginning to spray it as it has a tendency to peel off until the whole surface has had a semi bonding coat. I doubt that this would be your best solution for a 14 inch statue.

As for 'casting' it in the cold cast process, that would probably be by using a plastic based binder mix with a fine powdered bronze. Very expensive unless you can get a source of bronze powder from some factory reject system.

Commercially it goes for from $7 to $22 per pound and makes the process more expensive that just the normal hot bronze casting with real ingot.

It also gives a result that I have yet to find looks anything better than plastic. If you can resurface the piece to expose the real metal particles you have a chance of now doing a chemical patina and it can look like old bronze but forget the thought of being able to buff and bring out the real bronze look.

So the domestic bottom line here is... probably the paint or bronze leaf system (bronze leaf can also have a surface patina with chemicals) plus with the paint... but getting to a lot of hand work here...

So the real universal bottom line is (due to your desire for production) ship the whole thing off to a foreign country where they will knock them out and cast them and pack them in flimsy cardboard boxes with real cast bronze and you can get them back for less cost done than if you even just tried to buy the scrap metal here. Ever been to KMart and seen their cast bronze statues (like a heron 32 inches tall selling for $35? I couldn't make the mold for that, or even buy the ingot. Of course I also like to earn more than the going 12 cents per day also).

Hope these thoughts aid your search. Good luck

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