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|Wax Off - Two industry companies test ACCU Carve injection wax
By Tina Wojtkielo, 2004
Editor's Note: AJM recently asked two companies, AU Enterprises in Berkley , Michigan , and Racecar Jewelry Co. Inc. in Cranston , Rhode Island , to test out the new ACCU Carve injection wax from KerrLab in Orange , California . Designed for casters and designers who need to rework wax patterns, ACCU Carve is intended to provide carvability in an injection wax, as well as offer low shrinkage, good flow, and low ash content. Using two different methods, the participants put this product to the test. The staff at AU took an experimental approach, reporting on the wax's performance in various categories, while the Racecar staff used the wax to fill a casting order for a class ring. The following are the results of their tests.
Our objective was to evaluate the physical and mechanical properties of Kerr's ACCU Carve injection wax. To do so, we took a step-by-step approach to a typical casting project and logged our data for each stage of the process, from initial melting of the wax to final casting. The following are the results for each step:
Furthermore, the higher melting temperature of ACCU Carve ensures that the wax models stay firm during handling. When you rework models made with some of the lower temperature injection waxes, the heat from your hands can soften the wax. Depending on how much hand pressure you use, you can deform the models and leave fingerprints in the wax. The higher temperature of ACCU Carve makes wax models less prone to such defects.
Because of their higher melting temperature and plastic content, most carvable waxes on the market aren't very fluid, making it difficult to fill mountings of thin to average weight. They usually work better for heavier pieces, such as class rings and belt buckles. Unlike these waxes, ACCU Carve works well for both thin and thick pieces, providing average to above-average fill. Its injection properties are comparable to those of Kerr's Aqua wax.
In terms of detail, ACCU Carve is sharp and above average, but it's not any better than Ruby Red, Kerr's high-detail wax. If you are looking for high-detail and you don't need the carvability, we suggest sticking with Ruby Red.
Other characteristics of note include a great degree of flexibility. Compared to Ruby Red wax, ACCU Carve has a good shelf life. Whereas the Ruby Red can become brittle in just a few days, ACCU Carve stays pliable for much longer. We have models that have sat on the shelf for a month that are still pliable and workable.
Another benefit of ACCU Carve is its dark dye color. The deep purple color is good for inspection, allowing you to examine details and defects that can be difficult to see in lighter waxes. In addition, the dye doesn't bleed or stain the molds like some other waxes do. We've had problems in the past with red wax staining silicon molds; however, we have never tested the long-term negative effects of staining.
Kerr's ACCU Carve wax produces wax models with excellent detail. During the tests conducted in our shop, the wax worked well under standard injection conditions when melted in a wax pot and injected into a rubber mold. It also injected very well in our metal mold injector.
One of the advantages of this wax is its flexibility; it does not become brittle unless it gets very cold. Many hard carving waxes and standard injection waxes are brittle; if you try to bend them to size a ring, they have a tendency to break. This wax is soft and flexible, so you don't have to worry about breaking it unless it gets very cold. For example, if you shoot waxes and leave them overnight in a 50°F (10°C) room, when you try to rework them the next day the waxes will break.
Another benefit of the wax is its easy-to-read color. We work with many different waxes of various colors. In a light yellow wax, it's difficult to see details. But a dark purple wax like ACCU Carve has depth, making the details clearly visible.
The one disadvantage of this wax is that, unlike a hard carving wax, it will clog burs and files. Therefore, you need to use a file cleaning brush on all tools used to carve this wax, which adds time to the process.
The following sample project sums up many of our findings:
School Ring Project
We had an order for a size 8 school ring that we had already made a mold for in a size 10. We had two options for manufacturing the ring: 1. Make a wax pattern for both the size 10 shank and the top of the ring, size the shank, cast the pieces separately, and solder them together. 2. Make a wax pattern for both the size 10 shank and the top of the ring, size the shank, weld the two wax components together, and cast the piece as a whole.
In the past, we have had trouble soldering the cast flat top to the shank, as the two parts of the ring are not a matched set. Therefore, we decided to do most of the work in wax. By using the ACCU Carve wax, we predicted that we could shoot the wax and modify the pattern with ease.
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