Anybody know of a custom casting service?

I'm working on a show model -- a highly detailed O-scale 1890's passenger car -- and I'm up to the interior. I've tried various techniques for
modeling the luxurious seats typical in First Class cars of this era, mostly very elaborate fabrics in "overstuffed" upholstered seats that more resemble couches than benches. Anyway, my current candidate for the representation is to take a bare cast metal seat (Keil-Line) and to model the upholstery by molding Sculpey clay into suitable cushion shapes. But I've got on the order of 16-32 of these to make [depending on the final seating configuration which isn't settled yet] and that's a humongous amount of handwork. Duplicating a few pieces by casting is a natural way to replicate them but I'm not really sure I want to tackle as my first casting project a bunch of 3D objects like coach seats. Are there any services which will do small scale custom casting for a reasonable fee?
TIA Norm
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Have you tried Bowser manufacturing?
http://www.bowser-trains.com/misc/custom/custom.htm
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Well ... Even Pewter Spin Casting has a minimum of 50 pieces. Zinc Die Casting is 500!
I can't really conscience getting 50 pieces when I'm most likely going to be using 16-20.
But I should check to see exactly how much it would cost, huh?
I've sent them an e-mail requesting an order of magnitude estimate for the minimum quantity and I'll see what they say.
Thanks Norm
| Have you tried Bowser manufacturing? | | http://www.bowser-trains.com/misc/custom/custom.htm
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wrote:

Plastic fishing worms make a decent mold for casting with epoxy. Will certainly last through the number of castings you need. They melt at a fairly low temp (don't know the exact temp) , just turn p the heat under an old pot until they will pour.
Ken Day
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| >| Have you tried Bowser manufacturing? | >| | >| http://www.bowser-trains.com/misc/custom/custom.htm | Plastic fishing worms make a decent mold for casting with epoxy. Will | certainly last through the number of castings you need. They melt at a | fairly low temp (don't know the exact temp) , just turn p the heat | under an old pot until they will pour. | | Ken Day
Absolutely fascinating! Since I already have a jar of Latex Mold Maker, I'll probably use that this time, but I definitely will keep this in mind for the next time I want to do something.
Thanks Norm
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Make a couple of Sculpey masters and then make a rubber mold of the masters. Sculpey molds very easily this way. In a pinch, you can actually make your molds out of Sculpey, bake it, the use it to mold other pieces. I've done it for small parts and it works well. You can pop out all of the seat cussions you need with a couple of packs of clay and an hour or so work.
Claude Allen.
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What material do you use for the actual castings?
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more sculpey (or whatever polymer clay you are using)
you can use something for a release but I don't remember having a problem with sticking. i think I brushed on some baby powder for a release.
There are some polymer clay products for molding I haven't tried, read this (from a great polymer clay artist) http://www.polyclay.com/molds.htm Not related to trains or miniatures but I think it really can cross-over.
I know polymer clay artists are fantastic at reproducing wood, stone, marble and other textures and materials. Many of the artists focus on miniatures (more like food or dollhouse stuff)
Here's an article about using RTV molds (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) with polymer clay http://www.pcpolyzine.com/july2001/molds.html
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It's very easy to make a mold out of polymer clay. You just make your model then cook it and you can then use that piece to make a 1 or 2 part mold from the original. Polymer clay is fantastic at holding fine details in molds.
You can ask over at rec.crafts.polymer-clay There are some amazing artists over there, they may recommend a stronger polymer clay for you to use also. Also, I'm not sure about shrinkage and you may be concerned about that - they would know how much shrinkage you need to account for.
Good luck!
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Guys, I appreciate everyone who's answered telling me how easy it is to make a mold and produce a bunch of resin duplicates.
But there's a really valid reason why I asked about a service. I am, in a sense, partially disabled with neurological problems in both hands. I can only work at modeling for short periods of time. I can make a small number of masters over the course of a day, but that's about the limit of my workability. I was trying to find a way to get someone else to do the hand-intensive work of making molds and doing the casting.
Thanks Norm
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Norm Dresner spake thus:

Sorry to hear about your affliction.
By coincidence, I just happened to be reading a fascinating article in /Mainline Modeler/ about creating custom steam loco drivers, in which the author explains the laborious process of creating masters for these which he then sends to a caster. He gave three casting companies (keep in mind the article is from December 1998):
Precision Scale Box 288, 3961 Highway 93 N. Stevensville, MT 59870 (406) 777-5071
Valley Brass & Bronze 7070 N. Harrison Ave. Pinedale, CA 93650 (209) 439-0419
Cranston Casting Co. 44 Worthington Rd. Cranston, RI 02920 (401) 467-8184 http://www.cranstoncasting.com /
Now, these are all metal casters, but they may have information for you on casting other materials. Worth a try.
Also worth a look is the article itself. Even if you never plan on making your own drivers, the article, "Scratchbuilding Drivers" by Glenn Farley is a fascinating read of one man's adventure with a milling machine, brass, ABS and ingenuity.
--
Every American is full of Cheney's buckshot.

- Sign on the Grand-Lake Theater, Oakland, CA, Feb. 14, 2006
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Norm,
Give me a call or e-mail me. We can assist with your project, this is what we do.
Thanks
--
Allan Grayson
Pacific Mountain Scale Shops
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