Casting supplies are dictated by the materials being used in a molding project. For example, a metal part that will later be fit into a machine will require the use of different equipment than, say, a bust of a famous president. Materials that can be used in casting range from plastic to aluminum. The reason that different casting supplies are necessary is principally because materials will vary in their melting points, and tools must be able to tolerate higher or lower temperatures during a given project. Different materials may also solidify in slightly different ways that call for special molding techniques and tools.
If metal is being melted and molded into a part, casting supplies must include a molding machine, a furnace, ladles, crucibles, tongs, ingot molds for excess liquid metal, spruce cutters, and dross skimmers. Wood flasks are necessary if sand is being utilized to mold the metal. Fireclay is used to mix with the sand in the wood flask. The process of casting metal usually takes place in a foundry, and foundry supply shops can provide all necessary tools.
Different casting supplies will be required if the molding involves a material other than metal, such as plaster. For plaster molding, which is typically used in making life casts for films, equipment includes epoxy, which plays a role in the hardening of the mold, liquid latex, plaster, and a mold or model. Equipment &emdash; including special chemicals — used for this kind of molding clearly must differ from those used with metals, as the human face or a body part is typically the object being molded. Not only would the tools geared at plastic or metal casting result in the mold not coming out correctly, there would be extreme risks to human health and life. Various brands of plaster casting supplies are carried in specialized art supply shops and online at manufacturers' websites.
Since the types of casting supplies that are necessary for a given project are entirely dependent on the material being used and the object being molded, users will need to learn about the materials they plan to use. Before any equipment is used, it is always a good idea to familiarize oneself with the process by reading all instructional material included with equipment. It also should be noted that there are kits available that include the basic casting necessities for beginners who may not want to go out and buy a large number of separate tools without certainty that they would even be applied to a project. Metal casting supplies typically do not come in kits, however.