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Get ahead? Get a head badge: Paul’s DIY casting

What to get ahead? Get a head badge! Paul’s waiting on having a frame made and was thinking how a custom headbadge would just set things off nicely. But where do you turn to get one made?

I’ve seen a couple of sources on Etsy such as Insignia Works offering etched designs but there must be other options, especially if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

How did you get on Paul?

I did ask one company to quote for laser cut stainless steel but they failed to respond even after a couple of prompts, so it must have been too small a job to bother with.

So being a practical person I thought I’d make my own!

I first made a template that has the same curve as the head tube (52mm, I found a soy sauce bottle that was exactly the right size!).

To do this I used some plaster bandage I had lying around from a model train set build a few years ago.

Using a paper template I cut out and overlaid some air dry clay onto the plaster template, I did this with a couple of layers to get the design.

See below, the plaster template on the left is for a small badge I was making at the same time. On the right is the finished head badge clay master.

After letting the master dry for a day or two it was placed in the bottom of an old plastic milk bottle set on some clay (I wrapped most of the clay to protect it):

I then poured high temperature moulding rubber over the master. This gives half of the mould.

Wait a couple of hours to set, then remove the clay leaving the master on the rubber. Turn it upside down and cast the other half of the mould.

Which gives you the finished mould as below – discoloured after having pewter at 300 degrees Centigrade poured in it!

Dust the mould with a bit of chalk and tape it back together.

I used a camping stove to melt a ladle full of pewter and then carefully poured the pewter into the mould.

Leave it for ten minutes to cool and you can peel away the mould to reveal the pewter casting!

After cutting off the excess, a bit of filling, painting, wet and dry sanding, a bit more paint then a final polish, et viola! One finished headbadge (with the clay master for another design on the left):

Excellent work there I say – Paul has put his maker skills to good use. It reminds me of the days spent at school packing moulds with casting sand for molten aluminium, there’s one exercise I bet has fallen by the wayside due to health and safety considerations!

Pewter is mostly tin which means it melts at a fairly lowly 230 degrees Centigrade – perfect for home casting projects. Don’t forget though that 230 degrees is still pretty warm so you’ll need to be very careful how you handle it. It’s definitely a project for the workshop not the kitchen table!

I did wonder where Paul got his supplies from but as he confirmed it’s all available on eBay (isn’t everything these days? ). I’m tempted to give it a try myself now I’ve seen how it’s done – how about you?