Introducing Castable Wax: Our Newest Maker Only Material

We know you’ve been asking for it for a long time and we’re beyond thrilled to announce our next Maker Material: Wax!

From the moment we introduced metals, you asked if we could just ship the castable wax. As of today, you can order the wax of your model, ready for you to cast into any number of metals, either in your studio or at a casting house. Our wax can be cast just like normal investment casting wax, for which there’s a large variety of methods. 

Here are some details, the full set is on the Wax Material Page:

  • Max Bounding Box: 75 × 75 × 50 mm
  • Lead Time: 10 days
  • Price: $10 startup, $8 per CC 
  • Because Wax is so fragile, there’s a higher labor cost due to handling and packaging. This is incorporated into the startup cost, which brings it up to the cast metal startup price. 
  • Wax will soften at 60C/140F so we’re confident we can ship it to even the hottest places.
  • Wax is a Maker Material which means you can only order your own models, you can’t set them for sale.
  • For now, we’ve put wax on trial for 8 weeks and we may change the guidelines based on what we learn

We’ve included a set of rules and a set of recommendations for Wax. The rules are the limits of what the printer can print, but the recommendations are based on what we’ve found can be cast successfully. We hope this helps your design decisions.

Excited to try it? Learn more on the Wax Material Page, How to Get Started and in this Wax Tutorial.
As always, we’d love to know what you think—tell us how you’re planning to use Wax and share photos of your casting results! 

12 comments

    1. Andrew Holder

      I’ve just spent 2 days drawing up a pair of engagement rings for myself and my partner, to take to my son’s wedding on the 21st of this month. I’ve uploaded and ordered them, only to find that the lead times for silver are laughable. 30th of the month! Why is it that both Shapeways and I Materialise are in the dark ages? Is it that they just don’t have enough staff? It can’t take any more than a day to make them, if the items have to join the queue, then that’s a company problem, put more people on it!
      I work in electronics, If I need components from the ‘States to the UK, I get them in 2 days, by UPS.
      Even the wax takes 10 days, that is absolutely not acceptable in this day and age.

    2. Ming-Hua Kao

      Hi Andrew,
      the long lead times with the two companies are because these are set up to serve the general public as opposed to professionals. This means they have to keep the prices low which is done by waiting for enough orders to fill up a single machine run. And in this case also to fill out the mould which is used for the lost wax casting.

      Services for professionals have a much shorter lead time since the clients pay enough to afford to dedicate a print run to a single design. At our engineering company we regularly order prints which are delivered within one or two days. But this comes at a price which is not that affordable for home use.

      If you want to get the rings printed in time I would suggest contacting Materialise (not i materialise) and see if they can get it printed in time. Or perhaps the people of Shapeways can recommend a service. 3dhubs may also list some services for silver.

      Hope this helps.
      Best regards,
      Ming-Hua

    3. Glenn

      Take your designs to a local jeweler to make and see how long that will take! Your comparison about buying custom-made jewellery and electronics is laughable; electronics can be made, inventoried and sold – custom jewellery cannot. And what company could possibly pay to employ hundreds more people just so they can cut down on manufacturing times? And as a consequence would have to raise prices ten-fold.

    4. Natalia

      Hi Andrew,

      As Ming-Hua explained, we have low prices because we print many orders at once, the sacrifice there (for now at least) is lead time.

      Also, unlike electronics, we hold no inventory, everything is custom made to order. A better comparison would be asking a jeweler to create a custom engagement ring. The normal lead time on that is two months. Shapeways is offering it in 10 days. ;-)

      Natalia

  1. Ming-Hua

    I’m really happy to see that wax is now available though the price makes it a bit prohibitive to do much experimenting with it. I’d like to create a new casing for my pocketwatch and this would be perfect to create a master for bronze casting. We’ll see. By the way, I’ve already used strong and flexible masters for the lost “wax” (well, Nylon I guess) method and that works ok too. I really like the type of surface you get that way. And they are cheap enough to print spares of in case you mess up a mould.

    1. Natalia

      Hi Ming-Hua,

      I experimented with casting from Strong and Flexible too, and I didn’t like how the surface finish came out “grainy”. You can also cast from our FUD material and while the details are better, the surface finish is “striated” with print lines.

      Wax solves both these problems because well, its designed specifically for casting! To a jeweler like me, it’s worth paying the price for premium surface quality and detail when my end result is an expensive metal like Platinum.

      But I’m not the only one using wax!

      During our trial period, we would love to hear more of this kind of feedback – like why does the price matter to you and how are you using it? What do you think a fair price for wax relative to the material you are casting in is?

      We can continue this discussion here on in our forum here:
      https://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=19442&start=0&

      Best,
      Natalia

  2. Mika

    Hi,

    would this be better material than FUD for casting high detail small miniatures ? And of course mold making purposes.

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