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A metal caster works in a foundry, which is a place that is specifically designed to handle hot metals. There is a central fire area or forge that allows for the heating of the metal, in order to make it liquid. A metal caster is someone who takes the molten liquid metal and pours it into casts or molds to form metal shapes that, when cooled, are sanded, ground, and polished before being finished. Some casters make their own molds or casts from different materials such as metal, wax, and sand.
A metal caster is responsible for measuring the amount of metal to be heated. They then heat the metal in the fire and regulate the temperature to keep the metal at a certain pouring temperature. The metal caster works with different types of metals and understands the different methods of liquefying them. Some metals are softer and melt at a lower temperature, and some metals like iron and bronze only melt at very high temperatures. An expert caster knows the differences in metal types and is able to work with them in different fire ovens to get them to the correct temperatures for casting.
A metal caster is also responsible for the molds and their maintenance. They must make sure that the molds are clean and smooth so that they can accept the liquid metal. They are also responsible for making sure that the mold is clamped and secure so that the molten metal can be poured into the mold. The caster pours the molten metal into the mold via a ladle or other device.
A metal caster works with all types of machinery and tools including:
A metal caster may work with large pieces for industrial molds or something as small as cast jewelry from gold and silver. They can work in all types of industries, allowing for different options in career choices.
Metal casters work in a very hot environment. With the fire ovens and molten metals, the environment can be extremely uncomfortable for those who cannot handle heat well. The caster must wear protective clothing and sometimes head gear. This can make the environment even hotter.
A metal caster works with very dangerous materials. The molten metal alone can cause serious burns, but the caster also works with all sorts of machinery and tools that can be dangerous. Cutters such as knives and grinders can cause serious injuries if they are not operated properly.
The chemicals in the air of most casting environments can cause breathing difficulties for some. Most factories have air purification systems in place, but while the caster is heating and pouring the metal, they can be exposed to airborne chemicals.
Requirements for becoming a metal caster involve having a high school diploma, then attending a vocational school to complete a training program. While not all companies require training programs, most do. Passing an exam is typically required after the completion of a training program.
Some companies allow employees to learn the trade through on-the-job training. In this type of training, the employee starts off by working under an experienced caster. They may help to operate the machinery or bring the metal to the caster. As they gain experience, they are given the opportunity to begin working with different aspects of casting. Once they have trained for at least one year, they are able to begin casting on their own.