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I Forge Iron

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You've opened a bit of a can of worms there.  Nothing is particularly hard or expensive but to do it right, there are a lot of odds and ends to collect.  

Lost wax is definitely the preferred method.  That means you need to scab together a vacuum degasser to get the best results as well as a burnout furnace.  Neither of those have to be fancy--a simple refrigeration pump from China is enough for the degasser...using a silicone sheet for the seal of whatever you can scab together for a "dome" to go over the mold canister.  Burnout can be done over charcoal if you can protect the canister from direct flame and control temperatures.  However, a real burnout oven is a LOT better choice.  Get the canister too hot and the casting plaster degrades.  Keep it too cool and you won't drive out all the wax from every little detail.

Centrifugal caster is probably the easiest for "do it yourself" but you can also do a vacuum caster pretty easily if your degassing pump can be set up right for that also.

NOT grocery store plaster for the casting mold---real casting "plaster" is cheap and easily available.  You may need a special spray (cheap) on the wax to help the plaster get into all the details.

As to the wax models:  Although it is possible to make your own, literally (tens of) thousands of pre-made ring/jewelry wax castings can be had easily if you find the right sources.  Heck of a lot better to have a failure with one of those than some custom version you spent hours making "just right".  At worst, I'd slightly modify one of those that was already close to what you want so you can call it "custom"...that's what most makers actually do rather than starting from scratch. There are also very basic forms to build on so "custom" can get as custom as you want without having to do the most basic parts.

Amount of silver used for a ring or most other jewelry is so small that the usual procedure is to torch-melt it in a small ceramic cup crucible rather than melt a larger volume...basically one casting worth at a time. Most centrifugal casters have a special crucible for this that fits them specifically and goes right into the machine for the actual casting process.

LOTS of good books on the subject.  I'd lean toward those for info rather than some nutter like me on the internet.  You never know what critical detail we kooks forget to mention in a post.

And...the used equipment does have a fairly strong market.  If you choose to buy a bunch of the proper stuff (I would), you could probably use it and then be able to re-sell it quickly to recoup all or most of your investment--making it almost "free".

Haven't done rings for years so I am a bit rusty.  Do you have specific questions?

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