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Austin's "mammoth" bronze moves to Dallas.

Austin's "Mammoth" Bronze Casting Moves to Dallas

What could be one of the world's largest bronze investment castings produced was cast recently by Kassons Castings, a 16-year-old foundry business begun by William J. Kasson and his son John in Austin, TX. The "Mammoth," as it is called, weighs about 15,000 lb, stands about 13 1/2 feet at the shoulder, has a girth of about 24 ft and is 26 ft long.

The total project took about 18 months from beginning the wax original to completing the bronze casting. The first step was the commissioning of Tom Tischler, a local sculptor, by the Dallas Museum of Natural History, where the Mammoth is now on permanent display. He sculpted the life-size mammoth in wax, which took six months, and the project then was turned over to Kassons.

It was cast in about 20 sections to minimize the number of welded seams, whereas the standard approach for a piece of this size would have been 50-75 sections.

The reduced number of sections presented several interesting challenges. Some of the wax patterns were so large that 20+ gallons of wax were used in production of the pattern and some of the ceramic shells weighed 2500-3000 lb each.

In the shelling process, three and sometimes four men were inside the patterns shelling at the same time. Because various pieces were so big, the shells had to be built without dipping them in tanks. Instead, this was accomplished by using spray, brush, hand and other pouring methods.

To keep the pattern thin but able to hold together under its own weight, a webbing system was devised which served as pattern reinforcement, metal gating system and finished casting internal support system.

The wax patterns were constructed on a special trolley system where the waxes remained during the shelling process. Once the massive ceramic shells were completed, they were rolled into position under the overhead beam, picked up with a specially designed harness system and set on a refractory base. The shells did not move from that base until they became bronze castings.

Each shell, one at a time, had its own oven constructed around it. After dewaxing and preparation for casting, metal from the 2000 lb capacity furnace, constructed on-site, was channeled to the pouring cup.

During the final stages of assembly, which required the use of three TIG machines operating full time, and then patina, Tischler was on-hand to assist the Kassons crew. Then, using a 60 ton crane, the Mammoth was lifted onto a flat bed trailer and standing proudly, made its journey to Dallas.
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Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Sep 1, 1989
Words:432
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