Since last we met, I have purchased a $1200 kiln for $500, a $250 3D printer for $250 and a $200 vibratory tumbler for $120. The kiln was far and away the biggest score; it'll happily go to 2000 degrees and had never been used. The lady I bought it from spent the hour it took me to get out there failing to figure out how to turn it on. I got it home, aggressively brushed out the cat dander and dust and ran a burn-out schedule on it to see what the electricity cost. My jewelry instructor, you see, insisted that burn-outs had to be done at night because kilns were so expensive to run. There's no way the shop could afford it.
Two. Two kilowatt hours. One five-hundredth of a bitcoin transaction. Twenty two cents.
Despite my aggressive brushing, the garage smelled like cat cremation for half a day. Once we crossed 1200 degrees, though, we were done with that. The inside of the kiln is now porcelain white. I am stoked to do some enameling when I line up some other BS.
The printer isn't here yet but I've already discovered that the 3d printer community, also known as the "I print warhammer miniatures with tits in my mom's basement" community, will definitely lead you down the garden path as far as cleanup and all the rest. I've probably spent a couple hours trying to figure out what brand of insanity I wish to try first but no actual money has been spent on ultrasonic cleaners or curing chambers or any of that crap. It will have to be spent, for sure, but I have yet to find a solution that doesn't annoy me.
The tumbler, meanwhile, should have stainless steel shot in it and will be used to burnish/polish finished castings. Tumblers are magical. Here, look: at 9 this morning these copper turnings were kind of tarnished and dull:
But now look: after a mere three hours in the tumbler, they're completely clogged with ground walnut shells!
Obviously there is more to learn, and walnut shells are not a medium I'm at all familiar with, but if you don't show your fuckups you're just an instagram whore.