Hello everyone, I was recently shown a small bench mounted type casting mold. I love the thing! If anyone has one of these they would be willing to part with please contact me. I will pay a good price for one, from anywhere in the world. Many thanks - (Pics attached)
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It’s a Typofix Typecaster, a small apparatus used to copy existing type, either metal or wood. First, a mould is produced, then the hinging part is flipped over, and a sort can be cast. I’ve got some instructions and will try to attach them. I can send you a better quality TIFF file if you want.
The instruction sheet for the Typofix that Thomas kindly posted sems to be the same as the one available on the “metaltype.co.uk” website as a PDF. I would guess that his TIFF images are probably higher resolution, though.
The Typofix is similar in function to (though different in design from) Taylor’s Adjustable Type Mold, for which see:
The surprising part of these two devices is that you use them to produce a temporary matrix made of typemetal from a piece of existing type (also typemetal, of course) and then cast from it type (of typemetal). You wouldn’t think that this would work, but it does.
To Ron, David et al.:
Thanks for your posts, I am learning interesting history of things about printing that I had not previously learned.
I folded a printer’s hat, not often seen outside U.S.A., but found that it needs an A2 sheet of paper (2 newspaper broadsheet pages).
I am so impressed with this little unit. I am trying to track one down, but it would appear they are quite rare in Australia.
Thomas if you can email me a larger image I would be very grateful.
A small update on the Typofix;
I have been lucky enough to have one of these units on loan and have just started to come to grips with it - its not as easy as it seemed at first.
It would appear the heat of the metal is crucial in getting the type metal to flow into the original.
Coating the surface of the type with candle soot is also a bit of an issue. The brochure mentions a specially supplied burner to do this but I’ve been burning plastic sprue , which seems to be laying down a thicker coating that I reckon I need.
Pouring the molten metal into the unit has its problems- it needs to be fast enought so that it flows into every part of the design, but not too fast as this only spills molten type metal all over the unit.(unlike hand mold these units cannot be jigged upwards to get a good gravity force-feed)
Once the mold is made this too must be coated in soot.
The last stage of pouring metal into the mold to create a new piece of type is the hardest.The opening is very small and one needs to be pouring with one hand while using the jet cut-off lever with the other. Failure to cut off the jet at this stage inevitable leads to a jammed unit as there is too much metal above and below the pouring slot.
I have attached a photo of the various bits that are created with the Typofix. Sorry for the quality as I don’t have a macro on my camera. You can see in the photo the original piece of type, the mold and the new piece of type cast from the mold. I’ll get hold of a better camera and post some better images soon.
I appears as thought type smaller than about 18pt could not successfully be cast. I managed to get a good reproduction of a corner device in 48pt. aswell as some fair copies of 36pt uncials.
At this stage I am using old Lino slugs and scraps so a better metal should produce better results.
I am also begining to think that for casting a new font it would be better to make the mold out of another, higher definition casting material than type metal, or better still have a set of brass matrices engraved . Although the brochure claims one can cast from wooden type I have not had any luck at this stage getting a good mold from my wooden type.
If anyone has used one of these in the past I would welcome any hints or comments.