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ETpro's avatar

How much investment would it take to set up a small leaged crystal manufacturing and casting facility?

Asked by ETpro (34428points) November 1st, 2011

Crystal glass is beautiful and far more workable than ordinary soda/lime glass. It’s made by replacing the ordinary lime that provides calcium in glass with lead oxide. That dramatically increases the refractive index of the glass, and also lowers its melting and workable temperatures and vastly lowers its viscosity at workable temperatures, making it easy to get the air bubbles out of the glass before cooling.

To make faceted balls, dangles and such, I would need to mold it then mechanically polish the facets with a diamond wheel. What would the whole operation; furnaces, carriers, molds, polishing and cutting machines; cost if approached on a very small scale.

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8 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro, if you are serious, check out information on the US Small Business Administration webpage. There are mentors available to help you create a business plan and get funding. It is even easier if you are a woman or a disadvantaged or minority.

jerv's avatar

As much of the equipment is similar, I imagine it would take about the same as starting a metal-casting foundry. I can’t give you any numbers at the moment, but I imagine that if my company was started with four guys in a garage and your goals are more modest than theirs, it can’t be much. Let me look into that when I get home…

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham Thanks. Yes, I am very serious. And it’s actually my wife who would be the CEO and chief designer. So that might give us a bit of a lift. I will definitely check out the SBA mentor program.

@jerv Yes, I would think the most of kilns and mold construction would be similar. And yes, I’m talking about a garage size operation to start.

Cruiser's avatar

My guess is to get good reliable equipment $10,000 to $15,000 min. plus installation. If you Amazon and Craigs list you just might get the gear you need for under $5,000 but be prepared to replace heat coils and wiring on the annealer and furnace at a minimum.

bkcunningham's avatar

My brother-in-law had a dream of producing a product, @ETpro. He did what I suggested to you and got hooked up with Cornell University Small Business Development something or other. His product is on the shelves in some Northern New York grocery stores and is coming along nicely. It was hard work, but that was his first step. That is another one of those things I say that I’m proud to see my tax dollars used to support.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Super. I’m an inveterate do-it-yourselfer and able to figure about just about anything mechanical or electrical. I’d definitely shop the used equipment market.

@bkcunningham That’s supper news. Best of luck to him. Small Businesses are the employment spark plug of the economy these days. All the big boys can make more money by off-shoring the work. So I totally agree, if there is something we should support, it is the true entrepreneur bringing a neat new idea to market. You have to live with the fact some will strike out. But some will hit a 9th inning walk off hime run.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ETpro Oh wow, sounds exciting. I love crytals. Got a few gifts for my gf from Swarovski. They’re quite mesmerizing to look at. : )

ETpro's avatar

@mazingerz88 The iddea hatched thinking about the beauty of a piece from Swarovski and why not Made in USA? Of ciurse, we do have Stuben Glass in Corning NY and they do some waesome work as well, but the Austrian designs are truly inspiring.

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