Would you like to own a typographer's mould?

Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
edited May 2017 in History of Typography
Dear colleagues,

In the coming months there will be a number of typographer's moulds produced in the Netherlands similar to the one in the picture. They will be working devices able to cast metal type.

If you are *seriously* interested in owing a hand mould, please drop me an email at: http://www.re-type.com/contact/
**Please state the size of your mould in points (make please clear if they are Pica or Didot points).

Thanks in advance.


  • Nick GillNick Gill Posts: 1
    I would, of course; it's going to be more than I could afford, though :smile:
    Delighted to see that someone's going to be making some.
  • Ink balls. I want me some ink balls.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,511
    Having some information on pricing would be helpful
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,003
    I may be a bit crusty, but am fortunately mould-free at the moment.
  • @Thomas Phinney I will send you an estimate tomorrow. Next week we'll have a more detailed picture. 
  • I am very interested too.  Several replica's have been made in the past and recently a custom made one for the replica B-42 matrices created by Theo Rehak in 2005 was made by Hugh Macfarlane. It is 19.5 pica points.
    I found also this link on another list : 
    "University of North Texas and Texas A&M University Libraries have made a 3-D printed Hand Mold and Matrix for teaching the process. you can download plans and print one!"
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,933
    I might be interested in using one for teaching depending on the price. You should contact Shelley Gruendler of Typecamp to find out if there’s a mailing list or forum for design teachers who might be interested.
  • You just gave me an idea, assuming the cost of the real thing is prohibitive for most schools: 3D-print them!
  • I would be interested in owning one too, depending on the cost.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
    edited May 2017
    Today I had a meeting at the technical school were the mould is going to be manufactured. Soon I will have more detailed quotations and I will send messages to all the people who contacted me for the project.
    The mould in the picture above is the one in possession of the Plantin Moretus. Here is a picture of the one in possession of Gerard Post van der Molen, complete with custom screwdrivers and the case.

  • Bet your ink balls I want a type mould.
  • I'm interested as well!
  • I am really interested too!
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
    edited November 2017
    I took some photos today of the making process of the typographer's mould at the LIS School in Leiden. In the photo, Keke de Jonge proudly poses with the part he has already made.

  • The first hand-moulds manufactured by the LIS.nl are ready. Looking forward to use it.

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Wow. That’s a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Makes me want one, even though I don’t have any set-up for either punchcutting or casting (nor am I ever likely to).
  • @Kent Lew There is a second batch of moulds coming in the next months. If you are seriously interested (meaning each cost a minimum of 500 - 600 Euros), let me know.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,722
    What temperature is the lead when poured into the mould? I am wondering how feasible it would be to 3D print mould parts using heat resistant plastic? [Obviously, a 3D printed mould wouldn't be nearly as beautiful as this craftsmanship. I just wonder how practical it might be.]
  • Lead is liquid around 620 F, but it’s the melting point of the mold you have to worry about being several times higher than the metal you pour. There is a fairly respectable framework of metals, with their smashabilities and melting points that’s been in place, if you look them up.

    Most heat resistant plastic would explode, I imagine, and while that might not be a bad thing for some designs once control was established, let me know a while before you might try this in school.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
    edited January 2018
    Don't forget several typographers and institutions are using lead-free alloys. At the Plantin-Moretus Museum they have been using a Bismuth alloy that melts around 138 C.
    Anyway, why using plastic when with modern technologies metal typographer's moulds can be produced rather easily?
  • Ramiro Espinoza said:
    why using plastic when with modern technologies typographer's moulds can be produced rather easily?
    Because it's less expensive, more convenient, and they could modify the design first?

    BTW is that bismuth alloy hard enough?
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,722
    Yeah, heat resistant plastics are not good enough for those kinds of temperatures. So an 3D printing is an option for making models, but not for functional moulds.
  • Yeah, heat resistant plastics are not good enough for those kinds of temperatures.
    Not even 138°C?
    BTW there are printers that use more heat-resistant materials than plastic (like concrete, which however is probably too brittle) but those are probably too expensive.
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 255
    edited January 2018
    Concrete might be a bit low res for mould making. :)

    Metals with low melting temperatures for casting would be alloys, generally containing bismuth but often including lead and/or cadmium. They're generally referred to as fusible alloys and the hardness of constituent metals don't necessarily have a direct baring on the harness of the alloy. Lead is about 5 on the Brinell scale—Twice as hard as hardwood... The generic kind that might be used for wood type, just as a frame of reference. From a quick scan of specs for a few fusible alloys they tend to be somewhat harder than lead, starting at 9. (... Was pure lead ever used for casting type?)

    Here's something about alloys that can used in 3D printed plastic moulds: http://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2017/2/12/low-temperature-metals-for-casting-in-3d-printed-plastic-molds 
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
    edited March 2018
    Yesterday Gerard Post van der Molen and I tested the first batch of typographer's moulds (28 Didot points) produced at LIS.nl casting some type with Gerard's matrices. The mould performed well and types were cast with no problems.  We will now move to the next stage: producing more moulds in different sizes and type heights.

  • Those custom screwdrivers are drool worthy.
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