Wax Model, or sometimes called Cast or Pattern, is a replica of the final product generally produced using a preliminary material. In other terms, it is the positive of the final product where as a mold would be the negative. In jewelry applications, the preliminary material is usually wax; although, with newer rapid prototyping methods, it can be many different types of resin.
Traditionally jewelry models are produced by a jeweler manually carving wax using hand tools. At Unver Casting we rapid prototype jewelry models with the use of machinery driven by computers and electronic controllers. These machines are operated by a specialist.
A wax model is part of the lost wax casting process. Instead of working directly in metal, the design is fabricated in wax. Jewelry waxes are not the same as soft paraffin or beeswax. They are hard and designed to be carved, filed, sawn and polished. Wax has several advantages: the materials are less expensive and more forgiving - if a correction has to be made, just add more wax! Also some elements are best made with wax which has the flexibility to be built-up into almost any form you can imagine. After the wax model is complete, it is covered with plaster investment and burnt away or "lost". The void left behind from the melted wax is the mold for the molten metal when cast.