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Ron Mynatt 04-13-2019 03:09 PM

blown glass /neon
I have seen a neon art piece using a soda lime blown glass form .It has been a few years back so I can't find it now . A local neon artist has asked if it could be done .Any suggestions on how this could be done ?

Shawn Everette 04-13-2019 03:41 PM

It's tricky, but you can do it. Basically you need to attach a tubulated electrode to your piece while you've got it on the pipe, then box it almost immediately, and take it through the anneal cycle. Once it's cool you can attach the tubulation to the electrode and have it lead out to the pump setup. It's advisable to process the electrode though an induction heater before doing this if possible. Test the piece for leaks. At this point you are ready to process the piece by taking it back up to annealing and back down under vacuum, effectively removing all contaminants. Once you're about 100f, proceed to fill with gas of choice and tip off the electrode.

In theory there are a few steps you could skip, but would lead to possible contamination and give lesser quality of light or shorten the lifespan.

Rick Kellner 04-13-2019 06:45 PM

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Occasionally, you will also see such pieces made without electrodes. By using a special base with power supply that emits a high frequency energy field, it is possible to light up a piece wirelessly. You would, however, still need to tubulate the piece with a section of 5 or 6 mm diameter tubing in order to evacuate the piece while baking out the impurities, then backfilling on a manifold with your noble gases of choice. The only missing step would be the induction heating of the electrode(s) to incandescence.

If you are crafty enough with methodical pre-heating, and flame annealing, you can get away without many of the steps above by attaching electrodes (or tubulating) with a torch from a cold start, on a previously annealed piece of glass. Having a particularly thin wall on your blown piece is likely to factor in to your success with the endeavor.

In my experience, some of the plasma art and single electrode work seems to be a bit more forgiving in terms of processing purity, compared to traditional luminous tubing that is processed by electrical bombardment with a large high voltage transformer.

Rick Kellner 04-13-2019 07:07 PM

If you want to see a compendium of state of the art work in this area, consider checking out the instagram page for taminglightning. The creator might also have a podcast, but I am not familiar with it. Anyway, many artists are featured there, and you can see numerous examples of neon work originating in the hot shop.

Shawn Everette 04-13-2019 07:12 PM

Rick is correct that a proximity field set up will generally be easier to get processed, and not need as much purity, but you sacrifice a significant amount of light, and make art that's potentially problematic for pacemakers. I've got 8 year old pieces that are still going that are annealed, tubulated, and pumped; but they're best visually in dim rooms.

Processing purity in traditional neon is more important because there is enough energy going through the tube to cook the dirt and start to decrease the pressure of the vacuum, eventually leading to failure. Single electrode some what less important, no electrode even less. Never the less, properly processed glass is going to lead to lights that will out last you.

It would be hard to say the best way to attack this without knowing more about the object, or how you plan to display it.

Shawn Everette 04-13-2019 07:16 PM

Also check out PAA, believe it was started by Wayne Stratman who is one of the godfathers of alternative process.

Ron Mynatt 04-14-2019 02:37 PM

Thanks for the information .This seems involved but it also seems like is doable. .

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