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Old 01-08-2020, 03:54 PM
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Transitional time.

So after fifty years of blowing glass and making formulations that yield better glasses than all cullets, I find my interests are turning away from blowing for the most part. I have begun to look to casting the goop.

I can make glasses that can't be purchased commercially. I can do it in substantial volume should I choose and I have the processing machinery to crush cullets into most sizes I need. Using the Anne Robinson techniques I can prep most any glass in any color or expansion I need. In the shop the mixing tools are here, vacuum pumps are already here, the kilns to cast are here so I have a huge jump on the problems of tooling up for casting. I actually don't even care if it sells. I no longer have outlets or the interest in developing them. This, ideally was the dream starting point for anyone in glass when I began, but you had to feed the beast and Narcissus was so right when he said "Never let your art be your work." .

Now, We just do stuff. I had a question for Marty specifically since he's up in Maine and that's an issue with ultracal plasters in molds. I'm watching Youtube videos which are such a wealth of knowledge as I sit here carving clay or wax. I am looking at making molds that can be used more than once making interlocking panels. . It seems that combining potters plaster and silica is a way of delaying failure in a mold, I'm wanting to actually mix with plaster and Morco 95, or Calcium Aluminate which is the cement that holds castables together. I get it from MORCO and it certainly revitalizes aged castables really well. I'm just not sure if I'm going in the right direction.

Mark makes peculiar molds and it's all based around an overhead pour of phosphate opals. I don't want to retool the entire shop around that notion and I'm content to use our existing capacity working with the cullet melt/flow into a ceramic shell mold in a fusing kiln, probably around 1500 F . That number will change based on results. We can fabricate most anything.

At my age (70) , I'm not trying to break a ton of new ground but I am interested in making things that keep me involved and can draw on my existing skills with glass formulations. I may be going back to Shanghai in the late spring and I would be most interested in casting panels that can be used in lighting in commercial spaces. My dad always said that glass is a chalice for light and I thought he nailed that. Glass and the light behind it can be remarkable. That, Eveline can use and I like seeing Eveline succeed. I like succeding as well.

Comments? Observations? General dissing of the notion?
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:43 PM
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So, you want to do something you've never really done before, or at least not that way. This implies a ton of 'learning new stuff' and exploring and making mistakes and generally exercising your brain.

I'd say go for it. I'm totally into 'learning new stuff' at any age, but my observation on the mid-side of 60 is that the people who quit learning are the ones who seem to fossilize and start 'awaiting the end'.

It's the reason I keep doing new stuff - that and the amusement my efforts seem to cause the peanut gallery around the neighborhood.

Currently my own retirement plan is "freedom 99" (i.e. work until I'm 99 or die trying). It's the only sound financial option in many cases. Plus I actually like my day job.

All the best. Again, go for it.

-R
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:28 PM
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You have the tooling. Why not build a top loading furnace where you can pull the crucible like in a metal furnace and to the pour that way? Put the pot back in the furnace a few mins later and bob's your uncle, right?

Of course I have never done anything like it but with crane assists it seems easier than ladling the goop out into a mold.

Just spitballing. I'm rebuilding an already in good shape 1979 280zx instead of working glass or brewing beer. It is the salt season but I was blessed by the winter gods in that it rained for 6 hours on the 28th of December clearing the roads and the next day was misty but in the 50's so I took her out for a hour long ride through some gorgeous country curves. Life is fun. And hard.

BSD
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:58 AM
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The panel work I want to cast will involved multi colors within each panel and an overhead setup won't allow that. One of the things that has struck me, and I always saw it in Charlie Miner's work was how exceptional the clarity and bubble free nature of using Anne's technique could yield. The right size cullet melted right in the first place, never fritted, crunched , cleaned and processed with patience can be loaded in the sprue and layered to allow different colors to hit the mold at different times. I'm interested in lighting mostly and the diffusion of color in the panels.
What I don't want to do is to build a lot more specific heavy melting equipment. Annealers are fine, slumping kilns are fine but not furnaces. I don't want the fuel bills to become the thing that drives everything. NH is already awful on electricity. It costs me far more to have electricity delivered than for the actual power.
Since I don't want to do shows anymore under any circumstances, the options for marketing work are poor. It's time just to make stuff. We may apply it in Shanghai if it looks any good. Lighting is a big deal there.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:36 AM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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It sounds like something you want to pursue, and you have the equipment, the space, and the decades of knowledge and experience about the material, and the time to pursue this. So why not? Start experimenting and hopefully having fun doing so. I don't think you like to have photos of finished work being put up here on Craftweb so much, but I do hope you can post some images of your results. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:30 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I think the problem you're going to have is with the "molds you can use more than once". Plaster mixes at casting temp just fall apart, and I don't know that mixing with a castable is going to make much of a difference. You're other major issue is release, the goop sticks to near everything, but I have had some luck spraying mold release in sand castings. The best continuous casting material I've found is graphite, but of course that is only with a ladle/pour method.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:25 AM
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well, the intent is to make a mother mold and keep making copies as necessary. The workpiece will have a continuing storyline in it but will continue to use the same external dimensions.
Hot casting with a ladle seems to me to be pretty brutal. I di one casting this way back in new mexico with some Schott LF5. It had an engraved ID on the piece used. I was impressed when we took that out, which was extremely clean that the engraved numbers stayed in place and were easily read.
That basic mold was made with slip on silicon rubber which is how I willl start here. Expensive though.
I know Eric Trulson made some molds while he was here that mixed the morco 95 with plaster. He was blowing into them which I view as less of an insult to meterial. I think he lined them with cork but I'm not sure.

It is nice to contemplate something totally different at this stage and to know it can go to Shanghai if it works. I'm struck by the beauty of the pattern work in the panels and think that using a really high quality cullet of my own made in reducing colloidal colors will set it apart. I think of how effective David Ruth's work is.
It is not likely that I will post pictures here. It's been policy to avoid show and tell here since the beginning. I have never regretted that.
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:28 AM
Rosanna Gusler Rosanna Gusler is offline
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I would talk to Leslie israelson about mold mix 6. Also try using alumina hydrate instead of silica in your plaster mix. Less silica = less quartz inversion caused issues.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:36 PM
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I certainly have bags of alumina hydrate. I've not used mold mix six. I'm mostly gathering information and materials right now. I'm quite interested in the calcium aluminate since it works so well bringing castables back from the dead.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:44 PM
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I've heard lore of Tiffany creating reusable molds for casting. I believe this to be for p‚te de verre, so lower temps may have contributed. Otherwise I have yet to run into (or hear of) molds that can withstand multiple firings.

Different people have different voodoo that seems to work for them. I don't have the track record of some folks here, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

One thing I have learned the hard way is avoid any steel/metal reinforcement of a mold. When I first learned mold making for casting it was for bronze and aluminum. We would fashion a chicken wire "tube" to fit inside the cottle before pouring the investment. Those molds don't take the same abuse as in glass casting. I noted some sources recommending it for glass casting as well, so I just continued the practice. A friend with more experience later recommended that I ditch the chicken wire. I've had better results since.

Shredded fiberglass is a good reinforcement agent. I get mine from The Compleat Sculptor. I prefer their AquaGlass variety.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete VanderLaan View Post
That basic mold was made with slip on silicon rubber which is how I willl start here. Expensive though.
Mold making is fun. I wish I had more opportunity to do it right now. But like you say, it's expensive. The nice thing is when you make one it'll last forever (it will at least outlive me for sure).

Smooth-On is a good product. I have some alginate from them that I haven't found a use for yet.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:58 PM
Michael Charles McCain Michael Charles McCain is online now
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How can I learn more about this Anne Robinson technique?
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:23 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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Pete, have you consulted with Ransom & Randolph, Maumee, OH. about their products for glass casting. My experience has been you can use their #910 for several castings if you don't have under cuts. They have been selling this and other mixtures to glass artists for many years.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Charles McCain View Post
How can I learn more about this Anne Robinson technique?
*****
The flower pot lady? I'd try You tube first. Otherwise Anne has been brilliant for quite a number of years. Mr Bai, in Shanghai was using the exact technique when I was in Shanghai years back at Liuli Gongfang. In retrospect, I wish I'd spent more time with him. BUT, I'll find him again.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:21 PM
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How can I learn more about this Anne Robinson technique?
The investment recipes and instructions are in Glass Notes 4.0. Lucky for you the eBook is now available.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:25 PM
Marty Kremer Marty Kremer is offline
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Pete- I can't help you; I've been avoiding casting for a long time and now at age 72 I don't want to start.
I'm fusing and slumping and cutting and gluing and that's enough. If I get bored I'll take up blowing again.
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:38 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but vermiculite board might be exactly what you're looking for, if the molds aren't too complicated. Bullseye has some info on it. Otherwise I think Tom's right with the R&R, it's pricey, but coveted.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:26 AM
Marty Kremer Marty Kremer is offline
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Regarding VB for casting- Bullseye mostly encourages making shallow boxes.
Jim Wiles of Southernserviceco.com will have much more info on VB.
The stuff can be carved with normal wood tooling (mind the dust).

For other castables and boards, how about talking to Zircar in Florida, NY?
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:35 AM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is offline
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Canít wait to see what you make Pete !
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:37 AM
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I will start with open faced slumps. I need to see how the glass moves, changes colors, sets up along with effective kiln temperatures... blah blah blah
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:33 PM
Larry Cazes Larry Cazes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Huntrods View Post
So, you want to do something you've never really done before, or at least not that way. This implies a ton of 'learning new stuff' and exploring and making mistakes and generally exercising your brain.

I'd say go for it. I'm totally into 'learning new stuff' at any age, but my observation on the mid-side of 60 is that the people who quit learning are the ones who seem to fossilize and start 'awaiting the end'.

It's the reason I keep doing new stuff - that and the amusement my efforts seem to cause the peanut gallery around the neighborhood.

Currently my own retirement plan is "freedom 99" (i.e. work until I'm 99 or die trying). It's the only sound financial option in many cases. Plus I actually like my day job.

All the best. Again, go for it.

-R
Amen! Watched my father slowly die over three years of Retirement, the wonderful american dream. Thats why Im torch working Boro. It constantly keeps my interest and keeps me getting out of bed in the morning as well as being sustainable for me.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:27 PM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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So, my son came up and we mixed a smooth on silicon rubber material he used a few years back on his helmet project. It was past date but it worked. He set up the 3D printer to make some bowls which also worked and we made the mold using that. I have a few quarts of slow set stuff. Bren wants some fast set. More dollars.
Then, using a microcrystaline wax, we poured two bowls and I've been cleaning up those pours. I actually think a simple one will make a great crucible for in gloryhole usage. We'll make more.
Now , I'm learning about carving waxes and how different they can be. We bought a wax extrusion gun to do overlays on the basic mold and have a variety of tricks now to build up a 3-D form on the surface. I'm interested in Calaveras and Dragons. All the tools should arrive from Rio Grande late in the week.

I have tried using my Weller soldering iron on the bottom variable range settings to prod the wax and it indeed works but the tip is a bit large. We will cast these waxes into a plaster/ alumina mix later in the week and then burn them out and have two items: One the crucible mold and the other for a glass casting.

Much money spent but it's always the case in the learning phase. It's a lot of fun.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:18 PM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is offline
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Pete. Are you sure about using alumina in your mold? Most mold makers use silica.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:48 AM
Rosanna Gusler Rosanna Gusler is offline
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I suggested it. I was making multiple molds from the same rubber mother mold. The mold was of a bas relief rockfish . Anyhow, this mold was about 8x14 x2" and badly under engineered. After I made the first two I realized that I was dipping out of the alumina bag instead of silica. So ended up making 2 of each. Filled each with float and fired all 4 in same kiln load. The alumina ones had way less flashing and the quality of the surface was like buttah. ... Less silica = less issues with quartz inversion .
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:49 AM
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Right now, I have the luxury of trying this a number of ways since I don't have the pressure of selling it at all.

The intent of the higher alumina mold is multiple firings for some work.

Plaster/Silica does cost less as another take

plaster / alumina is ?

What I do have here is the calcium aluminate which is the binder for castables and I want to play with that. The percentages become a study.

I am taking note of Rosanna's observations, both on gloss and expansion.
Already having the crusher is incredibly handy. Having good glass is nice too.

The grease pencils arrived yesterday and Rio Grande sent a note this morning saying the wax and tooling has shipped.
So I began shoveling out the studio yesterday after a six month silence. I've made three wax bowls and need the overlay waxes.
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