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Julia

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Everything posted by Julia

  1. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Hey! This is my first thread, so I start by introducing myself. I'm a metal artisan and a self-learned artist, living in a small town in Finland with my husband, whom is a blacksmith. I mainly do bronze/silver jewerly and small everyday items, such as spoons but also miniatures by demand and some commissioned drawings every now and then. Casting is something that I'm quite new at; I've had the setup now for two years, learned a lot during that time, but it's something that has and will keep surprising in both ways. It can be absolutely the most frustrating process that I've ever started, like an unholy inferno or then it can be like christmas in the middle of july, you never know...and that's why I love it. I want to improve in both casting and sculpting, so I hope to get honest feedback to get better, please don't hold back- sheesh, I'm almost like a turtle: thick shell, some mushy bits, just as slow and having a hard time to get up if I get turned around...but as long as I keep wiggling my stubby legs, I'll be fine :) I'll be posting both sculpting process and the casting bits. Here's some previous work, that I've done recently. Cast in bronze. A running rabbit, original done with self made wax (beeswax/blue injection wax combo): Small dragon, original done using super-sculpey and green stuff, cast in bronze. I used a two part silicone to make a mold of the model, because not all materials can withstand vulcanizing temperature- super-sculpey is one of them. Unless I want to bake the original, I use silicone. I can post a picture of the mold later, if someone is interested. It works with the spruing wax like a charm and I can use pretty much any material as a model that I can think of. I call this one Onna-stick :) I made both spoons and these small ladles during the summer. Oldies. Small seahorse and a silver bear: That's it. I'll start a new post with a project I'm about to start...or projects, I have ADD, so my mind is usually racing all over the place so it's hard for me to focus on just one thing at a time, so I deal with it by doing lots of this and that...and eventually getting something finished :) Take care, Julia
  2. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Hey! Finally had some time to focus on a few personal projects. Making new spoons and I love it Were a little worried of how this is going to cast, as it was attached to the tree as a one single object and had just one sprue where the metal will enter the model. Made a test cast with bronze before attempting the same with silver and it was a success. Only downside were, that the ram itself should have been hollow, but it filled anyway; I'll need to add a little hole to the back, so that the air has somewhere to go when it's being compressed The idea is that the spoon is going to be long enough that when it's resting in a cup, it will look like the ram is balancing on top of those rocks. Then I made a new set of teeny tiny fox earrings Cya! Happy sculpting, everyone! ~Julia
  3. Julia

    Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

    Aaah, should visit more often. The sculpt is looking amazing! For a future reference to casting with different alloys, the flask should be about 400C below the melting point of your chosen metal; for silver, if you have big patterns flask temp of 560C is enough, for small and delicate patterns up to 600C and let it soak in about an hour before pouring, so that the inside of the flask has time to get to the same temperature as the outside of your flask. Same goes with bronze. Pewter on the other hand, has a real low melting point and becomes completely molten at around 300C, but for vacuum, you'll get better results with the melt being somewhere around 320-340C (flask temp of 260C sounds ok ). Have fun! ~Julia
  4. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Thanks, Kang I'm using a cheap resin printer, the level of detail is pretty amazing. Made a mold from the print. I've been testing with the vulcanizing press that I have and managed to create a mold by using natural rubber instead of silicone. I did try silicone to compare, but it warped the prints quite a bit. Natural rubber is more solid...downside is that it smells really awful
  5. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Well, hello! I'm sorry for being away for so long, been busy with new awesome toys! Slowly training CAD and 3D modeling for jewerly and bought a cheap resin printer to aid with super difficult and detailed models. I've had a blast! Now that the summer is finally here I've done insane amount of casting and pre-processing. New models done by hand and with an aid of printer means one happy metal artisan. The horoscopes are the first pieces modeled with a 3D program, my customer wanted them to be very detailed and the time given would not have been enough to create wax models by hand...this is where the new technology shines, without the printer, I would have been in deep shingles. I were happy to get them done in time, customer were happy to get the details he wanted, all's good. Attached several new designs, plus a flying hamster...just because
  6. Julia

    My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    If you find yourself in a spot where you don't have any LoS, you can get the patina with boiled and smashed eggs. It just takes longer to produce a dark coating. I have played around with a torch and tried to get a nice color, but personally didn't like uneven patina it produced. In time the color difference is very visible and when there's spots that will darken more than others, the end result is not that appealing...it might have its uses, but have yet to find a design where it would work. At the moment I'm struggling to keep the silver nice and shiny; stored almost everything into sealed zip-locks with an anti-tarnish strips. It starts to get really frustrating when there's over 40 small pieces that needs to be cleaned in a regular basis, so that the tarnish doesn't get too deep. Have started to make more items that has a deep patina other than a high polish, just because I'm spending more time re-polishing than making new items to sell.
  7. Julia

    My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Oooooo, looks perfect! Well done! Are you going to leave them as they are or darken with liver of sulphur?
  8. Julia

    My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Hi, like I said before, I do not have an electrical kiln for melting, so I asked around and here's what I got: heat the metal at least 100F over the desired temperature, that way you'll ensure that the metal has melted completely. So in this case it'll be around 1880 deg, 1900 degrees also works and 2000 is a max before the metal is too hot to cause problems. Your burnout temperature is ok, 950 sounds about right for a casting temperature, 1000 is for finer designs: filigrees and such. I've heard that it's recommended to heat the flask 75-100F hotter when using a vacuum, but I'm yet to test it myself. There are two things that can cause partly filled casts: temperature and sprues. Like Kang said earlier, a failed burnout will leave evidence, the surface is like bad case of acne or a side of a moon with all those little craters and such. If it's too hot: it'll do craters, tiny holes, cavities, plus this stuff that looks like sand and if too cold, the metal doesn't usually even reach the sprues and looks kind of sluggish and sad. You don't have any of that, so my bet is in the sprues. With small objects like these, make them as short, even and straight as possible. Try to avoid curves, bumps and too much of tapering, because if the sprue gets too thin too fast, that kind of shape will act as a nozzle and it will sort of spray the metal around instead of moving it forward. The thickness should be around the same as the model's. If the sprue is too thick, I've noticed that not only does it slow the metal down, but it will act as a storage unit for heat and that'll cause porosity on the ring shank. One last thing is that I see that you're using a secondary sprue. Try to get it to fill at the same time as the main one; now what happened is that the main sprue started to fill ok, but the flow was suddenly cut by a secondary sprue which started to fill at a slightly different time than the main branch and without a good momentum, it solidified. Just a thought :) To be continued tomorrow, G'night!
  9. Julia

    My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Hi and ack! That's a real bummer and real odd is the way how the models are all only partly filled. I don't see any porosity or shrinkage due to temperature, the parts that has been filled looks solid, but there are a few things with the sprues that I need to take a closer look at. Looks like a flow issue. I'm a bit in a hurry at the moment, but I'll take a closer look of the model and sprues later today. What's your final kiln temperature and do you let the mold temperature set before pouring? ~Julia
  10. Julia

    My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Awesome! I can't afford to buy a Kerr either, can only dream and drool I've been looking for a used electric melting furnace, but people tend to ask for a same price as what you'd get by ordering brand new from China... Those graphite crucibles don't need to be seasoned, right? I've only heard about tempering to make them last longer. Do you have something to swirl the melted metal around to make sure it has liquefied completely? Like a charcoal stick or something? ~Julia
  11. Julia

    My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Hi, Sorry to hear about the cast gone bad. Have little knowledge about the electromelts, except that I'd like to have one :) Like you said yourself, It looks like the metal was too cold: we usually overheat it a little, because once you're ready to pour and especially with precious metals, at the beginning you tend to be more careful and try to pour slowly, which makes it to cool even more. (By the way, it will become easier as you'll get rid of the idea of pouring silver...it's just the mental image of pouring something expensive that gets on the way. I had that at the beginning and having silver dust at my clothes ended to this atom search and could spent quite some time gathering every little bit I found...now I just pretty much dust my clothes like it's wood dust. Same goes with the casts, now it's just like bronze, but the color is different :D I also like to use long cylinders and long trees for all of the casts, even if there's not too many items to be cast. I'll lose some investment in the process, but the casts turn out better because the poured material gathers speed along the way and the fill rate is much better, because at the end of the tree the velocity forces the material into the small cavities better than anything else. Was the crucible coated before you started to melt the silver? Was it a new one? I've had a cast go nasty, because the crucible had too much sediment from previous casts: the metal didn't melt at all, it remained in this weird gummy state. Anyway, the pink stuff is copper, I normally don't do anything about it. It might look like it's a big portion of the copper content, but it's not. It usually comes off by scrubbing with a brass brush. It would only make a difference if you'd keep on melting the same item over and over again. The copper would eventually burn away.
  12. Julia

    Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

    Hey, You can cut the bronze bar into chunks with an angle grinder, but it's not a fun task: lots and lots of fine bronze dust, sparkled like a champ for a few days. We use an old horizontal metal bandsaw, the saw itself is something specific for stainless steel, but the bronze is so soft that a normal saw blade will do just fine.
  13. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Hey! Just finished The Last Order. Phew. I look like something 'fresh' dug straight out of a grave; ragged clothes, dirty hands, messy hair and a pale winter face to match the rest. My husband has been reading zombie novels and is convinced that I'll Turn in any given moment Jeeze, what a month! Anyways, thank you robin and Kang! The spirals were tricky and without the small gates, there's no doubt that the spirals would have been incomplete. I did notice some shrinkage, so next time, I'll make the gates a little bit bigger to ensure a good flow. Finished the milk churns. Ended up using silver sheet and wire instead of casting. We had some nasty weather which blinked our power on and off. Power failure and kiln...umh, no thank you. I'm off to rummage through the fridge, make a fortress out of blankets and pillows...and then I'll buy a book. My whole meaning of existence for the next day or two is to get fat and happy. Sounds like a plan. It's the Best plan ever. ~Julia
  14. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Whoo! Thanks for the luck The cast was a success! The picture below is what it looked like after I removed the investment with citric acid. This tree were cast in silver, so those white specs that you see is actually fine silver and the gray stuff is oxidation- this is normal, I use 925 sterling silver which has 92.5% of fine silver and the rest is copper. The copper in the silver reacts with oxygen and what you'll get is that dark surface, which needs to be removed before polishing. That's what I'm doing now. Lots and lots of sanding, sawing and filing. Here's a few of those hands after the first rough sanding. Had no dents or holes, which is really nice: Back to work, cya! ~Julia
  15. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Jack, Thanks. I'm hopeful, that someday someone would like to have a whole set...*fingers crossed* emmagine, thank you so much for the info- I'll definitely test both Fimo and Primo. Every now and then I get these commissions that reach my workshop just way-too-late. For a caster this is a nightmare, because I only have enough time to make a single cast, that has to be perfect. It feels like taking a swim in the middle of the night...and knowing that there are sharks. You'll most likely be just fine, but the idea that something can go very wrong lingers inside your mind like some kind of superglue. I'm commissioned to make 20 hand shaped logos, that has a spiral in the center and spirals are nasty things to cast! Here's the master: The tree that I whipped together today and is going to be cast on wednesday: Wish me luck ~Julia
  16. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Today was more of a traditional work day. My workshop looks like a war zone. I made a silver brooch for a customer using 1mm silver wire and a whole lot of soldering and polishing. The pin wire is stainless steel, so it will keep it shape better than silver. Don't know how many times I lost the miniature hinge...dropped it a few times, lost it in the chaos among the tools and before soldering, found it wrapped to my clothes
  17. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Thank you. I'll make a master straight out of the wax model- I want to be sure to have at least one plan B, if the cast comes out incomplete spending a few bucks on mold material is a way better option than having to start all over again. That's why I love RTV-silicone, being able to make a mold from the wax model or any other material, that would be destroyed in vulcanizing temperatures. But the wax will be cast in bronze, after the mold is complete. I want to see how the blue carving wax burns and does it need a longer burnout than the injection wax. I've heard that the hard green and purple waxes needs to be at the highest temperature at least an hour extra to have a clean cast. This was the first time I used the blue carving wax. It's quite nice to work with, especially now when I've started to understand more of what kind of tools I like to use as it's so much different than working with soft waxes. That ring is mostly done with burs, wax files and an exacto-blade that I modified to have only just the tip for carving very small, tight places...cut only just one finger, so I'm evolving Oh and the wax can be polished with turpentine, which is nice.
  18. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Kang, ravens are beautiful creatures...from a distance terrifyingly big birds. We run out of gas for melting, so I still have time to make a few new tests for the next cast. I'm in a hurry, so I'll have to keep my ramblings short Carved my first celtic knot! It still needs to be polished and cleaned up, but I'm pretty happy how it looks right now. Got to run, cya!
  19. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Hey! Andy, it sure does save a LOT of batteries- it does help if you clean the tip with a brass brush once in a while, the wax tends to build up and burn, making the burner less effective. The wood burner sounds interesting, just thinking that will it be too hot for wax? If there's smoke, it means that the wax is burning and that changes the wax structure somehow. What I've gathered from the casts gone bad, it may be a reason for porous bits along the sprue channels. I've had it happen to me once, but there are so many things that can go wrong, that it's difficult to say what caused it. Wang, wow..googled the wax pen, never realized it shares a name with a vaporizer. Oops, heh. What I used before was a Matt speedy wax pen, it's great when fixing and melting small bits of wax, but when it comes to building a tree, it takes ages to get everything attached. So, $29 is just about the right amount, plus taxes and shipping. DIY is the best Mori, it's nice to meet you too! Did you happen to finish the elf yet? Eagerly waiting to see it painted! Strawhat, thank you! I kind of locked myself into the workshop for couple of days; had a maddening phase of procrastination. It's driving me insane to get stuck on everything I try to accomplish; my head is as useless as trying to catch farts So at the moment, it's pretty much a big no-no to read the forums before I get to work. Oh well, this usually doesn't last more than a week (hopefully): can't wait to be able to function again! But thanks to the lockup, I did manage to make a new model of a raven. The model has a bird on both sides and I'm thinking that I'll make yet another spoon collection...or a really fancy fork... or a hair pin? Well, something usable anyway. I'm going to try the medallion idea next, just to see what it looks like after it's cast.
  20. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Popping in to say hi. I've been making wax models to assemble at least 4 big trees for both silver and bronze casts. A vital tool for me has been a wax pen, that I use for melting wax for various purposes. I'm so used to it, that losing an equipment like that feels like being without power and that's what happened yesterday; it stopped working. I panicked, because buying a new one (even while being cheap) is not an option at the moment. So, after a frantic search around the house to find something similar, I came across an old glue gun. I modified it. There's now a thin silver wire at the end to conduct heat, held firmly in place by a bit of green stuff I now own one of the world's cheapest wax pens ever made. It cost me around 6€. Behold! The DIY wax pen. It's darn ugly, but it works:
  21. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Thanks might make more squids later: perfect for left-over green stuff. Cleaned up a bronze cast that I made a while back- never done a scythe or any weapon/tool of this size. Was on my "things to try"-list. Just like the dragon this will be made to be part of a spoon, plus a few to be made as pendants. This is a master for a mold, so as much as I'd like to tidy and clean it more, it needs to have as much material as possible for future casts. I'll solder a sprue to it later today.
  22. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Had a training day for sculpting. Have a bit more control now: tested a mix of super sculpey firm and green stuff 50/50...not a bad mix, adds some working time and is not as sticky as green stuff alone, plus the color is quite pleasant grayish green. Might work well with the jewerly modelling, it takes twice the time to cure tho'. My end result is kinda weird, chubby and cranky squid
  23. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Oh yes- anything organic (or even plastic) will do, as long as it burns and the ash is blown out with compressed air before pouring- it's a good idea to add some wax underneath a flower pedal or anything that's under 0.5mm to have a better chance to have a good quality cast. If the item is big, it needs to be dry or dried before casting- otherwise it might blow up inside the investment during burnout. Organics are usually one time casts, though and due to ash it's better to use an own tree for those items or you may risk to lose hours of work. There are a lot of hobbyists and a few artisans here that does that kind of work, it's fun, but expensive as you'll rarely get a full tree. Another option for sort of organic cast is to use a cuttlefish shell. This can be done with a really small setup and work as a one-time mold. But it's best to do outside as the fumes smell otherworldly disgusting and will remain as a good companion for a long time
  24. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    I do like this raven idea. One might be better than having two at the same design, it looks too busy and crowded now, with one it could be shaped as a crescent moon...I'll choose that later.
  25. Julia

    Sculpting and casting

    Sure thing There are three types of molds, that I mainly use. First is the two part liquid silicon, that I use for detailed work and with material that can't tolerate high temperatures. It's semi-transparent, which is nice..but difficult when taking pictures, doesn't look like much. I'll be making one soon from the milk can, so can share the process. Second mold is vulcanized. This is good for making molds out of items that are metal of any type. This is a mold of the rabbit- I cut the mold just enough to get the master model out. And third is an instamold- it's silicone (I think), quite soft. I found it at a crafts store real cheap- you add it into boiling water, press the item you want to duplicate into the mass and let it cool and you'll have a mold to do simple models with a soft wax or putty. It can also be used again.
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