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About Kang

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  • Birthday 01/17/73

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  • Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    My wife and kids, backyard metal casting, A Song of Ice and Fire, minis

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  1. Way more epic than the Demogorgon mini I had as a kid, although that was probably the mini I enjoyed having more than any other before or since... Mine was the same one that was seen in the show Stranger Things. Can't recall if it was a Ral Partha or a Grenadier or what, but I used to carry it everywhere and polish it constantly. Sorta like a fidget spinner, only less spinny and more lead-poisony. Ahh, the early '80's... Great job! And thanks for the happy reminder. Kang
  2. I found a few suggestions of using a power washer on the alloy avenue forum. But not from people who had tried it... It certainly sounds worth trying. Hopefully the power washer will do a good job removing the investment but not the sculpted details from your 7-chinned mystery monstrosities. Good luck! One suggestion I also found interesting was to use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner (definitely not the fast way), pre-soaking the castings in vinegar if needed to help break down the investment. I would try soaking an expendable piece of pewter first to make sure the vinegar won't eat up your castings. This is just speculation, but if it works, it might be just as helpful when using the power washer as with the ultrasonic cleaner. There were also some suggestions to sand blast, or rather blast with other gentler media such as crushed walnut shell or glass bead. Again, if you try it, make sure to test first on something expendable! They were not talking about pewter castings, and I have no idea how that stuff would hold up to blasting with these various media. Kang
  3. Woo-hoo! Congrats! Indoor foundry envy! I've been trying to find a day to get outside and fire up The Black Dread to do some melting and casting for a couple of months now, but it keeps on raining anytime I have a little free time. It's getting ridiculous, frankly, and someone really ought to put a stop to it. I can only rebuild my waste oil burner to pass the time so often... Can't recall if you've said whether you de-bubble your investment under vacuum, or if your equipment is set up to be able to do that? If not and if you want to start, look to the internet for DIY solutions before shelling out for a "real" bell jar (as in, "real" expensive) - Why pay so much more when you can do the same thing with an old pressure cooker and a scrap of polycarbonate for a lid from the plastic supply store's scrap bin? Also, aonemarine on youtube (AKA DavidF on Alloyavenue) has many great vacuum assisted investment casting videos that may be of interest. Good tips and tricks there. I mean, holy cow, did you guys catch that hint? The super secret new Talespinner sculpts have CHINS! :) Kang
  4. Thanks... I'd settle for good weather! Kang
  5. Glad you hadn't poured it yet; that would be a real mess if the melt got sucked into your vacuum pump... Glad you are OK, despite things going POP in the foundry! Anytime you hear that, best be wearing your brown pants if you catch my drift. Could mean a steam explosion flinging molten metal into the air, or a hiccupping propane burner trying to send your furnace's lid into low earth orbit. Or any number of things far more disastrous than this turned out to be. You are completely unscathed and still have a working pump; that is a win in my book. That mold was only going to get destroyed eventually anyhow, right? :) Kang
  6. I switched to off-loading extra brush-moisture on coffee filters instead of paper towels because (A) we had coffee filters handy, and (B) the lint thing. Then a couple years ago we bought a Keurig machine. <shrug> Back to paper towels. Sometimes things are only a big deal because at some point you decided they were a big deal. I do occasionally notice some paper towel fibers in my paint, but not that often. I try to use fresh paper towels, not old ones that have been used and re-used and left lying around for dust to settle on and that have gotten rubbed against things while being repeatedly put away and taken back out; those ones definitely seem to be much more linty than they are when fresh off the roll. So many reasons not to lick paintbrushes. You do know the hairs are plucked from a Russian Weasel's BUTT, right? That is not even the best reason. Kang
  7. The orc looks great, you really nailed the transitions on the highlights and shading. I'd be really happy to get a skin tone come out that nice. But those eyes... They are OK as-is... but just "beginner-OK". I kind of wish you had taken that risk and pushed yourself a little harder to see what you are capable of. You could always paint back over them if you messed up and got the googly-eyed stare of doom. :) Even so, this is a great mini, especially for so early in your painting "career". Love how you tied the undead minis together with just a little bit of that blue on each one, great idea. They should look great working together as a bad-guy team on the (virtual) game table! Kang
  8. No pictures this time. Well, the weather did not co-operate very well; still no first casting day of 2017 to report. I did get my new, bigger flask completed - added the alignment hardware and some skinny "ribs" on the inside surfaces to help the sand not drop out when I open the molds and lift/flip its halves. I made some gating patterns for aluminum castings - short and wide, as opposed to the tall and skinny gating patterns for copper alloys that I made for casting the next bronze axe (see previous post). I don't know why the different alloys prefer different shaped gating, but a guy on the casting forum who used to me a journeyman molder for the US Navy recommended these shapes for gating used to cast different metals, and I have seen enough of his work to trust his advice. I'll use the same sprue well shown in the previous piosts in the new gating for bronze. It's a little deeper than it needs to be for Al, but it should work. I did not paint or seal the new gating for aluminum, thinking perhaps the weather would relent and let me get going - I did not want the gating to still be sticky with half-dried lacquer spray if I needed it all of a sudden - but I believe it has been sanded smooth enough to use anyhow. Now that the weekend is over, I'll probably paint them before next weekend and hope things work out better then. Week-night melts are technically possible I guess, but I prefer to have lots of extra time when melting in case of complications, and the time between putting the kids and myself to bed when we all have to go to school or work the next day grows ever shorter as the years go by... I also freshened up my molding sand. Did not use Big Bucket Mull the almost-muller seen running in a couple of video clips upthread, as it is still put away in another shed and also partially disassembled for some planned tweaking that hasn't happened yet; I used a paint mixer bit on my drill instead, which worked quite well for mixing in a little more water. I found it best to mix maybe 1/3 of a 5 gallon bucket at a time. I own 100lbs of green sand, which works out to 2 full 5g buckets, so this didn't take too long. I have pretty much decided to cast the aluminum skull-shaped ashtray (or candy dish to you vapers and PC types) first this year. Ease back into things with a nice low-key aluminum melt, is the idea - bronze still feels pretty new to me, makes me slightly nervous to think about melting it again (yet also kind of excited)... So I made sure the new gating and the pattern fit OK in the new flask, which they do. In this case the runner will be in the drag (under the mold's parting line) just like in the pic above of the new gating patterns for bronze, but unlike in that pic, the gates will be in the cope (above the parting line). I will take some pix of the mold when I ram it up, which should clarify all of this if needed. This should help the gating skim any dross off as it passes through the runner; the idea is that it should float and stick to the top of the runner before the metal rises high enough in the mold to begin to fill the gates above. Possibly I should have done the same with the gating for bronze, but instead I went with a simpler design with all the gating in the drag, which should still work well. Did this for some boring technical reasons, probably not worth explaining here. Unless anyone asks - I am always happy to ramble on about this stuff more if given even the slightest bit of encouragement... :) Otherwise just call me lazy, and that is close enough to the truth as makes no matter... Anyhow, maybe next weekend... Wish me luck. And dry weather! Kang
  9. For the record, I am not encouraging anyone to try this; the potential safety issues are real. Mind you I would not necessarily recommend taking up metal casting as a safe hobby either... But since it came up and I have tried it... I feel the need to post: I've used a drip-quench-freeze method for breaking down aluminum car wheels into crucible-sized bites. But it always makes me pretty nervous, and the whole thing lost its balance and tipped over last time I tried it, causing me to leap out of harm's way. I never got any steam popping from lumps with water trapped in them, but maybe it is possible. Again, I have done this but would not necessarily recommend. I got the idea from others on the Alloy Avenue forums who have used it more than I ever have and perhaps only luckily have not blown themselves up. It is something I posted about already a while back, in my Molten Metal Madness thread: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/70935-kangs-kreations-molten-metal-madness/&do=findComment&comment=1445161
  10. I have had my eye out for some of those corn-shaped CI cornbread pans for a couple years now to use as fun ingot molds after seeing others do the same on the casting forum, but they aren't as common up here in Canada where corn bread isn't as common for some reason. So I tend to pour poutine ingots instead (just kidding). I know I already mentioned preheating them, but this is important enough to repeat. Search "how not to pour aluminum metal" and watch the YT vid where the students don't preheat and cause what is most likely a steam explosion w/airborne molten metal, if you need convincing. And that is aluminum, much less hot than bronze. I have skimmed Al without preheating my skimmer and it just sizzled a bit, but I tried that with bronze and the very instant it touched the surface of the melt, POP!... Also, try to pour copper-based ingots as cool as you can without risking letting it freeze in the crucible, to prevent brazing. A coat of light rust or a dusting with graphite or a coating of soot from a smoky candle or torch will also help prevent sticking. No harm in trying your band saw, even if you can't find a metal cutting blade that fits (it is possible to get them custom welded, not sure how much $). It probably isn't going to run the blade at the ideal speed for cutting metal, but I bet it will cut. You got a much better deal on what sounds like a much nicer saw than I did, BTW. Good score! Good luck!
  11. Thanks for the feedback. I may try this sometime and make some simple caulk molds just for fun just because I like to DIY, and like it enough that I am willing to endure a bit of hassle if it ends up working somewhat in the end. But it is always a juggling act; trading reliability for affordability and a little more fiddling around is how it usually seems to end up, if it goes well at all. There certainly are cases where shelling out for the commercial product in question instead of taking the homemade approach is definitely worth the extra cost. If I do try this, I won't expect it to outperform commercially available molding goo. The guy I mentioned who did this to make those museum fishes and a wax copy of his hand said he was able to pull a washed caulk mold that held fingerprint level detail, but obviously fish in general are down at the smooth end of the scale for animals, and the finest details on a life-sized hand don't have as much deep (relatively speaking) relief as say the folds in a cloak on a mini, or even chainmail links. I guess that's why sometimes the mineral spirits are used to thin out the caulking, so that a more detailed mold can be made. I guess in a pinch you could use that mineral oil method to mold more intricate things as long as you were only going to use the mold once or a very few times, in the very near future (before it shrinks). Versus using the presumably less shrinky 'knead underwater' method which might work better for less intricate molds that may last longer and aren't so prone to shrinking... Kang
  12. Has anyone else tried making silicone molds using cheap caulking? I did a forum search, found nothing. You can't use it straight out of the tube, that much I know from personal experimentation with some HistArts assemblies I needed a bunch of a few years back. It won't dry/cure/harden properly in thick layers within any reasonable kind of timeframe. The mold I tried to make just about turned itself into a pretzel overnight and still had some big gooey sections for weeks afterwards... I have since learned that this is all because of additives they put into caulking to keep it from setting up other than when it is squozen out in a thin bead... or something. But there are ways around this; I have found instructions for several methods. The simplest one I read about (not one I have been able to find a good online tutorial on, but I was able to ask a question or two from a guy who tried it) was to dump the whole tube (use a 100% silicone type) into a bucket of water with some dish soap, then knead the caulking underwater for a while to rinse out whatever is inhibiting it from curing. Gloves may or may not be necessary to keep it from sticking to your hands. I think the inhibitor might be acetic acid, due to caulking's vinegary smell. Other methods mention that mixing water into the caulking one way or another actually catalyzes the curing reaction, as opposed to rinsing out whatever stops it from curing, not sure which version is the truth. Other methods involve thinning the silicone with mineral spirits so it can be painted on or poured more easily (may cause the mold to shrink after a while though, or else maybe that will happen no matter what?), and/or mixing with glycerine or adding corn starch etc. I think the corn starch is supposed to work by carrying atmospheric moisture in has absorbed into the silicone to catalyze curing. The one guy I have discussed this a little bit with online (a folk artist who goes by "Metal By Nevin") had used the knead-in-soapy-water method to mold some frozen dead fish to be cast (in resin I believe) for use in a museum exhibit (historical fishing village diorama) somewhere in Alberta where he used to work, and he said the molds worked well and could be re-used without trouble. He's the one whoe explanation involved rinsing out the curing inhibitor as opposed to adding a catalyst; perhaps he had the exlanation wrong. He also told me he used the same method on his own time to mold one of his hands, then cast a wax hand to use for making a metal hand-shaped soap dish via lost wax investment casting. But I figured it might also be helpful or of interest to this crowd... Seems a real shame if museums can't afford the right products for making museum-quality exhibits. But, on the other hand, if using cheap off-the-shelf molding materials can yield museum-quality results, then that could be a real game-changer! I'm obviously not tyring to write a tutorial here or anything, just wondering if anyone here has tried it - if so, please post more info (maybe write a tutorial here or something? :)) - have I got the details or chemistry wrong? Which method did you use and how well did it work? Can it be used for small scale things like minis/bits/terrain? And so on. I don't want to waste my time researching which of the many options is the best way to do this if someone here already knows, or if that is still going to give far worse results than using the "real" products made for mold-making. But even then there I suppose there could still be some small jobs where it might be a satisfactory as well as an economical choice. Always good to have a few backup techniques in one's arsenal. Hopefully this will inspire someone to give it a try who might not have known this was possible. There are plenty of tutorials for these methods online as it happens; the tricky part is finding some consensus as to which of the various methods and recipes works best/easiest. If it works well enough, it might be a good alternative to dropping big bucks on RTV silicone mold-making materials, at least for small jobs or one-off molds that might only get used once or twice. I will try it one day myself, but it's not at the top of my list. I would use the knead in water method just because I know someone who's actually tried it. But if one of the other methods is better for some reason, that's something I would love to learn more about... {sigh} another novella, apologies. I just can't seem to stop myself rambling on and on some days... Kang
  13. Yes, that. Much more affordable than my suggestion, and almost certainly would get the job done faster... I had the prices all wrong in my head after seeing a bargain brand (King Canada) portaband for less than 1/3 of what a DeWalt or Milwaukee goes for. Wish I had grabbed it... Kang
  14. Your stuff always makes me smile, so twisted and weird, in such a good way! Kang
  15. Over the weekend instead of getting out and casting something as I have been dying to do for months, I realized I still have a few things to prepare before that can happen... I made a new flask big enough to cast the next bronze axe I plan to make, which will be a little different design than the first one. Should be nice and big enough for any of the stuff I have in mind so far this season, actually. Making it was fun, I got to go to my friend's house and use his big planer (whirling blades of death) to even out the parting line surfaces. The flask is almost complete in the pic, only the alignment hardware remains to me built and added. That is to ensure that the mold is beiong closed up properly, not with the top rotated 90* from where it belongs, nor turned the correct way but with half of the axe offset from the other half by a few 16ths or whatever. This flask is 12" X 12" on the interior, ie. bigger than I have ever rammed up and poured before. I may have explained this somewhere above, but TLDR: A "flask" in sand casting is the 2-part bottomless and topless box that the mold gets made in. I also made patterns to mold the gating; shown in the pic here you should be able to see a sprue well (site under the prue to catch loose sand and reduce turbulence in the mold), a deep narrow runner (said to be a good shape for casting copper alloys), and two gates a little less deep where the metal will go into the castnigs themselves. The pic shows it all upside down, and it is only the bottom half of the mold (called the drag); the pieces that will be molded in the top half (the cope) are also shown here. But the gating is the part between the axe and the other doodad, which is a pattern for a small bronze anvil that I will use to peen the cutting edge to hardness (this is called "work-hardening" and is done because bronze does not generally harden with heat treatment like high carbon steel) after sharpening. The pic shows roughly how the flask and patterns will be laid out when I ram up the drag with green sand. Once that is done, I'll flip it over, put on the top halves of the patterns using the alignment dowels you can see in the pic, and proceed to ram up the cope with the sprue pattern in place on top of its well. If we get some decent weather next weekend I may get the chance to actually cast the new axe at last, or at least cast something... I have some new patterns for casting in aluminum lined up and ready to go too, though I may build some gating patterns for those as well, since aluminum likes shallow wide gating where copper likes it narrow and deep. In the past I have just carved the gating out of the packed sand after the mold is rammed up, but molding the gating using patterns like this is supposed to get you less loose sand inside the mold and smoother passages for the metal to pass through, ie. better castings. Kang