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Everything posted by Kang

  1. Quick update: Some sandable primer and a few coats of gloss enamel spray smoothed over the slightly porous parts of the raised border very nicely; it's smooth as can be now. I expect prying numbers etc. (not yet finished in this pic, needs some putty and sanding and more of the glossy paint coating) off of the recessed face of the pattern will ruin the paint job there, but that will be easy to fix by sanding, I really only wanted to smooth out the borders, that is the reason for painting the pattern. But smooth is good, makes it easier to draw the pattern out of the mold without breaking the sand. Hence the glossy finish. I also added another 'Squadron Green Putty' fillet before painting it, to gently radius the sharp corner where the runner (vertical section on left of frame) connects to the knife gate (which connects the runner to the pattern proper). Stuff is a little easier to work with when you're smooshing it against cast aluminum than it did against the baltic birch plywood the original pattern is made of. Or maybe I just have a little more practice using the stuff now... I also drilled a 1/2" hole in the cope side (ie. the top, as oriented in the mold, ie. upside down relative to this pic if that makes any sense) so that my new (turkey baster tube) tapered sprue pattern has a snug place to sit without wiggling around much while I'm ramming up molds with this pattern. That is not shown here; I don't have a pic of the other side to post, perhaps later. Looking forward to getting those house numbers cast! And also to making other removable patterns for sticking to the background and casting up. Sets of letters and numbers (got a friend with a sign shop and a CNC router who's offered to cut me a set of reusable numbers and maybe more in thin sign plastic, sometime after the holidays), maybe some A Song of Ice and Fire house sigils, some kind of design for a sign for my foundry, and so on... The possibilities are endless. I can't wait to cast this, just not sure if I should hurry up and do it in aluminum or wait and see if my folks get me the bronze ingots I asked them to consider getting me for XMas from the sculpture supply place in Toronto to try out... They are in T.O. now at my sister's place, so it's a real possibility I'll be casting a bunch of stuff in silicon bronze next year, woo-hoo! That stuff is supposed to be a dream to melt and cast. Kang
  2. Never really checked out this section much before, but it seems like a good place to put some pictures of the stuff I've been working on over the past few years. I'll start with the very beginning of my molten metal obsession which began 3 years ago during the 13th annual "Boys' Camping Weekend". Every year we try to have some sort of unusual and memorable activity planned. That year, it was seeing if we could get aluminum to melt in our campfire. Someone brought a crucible from the internet. Someone else brought a novelty ice cube tray. Yet another guy somehow got totally hooked on this molten metal stuff, and that someone would be me. Aaaand yet another someone brought his video camera AKA phone: https://vimeo.com/75917079 So that was it for me, I dove in headfirst and haven't really surfaced since, from the strange world of backyard metal casting. So, you see those ugly little skullules in the video? Pretty cool, but definitely hideous and not as intended, right? I just got back from Boys' Camping Weekend #16. Oh, how far I have come in 3 years! I brought a homemade bronze axe with me this year, so I could field-test it right back where it all started, by using it to cut wood to feed the very same fire that was responsible for its creation. First some background on the bronze axe though. I was inspired to make it by George R. R. Martin's world of Westeros, where in ancient times the First Men crossed the Narrow Sea wielding bronze weapons to make war on the Children of the Forest. I don't know much about axes, but I did some googling to come up with a cool looking shape that would be believable as a battle axe yet still useful for chopping wood, which I am more likely to find myself doing. Then I made a wooden pattern to use in making the sand mold needed to cast it. Here are the two halves of the "split pattern" - each part goes in one half of the mold to form the mold cavity, then they patten is drawn out of the mold, the mold is closed, and metal gets poured in: (not the original pix, those showed the pattern halves repainted and sealed for glossy slick non-sand-stickiness) Here is the mold just after I poured in the bronze: (See? The mold is literally a 'sandbox', so I know I'm in the right section...) Here is the raw casting just after I shook out the mold. This side of the casting was in the cope, which is what we call the top half of the mold though I am not sure why. You can see the gating and 2 risers and the sprue here as well as the axe blade. Note the shrinkage on top of those risers. That is their function, to feed their own molten metal into the cast part, to compensate for the shrink that would otherwise occur on the casting itself. They will be remelted when I pour my next bronze casting: Drag (bottom half of the mold) side. You can see the remains of the hardened sand core I had to insert into the mold to create the hollow "eye" where a handle wiould later be fitted. I used sodium silicate (AKA waterglass) based woodstove gasket cement to bind the core, then catalyzed the hardening reaction by baking it in my oven on low for 15 minutes. The core was made in a small plaster mold I made from the core prints on the pattern before they got attached to it, which is visible above. Note, there is a visible screwdriver shaft-thick vent through the core in this pic, to allow gases to escape the mold Here is a big ingot I poured with the leftover bronze, to be remelted next time along with the risers, sprue, and gating from this casting. And here is it pretty much finished up. I put a sledge hammer handle from the hardware store on it because otherwise it would not have been ready for this year's camping weekend, but I did come home with a nice piece of hickory from our campsite that I'll use to make a new handle, now that I have had a chance to field-test the axe. I also ground off the flashing around the parting line and sanded the blade a little shinier than how it came out of the sand. There is a lot more sanding to do before it has a golden mirror-finish, but in terms of usefulness, it is all finshed up here in this pic. The edges were hardened by hammering on them. Bronze does not need to be heated up like steel for this sort of forging, and most bronzes are not hardened by heat treatment. Now. So far I have been discussing this like I used traditional bronze-age bronze - alloys of copper and tin. But the fact is, nowadays "bronze" refers to many different alloys of copper. The alloy I chose for making blades is aluminum bronze, AKA alloy C95400 (which in fact CAN be hardened by heat treatment, though I am not equipped for that). The aluminum bronzes are the toughest of the copper alloys, so they should make the most durable bronze blades, which should be able to hold their edges. Here's where the campsite field test comes in... Our usual campsite is surrounded by a forst of hickory and oak and maple (and the lake), so basically a lot of hardwood. We prefer to burn the fallen hickory logs, because the smoke smells nice, but mostly because one of those hickory logs burns hot (hot enough to melt aluminum, see video clip above) and burns all night long. I knew I wanted to use a big dry super hard thigh-thick hickory log to test the edges on my super hard (for a bronze) axe, so that is exactly what I did when we found on that size leaning dead against a couple other trees (rather than green and growing or rotting on the ground). (I have been unable to find the pix to replace the rest of these broken links, but the most interesting ones in this post are now restored... on to the next post. I'm not saying it was easy going, or even easier than using our camp saw... But the camp saw is also easier than using a store-bought forged steel axe, and what really matters here is that the First Men bronze axe works, and it held its edges! Both blades were used, and both came through it completely undamaged; the edges are as straight and sharp as when we began chopping ("we" because we took turns), no visible shiny spots or bumps or nicks can be seen or felt. I call that a 100% success, and I call this the greatest thing I have made in my backyard foundry so far, by far. Here are a few gratuitous fire shots of the burning test log keeping our campfire burning hot all night long: So that is my latest creation. I have posted my cast aluminum weirwood tree here somewhere before and I think my little rabbit-robots. I'll try to link those here if I can find those older posts. Otherwise, let me know if you guys want to see more and I can dig up some more pix of my castings. Spoiler warning: mostly it is a lot of aluminum skulls. Or you could try googling "Ghost Vines Band". It's not my band, it's one of my camping buddies, and I just learned he's wearing one of my skull belt buckles in one of their promo pix which I had no trouble finding. But I also have pictures of all the foundry equipment I've built over the last 3 years, everything from my oil-fired melting furnace (Balerion the Black Dread) to Big Bucket Mull the sand mixing machine to my cast aluminum sand rammer (King Robert's Rammer) to Lightbringer, my homemade waste oil burner, and on and on. So it's not ALL metal skulls Not bad for some crazy Canadian computer programmer tinkering in his shed for kicks, eh? I even got an "order" for another bronze axe from one of the guys I camp with, which is a huge step for me. This has always been just a hobby, but this opportunity will allow me to try and make an even better axe without having to pay for the bronze myself. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to make my casting hobby start paying its own way in the world instead of costing me money... Kang
  3. Bones 3 graveyard expansion custom version

    Reminds me very much of the 'Delera's Graveyard' area in the old Dungeons & Dragons Online MMO. Great job! Kang
  4. 02035: Gwendalyn the Healer

    Garrity eyes have always been tricky to paint IMO, it's not just you. Good job! Kang
  5. The Care & Feeding of Lead Miniatures

    Don't smoke around where you are working on anything made of lead. Sucking lead particles/vapours through the cherry of a lit cigarette is one of the best way to get lead poisoning (maybe even better than being a very young child chewing on the window sills in an old house); the heat oxidizes the lead and activates its toxicity. Wash your hands carefully and go outside before you light up. If you must light up. Really not a big concern for a hobbyist working on a handful of lead-age minis, but its one of those things people get worked up about more than what might be reasonable. So I say, better safe than sorry. Even if chances are you're really only saving your own peace of mind. FWIW, I seem to remember my friends and I having not much good luck stripping the Testors Enamel paints off lead minis with Pine Sol back in the day. It seemed to cause corrosion of the minis. Possibly we let them soak way too long, but there are definitely better paint strippers (and paints) available these days to chose from... Good luck, looking forward to the pictures - I love old school minis from back in the day! Kang
  6. FitzBones: Spawn of Shub-Niggurath

    Not too blue at all, it looks just like the real ones. Awesome stuff, wow! Kang
  7. Here's my latest creation: a blank aluminum plaque, with the gating left on. The reason is that I am going to use it as a pattern. I'll simply have to glue house numbers or what have you on it, and mold the whole thing in the drag (bottom mold half) with the sprue (a turkey baster tube) molded in the cope (top half). I don't want to use my wooden pattern plaque to make real plaques, as prying the house numbers back off it to make room for different ones will cause heavy wear and tear if I use the wooden one for that, but the aluminum one should last for a very long time. Hoping I'll get a chance to use it to cast some house numbers for my sister for XMas, but this is very dependent on the weather continuing to not snow or go too far below freezing. My molding sand is water-bonded, therefore it gets far less sticky when it is cold... I'm not sure what caused the ring-shaped markings opposite from the sprue and the in-gate (which is called a knife gate when set up long and skinny like this) on the reverse side. The pic makes it look like the plaque has shrink there, but it's about perfectly flat, it just has a strange surface texture right there. I've consulted the hive mind (ie. forumites from alloyavenue and thehomefoundry) to try and figure that out. It's only on the back side that nobody is going to see anyhow once the plaque is installed, so I'm not too concerned even if it appears on every casting, which I doubt it will. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpUdPnjyEW0 This latest video mainly details how I made the original wooden pattern that was used to cast this aluminum one. Apologies for the minimal amount of fire and the appalling utter lack of glowing hot liquid goo in this video; my phone does not seem to like shooting video in the cold weather, so I got no usable footage at all of the pour. I used an old tube of Squadron Green Putty from my minis toolkit to make the fillets (this kind of fillet rhymes with "spill it", not with "Hill A") which is foundry jargon for the radii inside the sharp corners, added for ease of removing the pattern from the mold as well as for avoiding certain casting defects. I do not believe I had ever actually even used the Squadron putty before for bases or gap-filling or whatever it was I actually bought it for years ago... A little tricky to work with, I found, but it did get the job done. Kang
  8. I've used mineral oil (baby oil) to leach plasticizers out of rubbery plastic toys so that primer would not stay tacky forever on them, and on plastic D&D miniatures to slightly reposition limbs that came out of the package bent/warped and to correct some that were badly leaning. With decent results. Unsure if this would work on Bones (I like metal, plus haven't been minis-shopping much since pre-bones days on account of my many boxes of unpainted lead and pewter), but at the very least it would pretty much have to lead to less dried out finger-skin issues than using iso. Might be worth some experimenting. Here's the thread where I picked up that particular tip: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/33436-does-tamiya-primer-just-not-like-squeaky-toy-rubber-or-what Never tried soaking anything rubbery in branzino, sorry. Kang
  9. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Nice work, you're a far better wood worker than I am. Now comes the hard part - keeping yourself from cluttering up that beautiful new flat surface with last week's laundry loads and other assorted random detritus that has nothing to do with lost wax casting. Be vigilant! Kang
  10. Awesome! Missed this at first, but glad I finally saw it. I used to play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO), and I have to say, your terrain reminds me very much of an area in that game known as Delera's Graveyard. That's gotta be a good thing, right? On account of it being supposed to look like a graveyard that's fun to play games in and all... :) Anyhow, great job, and the minis look very nice as well! Kang
  11. A few Burrows & Badgers minis painted...

    Exactly what Glitterwolf said. Wow! Kang
  12. Maledrakh's The Others 7 Sins: Gluttony

    Nice work, and a fitting Akira reference! Kang
  13. Conan The Boardgame Fully painted

    I liked that marble effect too, but great job on all the characters and monsters as well! Kang
  14. Wizards, by Ralph Bakshi

    I never understood the 'Bakshi's LoTR' hate, but it never fails to come up. Always been a huge fan of Bakshi's animation, including all the rotoscopy, from the old Spiderman cartoon to Fritz and Wizards etc., on thru Cool World and everything in between. <Shrug>. IMO LoTR' is one of his best movies. Defimitely 100X better than Rankin Bass's Tolkien movies. Can we all agree on that at least?! Kang
  15. Lendil Blackroot - 3 Color Challenge

    Great work on the various fabrics, the texturing on the cape and the green robes are excellent! Kang
  16. Cadirith, colossal spider

    OMG, the hairs! Very convincing. Great idea! I gave up on my metal one after it came unglued under its own weight while I was trying to primer it a month or two after my players had already defeated the monster I wanted to use her for. Well, not "gave up"... I'll get back to it one day. Kang

    Poor Ser Waymar, first of many doomed prologue characters... You did a good job on him! Kang
  18. Sculpting and casting

    Clever how you added the little gates connecting the spiral to the index finger knuckle and the heel of the palm. I didn't notice that on the pic of the wax tree at first until after taking a close look at the as-cast tree then scrolling back up. Great job! Kang
  19. Well, we did get another weekend when nothing wet and gross was falling out of the sky, and the snow on the ground even started melting... so here is my latest casting adventure. Not quite in time for Hallowe'en as I'd hoped, but at least I got in another session before winter (which is coming)... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07UJtifMLmg I've shown a pic here of a skull ashtray casting made from this pattern before, but there was no video to go with it. This time the casting came out almost perfect; last time the sand broke off where the dimple in the jaw hinge is located, so that casting had that area filled in with metal instead of being a smooth indentation. Just a little bit of flashing in one area to clean up on this one, not a big deal. Plus, one guy commented with a tip for avoiding that in the future. Since I happen to already know for a fact that that guy (Clarke, who goes by Porositymaster at the alloyavenue forums (a different forum from the one with the Halloween casting contest, that's thehomefoundry, but almost everyone on there is on AA too)) pours beautiful cast iron and makes it look easy, that is one piece of advice I'm going to take very seriously! Cast iron is pretty much the holy grail of backyard metal casting. Technically casting steel is the actual grail, but iron is almost at the same level. It's been argued that successfully casting iron counts as levelling up from being a mere hobbyist... and Clarke does run his foundry as a LLC these days. Here is my buddy Chirpy's video from the previous Saturday at the 2017 Soulé Steam Festival in Mississippi, featuring a bunch of footage of Porositymaster pouring iron while some of my other online metal casting buddies watch from the background in amazement. I am SUPER envious of those guys who were able to get there, even though they cancelled the big event (the iron pour from the big cupola furnace) this year. I'd almost rather watch Clarke melt and pour iron from his crucible furnace, since that is conceivably something I could do myself one day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIUk1iHvcmM I'm not technically an actual steam nut, but I am crazy for the foundry work that went into making all those engines, and I loved all the footage of the patternmaking work stations, so I would have had a great time if I could have gone in person. Just meeting the guys I've been chatting with on the AA forum for a few years in person alone would have been a blast! Anyhow, I've gotten way off topic here... Kang
  20. Sculpting and casting

    Good luck! Let us know how it came out, I'll be checking back in a day or two for sure... Kang
  21. Quick update on the Hallowe'en casting contest results: A pic is worth a thousand words, as they say: Not a huge amount of participation, nor an overwhelming number of total votes... But the contest was held on a relatively new forum that is growing, but doing so rather slowly. In any case, a win is a win! Woohoo! Funny thing about being Canadian when $100US shows up in your paypal account - being converted into our native Québecois Quatloos makes my prize look much bigger! There's a dirty joke in there somewhere... Here's my competition's entry, also a lost foam casting, but far more impressive than mine due to all the skinny legs and silk strands he somehow managed to fill. Frankly, I am amazed he pulled this off. (it did take him 2 tries though...) I would not have thought this piece possible to cast successfully using the lost foam method, so I feel fortunate that the entries were judged on how they were presented in the contest threads, not on the quality of the castings themselves or the skills needed to produce them. Al2O3's experience is mainly with making automotive engine castings, not decorative stuff, making this even more impressive. He has built his own sand-compacting bucket vibration device for making better lost foam molds, as well as his own vacuum assisted lost foam pouring equipment (to suck the molten metal farther through where the foam used to be before it freezes and stops flowing). Really impressive stuff IMO, if anyone wants a look he has video of his setup on his youtube channel, Kelly Coffield. His furnace rig is crazy impressive too, but I digress... My thread was written as a project tutorial suitable for beginners, not to show off a particularly impressive casting. I also had many more in-progress photos in my entry than he did, since it was easy to grab screenshots from the video footage I shot of the whole process. That plus the videos themselves probably helped sway a couple votes my way too... Sadly, I woke up to a snowy lawn this morning, which means backyard metal casting season is almost done. During the winter months I'm hoping to get back into my HirstArts modular dungeon build and some long-neglected minis projects. Maybe I'll get in one or two more weekend casting sessions before my molding sand freezes into a solid block until spring. Actually, I have been contacted by a local guy who wants to build his own home foundry to cast some big wheels for a slow moving tracked vehicle of some kind. If he's serious then maybe I'll be able to get in on some winter casting action after all, since he has a heated shop. A lot will depend on whether he is serious enough to pull the trigger on ordering himself some molding sand. If so, I plan on ordering some more too, to add to my own heap, since we'll be able to split the shipping costs if we go in on it together. Making greensand by hand is one of the few things in my foundry that I'd rather pay for than make myself. That plus crucibles. Oh, and the 3200F-rated castable refractory cement I lined my furnace with... There are DIY recipes for that but not as good as the real stuff... Maybe I'm just spoiled by having started out with professionally made and mulled high quality greensand, but I'd do the 10 hour round trip to pick it up in person before I would try making my own, hands down. Kang
  22. Best Version of DnD?

    I vote for 3.5e, or Pathfinder AKA D&D3.75 if that counts, which it should. I have not played 5e FWIW, but I'd played every other edition dating back to (pre-red-box) Basic D&D, and the only one I hated was 4th ed., which we only played through one adventure of - if I wanted to play a D&D miniatures skirmish game, I'd have played DDM! They lost me for good when they killed the printed Dungeon and Dragon magazines right after I'd re-upped both my subs. Hence, zero interest in 5e even if it is better than 4th. Our group switched seamlessly from 3.5 to Pathfinder when it came out, though I still have a lifetime's worth of 3.0/3.5 material in my collection of books and mags. Kang
  23. Bob's Cthulhu Wars - Him-Who-Is-Not-to-Be-Named

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Translation: Holy moley, that's awesome! Kang
  24. Uploading to my computer

    FWIW I have been using apps to transfer video and photo files from my android phone and iOS tablet to my PC via wifi over my home network. The app gives you a URL to go to using your browser, which is where the device's folders and files show up to be navigated through and selected for download. I know this does not help with people using 'real' cameras like the OP (I'd suggest getting a USB card reader assuming the camera uses the typical removable memory cards), but some reading here may be checking this thread because they're having the same problems I did with transferring files before I found those apps... The android app I use is called "Wifi File Transfer" (don't have my iPad here today to check the iOS app name, but it is similar), or there are many other similar ones to choose from that would probably work just as well. Kang
  25. Awesome! I am a sucker for a Tom Meier sculpt. I think I like these sculpts even more then the direwolves he sculpted for Dark Sword's George R. R. Martin Masterworks line. I actually had to double-check for my own peace of mind, to ensure these are not those same sculpts. Nope. These definitely appear to be different wolves. I guess it's partly the Meier factor and partly just because with the colours you used, they could easily pass for Grey Wind, Ghost, and Summer... Amazing paint work on these, I love 'em! Kang