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Julia

Sculpting and casting

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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):

 

janiksenjuoksu.thumb.JPG.9cacee280800a86a33ac5cc654401b5a.JPG

 

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.

 

lohkari1.jpg.0c5faf046a87719f03a5325efcfa889a.jpgonnastick.jpg.0870d45d9c67cdafad14a76657a18577.jpg

 

Oldies. Small seahorse and a silver bear:

 

merihevonen_v.thumb.JPG.8f025236a0f0c592c37f3e3ebebab30b.JPGkarhuriipus.thumb.JPG.7b62e2a008a8ec5c1d7b25ba4bbd3b24.JPG

 

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

 

 

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Welcome! I think you and I are going to be friends!  ::D:  Very nice work.  I love the ladle.

 

I too am a sculptor.  I work for several mini companies like Reaper, Dark Sword, Dark Fable, Dragon Bait, et. al.  I also am getting into casting.  I've spent the last year building a lost wax foundry in my basement and learning how to mold and cast my minis and soon, jewelry and other items.

 

So welcome, and I look forward to future discussions.

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Thank you for the warm welcome! This place feels like a home to me, well, I work at home.. But, you know what I mean ^_^

 

7 minutes ago, TaleSpinner said:

Welcome! I think you and I are going to be friends!  ::D:  Very nice work.  I love the ladle.

 

I too am a sculptor.  I work for several mini companies like Reaper, Dark Sword, Dark Fable, Dragon Bait, et. al.  I also am getting into casting.  I've spent the last year building a lost wax foundry in my basement and learning how to mold and cast my minis and soon, jewelry and other items.

 

So welcome, and I look forward to future discussions.

 

Yep, we're going to be friends ::D: I really like your work, too. Did spend a couple of hours reading various threads and taking all in; your thread about casting was really interesting to read, thank you. I did reply about the investment removal. I wish I had more information on how to remove that stuff when I started...learned the hard way not to leave any of the residue behind, as some of the bronze pieces I made a year ago started to react under a layer of clear lacquer. Awful work to try to clean them afterwards. Oh well, no better way to learn than out of a miserable mistake. Hmm, there's so much to read! My hubby were sighing behind me yesterday, as I moved from post to post, munching away new information...I know that sigh very well, it said "here we go again...". Very true. I'm hooked. Talk to you later, I'm in the middle of making a commissioned work ::):

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Hi,

I love my work. Can't say that enough ::D: I'm working with a commission, that were given by a local company. They are manufacturing cheese...I do hope to get a sample of their products, when this is done- perks of the trade! What they are asking is an old fashioned milk churn, that could be used as a pendant or to store small items in, so it will have to have a working lid. The items are going to be cast in both silver and bronze: 5 silver churns to be given for their employees and x-number to be made to their store. I'm excited, because this is something I'd never even thought of making myself. People are great with their ideas!

 

What I've done so far:

I made a rough shape of the churn by using 50/50 mix of both normal super-sculpey and the firm ss. I like the mix, but I have to say that it was kind of an accident find. The normal has always been just a little too soft for my liking and the grey stuff that I have is good for small detail on it's own, but it's way past its life cycle, and just kind of crumbles...so my panic-side took over and mixed stuff together and behold, it works! The shape were done by wrapping the clay around an old micron-pen. What I don't have is an oven to cure the clay, so I cure these by placing the objects into boiling water- it does make the material a bit brittle, so just have to be a little careful when handling these. Next step is to make the small handles and start to refine everything with green stuff. When making casts and especially when I know I'll be making a mold later, it's good to keep the thickness around 1mm to ensure that the objects fill completely- the model will be hollow, so once I get everything sculpt, I need to harden the surface with epoxy and saw it in half...so there's still that moment of horror ahead. 

 

churn1.jpeg.4a65fe64cc03b7957a9e59d79e3208db.jpegchurn2.jpeg.52d9dd067734d2f6350c32397f257d5f.jpeg

 

Oh, and I'm designing a new model of an eagle. I finished a painting for a client last week and I still have quite fresh image of the whole bird anatomy thing, so going to use it for my advantage. And I still have the line drawing, too ^_^ Here's the bird painting:

 

eagle4.thumb.jpeg.db454565c2af19a3db6cea9931a76799.jpeg

 

 

See you later,

~Julia

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I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes with the milk can.  I'm wondering if there wouldn't be a way to cast it into wax without cutting it in half.  If you made certain that the inside is tapered, i.e. the mouth slightly wider than the bottom, You could likely shoot the wax and still pull it by making a removable plug in the mold.

 

As for the eagle, sweet.  Bird wings take a lot of time but look awesome when done. Looking forward to watching the progress.

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There's always a way, just have to find it. One technique is called the spiral cut, where you sort of cut a spring into a mold to help to release the wax model...I tried it once, but also had a brainfart of the month: I balanced the mold on my thigh as I cut away the rubber mold. Were lucky to wear thick jeans- fresh blade cuts real nicely both mold and everything that happens to be underneath when the blade decides to slip. Felt like a winner. I'll surely try it again, but next time will fasten it to somewhere else than my leg ::):

 

Attached the handles to the churn and green stuffed the lid to have a nice, smooth surface. Going to post pictures later, bit under the weather today- hopefully I'll get more work done tomorrow.

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I did that on one of my first rubber molds.  I was holding it in my hand though.  I cut my finger to the bone.  That hurt, but it healed ok.

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Ouch, good thing that the cuts are usually clean and heal quickly. I hate the ones you'll get from a leaf saw, like paper cut with a twist: it gathers all the silver dust in the world.

 

Living in a small town is great. For instance, no one can hear you scream. Literally, no one can hear you- now that the winter is almost on our doorstep, the average age around the town is about 60+. If I curse, when a tiny bit of green stuff acts like a removable pimple, the people outside most likely think it's a stray cat. Yes, I did have some trouble with the green. It had a temper tantrum day and I'm still too newbie to handle such acts.

 

Well, here's an anatomy pic of the milk can:

 churn3.jpeg.a15b09e44111986b470f6fd72eeb94fa.jpeg

 

Sawed it in two and made a base, where I'll attach the sprue channel later. There's also a thin slice of green stuff in the handle (the reason of cursing) that I added to fill the gap inside, so that it will be easier to remove from the mold and can be cut out before I cast. Also, I made sure that there are no sharp turns anywhere.

 

I decided to keep the bird theme on my next sculpting project, but the eagle has to wait- the painting is still too freshly fleshed into my memory, that I don't want to see my reference for a while. So I had an idea of using Odin's ravens, Huginn and Muninn to make sort of a medallion type pendant. The other half will be cast in bronze and the other in silver. Roughly sketched what I have in mind. I'll make a more detailed drawing later, when I have the time for it:

 

idea1.jpeg.9dbbf3d9904b96f8cbe20ff4d4b754c6.jpeg

 

~Julia

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I can post a picture of the mold later, if someone is interested.

Yes please!  Never too many pix in a casting thread...  :)

 

Kang

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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.

 

silicon1.jpeg.a3dc56d437fdad28b6d2afa705265619.jpegsilicon3.jpeg.a3b49a0178c584405146a4cf371d1726.jpegsilicon2.jpeg.ae49a265b61f62cb9d1717b75c955394.jpeg

 

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.

 

vulcanized.jpeg.461375678ca25493b6324515cca7d499.jpeg

 

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.

 

instamold.jpeg.7f1c44606422480ff1597ec1a93fd68e.jpeg

 

 

 

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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.

 

raven2.jpeg.202f6ca343a3b40262d999a0ada2faaf.jpeg

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Love the bunny rabbit btw!  :)

 

I bet you could investment cast an actual (dried) seahorse.  Burnout would be long compared to lost wax or lost PLA but I've seen lost insect castings, lost flowers/plants, etc.  I believe even bone can be burned out of a mold, though at some point it's likely easier/faster to just make a silicone mold of the subject and cast a wax to invest.

 

Youtuber worldtraveler, a friend of mine, has posted 3 parts of a 4-part tutorial on ceramic shell casting if anyone is interested.  Lot of good tips there in the early parts for working on waxes.

 

Kang

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