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Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

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Well the casting worked.  I learned a lot about working with high-temp metals.  Here is the tree after I quenched the mold:





After that I cut them off and cleaned each with water and a toothbrush.  I should note that I had one flaw in this casting, the leg wires were a bit too thin where they meet the body and only one of the models filled completely (the center one in the following photo).  That said, all the shell filled perfectly as did the arm wires.  Only 2 bubbles happened and they are easily removed.  You will note that I lost two feet, this was due to me making an error in cutting them off, launching them into the corners of my basement. Oops.





For those legs not connected, that isn't a problem, I can always just remove the pin, drill a hole in them and attach them with wire.  If I ever make more, I'll be sure to add a bit of extra wax to that part of them.


You'll note some reddish stains, that is firescale (I believe) and is to be expected when casting a copper-based alloy.  It should remove easily in a sulfuric acid pickle (which I'll do later this week).  I played with the castings and I am not convinced that I like this bronze.  It is very hard, harder than the tin based bronze I've played with.  I can bend the arms and such, but forging the feet spikes is proving difficult as this bronze doesn't want to deform as I had expected.  If I do this again, I may use pewter, just because the hardness of this bronze out weighs the gains I get in its ductility.  Live an learn right; at least I now feel ready to try a silver casting.



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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 8:46 AM, Kang said:

Thanks for setting me straight GHarris, I kind of figured the c-clamps might be too good to be true.  ::D:  As a self-taught amateur in foundry work for the past 4+ years, one thing I've learned is to always take note of the voice of hard-earned experience. 


I have built a couple of melting furnaces and other foundry tools for the hobby foundry in my backyard, but I haven't done any lost wax casting or spin casting, and I've definitely never cast anything this tiny and detailed, so your insight is appreciated.   My experience with making larger castings in aluminum and bronze in greensand molds has taught me that there are good and bad places to take a DIY Approach - ie. assuming there is no big hurry, DO save money by building your own melting furnace and welding up your own crucible tongs... But if you want your gear to work well and work safely and last a long time, DON'T line said homemade furnace with homemade refractory or try to make your own crucibles...


Not ready to eat my hat quite yet though - I only said a spin casting setup could be built just as well for a fraction of the cost of buying one.  Your numbers (although fairly old) have already shaved 5-7K off Talespinner's pricing without even considering any sort of DIY...  I'll concede that building a setup like this from scratch that works as well as a purchased one would not be practical for most people. 




No hat eating necessary! Well unless you are on a high fiber diet....get it? High fiber? Er right, moving on then!


The other thing I'd want to do with a vulcanizer is have the ability to slowly add clamping pressure as the mold is heating up as well as have the ability to "burp" the mold to try to get trapped air out. Basically you add and relieve pressure a few times as the mold is heating up to try to get any bubbles out. I will admit that I don't know if it actually does anything but I learned it from FAR better moldmakers than myself and I had good results. Why mess with what seemed to be working?


A melting furnace may be a bit more DIY friendly, basically it is just a big pot that gets, well, hot. As long as you can control the temperature, be safe, and have it mounted at an ergonomic height (save the strain on your back!) you really don't have to get all that fancy. 

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Fiber-based Dad jokes are definitely one of my Things, so no worries there - I totally get it and fully approve.   


Once the rubber in the vulcanizer heats up and starts to move under all that heat and pressure, it must relieve some of said pressure. So I can see why periodically tightening it down during the process makes sense...  I wonder how the guy in that video I posted above deals with that - I bet he grabs some oven mitts every few minutes so he can crank each of those C-clamps a quick quarter turn or so tighter.  ::D: 



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Alright, the basilisk is done, back to these guys.  


Using a length of silver coated copper wire (can't remember the gauge), I forged a sword blank on my jeweler's anvil last night.  This consisted of making a point in the wire, flattening it with a hammer, truing-up the sides and straightening it, re-flattening, twisting the hilt and forging the twists together, then grinding it on some sand paper.  I also shored up the hilt with some Apoxie:GS as it was getting pretty work-hardened by the end of the forging and I was worried that there might be a crack forming where the hilt meets the unforged copper wire.


I will add Apoxie:GS to this then to form the sword and sculpt the details.  Then I will make a mold of it so I can cast as many copies as I need.





This sword will be modeled after a Han Dynasty Sword:






I will probably make the cross guard into a play on the turtle shell or the hexagon shapes in their shells.

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