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Everything posted by Kang

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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!
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Your stuff always makes me smile, so twisted and weird, in such a good way! Kang
  8. 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
  9. If you can afford it, get yourself one of those portable band saws for jobs like breaking thick ingots apart; hacksawing them will be No Fun At All and a reciprocating saw will work faster (get a metal demolition blade for it if you go this route) but it will leave your hands numb for hours afterwards - I've used both methods to beak up scrap aluminum car wheels, which don't have any sections as thick as those ingots look, for the crucible; been there, done that, no thanks. Better to chuck them on a bonfire until they get crumbly then whack them to bits. But that would not work with bronze, you'd need to build a whole new furnace. So, the portaband is probably your best bet. Heck, a full sized metal cutting bandsaw would work great too but would be massive overkill and far more expensive. Maybe you can find a used portaband on Craig's List for cheap, or find a new one on sale. I have had my eyes out for a good deal on a used one for a while now, but so far no luck. Painting bronze, my only real concern would be that it is prone to oxidization. I've seen everdur sculpture castings with very nice patinas. If this bronze decides to grow a natural patina underneath your paint job, how will that affect it? Turn it green? Hard to say, I'd make sure to seal it once the painting is complete (or maybe seal the bare metal before painting? I just don't know) and hopefully keep the air away from the bronze as much as possible. At that price and since you'd be doing investment casting even if you use pewter, casting in bronze may actually save you some money. Not sure, you'll save money on the metal but not on energy/fuel for melting it; you'd have to do the math and maybe a little experimenting to figure out which is more economical. Probably not a huge difference per piece anyhow. I found a couple of marine forums fairly easily (google "primer for bronze") where people were discussing using 'etching primers' for painting bronze... I thought that etching was how all primers worked; maybe some etch more aggressively than others? Anyhow, it was probably not everdur being used in these marine applications, but perhaps the primer and painting info is transferrable. If you go with the bronze, I hope you will keep a few castings to display in naked metal as well, at the very lest it would be an interesting curiosity. It sure isn't something you see every day... You could even try chucking one or two in a bucket of salt water for a couple months, I've read this gives a nice (and durable!) verdigris effect, though the patineurs probably have an alchemical/potion-ingredient sounding reagent (they all have names like "liver of sulphur") for doing that within just a few minutes. This might be an easy way to make some nice miniature statues for your dungeon/ruins game setting or what have you. Kang edit - muffin pans etc. make decent ingot molds, maybe you would need the pans for making mini-muffins, depends on how big the mouth of your crucible is. Don't use a brand new pan though, burning Teflon is extremely nasty (google polymer fume fever, we're talking birds falling out of the sky dead here), but a well used pan will work fine. Better still if they are a little rusty or perhaps coated with graphite or soot - then the ingots will want to stick less, and that is good because with copper alloys having your ingots actually braze themselves to the ingot mold is a real concern (trying to pour ingots on the cool side if you can as well should also help). Always preheat your ingot molds to prevent residual moisture from causing a steam explosion that will fling molten metal at your face, but if you are using cast iron ingot molds it also helps prevent them from cracking from the thermal shock. Eventually it might make sense to weld up some ingot molds of a suitable size using angle iron, When I am going to need to pour a bunch of ingots, I sometimes mold up the bottom of my mini-loaf baking tray in green sand, that way I can pour ingots in there as well as in the loaf pan itself.
  10. Nice waxes, the keepers look great! Looking forward to seeing as much of the rest of the process as you feel like sharing. What are you gonna cast these in? ie. will they be pewter miniatures... or bronze statuettes? :) I won't even look at an X-Acto knife (the closest thing to a scalpel that I own and hands down the most dangerous thing in my shop (which contains a radial arm saw and sometimes molten metal)) without making sure I have a bottle of krazy glue (CA) handy. Quickly closes up small but bloody cuts on the fingertips and lets you get back to work within a minute or two. The alternative being to allow your SO to see what you did to yourself and insist that you go to the ER for stitches and stop talking crazy about just quickly closing it up yourself with a little drop of CA. You will wait in that ER, oozing blood through a series of wadded up paper towels, for at least 3.5 hours until a doctor appears, takes a quick look... aaaaaand just quickly closes it up with a little drop of CA. Kang
  11. Kang


    Wow, nice froghemoth. I tried to make one for the Age of Worms campaign I was running a few years back out of a rubber frog toy and some green stuff. Had nothing but trouble from the primer not drying right to my water effects... er, not drying right either. In the end, long before I ever got it painted, my players encountered and killed it... one round too late to avoid transforming the entire city of Greyhawk into a metropolis of the undead. Somehow they managed to get outside the walls before being eaten. Oops! I never did complete my froghemoth, in fact I gforgot all about it until I found it in a box a couple months ago; typical Kang minis project... So, I'm happy to see one that did come out! Came out really good too, very nice! Kang
  12. People don't realize scorpions are arachnids, they assume they are insects because they only see the stinger and claws and never get around to counting legs. I gave "arachnid" as a clue for "scorpion" in a recent game of Codenames with some pretty bright players, and they were this close (makes teeny tiny fingers) to guessing "octopus" instead! Kang
  13. Kang

    Onion Knights

    LOL, actual onion knights! I must admit, I expected Ser Davos Seaworth. Well done! Kang
  14. "Pieces that will be featured on a few minis" actually makes me even more curious than if you'd just said "minis"! :) Looking forward to the wraps coming off... Kang
  15. Thanks TS! I do plan on testing this one out as a thrower. I even have a couple big round slices of tree trunk I've been saving to use as targets... One thing I was considering earlier was putting a shorter handle on this axe, more like a hatchet - or a 'hawk, as you say. We have a couple of different axe throwing businesses here in Ottawa; I know a couple guys who went and tried it, I'm told it's a huge amount of fun, but I checked and they won't allow me to bring my own axe with me - insurance concerns, I gather. Why allowing you to bring your own beer and wine to drink while hurling sharp metal objects around is fine but bringing your own sharp throwable object isn't is mystifying, but their house their rules I suppose. I'll just have to try it for free in my backyard instead. :) The other axe pattern I have ready to mold up and cast is for a full sized axe blade, unlike this smaller one. I figured making a matched axe & hatchet set might be a fun project. I guess I'll leave the type of replacement handle that gets put on this one up to the guy who will end up with it... The beauty of greensand casting is that selling this one, even with a full size axe handle on it, doesn't mean that creating a matched set with one just like this being the hatchet is going to mean a lot of extra work or expense - my molding sand can be reused indefinitely with only a little water needing to be added regularly to replace evaporative losses, and ramming up a new mold only takes a few minutes. Once the snow is all gone and my pouring area isn't icy or muddy anymore, I can decide to make another one like this at any time, and be pouring it within 90 minutes or so. Less if I got the mold right on the first try... Heck, I could build a large flask and cast one of each in a single pour if I was really eager, I'm sure my #12 crucible has the capacity to handle it. This means I can still do the matched set on a whim if I want. A bit of work on the pattern for this one first would be good though, so that less grinding of the casting itself would be needed... Kang PS. No news is good news as far as your lost wax efforts are concerned, yes? Hope that is going well.
  16. A friend of mine told me he wants to buy my bronze axe! The one I posted at the very start of this thread. I did not make it to sell; I cast metal stricly for fun and as a way to learn new skills and to make decorations and other useful things for myself. But I am happy about this, as the foundry hobby gets a little expensive to practice sometimes, and this means that when I make another axe (just waiting or all the snow to melt) that is IMO better designed, I will be able to keep it for myself. Aluminum bronze isn't cheap stuff after all... I can afford to have that much alloy tied up in one axe, but not twice as much tied up in two of them. I only have so many hands to swing axes with at any one time, after all. It's for a friend, so I only asked for enough to cover my costs for the bronze itself, plus a little extra for the time I have invested in the pattern-making and finishing, and the ongoing costs of maintaining my homemade foundry equipment. Anyhow, I got all excited that someone thought my work was worth paying for, and decided it needed some more work before I am ready to hand it over. The original blade was too convex; it wanted to deflect too often when I was chopping a hard log in two last fall. That was OK when it was my own homemade axe and my own toes at risk, but not good enough to sell. So I re-ground the edge it so it is sharper and more acute; should perform much better and a little safer now. And hopefully still have enough thickness to make a decent splitter as well. I reground the reverse facing adze-like bit too; that bit was never any use but now I think I have fixed it to some extent. So now that I had ground it back, I had to re-harden the edge(s). This is done by hammering. Cold, not hot like blacksmithing. Originally I went easy on this as i was afraid of marring my work with ugly hammer marks, but I figured since I was never fully happy with how that had gone down, I might as well sack up and just get to it, stop my worrying and try to make some progress. If it got ruined by hammering on it incorrectly, I could always re-melt it and cast another. But you know what? I think it looks 100 times better than ever now! Definitely something to be said for not letting your fears stop you from trying new things. Not only did I hammer the crap out of the edges to compress and harden the bronze, but once that was done I also then switched to my ball peen hammer and gave the whole blade a crazy all-over bashing. Not sure what came over me, but it worked out. This camouflaged the crude hammer marks I had made near the edge (possibly visible as light lines running parallel to the edge in the pic), and also gave the whole thing a really nice dimpled finish that completely took me by surprise; it was far easier and IMO much nicer looking than trying to give it a high mirror polish with the limited tools I have in my little hobby foundry workshop. A few hammer marks can be a good thing, as it turns out. At the very least it lets you know it is a hand made item... So here it is, all finished up. Well, the side that's showing in the pic anyhow. The far side and the top & bottom edge still need the same treatment to be honest. I'll have to cut the handle off to do the bottom and some of the top, but no big deal, the handle is a standard cheap sledge hammer handle from my local hardware store, not like it is a hand picked and carved piece of hickory from the campsite that spawned my casting obsession or anything. I'm saving that stick for the next axe! :) I thought this might serve as an interesting reference photo for anyone painting minis with bronze weapons or armor. It'd be really interesting to see someone paint a mini with bronze gear to give it the look of a dimpled finish like this, or it could also be helpful maybe just as a general colour reference for bronze, be it NMM or otherwise. Aluminum bronze is a little bit more silvery than traditional tin bronze, but I think most gamers would not know the difference... I chose it over other backyard-castable alloys because aluminum bronze is tough stuff compared to other bronzes. I'm not trying to create historically accurate reproductions after all; the world already has a Neil Burridge... My bronze axes (ok, so far it is just "axe") are meant to be fantasy-inspired art, but to me it is a little more important that they be functional tools first, the kind of thing I can bring on a camping trip for cutting firewood. So, as promised, a pic of the new finish I hammered into it. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and again, hopefully it'll make a helpful painting reference for somone's minis: Shiny! :) Kang
  17. I always had better luck using Jester's pinning technique that is described on the CMON site (haven't looked at it in years but I found it easily just now by googling "Jester pinning coolminiornot") than the way mentioned above where you use a bit of paint on the end of a pin, though the paint method is popular and works well for others. In a case like this, I'd probably try Mad Jack's suggestion above to glue the hand on THEN drill and pin the two sides together before filling in the drill hole opening with putty. You should be able to find an affordable micro drill bit index online if not at a decent local hobby shop. Sounds like what's holding you back is just needing to find a smaller bit, so that should do it. A piece of a small staple sometimes works ok for pinning extremely fine bits together, but you can go out and buy fine wire or brass rods etc., to use as pins if nothing you have lying around seems suitable. Good luck! Kang
  18. Kang

    Kang Chop!

    I what, now? Oh, OK, I see - it's that other Kang! :) Nice job! PS. I never had any luck getting matte spray to go on any other way than glossy, even a can of Testors Dullcote went on shiny. Maybe it's my technique or a bad can or even worse luck (others for sure have had better with spray-on matte sealers), but I wound up switching to a brush-on matte sealer and had no more such problems. Just tossing another option out there... Kang
  19. Damn, that is just too young. I just listened to his recent interview on Marc Maron's podcast a few days ago and he sounded fine! What a shame, deepest condolences to his family and friends. A great performer, and a skilled director as well; Frailty was a particular favourite of mine.
  20. You know, I've never tried alloying them... :) Kang
  21. Big thanks to CanuckOtter who, as it turns out, works about a 3 minute dogsled ride from where I do (small world!), and was willing to part with an extra 100# bag of Hydrostone that happened to be lying around. Turns out there is no local supplier. It is a little over a year old, but I tested some and the castings came out great, so it's definitely still good. And I got to meet another forum member in person for the first time (far as I know, and however briefly). I did not get murdered in a parking lot and tossed into the Ottawa river, so that was a nice bonus as well! Guess Otter's one of the good ones... It was a little bit strange driving up to a complete stranger standing on the sidewalk and us simultaneously asking each other if our names were Kang and CanuckOtter... Luckily I guessed right on the first try thanks to the map I'd been sent. Not sure how many guys got asked if they were Kang before I got there though... Anyhow, I have rebagged all of the Hydrostone into 11 large zip-locking freezer bags which I plan to store inside a sealed plastic 5-gallon hardware store bucket or two. Those are not actually airtight (my molding sand dries out inside them over the winter), but I figure they are close enough when you consider I'm also zipping the stuff up in those freezer bags. It just has to be a better system than how I failed to keep my Merlin's Magic fresh - an open cardboard box with a bag of MM that is just sort of loosely twisted shut inside it... Resisting rambling on forever here, suffice it to say I will post pictures of some of the hydrostone and PoP sandcasting patterns I've cast so far when I get a chance to upload some to my bucket and link to them here. Mrs. Kang's new job is in evening shift mode and wreaking havoc with my accustomed hobby time and weekly game nights (we have 2 young kids). Still, it beats unemployment and she is happier in her job than I have seen her in years, so I call that a big win for the Kang family, even if it does mean you guys will have to wait a bit for the new plaster pix and some of the plaster casting tricks I learned recently on youtube... Hey what do you know, this hasn't turned into a full blown novella after all. Heck, it's barely even a novelette! You're welcome. :) Oh yeah, also, I 'm totally going to start my HirstArts modular dungeon project back up. It's been on the back burner completely untouched since the day I discovered DIY metal casting and got fully obsessed, but now is the time to get it gong again, while Balerion the Black dread (my big waste-oil-fired melting furnace) is still snowed into my shed out back making casting metal an impossibility. Kang
  22. Aha! The tail piece was added afterwards, that is the part I was having trouble figuring out how it was molded... :) So cool... I am really curious what is in the Delft clay but I haven't been able to find a recipe anywhere. Looks a bit like petrobond molding sand (like the water bonded green sand I use for molding, except it is oil bonded and the clay that sticks it altogether is chemically modified to absorb oil instead of water), only with even finer sand in it, possibly more like flour than sand. Or maybe it's just the clay and oil... Does it smell like burnt oil when you cast into it? Anyhow, awesome stuff, thanks for posting this. Kang
  23. Cool! Got any pictures of the mold? I do some sand casting myself as a hobby, but that is for larger pieces and parts (I have a thread about it in the Poetry and Other Abuses section if you are interested - I do not consider myself a sculptor else I would have posted it here). I'm guessing this ring was cast in a Delft clay mold? Trying to figure out where the parting line was for this and how much sprue it needed to build up enough head pressure to fill such a skinny mold cavity, hence the request for mold pix... I am a member of a hobbyist metal casting forum, but we don't really have anyone there casting jewelry sized items in sand molds - the jewelry guys there are all doing lost wax casting. Always amazing to see how such tiny little things are molded and cast. You may find Talespinner's lost wax thread of interest, it's also here in the sculpting subforum. Kang
  24. Well, when I got home on Friday there was a note in my mailbox saying to come pick up my parcel at the PO... Long story short, here are the first plaster test castings. A few little bubbles in most of them some of which you may be able to see I filled in with wood filler putty. Not as smooth as the plaster straight out of the mold, but once I put on a couple coats of shellack I think they would work well. I was watching some videos of plaster casting last night and I think I have figured out a couple of tricks to help eliminate those bubbles, such as pouring only part of the mold and swishing the plaster around in it while it begins to set up. The candle holder in particular is one I plan to use this on heavily, otherwise it will be a solid rouhly dome like shape instead of having a hollow bottom, ie. even thickness throughout. If I can swish plaster around in there long enough to build up a plaster shell that is empty in the middle (bowl-shaped, in essence) when held upside down, the even thickness will mean I have less shrinkage defects in the metal copies to worry about eliminating via mold design. An alternative would be to carve a hollow section in the bottom of the solid plaster casting, but why waste the stuff? Save a little molten metal this way too... I think I will try to get my hands on some harder plaster though, to give them a better chance of surviving being rammed up in a sand mold. I have maybe 1/3 of a big box of Merlin's Magic not-dental plaster, which was great durable stuff when it was new and being used to pour HirstArts molds, but after a decade or so sitting out in my shed, what remains of it is past its prime. I used it to make coreboxes for my axe patterns and the latest one didn't come out feeling too strong... Should be able to make cores in it, but that doesn't require very hard treatment... So I am back to plaster of Paris for these tests. I'll have to spend some time looking into learning what is available locally. There might be a hobby shop somewhere in town that sells hydrocal or the like... Kang
  25. So cool! Looks like the spike-thorns came out nice... Thanks for the correction about how you need a full burnout of the investment even for low-melt alloys, due to the vacuum assist requiring the mold be porous - so obvious now that you said it! The new furnace looks like an electric, at least I think I see a coiled resistance wire poking out the top in the pic... that'll be a really nice clean & quiet way to get you some pots o'shiny hot metal goo! Even less reason now to worry about the dissolved gasses I was false-alarming about upthread. Keep it up, you're doing great. This is all going to feel even more rewarding when you start using the castings you made yourself to push your other work to new heights. Melting and pouring bronze will be similar, but very noticeably hotter to get close to. I had the pinky of my heavy leather welding glove get so hot the leather shrivelled up on me when I was skimming a pot of molten aluminum bronze just before pouring my First Men axe blade, which was only maybe a 10 seconds of being that close up. That's why I always keep a second set of gloves handy... So I can toss the one that is burning my finger (I got a small blister, not the first nor the worst) and glove up again ASAP to keep working. Of course I was dealing with a bit larger amount of molten metal, but I am sure you'll be impressed by the difference even working with smaller volumes. Kang
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