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Everything posted by Kang

  1. Anyone else seeing all my pix here not working anymore? From my end it appears photobucket finally decided to stop offering free external hosting for free account holders, effectively holding all my recent posted pix for ransom. I probably should have seen this coming... I will try to fix all my broken IMG tags as time permits. :( Kang
  2. I finally built a proper molding bench over the weekend! No more moving my belt sander and band saw off the workbench to make room for ramming up molds, and not nearly so much sweeping up afterwards if it works like it ought to! I stole the idea to use half of a 55 gallon plastic drum for the sand bin from my pal Chirpy from "Chirpy's Tinkerings" on youtube, who I know by a different handle from an online forum for backyard metal casters; he has some very relaxing videos of his metal shaper in action and is trying to build an audience, if anyone else likes watching machine tools do their thing. Also, some fun casting videos where he pours some molds for steam engine parts. Dude knows a lot about different alloys and scary looking machine tools. I got the plastic barrel from a guy in the neighbourhood who's selling them for some other guy who has a whole bunch to get rid of (got a couple nice metal ones too, not sure what I'll built with them - a burnout kiln for lost wax casting, sand storage, scrap metal storage, whatever - they're clean and have good seals)... 95% of the lumber used to be an old bed I stored for a friend for 15 years before he realized he was never gonna come get it back. The blue styrofoam insulation is left over from making lost foam castng patterns, and as a gasket it seals down good enough to keep my sand fresh and the spiders out (I hope)... If it looks short for a workbench, that is because this is just part of the whole bench - the bin portion; I already have a platform to set it on. Also, the 2X4's laying across the empty barrel is just where a board will sit on, and the molding flasks will sit on top of that board, and I'll have to reach over the sides of the flask to ram the sand up into place; so when a full flask is on top of that, the working height will be at least 6" above the 2X4's in the second pic than what you see here, and that is with a pretty short flask. The idea is that I can just ram up molds without worrying about losing all my sand that gets bumped out of the flask by the ramming - it will simply fall back into the bin below. It needs to sit a little low because otherwise it will be harder to lift the top half of the mold off the bottom. However I have not yet measured its height once it is in place out in my shed, hopefully I won't need to use a ladder! :) I doubt that will be the case, it should be fine if my vague and half-forgotten theoretical measurements are correct - a little taller than commercially available molding benches, but I'm a reasonably tall guy. Edit - replaced photo-ducats links with uploaded pic... Can't wait to ram up some molds on it! Kang PS. The other half of the barrel is going to get made into some kind of raised garden planter box, so the bugs won't find our tomatoes so quick this year... hopefully. - Mrs. Kang seems to be in "come up with yardwork projects for the huband" mode lately, which is good - it keeps me out of trouble and ensures I don't disappear into my +1 Workshop of Familial Neglect for entire weekends at a time. Hey, I am not complaining, I like projects. Besides, it's the least I can do for the woman who never gets mad at me when she comes home and finds me doing carpentry in the dining room... Badly. Again. :)
  3. Kang

    Belisarius Cawl

    I know a great paint job when I see one. (Like'd) Very nice! It doesn't have to match my personal taste in minis-genres and esthetics for me to see that. Usually I give up looking at these guys with the giant suits on after a minute or two when I can't figure out where their face is, so I usually end up not commenting. For the record, I've seen much busier looking 'giant-suit guys' (what are they really called? - I'm just a simple post-middle-aged D&D guy). I found this guy's face right away! It's under a green hood and behind some kind of space-agey filter mask... right? :) Kang
  4. Sounds cool, I'll be having a look after work. Kang
  5. If all else fails and you're unable to shave/file down the high side enough, you could always try building up the low side with a bit of green stuff (or your favourite alternative putty)... Good luck, Kang
  6. My green sand (molding sand for metal casting) needs refreshing (ie. it is a little too dry) but it was way too hot and humid to think about doing that over the weekend, so I worked on finishing up a couple of other castings - one poured just recently, and another from last October. Made a nice base for this small cast aluminum anthill casting I poured last weekend. I made it out of a piece of an ash tree that lived in a friend's front yard for 80+ years until the emerald ash borer betle got to it. Once the bug killed it, my friend had it milled into lumber since the bugs only kill the roots and make the bark fall off, but don't actually damage the wood. He's gotten into a bit of a woodworking hobby ever since, and has made some nice ash table- and coutertops. And showed me that a big thickness planer is a fun machine to play with (certainly more fun than a hand plane, at least for me, and at least on wood that's this hard!) I ended up with a lot of the edge cuts, used for small projects like this and to fuel my bulky scrap melter when I'm turning aluminum alloy car wheels into small blobs that can fit into a crucible. I think the beetle tracks that are visible on the live edge of the ash slab add a nice burrowing bug themed touch to the whole piece... I attached to the slab by making a hole in the bottom of the aluminum base an tapping it for a standard 1/4" bolt, drilling a 1/4" hole in the slab and drilling out the underside wider to hold a washer and the head of the bolt, then simply bolting the casting to the slab. I glued a piece of red felt to the underside of the slab to get rid of a tiny bit of wobble I accidentally sanded into the underside of the wood, which worked great and may save the furniture from a bit of scuffing.. And I also finally got around to electrifying my cast aluminum Jack O'Lantern lamp, which I made using the lost foam casting method. I believe I posted some WiP pix o it above somewhere... I was surprised how easy it was, really I just had to drill a hole in the stem to fit a threaded tube (replacement lamp part from the hardware store) for the cord to pass through, and wire the cord to the light bulb socket that screwed into the inside-the-lamp end of the tube. I was going to tap threads for the tube but I realized I did not have the proper 27tpi tap for that diameter. So I drilled the hole a hair too big and chucked up the externally threaded tube itself in my drill to use as its own tap, and luckily the hole I drilled was just loose enough that this worked. A regular CFL bulb just fits without touching the bottom of the inside, as does an old-timey incandescent bulb (which did not take long to cook itself dead inside the metal lamp) but eventually I want to find a small (cooler) LED bulb for it, ideally in orange or red. Unfortunately the red CFL bulb I tried was more FL and less C (the C is for 'compact', yes?), so the lid would not close with that in there, not without breaking the bulb against the floor of the lamp anyhow... This one will get some orange felt glued on the bottom to save whatever furniture it ends up sitting on from getting scratched up. Kang
  7. Nobody else has yet, so I will: Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Awesome! Love it all, but the obelisk is... calling to me... in disturbing ways. Kang
  8. Got any different angles or individual shots? I think I have a couple of those from way back in the day, but I'd like to be able to confirm since I have never been able to find any evidence that more than just mine were ever cast... If they are the same, they're really small for what I think of as orcs. Maybe thats why I haven't been able to track them down; I may have only searched for goblins... Great job BTW! Edit - need to read more carefully - I will check the KS you mentioned... Kang
  9. Kang

    Hellborn wizard

    "Had to fill an odd gap on one wrist", autocorrected, I'm guessing... Don't you hate that? :) He turned out really nice, great job! Kang
  10. I love old minis! I still have this guy and his blister-mates too, great models. I only ever got around to painting one of mine. ...yet. :) The other two are in one (or a few) of many old boxes on I have on a shelf (or a few) just now, sadly. Great work! Kang
  11. Cool! Love the purple stuff and the OSL effect. Great job!
  12. I love it! I actually kind of wish I was one of your grumpy mushrooms this particular Monday morning. Nobody expects much from a mushroom... Plus I would get to live in the wonderful crazy world you are building. Kang
  13. Another weekend it's not raining: another attempt at the skull ashtray... I spent some time drying out about half of my molding sand a bit. Maybe a bit too much, but I had become convinced it was too damp. And I decided to gate in at a thick section on the other side of it, closer to this thin parts that did not fill the first time. I also added another riser, near where the gate came in the first time I tried casting it. To act as a vent so that gases (ie. steam) could not be trapped inside the mold and also hopefully to feed any shrinkage, since the reason I gated in there last time was because I thought it seemed like the thickest part the furthest from the thinnest parts. Molds need to be designed with directional shrinkage in mind - thin sections freeze first and they shrink as they do so, drawing in molten metal from still-molten thicker sections. The trick is to have an even thicker sacrificial "riser" to take that shrink, and it needs to be attached to the last section(s) to freeze. Despite moving the sprue, I still wanted some hot metal there to feed the thick part on the far side from the new sprue location, hence the extra riser. Once the risers, the highest parts in the mold, began to fill, I even planned to stop pouring into the sprue and finish topping up the mold through that far riser to heat it up a little more. Maybe that was all overkill, but I thought it might help. The sand I dried out did not seem very strong, so after the first layer of sand in the mold I began adding handfuls of the other half of my sand that was still a little more moist along with the dry stuff, I think I this helped but the sand was still kind of weak at the parting line in the drag (bottom half of the mold, where the skull's face and the runner connecting the sprue to the gates was molded). I did not use just the dry sand right up against the pattern in the cope (top half, which only contained the risers, sprue, and gates) I used a mix of the two so that turned out a little better. But the drag had more loose sand coming off the parting line in the drag than I had hoped to see when I flipped it over... It's possible I just didn't ram it up quite as well as the first time - I finally found my aluminum rammer, and I was a little nervous that I'd chip the pattern if I rammed as hard as I did with the improvised wooden one I used last time. I had a little trouble connecting the far side riser to the mold cavity, some sand broke off, but nothing disastrous as it was all in the cope and the part was all in the drag. Forgot to take any more molding pix due to fiddling around fixing that though. Here are the molds, spiderproofed and waiting. Spiders can turn into steam explosions when they crawl in and get trapped in a mold full of molten metal, and steam explosions can chuck molten metal at your face, which will ruin your whole day and probably your casting too... #12 crucible loaded up in the furnace... Crucible is full of wheelium (backyard metal caster's lingo for aluminum car wheel alloy, usually A356, a great general purpose a casting alloy) blobs I retrieved from a campfire I lot in my backyard last summer to break down some large aluminum scrap into crucible sized bites. And you can the runner from the last attempt poking up there too. Piled loosely, nothing wedged in tight - things expand when they get hot, and crucibles are expensive and more fragile than flexible... Seemed like it began melting before the furnace was even hot enough to start the oil drip, I must be getting the hang of running it on propane or something! I didn't even have to relight it once this time... :). And I even remembered to lay out my homemade flux, a eutectic of sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Helps separate out the dross from the clean metal at skim time, and improves the flow of the metal. I made sure to pour hotter this time to ensura a complete fill of the thin sections. It filled! Woohoo! Not quite as nice and clean as the good parts of the first attempt, but it looks pretty darn good in this pic I'd say... :) Just a tiny bit of crustiness you can see here if you look really close, such as around the top of the eye sockets and the little divot in the hinge of the jaw must have had some sand break off in the mold somehow. I blame myself for drying out my sand too much. You can also see where I broke some sand joining the riser near his teeth to the rest of the mold cavity. That extra metal in the cope side only touches about 2mm of the back of the ashtray, should be easy to clean off. Gating details. The sprue is the skinny tapered one. The pouring basin on top of it is oval shaped to prevent whirlpooling which would suck air into the mold. Broken sand on the drag side... :( Including that jaw divot again in the second pic. I'll have to do some grinding and some covering up of grinding marks to fix this one at the top of his head. Jaw divot flaw close-up, I will leave as is, I think. Risers didn't feed much, but there's no shrink anywhere I can see, so I guess they fed enough... Next one'll be perfect... :) Kang edit - OMG, I just sold it; I wasn't even sure I would try to, but somebody who I had shown a pic of the first one that did not fill just asked me if I could make one for her son who is a smoker. I gave her a reduced price because that little divot in the jaw got filled in... Not that I have a regular price; I'm only a hobbyist after all... but I do have a hobby budget to not exceed if I can help it. This helps. 2nd sale ever, woo-hoo! Hopefully it'll remind the recipient of the grim fate that awaits all smokers, and will inspire him to quit. I myself am off the combustion for 3 years as of tomorrow; for me, e-cigs were the way out. I still vape, but at least it has kept me from smoking some 30,000 cigarettes to date... edit 2 - made the exchange this morning, she seems very happy with it! I asked, she isn't giving it as a grim reminder of the smoker's fate; her son just likes skulls and is a smoker.
  14. Tread carefully once you get to this point though; that sound is tiny stress cracks beginning to open up on the interior of the mini. They normally don't fall apart after just one or two little "tink"s, but that section will be weaker and it probably won't take too many more of those before it just snaps in two. Remember, you don't know how may little cracking sounds it made while getting bent that far out of shape in the first place... Once you break one, you'll have a pretty good idea of what they can take after that, and maybe even be able to tell by how easily it bends whether or not it is close to giving up. Good luck not finding out any time soon! :) Kang
  15. They are all nice, but I like the dwarf and the TWF-er in the green armor just above him best, great facial expressions! Kang
  16. Kang

    Mother Drow Bust

    Purple eyes, silver hair, a baby dragon... Are you sure you didn't paint her as Daenerys Targaryen? :) I always sort of thought of the Valyrians as basically being GRRM's Drow-equivalent nationality anyhow... Great job, she looks amazing! Kang
  17. Kang


    Wow, it's like Cringer/Battle Cat had a baby with a displacer beast! Awesome!
  18. Well I finally got the non-rainy weekend I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for, time to cast something! Figured I'd pick something fun and hopefully not too tricky, to cast in aluminum, to ease me back into things after a long winter hiatus that took over most of the spring as well... Too bad, it froze up before the mold filled. But the part of it that did fill looks pretty good, mostly... Here's a closer look at the front. The edge on the far side from the sprue looks pretty good too I think. Almost zero clean up needed at the mold's parting line where there is normally flashing to clean up. The edge on the sprue side - not as nice. There could be any number of reasons for this, I have asked the folks at the hobby metal casting forum I hang out on for their thoughts... I think the gate connecting the long runner to the skull shaped ashtray shaped sand hole needs more contact with both the runner and the part... Actually I think this might be the biggest part of my problem here... I've had loads of lost foam castings not fill before, but this is the first time this has happened to me with a sand casting. :( Couple shots of the section that did not fill: Guess I'll just have to try again with a few tweaks to how I designed the mold, and maybe heat up the melt a little hotter next time in hopes of getting that thin section to fill... Wish me luck. Or at least more dry weather! Kang edit - PS. The pattern I used to make the sand mold was cast in Hydrostone, a super durable form of plaster. You guys probably know of it as good stuff to make (ie.) HirstArts bricks for gaming terrain because it is strong enough to survive the game table. It worked great for patternmaking too; it held up to my ramming molding sand against it like a champ, without any cracking or damage to the pattern. Thanks again to local forumite CanuckOtter for selling me his extra hydrostone and saving me a 5 hour road trip to the big city to buy the stuff from the nearest supplier! edit 2 - ok my pix are all broken, here's the main one of the failed casting. Sorry this thread got blasted so bad, I'm fixing individual posts as best I can, as I find the time.
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Thanks... I'd settle for good weather! Kang
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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