Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Up to date

 The studio is now up and running!  In this post I will be talking about the first few projects to get turned out, what I am working on currently and some new pictures of the studio. Let’s start with the studio pic's and move on from there. 
Looking in through the door. 
Different angle (still through the door). 
Here is the sheet rolling mill, magnetic tumbler, ultrasonic cleaner, vulcanizer and clothes iron. The vulcanizer is only open in this picture because I was getting ready to use it; not to make a mold but I'll get into what I'm using it for later in the post.  
The propane and oxygen tank strapped down and hooked up.  
I love these tools... Draw plates for different wire types and tubing as well as a small anvil collection. 

The soldering, casting and annealing area. Off to the right you can see the crock pot full of pickle.  
Bless this mess. (Where the magic happens... well not all the magic) 

Kiln on its stand, wire drawing bench, tool chest and tanks.  
So this is what happened to the first wire I made in the studio. An oldie but a goodie, I've been playing around with the "Egyptian spiral" and having a lot of fun.  
Some new "Monetary Bondage" pieces this is 1 of 3 "Twelve Cent Pieces?", Starting to play around with some old school money, shells and beads soon to come I am also looking forward to getting my hands on some cool feathers and we shall see where that goes.  
I'm not sure which side to consider the front and which side the back so here is the reveres.  
Here is the grouping of all three pieces; each piece has an "Indian Head Penny" from 1900, a "Lincoln Wheat Penny" from 1956 and a silver dime from 1957. The pieces are made from a brass plate, copper bezel for the key hole limpet (shell), and silver prongs to hold the coins.  
Another addition to "Monetary Bondage" I call this one "One Troy Ounce" 

Brass plate, 1986 Liberty Mint 1oz coin, gold keum-boo, copper bezel, copper tube rivets (bifurcated on one side) and flattened silver wire 

This is the best picture I have managed to get of this piece so far and it really isn't a very good picture at all but oh well. It's been really tough to get the color of the silver and the stone, and not have weird reflections going on. 
I like this picture even less but it shows the lay of the necklace quite well. So this is me having fun with my home made wire and some agate. I really enjoyed making this piece and plan to make more of them just need to get my hands on some more agate.  

This is the current stuff I'm working on, trying to make more bills for "Monetary Bondage". The image transfer onto the metal is always a bit touchy and tricky so I am constantly trying to find new ways to get consistent results. Usually I go low tech with the clothes iron but I find it's hard to get enough heat from the iron when doing these larger pieces so I'm starting to use the vulcanizer and iron to get the results I want.    
Here is an action shot of everything getting a last wipe down with alcohol so everything is nice and clean. 
Here is the toner image face down and taped to the metal. This is another little annoyance, the paper the print shop uses here is different than what I am use to and doesn't work as well so more trial and error going on right now to figure out what works.  
Here I am using the vulcanizer, the first few tests didn't work out to good but I'm getting there.  
Low tech for the small pieces still works just fine and will work for the bills but I really want to figure out how to have it come out perfect every time which has not been easy so far.   
After the image is transferred the paper has to be dissolved off the back. Many people use "PNP paper" for this process but I have never had luck with that stuff and glossy paper is much more affordable and will give the same results, just requires a bit of practice and patience.   
A little further along. 
And here we are ready to etch. Which brings me to another pseudo problem, I haven't been able to figure out where to get ferric chloride in Costa Rica so I have had to try and find other ways to etch my copper; for now I am playing around with muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Its been working ok but I haven’t gotten the deep etch I desire yet so more trial and error till I find what works well for me.  
Results may vary on the left is a good example of clean it off and try again. On the right just a few little touch ups and into the acid it will go. Looks like its more tests for me to figure out which paper will work best and how to get the transfer 100% every time. So this is where I am at for now more to come soon... 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fashionably late

Early September and the last few items (primarily the sheet rolling mill) finally make it in from the US (since this was a small shipment, these items came by plane instead of boat, this made things go a bit more quickly).  

This is it, the box that holds the sheet rolling mill. 
The other box that I was also waiting for. If I remember correctly there was an anvil, some buffs, some burrs and a few other goodies in this box.  
Here is the mill fresh out of the box. 
Bolted down to the table degreased and oiled up. Notice the oiled up sponges to keep the rollers clean and lubricated.  
Here are the two rolling mills ready for action. 

Moving along

So I rounded up all the materials to fabricate a very bare bones wire drawing bench, it may not be the prettiest thing but it works.  I also finally got all of the hoses, clamps and adapters I needed to hook up and test out the wax injector so there will be some pictures of that latter on as well.  

So here we have the basic parts laid out, the final layout won’t look anything close to this but this is where I started. 
Ok so this is closer to what the end product will be. 
Here is an overall shot of the classy setup in my garage. You can see a few chopped up pieces lying on the ground to the front right. Got a ways to go at this point.  
Ok so here are all the pieces chopped up and ready for welding. (Although that is a lie, I end up having to cut a few more things later to add on some unplanned parts.  
The welder. 
Skipped a few steps in getting here (sorry got excited and forgot to take the pictures) but here is the basic idea so far. 
Here I got the lever added on and the end supports to hold the draw plate/s. 
Here is one of the areas that required additional chopping. I knew I was going to need some type of support down on the bottom so I thought this one up on the fly and it worked out really well. Those little angled feet work really well for stepping on and getting support/leverage when needed and they could also be drilled through so that the machine could be bolted down to the ground, however I haven't felt the need to go that extra mile yet, maybe someday.    
All welded up and painted blue.  
Here she is resting in the studio. She works pretty well don’t really have any complaints except that I wish she wasn't so noisy and it would be nice to have a big wheel on her instead of a lever. One thing I really do love is the length; she is two meters long so I can make some serious lengths of wire.   
I was worried she might be too long but the oversized lever allows me to work the machine easily even when at the far end. There are only a few angles where one can fall out of position with the lever, hence why it might work better with a wheel not a lever.  
All in all once I practiced with her for a while and got into a rhythm, she works like a dream.  
As promised here is the wax injector all fired up and ready to go, fortunately besides figuring out where to get all the hoses and connections there were no problems on this front.    
Here is a shot of the general layout.  
Here are the first few waxes pulled at the studio. I had the choice of this beautiful picture with a really nice flash hot spot or another one that was completely blurred and out of focus so I went with the hot spot. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Setting things up

Now that all the tools (minus one rolling mill and a few other items) are in my possession it is time to organize and set everything up. I bolted down my vice, wire rolling mill, vulcanizer, wax injector and started sectioning off areas of the tables for wax work, mold making, casting and so on. There are a few special projects that I needed to start working on as well. I needed a stand for my flex shaft a fire proof table to support the kiln, and I also needed to fabricate some type of wire drawing bench. So I went out bought some supplies and busted out the arc welder. Here are some of the advancements at the time. 
 So here is the jeweler’s desk with the flex shaft stand installed, I also added a shelf against the wall behind the desk for more space and mounted a couple of magnetic and nonmagnetic racks on the side wall next to the desk. 

Here is the kiln on its brand new home made stand. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More new toys

Went out to buy a few more new toys a few days after the boxes showed up. Got a new shinny bright red tool chest, a dolly to strap the gas tanks down and an air compressor to power the wax injector and any future pneumatic tools. Also did a bit more unpacking and organizing but we can get into that in the pictures. 
Here they are the newest additions.

Scanning across the studio to the left you can see a few things have been moved around. 

Here you can see the wax injector and the mess that is the studio at the time. 

If I remember correctly I finally committed to bolting down some of the bigger pieces of equipment and that’s what this picture is all about. The wire rolling mill (bright blue front left) is pretty much in position if not already bolted down, and the vulcanizer (dark blue back right) is also essentially in its official resting place.  
Here are the meager beginnings of what will become my casting/ soldering/ annealing station.  
A few fun toys, regulator, scales, ingot mold, mandrels, draw plates, punches, daps, and design blocks. More still to come.