In addition to the two cast pieces that I’m currently working on, I started this hybrid piece. Once I began working on it, I realized that I kind of miss cutting metal directly. It may be more work than cutting wax or delrin, but the reward is immediate. As usual, I’ll be adding the photographed progress to this post.
I’m now in the process of creating my second cast piece. I’m going to explore some different techniques and materials this time, including the blue, machinable wax that I previously posted about. I’m also using a white plastic looking material called delrin. Delrin, is also known as acetal, or polyoxymethylene. It’s rigid, lightweight, very machinable, and will be a good way to build the positive for this piece. I’m going to purchase some silicone, and attempt to create my own molds. It’s very possible that I’ll take a class at CCS again, in order to use their casting facilities, and get some valuable knowledge from the “foundry rats”. The plan is to use my molds to create all of the wax positives, and have them ready to go at the beginning of the course. It’s in October, so I have some time. Once again, I’m planning on a run of 10-20.
Update: My first cast piece should be ready very soon. I’m very excited to finish them, and make them available to everyone! It’s been an exercise in patience, for myself and buyers alike. Thank you for waiting!
I’ve just discovered some wax materials that I’m very excited about! Yes, that’s right, I just said I’m excited about wax….what of it?
I’ve been diving more seriously into the world of casting, and I like some of the creative doors that the process opens up. I wanted to start creating my originals from something other than the expensive brass that I’m used to using, but I needed the tolerances and machinability that I’ve grown accustomed to. I’ve found a couple of professional grade materials that will work great!
The blue stuff is really rigid, and is referred to as “Machinable wax”. I can throw it on my machining tools, and cut it to close tolerances like it’s brass, but it’s MUCH cheaper, and is easily recyclable. I can then make molds of the finished shape. Once I have a mold, I can either make pewter castings, or make a wax positive for bronze casting. The latter is where the red stuff comes in.
The red wax is called Protowax. It’s also very rigid, pours detailed and accurate, and doesn’t distort when it cools. This can be used to pour the final positives which can be used for lost wax bronze casting. It’s possible it will be too brittle for my work, which is typically pretty thin. We’ll see.
Casting metal can be a long tedious process, but I think it’s safe to say I’m used to that. Every new technique has a learning curve. I’m excited for the things I’ll be able to do once I have my particular application of this process down.
If anyone is interested in following what I’ve been up to, and you use Facebook frequently, I have a page that you can “like” titled “The Clockwork of Eric Freitas”
Not sure if the following link will work – I can’t look at my own page without being the admin, so the URL may be different. Worst case you’ll just have to copy/paste The Clockwork of Eric Freitas in the search box of FB.
This post will document the process of my newest endeavor. I’ll be adding photos to this post, rather than doing a new, separate post each step. This approach allows you to arrow through the photos chronologically.
Upon completion, I’ll be taking this one to a casting foundry, and having a very limited edition made. I’m planning on a run of 10 or 20, and I’m crossing my fingers that the cost is in the right ballpark. Enjoy, and wish me luck!
Next project underway! Here’s how it all starts. I glue the design to brass plate, and begin cutting with the dental-floss saw blades. In this case, I’m using 1/4 inch plate. When finished, I’m planning on taking this piece to get cast in 3 or 4 pieces, limited run of 10-20. I’ll still be hand threading the screws and posts that hold the pieces together.
Since I’ve decided to get this design cast, I could have used a different medium, such as wax, for my initial positive. I chose to use my old methods, labor intensive as they may be, because I wanted to preserve the look that I’ve developed over the years. This is why I also chose not to cast the screws and pieces all at once, but rather, hold everything together with the hand threaded screws like I always have.
Hopefully my first experience with a casting foundry is a successful one…Wish me luck!!
Here’s the latest piece, just off the work bench. This one showcases magnifiers on the back of the hands, which were used on “Mechanical No.5″ a while back. I liked the way they looked then, and they seemed to be a popular feature, so I used them again here.
This is a hybrid piece, which means it uses a commercial motor to keep reliable time, but it also employs a set of handmade gears. These gears accomplish the 12-1 ratio needed to get the hours and minutes to come out of the same place. They also allow me to offset the motor, and remove half of the clock face, while still hiding the motor behind the clock body.
The signature on this piece is less than half the size of a dime. It’s sized as such, so that it’s best read when the lenses pass over it.
This piece is for sale in the shop of this site.
Dimensions: 30 x 15 x 4
For anyone that was a fan of the lenses used on the hands of “Mechanical No.5″, here’s something for you to get excited about. Everything is still raw, cut out metal at this point. The carving and finishing starts soon:)
I thought it might be good to show some of my older posts, from the previous iteration of this site. I’d posted the progress of “Mechanical No.6″, and since it recently sold, I found it fitting to show the making of its best feature; the 10 foot handmade chain. You can click on the first image, and toggle through them with your arrow keys.
The process, as seen in the photos, goes as follows: First, a bunch of holes are drilled in a sheet, at a very specific, and consistent distance apart. Then the links are cut from that sheet with a jewelers saw, being careful that the previously drilled holes are in the correct spot under the drawing. Later, the cut out links would be ground to a more 3 dimensional shape with a small rotary grinder (kind of like a dremel). Now, using a small lathe, a bucket full of small parts must be machined to create the barbell-like pins, which will hold the links together. The tool shown in the fifth picture is used to extend and cut the same length of rod each time. The pic after that shows the decorative screw slot being cut. The final step, is using an arbor press to assemble the chain. The end-caps, and rods are a tight press fit, which are permanent once assembled.
In the end, there were 1021 separate pieces machined to create the chain for “Mechanical No.6″. The finished chain is kind of like a reversed bike chain, in that the part the meshes with the sprocket is on the outside of the links, rather than the inside. I included the next picture (below left) to show the repeating segments of chain, all lined up, before they were assembled into one long piece. Also pictured below is the finished clock.
I’ll be doing more of these “archive posts” in the future. The next one will likely be gear-cutting:)
Here’s the hybrid piece that I’m currently working on. The design is on the delicate side, which I like. There’s no hands yet, and nothing is contoured yet. Just the pieces, cut from sheet, and assembled to look like the drawing. I do have the motor, and the working gears in the clock. I’m still on the fence on whether or not to use the lenses on the back of the hands, as indicated in the drawing. I’m sure they’ll look interesting, I just have to make sure they fit.
Hopefully it’ll be done by the end of August.