Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ceramic 4 Wheeler and the ROAD it takes to get there, MOLDS FINISHED and JIG MADE

I have been busy in the studio since the last post. My plaster molds needed to make this 4 wheeler are all finished and in the dry box. Also I built the jig which I will use to help flip the mold to drain the slip out during the slip-casting process. Total there are 5- 2 part molds made to cast the following pieces; the body, handle bars, steering column, and 2 tire molds. This means I have to cast each tire mold twice to have 4 tires for the vehicle. The picture to the right was taken when I opened the mold of the Body. All the clay that I used to fill int he under cuts stuck to mold and took a little extra effort to clean up. All the molds are cleaned up and in the dry box. I cut down the corners on the big mold with a bow saw to help remove some of the weight. If I were to make the mold again I would have used a technique called "frosting". During this a thin "skim" layer of plater is poured on and then as the plaster sets up and can be moved on to the mold by hand- sort of like frosting a cake. The main benefit of this technique is if done correctly you can control where the plaster goes and this ables you to make your molds take the shape of the piece instead of a rectangular slab of plater (unless of course you are making a mold of a rectangular object).

Just about ready to pour plaster for the first part of the handle bar mold.
As I mentioned earlier I needed to build a jig(loosely using this word meaning a "flipping device" or something along those lines- you get the point). Special Thanks to friend Bob Biddlestone for the design- and an extended thanks to Tom Spleth for using a similar device. Here is a picture of the very impressive sketch that Bob sent me. I particularly love the different view points (top, front, exploded, and side profiles) This was easy to read for me and especially refreshing to see since I am in a 3D CAD class and we are using Rhin0 uses similar viewpoints. This is a really good way to sketch and plan designs.
Bob Biddlestone is one of my good friends and a VERY talented artist. (we grew up together and both earned BFAs from Ohio University). I knew Bob was using a device while he was casting Ceramic 2x4s for his BFA thesis exhibition. I knew Bob had experience with casting large molds plus Bob loves to figure out mechanical stuff/engineering/ and building. I sent Bob a picture of my mold and the very next day he emailed me the design above which I used. It is different than the design he used in the past but its much simpler and just as effective. Thanks to Facebook I was able to dig up some pictures of Bob's device and some of his work. This is Bobby casting some pieces for his exhibition.

Bob Biddlestone
The following images are of the finished work (installation views) from Bob's BFA Thesis Exhibition. All the objects in following images are COMPLETELY CERAMIC.

Back to Gard Studios and building my Jig.
I found some scrap wood behind our critique/gallery space that I was able to cut down and use for the sides! There was some blue paint on the wood but that just makes it more aesthetically pleasing-just kiddng I could care less this is about function. I screwed the two pieces together and roughly cut out the curves at the same time so they would be exactly matched. Then I fine tuned the curves on the disc sander. Also while the two pieces were screwed together I drilled the pilot holes to screw in the cross supports. (2x4s).

Finished! So simple but effective.
The mold rests on the 2 supports and butts up against the back support. Next the mold is strapped in and can be easily rotated using the curves of the built device. When I actually slip-cast in this mold I will use a few more straps (cross hatched) and the mold will be on two table surfaces (one table under each "wheel" with the opening in between to with a container to catch the slip as the mold drains).
The mold completely upside down and supported by the straps going around the mold and the support beams.
Now back to work. Of course I will post more pictures and information as the work comes so stay posted. And please help us share this blog with others. Thanks for following!

1 comment:

  1. Two more things I forgot to mention.
    1- Total Cost of the Flipping Device was under $3.00.
    2- Bob Biddlestone is currently a Core Resident at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. If you are are going there for a workshop or stopping by make sure and say hi for me.