posts tagged with the keyword ‘casting’

2018.04.07

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I made a plaster bolt and painted it red. Sometimes I do things in the “wrong” way so I can see why it’s the wrong way and to see if it might work doing it the “wrong” way. Also, I like a challenge.

bolt-render

I started by using OpenSCAD and the thread-drawing modules for OpenSCAD and created a Metric bolt. I added the bolt head and rounded the edges just a bit.

bolt-mold-exploded

Once I had my bolt I used it to create the two part mold by doing a difference into a block, and then cutting the block into two pieces. I also added some alignment holes and pegs. (And I managed to forget to make the holes a bit larger than the pegs, but a drill bit fixed that easily enough.)

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Here’s what my mold looked like printed in ABS plastic. Yes, I should have used a flexible filament for this so I could demold the cast, but I didn’t. Again, wrong, experimenting, etc. (I’ve got some flexible filament on order, so we’ll see how that goes.)

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I taped up the mold and added some rubber bands to hold it all together. Somehow I missed getting a photo of the wet plaster, but I just poured/shoved it into the top and leveled it off…

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Here’s the result after letting it dry for a few days. Oh, I didn’t have any proper mold release, or any good substitutes so I used some silicone spray. I don’t know if it worked that well. You can see some of the threads broke off. To be honest I was expecting much worse! It was totally stuck in the other half of the mold though, and I didn’t want to force it…

bolt-005

…so I ended up putting the mold into a bench vise and crushing it until it released the bolt. I know, in theory you should be able to use a mold more than once. But maybe part of the beauty of 3D printing it is that it’s low cost compared to silicone molds. I’m also thinking that a 3 or 4 part mold might be the way to go, rather than just two parts. At least for something like this.

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I think I could still use one side of the mold, so it wasn’t a total loss. (More like a 50% loss, which isn’t too bad for this experiment.) Enjoy the photos below. This is, of course, and art object, and not a functional bolt. I like the way it turned out, and I plan on doing more weird experiments like this. (By the way, it’s about 60mm long.)

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See Also: Fail Of The Week: Casting A Bolt In A 3D-Printed Mold

2016.01.31

Concrete Hammer

It’s been nearly a year since I introduced The Ice Hammer to the world, and yes, I’ve been accused of having an obsession with hammers, but I swear this time it’s (mostly) a coincidence.

The gang at BBCM are doing a MakeShift event this week titled Concrete Mixer, which is an adults-only thing at the children’s museum, and the topic is concrete. Instead of just being jealous of what the BAM folks have been up to with casting concrete in foldable paper forms and digging into the concrete/art connection, I decided to get in on the fun as well. John’s been busy casting concrete too, and he gave me a can of concrete to play with.

So how could I not use the vacuum formed hammer mold I made at a previous MakeShift event to create a concrete hammer?

Concrete Hammer in mold

I’ve been traveling a lot for work, and I knew that concrete takes some time to set and harden, so I was in a rush to mix it up and get it into the mold before I left town. I frantically mixed and scooped the concrete into the mold at about 10pm before rushing off to bed for an early morning flight.

Concrete Hammer (Head)

Air bubbles and lumps? I’m sure there’s a few… But the important part was that I got it ready to sit around and dry for a week.

Concrete Hammer

When I got back I took a look at the surface and it looked pretty solid, but I still didn’t trust it was fully set, so I let it sit for another day. Getting it out of the mold proved a bit tricky. I had taped up the cracks in the mold that occurred the last time I made an ice hammer, and that made it a bit more stiff. I did manage to get it out, but I ended up destroying the mold. No more ice (or concrete) hammers!

Hammer Mold

Even though it’s concrete, I’m pretty sure one good swing would destroy it. For now I’m just going to consider it an art object, and not a fully functional hammering device.

hammer-head

If you’re available Thursday, February 4th, 2016 and want to learn more about working with concrete, plan on attending MakeShift. Tickets are $10 and you can get them online. (I hear there will also be “spiked milkshakes” and other refreshments.)

2013.03.16

Velociraptor Silhouette

I’m not an expert on dinosaurs, but the velociraptor is one of the more respected of their ilk (so I am told) and you really do have to respect such a clever girl properly, so I grabbed this velociraptor silhouette from OpenClipArt knowing that I’d find a use for it some day…

Save as DXF

Since I can now easily cut things like paper and vinyl (did I mention I picked up a Silhouette Cameo?) I opened the SVG file in Inkscape and exported it as a DXF so I could import it into Silhouette Studio.

Silhouette Studio

Now, typically when I export DXF files from Inkscape for 3D printing or laser cutting I need to first remove all the curves by making them straight lines, like I did for my MAKE piece, but the Silhouette software doesn’t mind the curves.

Velociraptor MacBook

A quick cut of the vinyl and I’ve got a Velociraptor stuck on my aluminum MacBook… but wait, there’s more!

Paper Dinosaur

Since I also had a test cut made with paper, and there was some pink foam in the workshop, and we were planning an aluminum pour at Milwaukee Makerspace the next day, I had this crazy idea to use my drill press as a makeshift mill and cut out a piece of foam in the shape of the velociraptor. (You may remember Kevin’s FEAR that was made in a similar fashion.)

Mill Press

I jammed the base up into the foam so the bit was sticking all the way through so I could just run it and not have to lower it. I was then free to use both hands to move the foam around and cut it. (My jigsaw broke last year, but even if it still worked, I don’t think the cutting area of the blade would have been tall enough to fit the pink foam piece I had.)

Obviously using the CNC Router at Milwaukee Makerspace would have been more precise, but I really didn’t have time to do use it. (This was all pretty last-minute.)

Foam Dino

It worked pretty well! With the first attempt I used too large of a bit, but the second try turned out good. I ended up bringing both of them to the casting.

Velociraptors with sticks

For the aluminum casting you need a box, so we built a box and attached some foam sticks to each piece. We used a glue gun, but you need to be careful not to melt or deform the foam too much. I’ve been told that using the glue gun before it gets too hot, or unplugging it and letting it cool before use might be helpful.

The wider sticks in the center of the body are mean to funnel the molten aluminum down to the piece, while the smaller stick on the tail is meant be a vent.

Petrobond

The next step was packing the pieces in petrobond, which is a casting sand with oil in it. You need to tamp it down and pack it tight. (Somehow I managed to do a pretty good job at this.)

Cast Aluminum

Here’s the pieces fresh out of the box (after cooling of course!) There’s also a tiny bird up in the corner. We had a snake/worm shape as well, but somehow it disappeared in the process. Kevin (who helped me with all of this) then chopped my dinosaurs from the big chunk with a bolt cutter.

The Aluminum Velociraptor

And here’s my (mostly) done Aluminum Velociraptor! I’ve still got some cleanup to do, and then need to decide how to finish it, but that’s another project, and yeah, I’m already planning some pieces for our next pour in a few weeks!

Big thanks to Bret, Matt, Kevin, and everyone else who helped make this happen. It was an awesome event, and pretty amazing to show up with some pink foam and walk away with a cast aluminum piece. (Here’s a short video of the event.)

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