Slip Casting the Tumbler

I have started to make the mold for the tumbler.  This was much simpler than the goblet design as it had much less undercuts within it.  The tumbler mold will only have to be in three parts as apposed to the five parts needed for the goblet.

Building the first side wall

 Building and clamping the wood walls and sealing sides with clay

  The first pour.
  The first mold taken apart.

  Cleaning up the first mold and adding the key holes.

 
 Building the wood walls and sealing for the second pour.

Slip casting wine goblet

After leaving the mold to dry for several days I was able to use my slip cast mood today.  First of all I cleaned up the plaster with a wet sponge in order to get rid of any clay left from the mold making process.


I then drilled a hole in the top section of the mold in order to pour the slip in.  This was filed down and then smoothed out with a knife.


I mixed up the slip so that there was no lumps in.  This was then sieved into a clean bucket.



The mold was secured with rubber from a bike inner tube so it would stay together when casting.


The slip was then poured into the mold and left for 14 mins before poring back out.


 I filled the bottom of the goblet with more slip so that it would be easy to clean out after drinking from it. After leaving this for a while the slip level dropped so in the end I filled this other a ball of clay and some more slip.  This compromise now means that the stem is hollow however had I not done it this way I think the stem may have became too weak and may have collapsed whilst the clay was drying.



The slip was then left for two hours to harden a little before taking apart the mold.  I first scraped the clay from the pour hole in the top section.  I then carefully removed each part of the mold so as not to damage either the mold or the goblet.

  
I spent a few hours cleaning up the seams with a knife.  I had some trouble with the stem cracking under the weight of the top.  I am hoping I have filled this in and repaired it enough for it to survive the firing process.
I cut the top in a circular shape for this piece however I may change this to follow the lines of the outside on later models.



There was some splatter marks on the inside of the cup. This happened when trying to fill the base with slip.  I am hoping to get much neater as I make more.

 I think if there is one thing I had forgotten about the slip casting process it is that it takes a lot of time and patience.  I am hoping the final results will be worth all the time.

  

Goblet slip cast mold

I have spent two days this week preparing the slip cast mild for my goblet.  Because of the undercuts in the piece I had to make a mold with five sections so that I will be able to remove the piece after casting.

  First I marked out on the print where I would build the walls out to make the mold.  Or essentials where the seems would be.  After marking out two sections it quickly became clear that 3 walls were needed in order to get the piece out of the mould.

 
  I covered two thirds of the piece in clay leaving just the third visible that would be cast first.

 

  I then smoothed out the clay walls.
  I clamped wooden walls around the piece, filled any holes with clay and poured in plaster.

 

  Once dry I took apart the mold and cleaned up the plaster a little.  The I drilled in a half dome so that the next part of the mold would lock in.
  I washed the plaster three times with soft soap.  This was wiped off with a sponge and would keep the next plaster pour from sticking.
  I then built the second wall and built up the wooden boards.

 

 This was the result of the second pour after removing the walls and clay.
  The process was repeated a third time to create the third wall.

 

 This is the three walls completed and the process took about seven hours to get to this stage.
  The top of the mold was then planed back.

 Lock holes were drilled into the three walls at the top.
  I then built walls around the mold and sealed for the pour.

 

  This process was repeated for the bottom.
  The five parts were then planed into one nice block.

  This is the final reveal as I took out the 3D print.
 The mould has now been placed in the drying cupboard and will be ready to use hopefully in three days time.

Whisky glass pressing

Today I have been trying out the press mold for my whisky glasses.  The first few I did were a little floored but the more I made the better they became.  My 3D printed chizel was perfect for cutting off the excess clay from the top of the mold.  I was keen to see the effect of using molds printed on different machines.  The mold from the ultimaker gave a much smoother finish to the pieces.  I like the effect of the two contrasting textures.

 Close up showing both textures in the clay.
 Selection I have made so far.
Some of the vessels came out with areas that were not smooth.  I found placing the clay back into the molds and pressing them again sorted out this problem.

Mold before use.


Clay pressed into the mold.


Clay cut with 3D printed chisel.

To speed up the drying process I used my hair dryer.  This worked well for the clay but warped the outside of the orange mold slightly with the heat.  The inside seems to not have been effected which is good.


Clay smoothed down and drying  also showing warped mold.

Porcelain bowl glazing

This afternoon I glazed my porcelain olive bowls ready for their final firing. I used a white mat crack glaze on the outside of the pieces and varied colours on the interior.  I initially wanted some kind of metallic glaze for the inside of the bowls but realise this would mean I wouldn’t be able to use them for food.  I opted instead for orange, red, purple and turquoise interiors.


  
 The porcelain will be fired at 1260 degrees.  I’m looking forwards to seeing the final pieces.

Whisky Vessels

After spending a few weeks playing with porcelain and designing the ceramic bedroom light it has given me some ideas for making drinking vessels for my container.  I have been coming up with some designs in my sketchbook along the same lines as the base of the bedroom light I have designed.


Through these pieces I would really like to be able to show the mixture and contrast between the handmade and the use of CAD.  What I really enjoy about this with clay is the way in which clay is naturally so organic and malleable by hand.  It makes the process easy to both impress on and use CAD but also has a warm hand made finish or feeling.

The glasses will be pressed into CAD molds and hand finished on the inside.  I would really like to use a simple white cracked glaze on the outside and a more metallic glaze splash of colour on the inside.

shotglass5Render of shot glass designs.

Last night I came home from work excitedly with plans to print a small shot glass and make them over the weekend.  As I went to bed last night I set my printer up to print the mold through the night.  I woke up at 4am to a strange buzzing noise.  As I got out of bed I found a big pile of white spaghetti in my printer.  The print was due to take 7 hours, so I collaborated the printer set up the print again and went back to bed.

 My overnight print fails.

The same thing happened at 8am and again at 10am.  I have cut down the mold size a little to make the build 5 hours and put on to build again.  Fingers crossed this one is going to work so I can make some shot glasses later.

Bedroom light

For one of my first projects I have been designing the light which will be in my bedroom in the shipping container. The designs for my bedroom are quite minimal with lots of hidden storage space. The light will be one of the few features within the room.


For many of my designs I was looking at quite organic forms. I have been interested in using ceramics within the piece. My designs eventually went full circle and I arrived back at my favourite technique of laser welding.

Out of the three final designs I came up with I am going to make the one with the closed top so that shadows will be projected around all of the room. I have also chosen to make the geodesic ceramic base as I feel this works better with my design than the plain version.

 

 Through some of my drawings I have been thinking about the power wires. Through discussion with my mentor I have came to the conclusion some kind of self charging light would be good so that no cables would be necessary, also adding to the aesthetics of the piece.

Porcelain bowls

I have got my bowls back from the bisque firing. Some of them are looking good.  Two are a little wonky due to both using the clay too thinly as well as the mold being made from plastic not plaster.  I am going to Glaze them on Monday so I hope they work out in the next firing.

Porcelain Project

Hi Folks, this is my first blog post for what I hope to become a place I can document, share and record my ideas over the next few years, whilst researching my PhD.

I plan to spend the next few years building my own house and workshop and contents through 3D printing all the tools I will need.

This week I have started thinking about bedroom lighting and ceramic items.  I 3D printed some press molds last week from my home 3D printer.  I was restricted by the scale I could print from my M3D as it has such a small build plate size

One of the trickiest things about using the a press mold direct from the printer in plastic is it’s lack of porosity.  Plaster molds will soak up some moisture from the clay allowing for some drying and making it easier to remove.  The final results were a little wonky due to this.

I was thinking about smoothing off the press before using it.  However I wanted to see what the effect of print lines would have to the texture of the porcelin.  I was quite happy with the finished texture.  I’m looking forwards to getting them fired and glazed.