Thing A Week 8: Run The Jewels Fist and Gun Hand Earrings

I liked the last two weeks projects so much (carving/casting the crow skull), that I decided I wanted to do some more carving and casting. Now that I have practiced a bit I think I can do it all in one week.

 

I have been listening to a lot of Run The Jewels lately (if you have not heard them, check them out they are great!).  Their logo is two hands in a fist and gun.

So I got out some wax, and started carving!

I took the time to drill two tiny holes in the back, and made some little copper loops, so that when they are cast they would have them pre-formed.  I want these two be earrings, so they are pretty small.

They would also make nice charms.

I then used the same method as before, placing them in clay, casting one half, and then flipping and casting the other half.

Don’t forget the mold release!  Or you will end up with a solid block of silicone.  Again I used high temp mold max 60 from smooth on.

I then cut in some air vents, and pour spouts, being careful to make the air vents smaller this time.  I didn’t know if cutting two different pour spouts into one mold would work, but it works like a charm.

They came out better than I could have hoped!  Lovely and shiny.  I am really surprised by just how detailed you can get with pewter, its pretty amazing stuff.

Thing A Week 7: Casting A Crow Skull In Pewter

Last week I carved a wax crow skull, or at least sorta one (I am no sculptor). Now I want to cast it in Pewter.

Before I can do that though I have to make a mold.

First I got a plastic cup and cut the bottom off.

Then use some molding clay to fill the bottom.

I then took the carving I made and carefully pressed it into the clay, carefully smoothing it around the model.  I think made sure that roughly half the wax was “under the clay.”

I then took one of those little wood things that come in flat pack furniture, and made some distinctive indents into the clay, making sure to leave room on one side for a future sprue. I found 3 to be the ideal number of divots that left room, but also made it so the mold would index.

Then I mixed up a small batch of Mold Max 60, a high temp. silicone that will withstand the heat of “low temp” melt metals like tin and pewter.

I mix in one cup, and then scrape the whole works into another cup.  This makes sure you don’t have any gunk on the bottom that is unmixed. Follow the instructions, use a scale, and if you have it use a vacuum chamber to degas the silicone.  Then wait 24 hours.  This stuff smells pretty rubbery, so do this in a well ventilated area.

Cut the cup away, and slowly remove the clay.

Carefully clean off all the clay, and very carefully cut away any flash that might have leaked in (around the beak area you can see some).  I used a brush to get clay out of the cracks.  DON’T pull the wax model out, you want it nice and snug in there.

Take that clay and flatten it out, then make a little wall around your mold. Its very important that you spray a layer of mold release on it at this point, or you will end up with a huge chunk of solid silicone.

You can see the mold release shiny area.  Follow the instructions on the can.  Then mix up another batch and pour it on top.  Wait another 24 hours.

Carefully crack that bad boy open, and see if everything came out ok.

Success!

I then carefully cut a pour spout, and some air vents.  I then realized the air vents were probably too big, so I put a little chunk of copper wire in there.

Dust a little baby powder on the mold (these pictures are from before I cut the vents) and push it into all the cracks with a fine brush.

Get some pewter, I got this big hunk off the internet, it was pretty cheap, I just use a torch to melt some off the end, I also had some leftover bits from previous pewter projects, so I dumped those into the crucible as well.

Heat it up until it balls up into a lump, it doesn’t take long, then scrape the gunk off the top with a spoon.  That gunk is impurities and will make your casting ugly.

I put a rubber band around the mold, and stuck it between two fire brick with a metal pan under them to catch any spillage.

I dumped it in slowly, and gave the side of the mold a tap.  You might have to do this more than once until the mold warms up.  But if you mess up just melt everything down and go again.

Let it sit for a while until the top part solidifies, than crack it open and see what you got.

I cut off the sprues with a wire cutter and jewelers saw.

I think cleaned them up with a file, and polished them a bit.

If you want to darken them up a bit, dip them in some ferric chloride (its the stuff you use to etch copper), it turns pewter a lovely dark color.  Ferric Chloride is an acid, so put some gloves on.

Then polish up the high spots and you have a pretty nice looking pendant. I made the model with a little hole in the back of the skull to put a chain through, it didn’t come out in the mold so I just used a drill to open it back up.

This is the second time I have used this casting method for small things, and have had really good success both times.  I like it so much that I think I am going to make some more things over the next couple weeks.

 

Thing A Week 6: Carving A Wax Crow Skull

I want to make a pewter casting of a crow skull for a pair of earrings.  The only problem is, crow skulls are too big for earrings, and I don’t have a crow skull.

I do have carving wax and some wax carving tools, so I decided I would make a scale model of a crow skull, and use that for the mold instead.

The first thing I did was go online and get some pictures of crow skulls from the top, side and front.  I think printed these out nice and big so I could check them while carving.

Then I cut out a chunk of wax roughly the right shape, and began shaping it.

 

I used a jewelers saw and a file to shape to this point.  I just scratched the rough design onto the wax to give me some idea of when to stop cutting bits off.

 

Basically I just kept holding it up, looking at it from all sides, and then staring at the pictures I had printed out.  Scraping, picking, etc.  Next week I am going to attempt to cast this in a mold and make some pewter earrings/pendants.

 

Thing A Week 5: Light Project

We have a big ole shelf in our kitchen that I made out of a board I found in the garbage, but because its so big, it is kind of dark under it.  It’s also far away from any outlet, so I had to get creative with the power supply.

In the end I went with some mason jars, and some battery powered LED lights.

the house is slanted, the shelf is level.

some cheap, but nice looking Chinese LED lights.

a couple wide mouth mini-mason jars.

drill a hole in the middle of every lid.

get some wood screws

pardon the flash photos…like I said its dark under there.

All done, just sorta eyeballed the placement.

I just counted the number of LED’s per string, and divided by the number of jars.  I covered the lights not in the jars with black tape…I am not sure if I like the look, but I can always just take it off if I want.

It’s very nice looking, a soft yellow light, and it does a good job of lighting the space under the shelf.

Total cost for the whole project was about 25$  Took about 30 minutes.

Thing A Week 4: Borax Red Jewlery

I have occasionally in my goofing around with torch and flux turned a piece of copper bright red. I had no idea how I had accomplished it, and chocked it up to a fluke of chemistry.  The color however was gorgeous, and I was sad I couldn’t recreate it….that was until I stumbled upon the hidden knowledge of the Borax Red Patina.

It’s super simple, you just take some water, dissolve as much Borax (20 mule team Borax from the store works just fine), heat your copper up till its bright red, and dunk it in the water.  The finish is very rugged and wont wear off, but it is heat sensitive, so make sure you only do cold forming after the treatment, if you need to solder anything on its going to be a little tricky.

 

I played around with the technique for a while and found it rather fun to just make the copper red, you can lightly polish it after to bring out the redness and make it more interesting.

I ended up making an earring and pendant set.  Its all pretty rough, as I was just sort of playing around, but I am glad I figured out the technique and will use it again in the future.









 

 

Thing A Week 3: Casting An Adult Toy In Silicone

As part of my new years resolution to make a new thing every week this year, I have decided to make the third weeks project, casting an adult toy in silicone.

Last week I sculpted an adult toy in clay, this week I am going to cast it in silicone.  I am using a two part mold, made from the same thing I intend to cast the toy in, Dragon Skin 30 platinum cure silicone.

The first thing I had to do is put some spru’s on the model so that it would sit up above so I could get the first half of the mold under the clay model.  This will also give me a place to pour in silicone later to make the final toy.

Then I built a little box around the toy.  I found it helpful to use one single piece of cardboard, so you only have a single seam to close up around the edges.  Be sure you fully seal all the way around the bottom, I used blue painters tape, and some extra clay to keep the corners strong.  I used packing tape to seal up the one corner seam.

Give all sides of the clay model a good spray of mold release, as well as the box, and the floor.  Hold it about 12 inches away from give it a light coat, wait 5 minutes and then do it again.  MAKE SURE YOU GET EVERY SURFACE.  But don’t put too much on or you will get strange surface artifacts on the final object.

Mix up a big batch of silicon, you can use an online calculator to figure out how much you will need.  I use a vacum chamber to get the bubbles out, depending on what you are using for your mold, you may or may not need to do this step.

The finished product.  This particular silicone has a pretty decent pot life, so you don’t have to rush, but you shouldn’t wait too long or it will start to harden in the cup.

Next pick a spot, and pour slowly.  Be sure to pour a very small stream so that it will not trap bubbles in the silicone.  I poured into that little hole on the left, and took my time allowing it to slowly fill up all the gaps, while pushing out any air.

Now wait for it to set up, I waited overnight.  Things like set time, pot life, and other important facts about your silicone will be on the box when you buy it.

after the silicone has set I cut in some key holes so that when I cast the other side it will be hard to mis-align the mold.  I used an X-acto knife to cut them out.

Mix up another big batch of silicone, make sure you spray on some more mold release, and do the same thing again.

After it sets up, remove the cardboard and see how your mold came out.

After I used an X-acto knife to clean up the holes, and the edges.

Clean out your mold, make sure you get all the clay, and all the dust, and everything else.  Spray the inside with mold release, and then close up your mold, and I use rubber bands to make sure it stays put together.

I used some pigment to make the next batch of dragon skin 30 blue.  Removed the air bubbles, and slowly slowly filled the mold making sure to allow the air bubbles to escape.  I ended up having to cut two small air holes (the square blue holes below) to let the last little bit of air out.

Give the sides of the mold a couple taps, and let it set up overnight.  When you wake up, take the rubber bands off and see your new baby!

I used an razor blade to cut the spru’s off, and clean up around the pour holes.

As you can see this left some small defects.  They are pretty smooth, but I am going to try a third casting where I use a different technique to try and make it so that the entire mold can be filled from one end.  Resulting in far fewing pour holes, and better air bubble removal.

And just like that, you have your own sex toy!  The total cost for this project was about $50.  Which is what you would pay for a high end sex toy.  The fun bit is though that you can re-use the clay to sculpt anything you want, and you can make as many of these toys as you want (as you now have the mold).  So future toys will be much cheaper.

 

Thing A Week 2: Sculpting An Adult Toy

As part of my new years resolution to make a new thing every week this year, I have decided to make the second weeks project, sculpting an adult toy.

Hold on to your hats prudes, and wholesome folks, futurecrash is going blue.  By which I mean, I have decided to make my own adult toy.  The first step in this process is sculpting.

If you are going to be casting the toy later in silicon (which I am, stay tuned for next week’s thing a week) you will need to be choosy about what sort of clay you use.  Silicons that use platinum based catalysts don’t do well with sulfur.  So you need to make sure you use sulfur free clay.

I used Scupltex hard, as it is sulfur free, and never dried out, and the hard variety is very firm and easy to sculpt complex geometry.

 

Now might be a good time to say up front, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.  None, I have never made a sex toy before, I don’t know what sizes, shapes, whatever will feel good, will work, will fail, anything.  I am flying blind here.  So I decided to make something anyone could use (that means it goes in a place everyone has), I will let your imagination fill in the rest of those details.

I started by making some balls, and rolling them together then attaching them.

I used lots of round things of various sizes to help smooth and shape the form.  I am going for a sorta anal beads with a handle feel here, but the picture above shows it in a rough proces.

The rest of the shots below are process shots, you have to do a lot of smoothing, and small adjustments to the form as you look at it from all angles.  It is surprisingly easy to ruin one side of the toy while you are fixing another, so I kept turning and shaping and turning, until I got something I think is smooth enough, and nice enough to be done.

So yea, that is where we are at this point, I think it will “work” in the sense that it wont fall apart when I cast it, and the finished product will be tough enough.  I have no idea if it will “work” in the sense that people would like to use it.  But I think it will come out nice.

Stay tuned until next week when I figure out how to make a mold for this, and cast a couple versions of it.

 

ps.  if you are into to these sorts of crafts, check out my second Etsy store.