Making a pattern
I started by drawing an acanthus leaf on paper. This was cut out and used as
a template. I rolled out a piece of natural clay about 1/4" thick and used the
template to cut the leaf pattern out of the clay. Small ropes of clay were added
and shaped to form veins. Smaller veins were scribed into the clay when it
was still pliable and the entire piece shaped over over a temporary form and
allowed to air dry.
This is the resulting pattern. It is quite fragile and will only be used once to
make a more rugged aluminum pattern.
Here it is in the mold. Notice the "mountain peak" in the lower left corner of the
cope that fit down into the drag where the stem dipped deep in the sand.
A closer view of the clay pattern in the drag half of the mold. (Remember you
can click on the image for a larger view.)
Here is the aluminum casting with the sprue and gates still attached.
Here is the original clay pattern and my newly cast aluminum pattern!
I have already broken up the clay
version into a plastic bucket with water so I'll be
ready to recycle it into another shape some day soon.
Casting the Leaves
I have started casting the brass versions now. Here is the aluminum pattern
in the mold with the sand cleaned out to the parting line. Note the deep
cuts into the drag at each end of the pattern.
After 2 attempts I finally had to "cheat" and put a "gagger" into the deepest part
to help hold the sand together in the cope. Check out the problem under
What Went Wrong and see what a gagger is and how to use one.
With the gagger in place I was finally able to get the cope to pull out cleanly.
Look at the depth of the sand projecting from the cope into the drag!
This is what kept dropping off into the drag.
This shot shows the drag with the gates cut before I pulled out the pattern.
Several days later I ended up with 3 acanthus leaves that will be used as feet for the project.
Now I need 2 more leaves but the top surface will be visible so I will have to
add veins to the aluminum pattern. Florist's clay was used to for this.
Minutes after pouring liquid brass into the mold, the sprue is still glowing red!
A couple more sessions later and finally...the castings are all done!
Now to put it all together. Here's an idea as to where I'm going with this..
Finally Finished June 2, 2009
It's all done! The leaves were epoxied into grooves cut into the 1-1/4" pine
dowel. 19 gauge steel wire was wrapped around these joints for additional
strength, and is also used as trim on the crosspiece. The crosspiece is
attached with brass screws. The whole piece is 24 inches high.
Only one more question remains....what is it?
A stand for a miniature horse road cart.
Happy Birthday Sis!!!!!
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