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  #276  
Old 02-27-2008, 09:14 PM
Burkhard Burkhard is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Hi Will,
1. yes basically. Last trial I did i placed the hot bronze/wax mix in a vac chamber first to deaerate, then gently mixed again (some of the bronze powder settles in the wax quite rapidly and needs to be redispersed by mixing) and then poured into mould. Mould was placed onto vibrating thingy and vibrated for a few minutes. It's better to do both together but I simply haven't gotten around to setting it up so that I can get my mould inside a vac chamber.

I believe there are two processes here. Firstly, deairing to get rid of air bubbles. Secondly (and probably more importantly) to pack the powder by vibration as tightly as possible. Uniform dense packing is what you want.

Nitrogen is preferred gas, but CO2 works well for bronze. Copper and CO2 does not give copper oxide + carbon monoxide, the reverse reaction occurs (i.e. carbon monoxide + copper oxide would give copper + CO2). I would not use CO2 for other metals though. If you can use nitrogen then do so.

If you google reduction of copper oxide you will come across a number of high school chemistry experiments where copper oxide is reduced to copper metal using hydrogen, or methane, or ethanol vapor or even the vapor from firestarters. I suspect that in the bronze wax process the wax helps in reducing the outer coating of oxide that is on the bronze powder. I did one experiment where I used a fairly volatile parrafin wax - no sintering just powder. Next time I used Victory Brown type wax, more smoke at higher temp - worked perfectly. Can't say for absolutely certain that the different wax caused this (I also used a different batch of bronze powder) but it looks like it at this stage.

2. If you look at the surface of the unfinished piece closely in http://www.cisp.psu.edu/pdf/NL-Fall05.pdf (fig 3) that's the sort of "roughness" that I get as well. The top 1/10 mm or less is rough (like little granules), but can be readily removed with a bit of sanding/polishing. Not sure what causes it, because I see similar surface with bronze clay or bronze cement that I was playing with.

3. I haven't but would also love to know whether this works well.

4. Pure copper is on the list, but haven't tried it yet.

5. Is any of this wrong? Probably but not as far as I know. However, it's taken me almost a year now of fiddling to get to the point where I'm going to try a few bigger pieces over the next months - so be prepared for some trial and error.

6. Slow temp ramp is needed, especially for thick pieces. My 1" thick test piece (the torso that I showed in one of the earlier posts) requires a firing rate of about ten hours to get to 840C. Any faster and I get some serious cracks formed. I should probably go even slower. I used to heat to 890-900C but found that I was getting too many little nodules and rough spots. 2 hours at 840 as specified in the original article seems good. I don't have the thermocouple inside the container but on the outside - still seems to be OK.

Also try to have the reservoir/pouring cup thingy fairly large - much larger than you would have for a normal wax. Again you want the powder to compact in the sculpture part of the mould as densely and uniformly as possible. If the top of the sculpture has less bronze powder than the bottom you may get distortion because more wax will burn out of the top part (more shrinkage).

7. Not sure what you mean by cold work. The bronze/wax mix is poured in hot and after cooling, because of the amount of bronze powder in the wax, it is quite hard. The wax pretty much retains all details of the silicone mould. I then chase the wax, and burnish out any small air bubbles that remain on the surface. I have no experience with alginate and whether it works with wax.

good luck
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Burkhard
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  #277  
Old 03-06-2008, 11:24 PM
AnnDavis AnnDavis is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Hi Everyone,
I have been going through your last 2 years post on the bronze clay technique....very facinating...lots of amazing infor and amazing people involved.

I am a metalsmith and I got here through a bronze patina search..hahah funny how it took up my whole evening.

I just want to say that a guy called Bill Struve has apparently pattented a process where the bronze and copper clay are like Precious Metal Clay..already mixed into a fireable binder........his web site is http://metaladventures.com/about/about.htm
not much info but he is bringing out his bronze clay that can be fired in a kiln in a bed of charcoal( as I understand)at the July Precious Metal Clay conference put on by Rio Grande Jewelers supply at Purdue U where it will be available (I"m a certified Rio teacher but I don't know much more than this) they are keeping things under wraps. Being a jeweler and making tiny sculptures, this works for me but maybe not for you. I have no idea yet of the cost or anything else. I did get an email back from Bill saying that "if you pickle the bronze in 10% citric acid in a crock pot overnight, the surface looks like copper" which is interesting. I am looking forward to working with this new material and all the cool bronze patina's that I can't get in silver so I will be reading in on other parts of your most WONDERFUL forum!
Thanks for all the EXCELLENT information!!!!
-Ann
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  #278  
Old 03-18-2008, 01:18 PM
DanielUCM DanielUCM is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Will - I think that was a really good run through of the process, I think a lot of the readers will benefit from it (and Burkhards answer).

Concerning the alginate, I'm not sure but I believe that I have heard that molds made with the material will only last for a short time before they begin to.. not work (decompose or something). Therefore silicone is the way to go.

Since I just ran out of co2 I think I will make another attempt using carbon. Soo hard to find the time right now though. I will probably get ahold of nitrogen after that since I have various forms of steel powder laying around that just wait for further experiments.


/Daniel S.
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  #279  
Old 05-08-2008, 01:34 AM
Donna Lewis Donna Lewis is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

I finally joined after following this thread for awhile. It is all so fascinating. Ann, Im not surprised you found your way here, you are always
innovative. I have seen a couple samples of work Chris Darway had when he was in Scottsdale, using Bill's firing process. They are amazing.
I will be at the PMC Conference at Purdue in July. I plan to absorb all I can from Bill's presentation. I am also taking a workshop with Barbara
Becker Simon who just spent some time in the past month producing pieces using the bronze clay and Bill Struve's firing process. She said she
is using a stainless "steamer pot" as the firing chamber. She is using her PMC kiln. Chris said the material had about a 20% shrinkage rate and
would continue to shrink with subsequent firings.
This is all just a new process. I am personally grateful to Mark for his efforts to get the ball rolling on this and all his generous sharing of information.
I am a metal clay artist and educator. My metalsmithing skills are definitely nothing compared to Ann's.
I will post anything I find out.
Donna
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  #280  
Old 05-30-2008, 06:08 PM
eclecticstudio eclecticstudio is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay on the Market in July

I am very new to this forum and my interests lie more on the jewellery side than sculpting, however I do make a few small pieces. I have been working with Precious Metal Clay for 6 years now, I came accross this thread and thought I would quickly let you know of a product that is about to be launched in July of 2008 ( at the PMC Guild Convention at Purdue University in the USA ), it is called Bronze Clay too and it will be marketed exactly the same way as Precious Metal Clay (PMC) made by Mitsubishi Metals and Art Clay Silver ( Aida Chemicals-Japan).

Bronze Clay however will be distributed by an American Company - Rio Grande, it was developed by an American, Bill Struve Phd, via his company Metal Adventures Inc. it is my understanding this product is similar to silver clay and may be fired in a standard kiln. ( 300F ramp per hour to 1550 then hold for 2 hours ), so a long 7-8 hour firing time. After it is fired it is very strong, can be polished to a high luster, and may be colored with patinas. Bronze Clay contains recycled copper and tin as the only metallic elements. There are no pouring/liquids involved. It is just like PMC in a clay form that resembles putty to feel and work.

The clay pieces must be placed in a steel box with a lid, the objects are placed on a layer of activated carbon and then covered with it too before firing to remove oxygen.

No idea yet of pricing or what size "packets" it will come in, as it has been developed with the jewellery artist in mind it may be too small. Copper Clay is also in the pipeline too.

Heading to the States in July for the convention so will be very happy to let you know of other developments with this as they appear.

Roz Eberhard-Swan - Sydney
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  #281  
Old 05-31-2008, 11:39 AM
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chris 71 chris 71 is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

i have tried the silver clay and it is a pretty cool product but it is so expensive i was wondering when they would come out with bronze clay as well as there silver and gold
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  #282  
Old 06-05-2008, 08:06 AM
ara ara is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Hey thanks for that info, sounds like it could be good for small things but maybe not large scale. Keep us informed though it sounds interesting!
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  #283  
Old 06-05-2008, 08:09 AM
ara ara is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielUCM View Post

Concerning the alginate, I'm not sure but I believe that I have heard that molds made with the material will only last for a short time before they begin to.. not work (decompose or something). Therefore silicone is the way to go.



/Daniel S.
Alginate is made from seaweed (don't ask me how!) so yes it decomposes after about a couple of hours. it starts to 'sweat' first before going crispy and shrinking so even this first stage would cause issues with the powder sticking to the mould.

You can make it last longer by putting in a plastic bag but you still only get a day or two. I think thicker alginate seems to last longer.
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  #284  
Old 06-15-2008, 12:16 AM
Bentiron Bentiron is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

I too have been interested in silver clay and now bronze clay and after reading all the hype and reading the article in the latest copy of Art Jewelry Magazine I decided to stick with the traditional methods of casting bronze. It seems to me that I can achieve the same results or better by making a wax , burning it out and casting it and I am assured of excellent results every time. No it doesn't take a great outlay of cash to do bronze casting in the traditional lost wax method. If you are already buying a kiln for the bronze clay you have the major outlay of cash right there. If you want to spend the money you can if you wish buy a centrifugal casting machine but it isn't necessary. One thing is necessary and that is good spruing skills and that comes with time. One advantage of traditiona casting is that once you have the equipment you can cast gold, silver, pewter and bronze. Casting shot is cheaper then PMC.
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  #285  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:25 PM
Peter H Peter H is offline
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Laponite RD as an alternative to bentonite?

Hi,

Some of you may be interested in a synthetic/altered mineral called Laponite RD
http://www.conservationresources.com...ction31_08.htm
http://www.scprod.com/pdfs/LaponiteBrochureE.pdf

It's a sort of super-bentonite that apparently forms a 'clear, colorless thixotropic
gel' with water. It may be another substance to experiment with besides bentonite
and CMC (carboxy methyl cellulose).

Regards, Peter
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  #286  
Old 06-18-2008, 03:20 PM
eklypz eklypz is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

I read a great article in Art Jewelry mag about the new bronze clay. I remember that it will be sold in 1 oz packages and they mentioned that it will be much cheaper than 1g of silver clay.

It was this issue: http://www.artjewelrymag.com/art/Def...ent=true&id=31

Was a big write-up, will try and remember to see if had a webpage when I get home tonight.
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  #287  
Old 07-01-2008, 06:17 PM
Arrow Arrow is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

http://www.yourriogrande.com/rionews...m=click%20here.

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  #288  
Old 07-04-2008, 03:36 AM
ara ara is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

oh if only it wasn't in such small packages!! can't we figure out what its constructed of? must be some sort of binder that fires out, someone mentioned bentonite a while back?
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  #289  
Old 07-04-2008, 06:37 PM
DanielUCM DanielUCM is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Bentonite doesn't burn out, it will however help the bronze powder to behave more like clay when mixed with water. If it would be possible to get it to act as a gel, as the substance suggested by Peter, and still sinter properly that could be interesting.

Well, I'll continue my own Bronze Ice experiments during my upcoming vacation!

/Daniel S.
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  #290  
Old 07-07-2008, 01:44 PM
GaryR52 GaryR52 is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Hi, everyone! Glad to see the additions - especially Mark Pilato's posts, to this thread I started three years ago. Unfortunately, in 2006, I was forced to sell my condo to avoid foreclosure, so I no longer have a garage to work in. But, the beauty of this process is that it can be done at the kitchen table (I'm living in an apartment now), as far as the modeling/carving process goes, so I will have to read through the additional posts and catch up with you guys. Thanks!

Update: Just did some searching and found out BronzClay is due to be available this month from Rio Grande

Gary

Last edited by GaryR52 : 07-07-2008 at 06:53 PM.
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  #291  
Old 09-09-2008, 11:11 PM
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skip77 skip77 is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

I'm curious to work with the bronze clay from riogrande. They sell everything you need to work with it and sinter it, activated charcoal, ss tub, everything. It's not that expensive to get started with exception of something to achieve the 1550° needed to perform the sinter process. Of course riogrande is all about jewelry making and so small quantities of bronze clay are sufficient for their purposes. Sculptors will find the 200g packages of bronze clay, expensive because that is less than half pound.

My question for the group is - can I reach the necessary sintering temperature without having any bronze casting equipment? I believe red-hot coals in an ordinary barbecure are around 2000° - is this correct? If so, I could get a bed of coals going and then place the ss tub with activated charcoal/sculpture in the middle of it and just give it the time necessary to sinter the bronze?
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  #292  
Old 10-05-2008, 06:42 PM
mark pilato mark pilato is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Hi all, has anyone figured it out, Ive completed over 30 sculptures and 8 chess sets the king being 6 inches, hundreds of medallions. Its not rocket science, its very,very easy. Its not good for large work yet, only pieces 12 inches and under or any size relief. Get a list of questions together and I will answer, I am no longer under contract to keep info to myself my five years non compete is up. So ask away, im not going to give you the recipe unless you ask the questions. I made my kiln and was up and running in two weeks, a chess set would take 5 days, check out my pictures in earlier posts, check out the detail, no shell, no cut off, patina's like a dream. You may ask why I would want to share this, it will change the world of art. Cast from your home, or school fora 1/4 the cost and better castings
-mark
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  #293  
Old 10-05-2008, 07:49 PM
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skip77 skip77 is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Mark - please pardon - I'm a new participantat Sculpture.net and do not know how to find your images. Can you point me in the right direction? I'm interested to see all your pieces from bronze clay. I'll have plenty of questions but think seeing your work is the starting point.
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  #294  
Old 10-05-2008, 09:35 PM
mark pilato mark pilato is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

first a story, about how this process was found
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  #295  
Old 10-05-2008, 11:04 PM
mark pilato mark pilato is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

this process was found by many people, and many months of hard work
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  #296  
Old 10-05-2008, 11:14 PM
mark pilato mark pilato is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

tomorrow night i will take you back to the past and share with you what a group of scientists and myself found, it could even change the way you see your art.
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  #297  
Old 10-07-2008, 04:08 AM
mark pilato mark pilato is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

im putting something together on word, may take a week
-mark
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  #298  
Old 10-08-2008, 09:33 AM
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jOe~ jOe~ is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Cool beans Mark. Looking forward to it. Still on the road?
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  #299  
Old 10-10-2008, 09:38 AM
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rderr.com rderr.com is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Somewhere in these pages I read that the material is fragile. Is it fragile like bronze or like ceramic? Also, does it ring like bronze or tingle like ceramic?

Robert
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  #300  
Old 01-05-2009, 03:02 PM
Arrow Arrow is offline
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Re: Bronze Clay?

Quote:
im putting something together on word, may take a week
ahem..cough..cough…
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