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Tamara



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She looks great! I especially like the shape of her lips. Very nicely formed. Her eyes are so pretty too. I like the way she is looking to the side. The nose shape/slope is very pleasing too. She's a beautiful girl.

Thanks so much Heidi for sharing all of the process for molding. Without the pictures, I'd just be guessing at where the seam lines should be, etc. Thanks for taking the time to show it.
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 1223
Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, bad news. This is the rubber I bought to mold the bela last year that never got used (I expected to mold him last December).
The stuff only has a 6 month shelf life, so I didn't want to use it on a customer's piece just in case it went bad. I've used expired rubber before without a problem, but this time was not so lucky using it on this just-for-fun piece. The stuff didn't cure and has no tensil strength at all- instead it rips and crumbles, so I had to pull (and scrape) it all off and will start over with fresh rubber. Now I need to resculpt some areas first that either pulled apart, or were too clogged with goo.
Hate it when that happens - when will I learn? That rubber was super expensive and I hated to just throw out a whole gallon of it. Today's lesson - when in doubt, throw it out - or at least make a test batch to make sure it is going to cure before you put it on your piece!!!
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Will Pettee



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 130
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heidi,

Sorry to hear about the rubber curing problem on such a gorgeous piece. Well, if it makes you feel any better, I just had to throw away a batch of silicone I bought last year as well...5 Gallons worth! I bought it for a Tabernacle reconstruction that I was doing but the project ended up getting scrapped (for now). So, I was stuck with a hard lesson learned.

Well, good luck getting her all fixed up. I know you'll do a great job and I can't wait to see her all finished up. Your work is truly inspirational.

Take care,

Will
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Tamara



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that Heidi! Bummer city. I'm glad to hear the whole piece isn't completely ruined though. That's the good part. Know that your error will save someone else the hassle of having it happen to them. I have over a year old RTV rubber and silicone that I haven't used and I'll try a test first before I try a mold on something that I care about. Thanks for the hindsight. Confused

~Tamara
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 1223
Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yikes Will - 5 gallons? That's gotta hurt. This was the gallon kit, which is actually two gallons and it looked real fresh, so I didn't hesitate to use it. I think it was a bad batch though because when I stopped by my supplier yesterday to pick up some new rubber, they said they had had some complaints about that batch. It was the Polygel 35 which is a fairly new product, so I don't think they have the formula down for that one yet. I'm sticking with the tried and true Polygel 40 from now on. I've never had any of that not set up.
Tamara, yes test your silicone. That stuff tends to break down if it sits on a shelf for years - or the molds you make with it don't last long and tear easily.
I will start remolding this weekend and should have much better luck this time around.
May not get around to casting it for a while though as I am excited to start on a new commission next week - a posthemous portrait (in bronze), which are always a challenge. I won't be able to post any photos of that one until next May though, after delivery.
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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the second attempt at this mold is going swell. Some tips that might help people using this material (Polygel 40 by Polytek). Since the first coat is so important to get detail, it has to be very thin. The rubber only stays thin enough to paint on for about 5 minutes, therefore, only mix up as much rubber as you can carefully paint on in 5 minutes about a half cup of mixture ( cup part A and cup part B). I mixed up about 6 batches to cover the whole thing. Subsequent layers can be mixed much larger (about 2 cups rubber) and applied much faster.

After putting on a couple of coats, I added the dividers for the mother-mold. You dont need a separation in the rubber here, just a rubber separator for the hard shell mold. Since plasteline will not stick to the rubber, I used a long sheet of saran wrap and scrunched it into a long strip. This strip stuck well to the tacky rubber and I ran it along the perimeter where the 3 sections will be divided. Once you paint the saran wrap with a thin layer of rubber and let it set up, it is sturdy enough to apply subsequent layers on both sides and build up a ridge.

For the deep undercuts, I filled the areas with cut up pieces of sponges and added a layer of rubber on top of that. The sponge keeps the areas flexible enough to unmold and sturdy enough to support the inside wall of the mold when casting.



Once the forton is on, Ill drill holes through the forton and rubber strips and run a wing nut through the holes to secure the pieces of the mold together. This also keeps the rubber mold inside from possibly flopping around and distorting while doing the casting.



The dark rubber is the same as the lighter but is an older batch that I wanted to use up (yes, I tested it first to make sure it still cures properly). For some reason, that stuff darkens with age.
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Greg Jones



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Durham, NC

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice idea for using sponges for the flexibility in supporting the undercuts. I used cheesecloth pad for trying to achieve a similar purpose, but this seems much more flexible.
I assume the sponge had to have some moisture in it, since a bone dry sponge wouldn't be flexible. Any problem with the sponge in the mold over time? I would like to keep the mold for a little while. Would it (the sponge) dry up or would the residual moisture cause problems with the rubber over time?
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Greg,
The sponge I use is a big artificial foam type of sponge that you can pick up for cheap at any grocery store and cut into whatever shape you want. Not the cellulose type. It retains the same shape, whether dry or wet, and is always flexible. I can see where a real sponge would be a problem to use. You could probably cut up foam batting for the same purpose. I just laid it in there dry and painted rubber over the top of it. You don't want to put a wet sponge in there, but you can dip it in the rubber first and then put it on. That works well if you need to place it upside-down in a cavity of the mold, to keep it from falling out until the rubber starts to set up.
As for life of the mold, I can't see how the sponges would have any effect one way or another - but I don't have any molds that contain sponges that are over a year old.
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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the next phase in the moldmaking - making the forton shell. Much stronger and lighter than plaster, this is an ideal material.

When working with forton, it's best to do it in the garage as this stuff is extremely messy and imposible to remove if it gets on anything other than your mold.

To use the forton as a mother-mold, mix up a batch of dry ingredients as directed by the instructions that come with the kit and keep it in a 5 gallon container, ready to use. For each batch, I mixed up 1 quart of the dry mix with 16 liquid ounces of the forton wet mix, then added two handfulls of the fiberglass fibers that come with the kit (approx 3 cups).

Forton is really weird stuff to work with and takes a little getting used to to figure out how to apply it. I find it works best if I take my time and pull it out into sheets (this will make sense once you feel it) and lay it on the mold section. For the edges, I fold the sheet so the edge is smooth and lay the smooth edge against the seam and pat it down. Be very careful to keep the forton on it's section of rubber without toughing any forton on another section. You will not be able to separate the sections if any sides fuse.

It's best to apply a thin layer over each section of the mold, let it set up (about 2 hours) and apply a second layer. If you put too much on too fast, it tends to want to slide off.

Once you get a layer pressed on to the mold. You can smooth out the rough surface by dipping your gloved hands in water and patting, smoothing the forton. If you don't smooth it, it will have very sharp prickly parts all over it that I guarantee will cut you. When the forton is set up and dry, I recommend sanding the mold thoroughly to prevent getting cut when you pour your castings.

For this mold, I mixed up 4 batches of forton. This photo is after the 3rd batch was applied.


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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Final mold. I know I don't make pretty molds, but at least they are functional.
The geisha is a little worse for ware as the fagile clay takes quite a beating getting the assembly unmolded for the first time. That wed clay has already been used twice, so I will probably toss it this time around and get a fresh batch next time I use that type of clay.

Here is the mold cleaned, assembled, and ready for casting.

2008 Update - Here's another moldmaking tips thread showing a silicone with forton shell mold. I did things a bit differently here and it worked out a little better. http://portrait-sculpture.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=400



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Last edited by Heidi Maiers on Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First copy in FortonMG unpainted and unadorned

Well, here is the first casting. The mold worked ok, but I see I should have extended the seam horizontally across the top of her hair fan (to make a T opening at the top). That would have made unmolding a little easier.

To do the forton, I mixed up a batch without any fiberglass and poured it in the mold. It is the consistency of pancake batter and rolled around to coat the interior of the head about 1/8 inch. I used a brush to paint on the batter to the lower portion of the bust.

I let that set up for about an hour and then mixed another batch with fiberglass and patted a thin layer on the entire interior of the bust and smoothed it down with a wetted glove. Then I attached two bolts with forton in the front and back edge of the bust that will be used for mounting the bust to the base. I let that set up completely for about 3 hours and then unmolded the bust.
I fixed the minor mold imperfections with plain ol plaster or paris and sanded down my repairs.

I am going to make another cast as an experiment but only cast the front half of the mold with forton instead of making a 3D bust. Because Forton is so light, it makes great material for a wall hanging, so these half-casts will be made to hang flat against a wall and will also include the front hair accessories in whatever color theme I choose.

I happen to have a Japanese fabric couch that made a great backdrop for this photo. Next comes the fun part patination!


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Tamara



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for sharing all your details. For someone like me with very limited hands on experience with molding, this is so helpful.

She sure turned out wonderfully. Look forward to patination pictures. Smile

~Tamara
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, took me all day to paint this thing, but here she is. Just need to make the base and it's done.
I didn't take any process photos of the paint job and am ok with but not thrilled how it turned out. I masked off portions and sprayed with the enamel engine block paint, then went back and did my hot patina. Worked fine on the forton as it didn't get hot enough to melt or burn it.
Used 3 or 4 colors for each section alternating layers of dark, light, and medium of a color (for example, hair is black, cream, and brown - kimono is red, cream (mixed with gold powder), and brown.
I decided to forgo the dangling ornament thing - it was a bit much.
Anyway, it was a fun experiment, but I still think I prefer monocolor sculpture.





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Tamara



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Heidi,

So you tried the hot patina on forton (with engine paint in between) and it worked out. Juries still out whether it would work for Super sculpy or resin. Your charting the territory for everyone else. Cool

You've captured the pretty china girl with all of her light face paint and colorful clothing. At first I thought her face looked a little blochy but I think it's the pattern coming from the patina torch. I'm sure in person it has an interesting look. I really like the red kimono. The multi tones look great. Can't really tell, (on my monitor), the tones in the hair, all I see is black. I'm sure all your careful painting shows up nicely in person.

One thing that might look good is to soften the hairline surrounding her face, just looks a little bit blunt on a few of the strokes. Other than that, to me the paint up is so very wonderful.

Thanks for showing the whole process. Was very enjoyable to watch.

Are you going to paint your wall hanging versions monocolor?

~Tamara
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Tamara. Yes, you are right about the photos - there is too much contrast. The light areas in the face show too much patterning and the dark areas of the hair and kimono show too little. I'll try to get more even contrast in the photos I take when I get a base attached but not sure I can with a piece that is both black and white.
I agree about softening the hairline, but haven't figured out a way to do that effectively with real paint without making a mess (in photoshop it is easy!)
I'll probably make just monocolor wall hangings, unless someone orders a multi-color one. I can tell you right now though that the painted versions will cost more - that was a lot of work.
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