Let's play with LAVA

I was trying to find an open computer lab. Instead I found my friends pouring bronze on the loading dock. 
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Bronze sculptures are created by building molds around your form; there's two ways to do this, ceramic shell (right) or sand (left). Ceramic shell is quite a process- First, make your sculpture out of clay, then mold that in plaster. Cast the mold in wax, add sprues for air ventilation, and cover the wax in shell. Then put the whole deal in a kiln that melts all the wax out, leaving a hollow structure suitable for casting. More info about the lost wax process can be found here.

Sand is a bit simpler- mix the sand up (I don't have the formula with me... I'll find it for you guys later), carve it out, pour bronze in. In this case, someone carved some pink insulation foam and packed that into the mold. When the bronze is poured in, the foam burns out.

This is the furnace. It is very very hot (about 1700*F...not as hot as glass). That is fire coming out of the top. We drop metal in there to melt it down for pouring.

This is a crucible. It's made of graphite and it is filled with molten bronze. LAVA.

The molds post-pour


Removing the shell from the cast pieces once they've returned to a solid state.

Just an average day in the life of Sculp.


MJ Wojewodzki said...

Nice headgear. Thanks for the photos.

De Campo said...

That all seems like a lot of work. So much for my "bronze everything in my bosses office" prank.