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Polymer clay inset [message #54101] Sat, 15 September 2012 22:44 UTC Go to previous message
avatar DarrenAbbey  is currently offline DarrenAbbey
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Registered: August 2010
Go to my shop
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A client commissioned me to make her a piece, and now that she has taken possession of it, I can show you fine folks.

The design works from the logo of the local brewery (Dangerous Man Brewing) where she's soon to be working. (The brewery owners had no concerns about the project, indeed they were amused.) The design we came up with involved using a polymer clay inset to give the piece the same strong contrast as the brewery logo.

The first picture shows the piece in raw form. The inset area is full of holes where the polymer clay can grip the stainless steel, to avoid the potential issue of the inset popping loose late. The holes are narrower at the front than at the back and the raised areas are also slightly undercut, again to help ensure the inset would never come loose. These design considerations also had the benefit of reducing the total printed volume and price.

I pushed the polymer clay in from the front until it was extruding nicely through the holes. I trimmed off the extruded bits, then made sure the clay filled the entire volume of the holes.

I was worried about the clay shrinking during baking and cracking against the unyielding metal, but it worked fine.

After letting it cool I polished the front surface smooth. I wet-sanded the front starting with some 400 grit sandpaper and progressed through to 12000 grit sandpaper.

This resulted in a very shiny front to the SS piece, but also revealed small irregularities hidden within the mass of the polymer clay. I was annoyed at the clay issue, but the client was tickled pink at the overall effect. For future pieces I will have to do further tests on how to avoid the irregularities within the polymer clay.


  • Attachment: photo_1_2.jpg
    (Size: 102.27KB, Downloaded 342 time(s))

  • Attachment: photo_3.jpg
    (Size: 77.64KB, Downloaded 340 time(s))

[Updated on: Sat, 15 September 2012 22:51 UTC]

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