A Question About Bronze-infused Stainless Steel

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by galapalos_green, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. galapalos_green
    galapalos_green New Member
    I am a beginning lampworker and would like to find ways to make molds or presses for my glass beads. Would your stainless steel stand up to glass that hot pressed into it for about ten seconds, so it could be a mold?
    I have carved (with a Dremel tool) a few molds, which resulted in a nice mold, but also a room covered in black powder!
    Brass molds are expensive and are not, of course, the shapes I want.
    If this material would work, that would be a tremendous advantage.

    Thank you.

  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    Not sure what temperature thresh hold you need but stainless is listed as being able to take 831C 1528F
  3. galapalos_green
    galapalos_green New Member
    That should do it! The glass gets melted to approximately 1100F. That's so cool! It's worth a shot, at least.

    Thank you for such a quick reply. I did not understand what all the numbers meant under the materials description.

    -Sherry :D
  4. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    This should work but the molds might need some tweaking before they suit your needs. The surface of the SS prints are rather rough so the inside surfaces of the mold might need some handwork to smooth the mold face. The finishing (polishing) process that SW uses does not work very well on inside (concave) surfaces. Also, and it's probably already obvious to you, but you will want to avoid any undercuts in your design that might hang up the molten glass. The only other possible issue is that the SS material is a poor heat conductor. This just means you might need to cool the mold (water quench) occasionally during use to avoid the chance of the glass bonding to the surface. This might not be an issue at all.
  5. galapalos_green
    galapalos_green New Member
    Thank you for your input. I am not to the point of having anything but pop-ups with bases as molds, so in terms of overhangs there should be no problem.

    I am not a high-production glass person, so it would be at least a half hour between uses of each mold, so I think I'm okay on temperature. Can't wait to try! I just haven't decided which design to start with.

    I've been asking everyone this question: Which 3D sculpting software do you use? I am having trouble wrapping my head around any I've tried. I'm a Photoshop person! :)

    I want to make realistic statues/figurines, primarily dogs, cats, horses; something you'd see at Royal Doulton. I have a storefront at www.cafepress.com/gangwaygraphics, which is fun, but I have wanted to do 3D for a while.

    I thought this way might be easier than actual clay, wood, etc., but not so far! I'm not much of a geek.

    Thanks again for your time.

  6. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    Hi Sherry,
    Visit the SW "3d applications" for tips and suggestions on software. If you want to produce organic, life like computer models then you are embarking on a challenging path. This class/type of software is generally referred to as a polygon modeler. These differ significantly from CAD and engineering programs and are better suited to free form organic expression. There are dozens to choose from. Ranging from free to very expensive. Even for the computer savvy, none of them are particularly easy to learn, and proficiency is likely to take hundreds if not thousands of hours of screen time.
    I'm of an older generation and will always prefer a more direct (hand tools) means of creating my own artwork. But I am also privileged to work for a company engaged in 3dp. This dual experience allows me to dare say that, almost without exception, producing a truly hi level sculpted model will require an almost fixed amount of time, no matter how it is produced! There advantages and disadvantages to either approach.
    A popular aphorism these days sez; "it takes 10,000 hrs to master any skill". So, the question you need to ask yourself is how do you want to spend your time?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  7. galapalos_green
    galapalos_green New Member
    Thank you so much for the information. I especially like your quotation.

    I have been working in a profession I do not like for nearly 38 years because I am very good at it (certified real-time court reporter) and cannot make as much money or get health insurance doing anything else I know how to do, so I can be persistent! (Okay, some people would call it stubborn.)

    I know I am a visual learner, so I am planning to check with the local New Horizons center and see if they teach any 3D software. That's where I learned Word (I prefer Word Perfect!) and a few other programs for the job.

    Thanks again!
  8. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    You might take a look at ZBrush. I don't know the field well, but it seems like it would be a good organic modeler if you're a visual thinker.
  9. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    Z-brush seems a very popular modeling package but it is pricey, about $900 i believe. I'm not sure if it's still available but on the Z brush website they used to have a free download of a small program called "Sculptris". This has very simple tools and interface that will give you a basic sense of what modeling software can do. Fun to play with, instant gratification.
    Another free option is to go to <www.blender.org>. Blender is a very capable 3d modeling/animation software. There is a large international support community with lots of tutorials and discussion groups. This is not an easy intuitive program to learn. A lot will depend on your aptitude and motivation. But then, I think this will be true with any of these hi level computer tools.