Friday, March 5, 2010

Roto-Caster (Part 1)

I have been working on making a set of salt and pepper shakers using a mold. Originally I turned and carved some wood forms, made a mold with an inner part and tried to cast them out of resin. Although the second casting turned out much better than the first, I still found myself to be unhappy with the visible seam on the interior of the shakers. After discussing this with a friend, he suggest that I try slip casting (a very common way of working in ceramics.)

Now, if you do not know much about resin, it is a lot more fluid then slip and dries at a much slower rate (on average 24 hours). I did a test to see if this would work and realized very quickly that not only did it waste a ton of resin, it would take forever to build up enough layers to make the shakers. So, back to the drawing boards.

After another discussion with the same friend, he suggested that I look into roto-casting, which is a industrial process to make hollow forms where a machine continues to rotate on two axises as the liquid dries, leaving a smooth even application of the material throughout the mold. After doing some research online, I found out that not only could you make your own roto-casting machine, there were several detailed instructions available online to make them.

A few links below include a video of a home made roto-caster and a link to the site I am using to build mine:



Thus far, I have ordered all the parts and am waiting for them to come in. Please note that if you try to build one, the sdp-si.com company no longer carries the A 6G 3-110037 Urethane Belt, but does have a similar product that is A 6B 3-110037 that is the same thing, just made out of a slightly different material.

With the use of the internet, access to a woodshop and the helpful people at ACE Hardware, I have found all of the materials I need to make this happen. Below are the pictures of all of the wooden parts that I have built while waiting for my internet orders to come in.



This first image are the built wooden parts (unassembled).


Assembled with bolts.



Rotated to show the two moments that take place.


And finally with the braces that will hold the mold once finished.

So, that is what I have to update so far. Stay turned for Part 2 and hopefully many future castings. Although I am taking a brief vacation to attend the 2010 SNAG Conference in Houston, I hope to have this up and running in the next 2 weeks.

1 comment:

  1. That is really cool! Did you just come up with that yourself, or did you follow instructions? Did you have vibration problems with your roto-caster? It's been driving me nuts lately! I was thinking about getting vibration isolators. What do you think?

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