Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Face shield

It had been an interest of mine to make a suit of armor many years ago, and while my whimsical idea was never completed I did begin an attempt at making the helmet from cast metals. The faceplate of the helmet was to be a detailed mold of my face, however certain complications arose and the idea became unrealistic. Above you see one of the wax patterns for the faceplate- I ended up with two separate cast bronze faces which I feel are more successful than any helmet I could have created.

Here you get a glimpse on the full process that goes into creating a cast metal piece. Once you have a pattern in wax or any other flammable material (like mine seen above) you attach sprews and a cup to a carefully selected section of your mold (sprewing varies piece by piece). These sprews are more wax tubes that will eventually act as the arteries that feed your casting the metal it needs, the cup, not only acts as a funnel directing the metal to the arteries and the casting but it provides a weight that forces metal into the deeper sections of your mold. While there is much more on the reasons/benefits and so forth of sprews and cups there isn't enough room on this blog so I will leave it with that simple explanation.
Once you have your piece "sprewed up" you dip it several times over the course of hours/days in a ceramic slurry mix and sand. Once it has reached an appropriate thickness and is dry you place it in a kiln to burn the wax out and bake the shell much like you would a clay pot. This leaves you with a hollow shell in which to pour your metal. The picture above is just after one of the faces has been cast and a section of the shell has been removed. It is a long challenging process but once it is all done your piece will look great... if you did it right.

I only have detailed photos of one of the two faces however you can see the wonderful detail and beauty you can achieve. You also get to see one of my favorite pieces yet created.

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