This was the final workshop on the four week workshop rotations. We spent the morning in the metal shop and then the afternoon in the wood shop. Wood and metal are my two of my most familiar materials to work with, so I was looking forward to getting back to working with them. To begin in the metal shop we did various different exercises to introduce us to the basic metal working machines. Using the large guillotine we began by cutting simple square shapes. Then we cut the net of a cube out of the smaller one using the smaller guillotine and cut a perfect circle out of the larger square with the rotary guillotine. With the smaller square we used the bender to bend right angles in the metal to create a box, bending up all four sides. Following this we used the spot welder to attach the box to the circle. Finally, we used the plasma cutter to cut a pattern out of the circle. The idea was that you could put a tea light into the box and the light would shine through the cut out pattern. I found everything bar the plasma cutter pretty straight forward. The plasma cutter was quite difficult to control, to get a nice even and smooth cut, but i’m sure with practice it will become easier.
For the wood shop we were making a box. Its amazing how a simple task like making a box can be done in many different ways. We began by making a simple closed box, cutting the wood to size on the bandsaw and then cutting the rebates for the rebate joints of the box. Once the rebate joints had glued we proceeded to trim the edges and sand the square closed box, working down the grades of sandpaper on the hand sander. After this we decided on a edging for the top of the box, cut with the industrial router which we couldn’t use unfortunately. I went for a simple rebate cut on the top of my box as I wanted my box to have a clean and neat look to it, like the rest of my design work. Once this was completed we cut the lid off the box so it would fit perfectly to the box. Finally, after cleaning the glue up inside and a bit more sanding, we applied the finish. I decided I wanted to leave the natural wood colour so didn’t apply a stain but when straight to waxing. Finally, we needed to apply the fittings such as the hinges, the lock and the knob to pull up the lid with. To add an extra air of luxury I decide to add a felt interior. I was please with how the green felt contrasted nicely with the white, polished natural wood. I did take me along time to cut the felt to the right size and shape, but it was worth it!
We also did a induction in the foundry where you can do things such as bronze casting and wax casting, and making moulds out of vinamould, which is a rubbery material and is very good at holding details alongside being flexible so it is easier than plaster to get you object out of the mould after casting. We lean how to cast something in wax which is the first stage to casting it in bronze which we will be introduced to at a later date. The process of mould making using vinamould is similar to using plaster however you don’t have to worry so much about making a two or three part moulds as you can cut the vinamould once it has cast to get the object out and then close it back up again. Whether you can do this does depend on the size of the object you are casting and sometimes its is better to make a two part. I cast a wrench and decided, so I would get as much detail as possible and wouldn’t have to cut the mould I was going to make a two part mould. I did this by making a bed of clay and then impressing the wrench into the clay until it was roughly halfway embedded in the clay, the heated the small chunks of vinamould up in a microwave and poured it on top of the wrench. The I turned the Wrench over and repeated the process making little Natches using a round object. Next we need to pour the wax into the mould. This turned out to be a bit tricky because the actual body of the wrench was quite thin the wax tended to dry before properly going all the way to the bottom of the mould, a similar problem to my plaster mould. To counter this I heated the wax up more to make it more runny however, due to the fact that I had a two part mould, the wax sometimes escaped out of a small gap because of the decrease in viscosity. I rigged up two pieces of wood either side of the mould and compressed them together to create a even surface pressure over the mould to help hold it together and close all gaps, and then poured the wax in. After a couple of further attempts this worked well! You can see the best result in the bottom picture.
I enjoyed both the metal and the wood workshops, they are defiantly areas I will be using further in my projects and hopefully will be inducted soon on some of the more complex machines! I defiantly want to be able to use the woodturning lath as I have done a lot of woodturning previously and I also want to be able to use the milling machine and metal laths as well and I cant wait to try my hand at some bronze casting