It’s been a tough week with many challenges. In the forefront, preparation and synchronization played a big part in streamlining the many operations needed to cast our first pieces. Counting backwards from the casting process alone yields two full days of preparation, which has to be scheduled to the precise hour. Going backwards from the end process, it takes 1/2 hour to prepare and cast the model in metal. Prior to that, add 13 1/2 hours of wax burnout of the model from the casting mold, 4 to 6 hours of curing the wax investment mold, 1/2 hour of preparing the ingredients for the investment mixture, 4 to 6 hours of curing the 3D printed model resin, and 2 to 4 hours of printing the piece in 3D resin. This does not include the hours of modeling the original 3D design that will be converted to a format used by the 3D printer. The model must then be invested at 6 p.m. to be ready for casting in metal by following midday. This is followed by pickling the cast in a warm acid bath to remove casting tarnish, followed by tumbling in a burnishing medium of steel shot to remove burrs and sharp edges and add luster, followed by any soldering of additional metals and the final burnishing and polishing phase to bring a high shine to the final product.
Needless to say, my first two attempts were not up to my high standards. I hope, as they say, the third time is the charm, since I now have the timing and scheduling down to a finely meshed process. I hope to have two, and possibly three, finished pieces ready to be photographed and uploaded to the website in the next week.
Other preparations included 6 hours spent with the fine young minds at the Redd School. The robotics class is preparing for their first regional competition, and final tweaks were stumping the modeling designer. I was given three problems that couldn’t be solved in the time frame allotted at the school. I brought the problems home with me and spent another four hours developing solutions, training videos, and with accompanying detailed notes for the designer. Let’s hope they do well and wish them good luck in their first competition.
Quote of the week:
“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”