Be happy, birthday boy! On my way home from your birthday party I was wracking my brain,”Why did I not want to see you open your gift?” After we got home I sat down to write some thoughts (it’s a fairly reliable way for me to “work things out”). I wrote about fear that the things I make will break under a reasonable amount of pressure. I wrote about how I rushed your lighter case; I was pushing myself to see if I could do it, and do it I did! I also wrote that in the future I won’t rush one of theses lighter cases again because… That’s when my phone chimed that I had a text: Scott was very happy. He thought he might have broke it though. He asked me not to tell you, so don’t tell him that I told you that he told me not to tell you, ok?
Well thank God! With all my worrying that it was going to break, I was afraid I was just getting a complex! Clearly I had good reason to worry though. Ultimately, I was really pushing the envelope with the sculpting, mold-making, and trying to do it all in 4 days… too much to do, not enough time.
So if you want, I have no problem making another owl lighter case (in fact, I’ll probably try redoing it again anyway). That or I could make something else. Sebastian the Ibis is kind of a weird shape for a lighter case, but I could make a 6″ statue of him if you think you’d like that better.
Hope you had a happy birthday otherwise,
Well…so…yea. Technically the good news outweighs the bad if you look at it from the right angle, but it took me ALL weekend to find that angle. So, all that follows (except the “chipper” outlook) happened in less than 24 hours.
Last Friday, we had just poured the NEW rubber compound and had 5 hours to wait…
After 5 hours, I turned the molds over and removed the clay wall, to my shock and horror the mold had not completed curing. Even worse, it just remained wet and sticky. I scoured the technical information trying to figure out what had happened and more importantly, how could I fix it now?! The only thing I found that might possibly work was to bake it in the oven for 3 hours to “allow the material to reach it’s maximum physical and performance properties.”
[quote_left] “Great… three more hours.” [/quote_left]
Three more hours and nothing. It came out the same sticky it went in…I had to remove this failure-of-a-mold and try to save the original.
The following images are of what remained.
The mold was trash and it destroyed the owl. The only remedy I could think of at this point was to change the name of this website to Mistakecreator.com. I walked away from it frustrated. I even sat down and wrote a pretty angry post (this is a more optimistic version of it) and then sent another e-mail to the company where I bought the rubber mold supplies asking if there could be something wrong with the materials. I have yet to get a response . Besides contacting their main website, I’ve contacted their satellite store a few hundred miles from me, and their twitter feed. I’ll certainly keep you updated when/IF I get a response.
For the time being I did the only thing I could think to do now: I fixed it. I got all the pieces of the owl that I could put back together and filled in the spaces with new Sculpey, carefully fixed it and baked it again.
I don’t have a lot of images of the process the second time around because I was really trying to hurry so I could get the mold poured a second time (5 freakin’ hours). Another last minute decision I made was due to the fact that I didn’t have 10 hours left to make even a 2-part-mold.I sealed the whole thing in one solid block of rubber and decided I’d just cut it out after.
As I had said in the beginning, “I was really pushing the envelope for the sculpting and the mold making”. I’ve always tried to sculpt the lighter cases thin to not make it much bulkier that the Zippo. I don’t know if you can tell by the above pieces: this lighter case is the thinnest I have ever sculpted… which is great… but sucks.
I have subsequently tried to pour another cast, only to find that the mold seems to have shrunk slightly – which isn’t entirely uncommon. Below you can see the result of the second cast.
As I said in the beginning, I do feel NOW that the good outweighs the bad.
- pulling an all-nighter to finish the piece
- Scott felt bad he broke it on his birthday
- I proved to myself I could sculpt a lighter case on short notice.
- Although I haven’t found the ideal process or materials for the molds, I’m now closer.
- I got good practice sculpting a butt-ton of feathers.
- I already have found some new techniques that I’m looking forward to trying out on future projects.
- The food at Scotts birthday was amazing
- Scott felt bad he broke it, while I felt bad that I made something so breakable. Which means that we can both stop feeling bad, it’s a wash!