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Author: Subject: Mad Scientist of the Year 2016 Nominations
aga
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[*] posted on 10-11-2016 at 14:00


Well, this trophy thing isn't going well.

So far i've melted copper in a mini arc furnace a-la King of Random design :-

microfurnace.JPG - 67kB

Note the melted circle in the lid - that stuff is rated to 1560 C !

Then i tried making a template for the inner and outer flames from 1/4 inch steel plate.
Lots of angle-grindind and hack-sawing :-

template.JPG - 66kB

The idea is to make the smaller inner part of the 'flames' from copper, then set them in the 'flames proper' made from brass, then stick that onto an aluminium base with the rest of the logo and stamped-in writing.

Each time i try to use the steel template, the molten copper explodes on contact, spattering all over the place, no matter how much i heat the steel template.

This approach gave a slightly sub-optimal product :-

copper.JPG - 60kB

Not quite the shape i wanted.

Abandoned that idea as it didn't work, and is very scary when it explodes.

The Hidden fire caused by an exploding bit took about 5 minutes to get discovered and extinguished (i eventually noticed a phenolic kind of smell so went looking, and found flames ...)

So, what next ? Investment casting with polystyrene as the 'form' to cast in sand.

Need a polystyrene cutter seeing as the last one i built and lent to someone never returned. Guess they liked it :-

hotwire.JPG - 63kB

When i pluck up the courage to put the polystyrene into some dry sand, then zap the hell out of a bunch of copper, then pour it, hopefully some progress will happen.

At this rate, they might be ready for the 2017 awards !

[Edited on 10-11-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 13-11-2016 at 09:31


Tried it again today and got somewhere ... nowhere good, but somewhere !

blobs.JPG - 58kB

The bit on the right kinda shows the effect that was hoped for - the pinky copper as the centre of the flames and then brass as the main flame part.

Needs a LOT more brass melting, so will abandon the mini-arc furnace in favour of a big-ass fire.

Strange when melting the brass with an arc : wisps of white smoke appear, which then solidify.

One second smoke, next second solid, in exactly the same shape.

[Edited on 13-11-2016 by aga]




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m1tanker78
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[*] posted on 13-11-2016 at 13:50


Aga, thanks for the mention!

Quote: Originally posted by aga  


Strange when melting the brass with an arc : wisps of white smoke appear, which then solidify.

One second smoke, next second solid, in exactly the same shape.

[Edited on 13-11-2016 by aga]


This is most likely zinc burning off, the solidified smoke being zinc oxide. Same thing happens when you try to tig with filler rod that's meant for oxy-fuel brazing.

Have you considered buying some thin brass/copper sheet and cutting out patterns. Hammer some solder flat and cut into small pieces. Distribute the solder pieces (along with a tiny bit of flux) between the metal sheets and bake in a furnace, oven or BBQ pit.

The inner flame: White opaque cover with a yellow and red LED. Flea power microcontroller with a pseudo-random number generator to chaotically alter the intensity and interval of each LED. Or hack one of those fake decorative candles? :D




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[*] posted on 14-11-2016 at 09:41


Quote: Originally posted by m1tanker78  
Aga, thanks for the mention!

You're welcome !

You're in the firing line to receive a trophy (if you win the vote) as are all mentioned in the thread, so prepare yourself, mentally and physically, as today i had some success !

brass.JPG - 98kB

382g of scabby cast Brass in some kind of desired shape !

Bollocks to tiny arc furnaces : a big-ass charcoal fire and a hairdryer won the day.

Cleanup, pour molten copper into the middle bit, chop into slices, set in a cast aluminium stand, polish, stamp in the name, then they'll be ready to terrify the vote winners with !

Haaaaaaaaaaa Haa Ha Haa Ha Ha ha ha ha.




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[*] posted on 14-11-2016 at 11:19


Wow :o that's quite an improvement aga!
This one is really pretty :).

[Edited on 14-11-2016 by crystal grower]




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[*] posted on 14-11-2016 at 11:46


It should look a lot prettier when it's cleaned up and polished : Brass is Shiny !

Progress ! The Joy !

Sorry for not starting the Votes thing yet, despite it being week 2 of November.

Can't start until the Trophies physically exist, as i could screw it up at any point in the process, which is an unknown process, to me at least.

A bit like any (most !) experiments really.

[Edited on 14-11-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 14-11-2016 at 12:36


Wow, nice job on the trophies, aga, I like how you're doing it. I think they'll turn out to be very nice looking!

Will it just be a poll where people vote on who they think deserves it the most, and the trophies are sent out to the top however-many-trophies-were-made? Or will the selection process be more complicated than that?




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[*] posted on 14-11-2016 at 13:02


Nobody has said how it should all work, so i guess i'll just make some trophies of highly dubious quality and start some vote threads for random categories using the names of the people suggested.

So, the non-plan is just random crazy nuts stuff as per usual, but with the Intention of Honoring the Good and the Great.

Always open to suggestions though.

Edit:

Begging for suggestions really, or for someone sane to take over the organising.

I just want to make metal melt into trophies and see people Acknowledged for their awesome contributions to this site.

[Edited on 14-11-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 15-11-2016 at 11:15


Just a humble suggestion, I think that we should keep things as simple as possibel and make only as much categories as is really needed. For example Best synthesis of the year, Most helpful madscientist of the year, Best newcomer of the year, and maybe a prize for someone who had survived the biggest armagedon in his garage.




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[*] posted on 15-11-2016 at 11:54


Today's Copper melt failed using the B.A.F.

Got the copper hot (950 C ?) but simply not hot enough to melt or pour.

Have to try the tiny arc thing again in the morning, but with quite a full tiny cruicible, which is far from ideal - the whole chunk must be poured in one go.

Got some ideas of the possible categories, although having anything to award is dubious.

Thinking now that a cash reward is demeaning, so withdraw that offer.

Winning the vote and accolade of the members should be reward enough.

Winning a trophy will be a Miracle given today's progress !




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[*] posted on 15-11-2016 at 13:28


Well I didn't mean the prizes should be necessarily something materially.
If you manage to create one or two of those cool trophies it would be really cool (it could be reward for some kind of "main" category). Winners of other categories and maybe also runner-ups could recieve a reward in form special forum status (for example "Best SM Youtube channel of 2016").




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[*] posted on 16-11-2016 at 18:29


Quote: Originally posted by aga  

382g of scabby cast Brass in some kind of desired shape !


Looks much better. Are you using any sort of flux and/or charcoal cover? I vaguely remember watching my friend's dad spin-casting some bronze or brass figures back in the day at his machine/plating shop. It was a nail-biter at times especially with the way that damned drum wobbled like a crazed washing machine.

Does anyone have a copy of the complete SM logo in decent resolution? Is it OK to use and modify it?

As for categories... I guess it's not so straight forward after all.

"Whomsoever winneth this trophy shall be endowed with aga's craftsmanship, blood, sweat and tears!?" ;)




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[*] posted on 17-11-2016 at 01:20


Phew ! Glad that part is finished.

Melting and casting a pile of copper is scarier than using chlorine gas.

IMG_3216.JPG - 39kB IMG_3217.JPG - 43kB

Onwards to the chopping & cleaning ...




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[*] posted on 17-11-2016 at 02:07


Quote: Originally posted by m1tanker78  

Does anyone have a copy of the complete SM logo in decent resolution?


Like this one

dotorgnew.png - 15kB
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[*] posted on 17-11-2016 at 02:30


Perfect ? Nah !

free.JPG - 64kB

You weren't kidding about the blood part.

cuthand.JPG - 106kB




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[*] posted on 17-11-2016 at 08:32


Very cool! I think it looks awesome, and extra meaningful that it was created by one of our own.

The one time I melted copper perfectly, with the right excess of heat, it flowed just like water. Really crazy to see.
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[*] posted on 17-11-2016 at 08:46


For the individual trophies that block 'just' needs chopping into slices, each slice carved around a bit and then polished.

Each finished bit will then be set on top of the main aluminium part.

The word 'just' really should not be used in an amateur context, as i discovered the hard way !

bits.JPG - 40kB

The redder copper simply got hotter, which was a chance discovery when swapping to an angle grinder (the power hacksaw went off at an angle, hence the half-flame part).

Nicer effect IHMO.

[Edited on 17-11-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 17-11-2016 at 14:45


Brass to aluminium. That's going to be a fun weld to do.



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[*] posted on 19-11-2016 at 12:02


Not likely i'd get anywhere with that - better/easier to drill & fix with a bit of steel.

Tried the 'lost wax' casting method today and got a thick-walled Al cylinder to form the 'ring' part, once chopped into slices.

lostwax.JPG - 61kB

Not sure of the dimensions as a Pringle tube was used as the outer part and a tube of silicone sealant as the inner, wrapped in tinfoil.

ring.JPG - 72kB

Think it might work after cleanup/polishing despite the wonky lettering.

mockup.JPG - 88kB


Just the .RG baseplate and the crucible to go.

Think i might do the crucible in 3-D seeing as the rest is basically 2-D.

Edit:

That's just a mock-up. The finished product will be shinier.

[Edited on 19-11-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 19-11-2016 at 13:08


Looking amazing aga.



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[*] posted on 19-11-2016 at 13:24


It'd be nice to anodise the mortar Black, with a stainless steel pestle sticking out.

So far i found out that the Al gets electrolysed in dilute sulphuric acid, then dunked in water, then dunked in a Commercial dye to achieve this.

Not found the recipe for Black yet.

Might try potassium dichromate solution to see what happens.

Blue or Orange will be OK, Black best.

Edit:

Nobody mentioned if the tropies should be non-toxic ;)

[Edited on 19-11-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 19-11-2016 at 21:16


Out-figgin-standing work aga!!! Looks terific, and you get to learn in the process. I havent been following this thread, but now glad to have given it a glance. Deffinitely pop in a vote when the time comes, though it will be hard to choose. Soo many have contributed throughout the year, it in part comes down to what kind of chem you like to follow. Sure there will be votes for the crystal growers here, furnace guys, organic fellers, rock hounds and all maner of active posters. Thinking Dan will have one on lock for the exquisite thorium work.

Really wish I had more time to devote to sciencing my self. Plenty of ideas, so little time. And good lord, now I want one of them glorious, shiny bastards!! Well there is alwayse next year, and hopefully many, many, more to come.

Again, simply awesome work on the awards :)

...Hey, what about selenium(selenic acid) to darken it... Aka like gun barrels with the blueing kits. Local here at wallyworld ~8$. Alternately, try superficially oxidize steel and ospho that sucker black :)

[Edited on 20-11-2016 by violet sin]




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[*] posted on 20-11-2016 at 09:27


Amazing how easy anodising aluminium actually is !

Found this document :-
http://www.creative-chemistry.org.uk/activities/anodising.ht...

All i used was a car battery, a small sheet of Al chopped into strips (to make the wires & cathode) a bit of sulphuric acid and 1 litre disposable beaker.

A meter was used to measure the current, so acid was added until a decent current was flowing (~3.5A)

No actual dyes exist here, and all the shops are closed (without exception) on Sundays, so various things were tested without success.

Eventually dark soy sauce was tried out as the dye ...

side.JPG - 46kB

Gold ! (ish)

top.JPG - 46kB

All three bits of Al came from a 3/4" bar cast yesterday. The top one wasn't anodised just for reference.

With any luck i might get access to a lathe tomorrow and turn those bars into tiny crucibles, which can then be made Gold coloured with the soy sauce anodising trick.

Just the crucibles and the <u>.&nbsp;&nbsp; RG</u> baseplate to go, and a lot of sandpapering.

The baseplate will be another lost wax casting. Incredibly hard to make a flat plate, never mind an 'R' and a 'G' from wax candles.

dotrg.JPG - 51kB

The idea is to melt/stick those to the cast sheet of wax, dollop a plaster 'slip' all over them, coat in sand, then repeat a few times before burning the wax out in an oven (or over a fire).

When finished, the molten aluminium gets poured into the space, so you end up with a metal version of whatever shape the wax was.




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[*] posted on 20-11-2016 at 16:12


Very cool aga, Looks amazing already.

Many common fabric dyes (Dylon is a common brand) work well for dying anodized aluminium. You can get a decent black with some of them.




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[*] posted on 21-11-2016 at 09:54


Wow, these trophies will be really magnificent (Go to hell Oscar ;)).



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