Mold for vac pulls


Tim Allen

Well-Known Hunter
Im just curious if this would work. Ive been think about making some armor pieces and eventually doing Vac pulls of it but im wondering if i could make the molds from bronze?? If you saw my WWII helmet i did in bronze then you'll know what im talking about. I figure if i do the mold in bronze then i wont have to ever worry about the molds breaking down or anything of that nature....
 

Muad Dib

Active Hunter
Unless you have access to a foundry that works dirt-cheap (crappy work) or you are good friends with the ownwer, bronze plugs might be pricey. I work at Bronzart in Sarasota, FL and can ask what it would cost for you. My boss is an open minded and extremely cool guy that lets us do are own projects for wholesale costs if we do all our own work on our own time. I you're interested, let me know or send me pics of the sculpts if you have them so I can show him.

I'm sure I could get a few of the guys to help out cheap (maybe for some blank pulls after it's done). Quite a few of them are fans. Let me know.
 

Muad Dib

Active Hunter
You know what, I totally missed the part in your post that said the WWII Hellmet WAS yours. I thought you mentioned that you *saw* the pics of the WWII helmet.

Oops!

Apparently, you already have access to a good foundry. Please forgive me if you thought my comments insulting.

Good luck.
 

ANH trooper

New Hunter
Hi Tim,

I can't see there being any problem using bronze as a mould.I beleive most industrial vacuum formers use some kind of metal/alloy mould that they heat up and form over.It definately would stand up to pressure of the forming process.

-Paul.:)
 

Gilmortar

Well-Known Hunter
I don't know ANH. I worked at a Plastic Fabrication facility, Tim knows all about it.

But it seems that what we used most, were actually fiberglass molds, with gelcoat.

That or acrylic. With acrylic we could make it, then sand it down and blaze it so it was smooth again, and had no blemishes in the pulls.

I figure bronze would be a great mold medium that will stand up the test of time. But, How smooth with it cast, and then i've noticed with some bronze castings, that sometimes you get a clump or Wax build up, so you have gouges and such in the final casting...so you'd still be havin quite a bit of clean up before good pulls...
 

Muad Dib

Active Hunter
Typically it all depends on how smooth your final sculpture was before it is molded in the ceramic shell mold that the wax is melted out of that creates the void the bronze will be poured into. (RUN-ON SENTENCE! :p) You might have to do a little clean up of the bronzes but it shouldn't be too much. Temperature of the bronze (hotter provides better castings) and how the piece is gated make a difference also. A "bottom-pour" gating system is what we use to create smoother castings that can be highly polished.
 

ANH trooper

New Hunter
I never heard of industrial vacuum formers using fibreglass moulds?

Wood or metal is the norm afaik.I know they use resins with metal filings or powder,but a fibreglass mould would have to be reinforced big time on an industrial former.

I could be mistaken,but all the pro formers I have spoken to use some kind of metal or alloy mould.
 

Tim Allen

Well-Known Hunter
Muad'Dib said:
Unless you have access to a foundry that works dirt-cheap (crappy work) or you are good friends with the ownwer, bronze plugs might be pricey. I work at Bronzart in Sarasota, FL and can ask what it would cost for you. My boss is an open minded and extremely cool guy that lets us do are own projects for wholesale costs if we do all our own work on our own time. I you're interested, let me know or send me pics of the sculpts if you have them so I can show him.

I'm sure I could get a few of the guys to help out cheap (maybe for some blank pulls after it's done). Quite a few of them are fans. Let me know.

I have access to a small foundry, thats not the issue. I can make the armor out of bonze no problem at all. Im just curious if it will work?
 

Tim Allen

Well-Known Hunter
Gilmore of OK said:
I don't know ANH. I worked at a Plastic Fabrication facility, Tim knows all about it.

But it seems that what we used most, were actually fiberglass molds, with gelcoat.

That or acrylic. With acrylic we could make it, then sand it down and blaze it so it was smooth again, and had no blemishes in the pulls.

I figure bronze would be a great mold medium that will stand up the test of time. But, How smooth with it cast, and then i've noticed with some bronze castings, that sometimes you get a clump or Wax build up, so you have gouges and such in the final casting...so you'd still be havin quite a bit of clean up before good pulls...

As far as it being smooth...Not an issue, i can do clean up work on the bronze and make it as smooth as needed incase theirs any flare up or blow outs in the actuall piece it self when it was poured.
 

Muad Dib

Active Hunter
Muad'Dib said:
You know what, I totally missed the part in your post that said the WWII Hellmet WAS yours. I thought you mentioned that you *saw* the pics of the WWII helmet.

Oops!

Apparently, you already have access to a good foundry. Please forgive me if you thought my comments insulting.

Good luck.


I re-read your post and amended mine with an apology soon after.:)
As for it working, I'd say yes. You could always do something smaller than armor as a test first.

I actually showed the thread to my boss when you first posted it and he liked it! We had just finished a 12" WWII pilot that went in the Tampa International Airport.
 

Tim Allen

Well-Known Hunter
Muad'Dib said:
I re-read your post and amended mine with an apology soon after.:)
As for it working, I'd say yes. You could always do something smaller than armor as a test first.

I actually showed the thread to my boss when you first posted it and he liked it! We had just finished a 12" WWII pilot that went in the Tampa International Airport.

Im actually in the process of make the Vac table and i think im going to use my friends Bronze Predator mask and see how it comes out. Do a lil trial and error
 

yanvaq

New Hunter
HI I'm new but I have a small company that makes vacuumformed shipping containers . some times we make molds from cast aluminum some times they are machined, but mostely they are cast from a resin material that is specialy formulated for that purpose . Will bronze work certainly but it will oxidize and need cleaning before it is used . You will have to watch for undercuts that the material will pull into and make a hole causing loss of vacuum or will prevent the mold from releasing from the plastic.
 
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