Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Designing a Pattern Bar

Assuming that you are not going to just dump your scrap glass in a random pattern to form a pattern bar, you need to spend some time designing it.

The simplest kind of bar is composed of strips of glass which are stacked or assembled in the kiln, but there are many other more elaborate configurations.

Because of the additional annealing time required for larger and thicker items, most pattern bars range from 1" by 1" to no larger than 2" by 2". The length of the pattern bar can be any length, up to the maximum that will fit in your kiln.

The design process begins by thinking about the cross section of the bar. This is what will appear when cut and assembled. As a simple exercise, assume you are making a diamond pattern in the bar. You can draw this out using 3mm as the thickness (or 1.5mm if you are using thin glass). Rough out the pattern and then begin using 3mm as the grid. Remember that you will need to cut your strips 4mm or wider to obtain a clean break. As you plan it out you will see that you need one length at the base one half of the space remaining after you have laid down the first, central piece for the diamond. The next layer will have two strips for the diamond, giving a requirement for one strip to fill the space between the two for the diamond shape and two strips each one half the remaining space. This process goes on until the area is filled.