Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Complications in Moulds

Moulds that are easy to slump into are more complicated than they appear. When choosing a mould or making one yourself, there are some things that should be considered.

Steepness, Draft and Undercuts are three elements that can make a mould easy or difficult to use, or make it a one use mould, or a reusable one.

Steepness of the sides or any part of the mould are considerations that make it easy to form the glass to. The steepness of the sides, affect how the glass slides down it. The steeper it is the more likely the glass is likely to hang up on it. This will promote uneven slumps, and needling along the areas where the glass has hung on the mould. The steepness or sharpness of curves within the mould determines how much time and heat is required to allow the glass to conform to the mould. So the steeper the curves, the more time and the less heat is required. For moulds with lots of detail, more time is needed – the amount of heat will be determined by the steepness of the draft of the mould.

Draft relates to the angle of the sides of the mould. A mould with perfectly parallel sides will not release from the mould. In order for the glass to be released from the mould, there must always be an angle making the bottom smaller than the top. The nearer the draft is to parallel the more difficult the piece will be to remove.

Undercuts are the places where the bottom or lower parts of the mould are wider than the upper parts of the mould. This means the mould must be destroyed to allow the glass to be removed. These are therefore single use moulds. If the shape needs to be repeated, a master mould needs to be taken so the mould can be repeated in a material that can be easily broken away from the glass. This is of course, getting into the region of casting moulds.