Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Rounded Bottom on Drapes

Sometimes drapes, such as the handkerchief drape over a cocktail shaker, finish with a rounded base.

The base is rounded because not enough time or heat was allowed to get it flat. The glass will benefit from a moderate, but steady advance in temperature all the way to the top temperature.  This rate will be around 100°C to 150°C per hour.  There is no need to speed the rate of advance at any time during the process of the drape.  Too rapid an increase in temperature may even give uneven drapes if there are differences in thickness or colour.  There is no need for a soak at the strain point on the way to the top temperature. Any thermal stress from the rate of advance - that some suggest may occur - will already have taken place by this temperature.

This slower rate of advance will mean that the glass will not dome so much on the drape.  It will have time both to conform to the top (which will become the bottom of the piece) of the mould support during the drape stage. 

You need to visualise what the glass is doing during the forming process. As the glass begins to drape, the glass on the support rises because it is not yet soft enough to stay flat on the supporting mould. It is only later at higher temperatures, that the glass on top of the support can conform to it.

If you watch the process – a really good practice - you will be able to tell when you have a good drape. And with this reduced rate of advance, you should have a flat bottom. And all of this may happen at a lower temperature than you expected.