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Topic: crosses in clay  (Read 3964 times)
Tags for this thread: clay_gun , pusher , caulk , micro_mosaic , ornament  Add new tag
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Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009 08:54:36 AM »

Quote
Diane B. i actually have a clay extruder but it's impossible for me to extrude much (especially the little spaghetti type strands), i have like no hand strength (which is actually why i started playing with clay)... and my DfutureH isn't always here. . .

Yeah, but that's why you need a pusher for your extruder!   I have hand, arm and chest problems myself so extruding more than a half-barrelfull has always been something I shouldn't do.  But with the simple extruder I built (plus warming the clay in some cases, but certainly not needed with Sculpey III), the clay literally comes flying out of the extruder--about 12" of it in 2-3 seconds using virtually no strength at all.  

Different pushers for the clay gun have been rigged up in the polymer community over time, and a few of the later extruders actually have built-in pushers or torque, but the one the DH and I built (based on one by Maureen Carlson, but with important changes) costs only about $5 (...it also creates no stress on fingers and is easier to store compared to the caulking-gun type pusher that some clayers use).  This one is a bellows-type pusher, comprised of only 2 short boards and a sturdy hinge.  A hole of approximately 7/8" diameter needs to be drilled in one of the boards (bigger than the barrel, but smaller than the "wings" of the extruder) so a drill bit of that size is needed too if not already in the garage.
 
To extrude, all I have to do is put my palm on the end of the top board, and just lean over the pusher with the dead weight of my whole upper body.
Here's a pic of the extruder in the pusher, having just extruded all the clay in a barrel (using a fairly large-hole disk though).  This was an early version...I make them a few inches longer now for even more torque and more palm room:


And this photo shows one of the later versions of the pusher, laid open flat-- view of the inside:
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB/tools/?action=view&current=ae35.jpg
(...that little rectangular piece of wood you see acts as a bit of a "stop" for the plunger bottom, but I discovered that it doesn't really need to be there since the plunger will make it's own depression in the wood pretty soon, and it can't really move far anyway)

If you want lots more info on our pusher and how to make it --and also other pushers, including one you can actually sit on to extrude, and other extruders-- check out the Clay Guns page at my site:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/claygun.htm ...click on Pushers

Quote
... even when i do get him to do it for me, they are rarely as small as i'd need them, so i have to roll them anyway

If you have a regular "clay gun," you should have 6 single round-hole disks, plus 2 or 3 multi round-hole disks... the smaller ones of either of have holes that are teeny-tiny!  
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB/tools/?action=view&current=6d01.jpg
Maybe that's not the kind of extruder you have though.

(Another possibility for making lots of clay ropes easier and quicker to do, or to reduce their size, is to start with a hand-rolled log or an extruded log, then use a long sheet of glass or plexiglass to roll over the whole thing on a smooth work surface until the log is the diameter you want.  If you want all logs to be an exact diameter or the same diameter, you can also tape a couple of temporary "spacers" on the work surface so your sheet won't be able to go down farther than the height of the spacer.  Spacers could be 2 strips of wood or stacked playing cards, etc, or 2-4 small blocks of wood or acrylic, etc.).

If you haven't seen the section at my site on making polymer clay Balinese Filigree (also with lots of tiny ropes), there may be some other info you'd be interested in there for making ropes and shapes quickly, etc:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/claygun.htm (same page as above, but click on Balinese Filigree near the bottom)

Diane B.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009 09:12:15 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
wtpdesigns
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009 06:26:15 PM »

wow... see i thought the caulk gun was all there was, and the size of my crafting space doesn't allow for something that size (i'm very picky about concealing my stuff since all i have is a bedroom and a livingroom to store supplies in) that wooden dealie is perfect, if i ever tackle something so intense i will totally make one!

also, i have the same kind of extruder you pictured, i believe it's an amaco, though none of my disks are as small as i needed, the snakes on that cross are 1/3 a mm in some cases... but it never occurred to me to use something to help roll it out like that, so i think next time i may just have to do some homework on your site first, you are so uberhelpful! you should get your own show on tv lol
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Diane B.
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2009 09:41:04 AM »

Quote
i thought the caulk gun was all there was . . . and the size of my crafting space doesn't allow for something that size . . .

Unfortunately, a lot of other clayers do too.  Those kinds of pushers were quite popular when clay guns first came out and clayers needed help.  
That type of pusher won't work well for me though since there's still stress put on fingers and forearms (and repetitive-motions-with-torque are a no-no for me), and like you I think the size and shape would be too bulky and inconvenient to use and store.  Also, in that type of pusher the clay gun barrel has to be removed for every new load of clay (many other pushers too), where the barrel is left in place in the bellows pusher and only the cap is screwed off--also for changing disks; or the barrel is quick and easy to pull out if one wants to for any reason.

Quote
i have the same kind of extruder you pictured, i believe it's an amaco, though none of my disks are as small as i needed, the snakes on that cross are 1/3 a mm in some cases

Wow... 1/3 of a millimeter!  I just measured the smallest single-hole of those disks and it appears to be 1 mm (I used replacement pencil leads to measure). That piece you made must be much smaller than it looks in the pic for anything but the tails of some of the ropes to be 1/3 of a mm...ack Shocked no wonder you needed the Excedrin.  Still think I'd rather start with a bunch of quickly extruded 1 mm ropes and roll down a bit than to start from stratch though...much less mind-numbing too, I'd think, but maybe you got into a Zen mode.

The designs aren't the same, but making teeny-tiny ropes like this reminds me size-wise of some of Cynthia Toops' work --"micro-mosaics," which use what she calls threads of clay as the tesserae.  Her teeny clay ropes are also .3 mm in diameter, though she prebakes them, then cuts to the lengths needed and presses them slightly into a bed of raw clay with tweezers to create her designs --nowadays we'd probably use liquid clay underneath too (she used to do that part sitting in her favorite coffee shop, for hours--I wouldn't think coffee would be compatible with that kind of work!).  
Here are some examples of her stuff:
http://www.google.com/images?q="Cynthia+Toops"+micro+mosaic (some of these are also by another clayer, more recently)
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2008/12/03/2008466088.jpg (Cynthia at work on micro-mosaic pins, and collections of clay threads)
http://polymerartarchive.com/wp-content/toops99_not-your-garden-variety.jpg
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/feature/1099str.cfm


Diane B.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2009 11:04:57 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
wtpdesigns
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2009 09:24:27 AM »

i had actually thought about inlay, but mine was a design i sorta doodled while in the hospital when i was 13 and broke my leg, many moons ago lol and i had pictured it raised so that's what i did... and it was about 6.5"X7.5"ish, the work you posted is awesome, i can only hope to create something so intense one day... lol though coffee wouldn't help me much, i actually drink it to sleep, if i'm already tired, it makes me sleepy... my DfutureH says it's a sign of ADD lol which could possibly be right mostly (coffee as a calming substance i mean), except crafting, i obsess over this stuff, for hours... days, gotta do it til it's done!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

"I've got drinks piling up on my desk and a stack of pills I haven't even opened yet!"
"We're not gonna hide who we are, ok? I mean, we date, we're straight, get used to it."
http://www.myspace.com/wtpdesigns
ntrebleagain
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009 07:57:14 AM »

I love the last one!!! That's a lot of time, but the end result is worth it!
THIS ROCKS   Logged
wtpdesigns
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2009 02:30:42 PM »

i'm glad everyone liked it, i always get this giddy feeling when someone admires my work... it's a high nothing can top lol
THIS ROCKS   Logged

"I've got drinks piling up on my desk and a stack of pills I haven't even opened yet!"
"We're not gonna hide who we are, ok? I mean, we date, we're straight, get used to it."
http://www.myspace.com/wtpdesigns
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