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Thread: Bronze Age Horse Project [lots of pics]

  1. #1

    Bronze Age Horse Project [lots of pics]

    I was contacted by a guy who is reproducing a bronze aged artifact called the sun chariot.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trundholm_sun_chariot

    The bronze age people believed the sun was pulled across the sky by a horse and chariot.
    He has asked me to produce the bronze horse part from his wax sculpture and he intends to do the rest (chariot, wheels disc etc). I thought I would share the process in pictures in the hope that the process will be useful to others and of course for advice form others who have experience of lost wax. I am almost on the sprueing so would be keen to hear how others would tackle this.

    Here is the horse put together after receiving the parts. The legs were off for easier packing


    I scribed circles in the body that will reproduce the location of bronze rods used by the bronze aged caster to support the central core. I couldnt use this approach myself with the ceramic shell method Iam using as the preheating of the mould would probably melt the rods. I think the ancient peoply would have poured into cold clay moulds so no problem here


    This is the detail on the head that has to be reproduced. The grooves are very fine, less than 0.5mm in most places.


    I had to attach the bottom of the legs so it was important that the hooves where fairly square to line up with the axle that the horse will stand on.


    The horse ready for mould making just the pegs to add to the feet that will attach it to the axle.


    Decided to do two moulds, front and back. I did this so that I could have good access to the inside of the body so I could control the thickness of the wax better and thicken up bits afterwords thatI know will not allow the wax to settle on such as the pointed bits of the mould between the legs. I didnt take shots of every step but here are a few of the construction of the front mould. I decided to do it in 3 parts, on for each side and one between the legs








    The silicone rubber took the detail very well.





    Here are some pics of the rear mould stages done in the same way.






    I am concerned about the ceramic shell being tough enough to hold the fine detail without breaking or eroding away either during the pre heat or during the pour. So I cast some waxes of the side of the head to test with different consistencies and applications to see which shell will be the most resilient. I am using molochite 200, molochite 16-30 and molochite 15-80
    http://www.specialplasters.co.uk/ind...iewCat&catId=7
    and primecote binder
    http://www.specialplasters.co.uk/ind...&productId=110





    Here is a quick cast of the horse just to see if the two halves would fit together and the finished moulds.


    Things I have to consider now
    Do the bronze casting in two halves and weld together.
    Put in a solid core and join the waxes together and bronze cast as one. piece. Preferable but I might not be able to fit it in my small kiln.
    Sprueing, whats the best way?

    More pics to follow.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jammer's Avatar
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    That looks great, you make it seem so easy. It's going to be hollow or have a core inside? I think Abby did some statues like that, in some older threads.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jammer's Avatar
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    Abby's pictures

    Here are some of Abby's award statues on page 2. They have some kind of core in them.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jammer
    That looks great, you make it seem so easy. It's going to be hollow or have a core inside? I think Abby did some statues like that, in some older threads.
    Yes it will be hollow, the body is cylindrical and has a 6cm diameter. The core may be of plaster and sand as I have had success with this in the past or I may run the ceramic shell slurry into the body as I have excellent access to the interior. not sure yet. I like the idea of a solid core as it is what the original bronze age sculpture has, only not with plaster.

  5. #5
    Yup, hollow is how they did it. From the original archaeological description:

    "The horse is cast hollow, and inside are the remains
    of the clay core and marks of the stays that kept the
    inner and outer parts of the mould asunder in casting. The
    eyes are filled with the resinous substance often used in
    Scandinavia for inlaying bronze during the early Bronze Age ;
    and the tail is provided with a socket which was, no doubt,
    originally filled with a horsehair continuation
    ".

    Makes sense to cast it hollow, that way you have a uniform thickness of metal, rather than a great mass of body for metal to be sucked away from the legs and head (and tail) when it cools.
    http://johnkurman.blogspot.com/
    (Blog sometimes contains harsh language)

  6. #6
    I'm always amazed by the level of detail RTV silicone can achieve. I'm surprised every time I make a new mold. It's just an awesome material to work with.

    _3D_
    I found that trying to find what I need and then make it work with what I have, is more trouble than designing what I want and doing it.
    me

    "Quick decisions are unsafe decisions."
    Sophocles

  7. #7
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    Yeah, I love rtv. i don't just use it it for mold making though, i use platinum silicone for casting, which is great if you looking for something that won't break and is extremely flexible.

  8. #8
    Awesome project Mantrid and excellent narrative along with the great photos. You have a real knack for giving us threads with fantastic detail from beginning to end, thank you.

    Looking forward to watching the progress on this one.

    w3

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by w3
    Awesome project Mantrid and excellent narrative along with the great photos. You have a real knack for giving us threads with fantastic detail from beginning to end, thank you.

    Looking forward to watching the progress on this one.

    w3

    thank you

  10. #10
    Senior Member joel's Avatar
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkb_8..._order&list=UL

    skip to 2:20 to miss most of the new age b.s.

    this is a fairly detailed hollow "egg" casting done by lost wax for those who might not know the process.

    it's done in two 'halves' then tig welded together.
    -------

    i have been wanting to try something... making a core suspended by layering the inside of the RTV to the desired thickness with clay or wax, then adding wires to support the core during burnout, and finally pouring the plaster into the void.

    so...
    what about suspending the core with wire through the legs?

    edit: i would also fill through the feet... it looks like an ideal way to fill evenly and avoid the need for many vents. maybe a runner to the nose.

    edit2: now that i look again, i can't tell for sure but the legs might be kind of small to fill through and by the time it gets to the head it might not take the detail as well, as the metal cools. then again i have never really done bronze. how does it cast? i'm guessing it's as not as fluid as Al?

    edit3: core nails?
    The Difficult Anytime, The Impossible By Appointment Only

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