Sunday, July 15, 2012

Farmhouse Project WIP - Update 2 - Casting Complete

Pressing bricks is fun!

After limited sleep and a cloud of plaster dust, all of the castings are complete!  Due to the late hours I was working on these, there were a few mistakes causing me to re-cast and in one case re-master pieces.  Fortunately, it is relatively quick work to press out a master.  Its just a bummer to have to take a step backwards before making forward progress.  ;)

Here are the pieces including the re-cast picture-window wall.

Here they are laid out in order of how they will hook together. (sort of)

A few lessons were learned as I worked on the walls which led me to re-master and cast the multi-picture window wall.  Refrigerating the Plasticine sheets before cutting out window pieces is a great idea.  Claude gave me this tip awhile back, but I had underestimated how much more accurate it could make the pieces.  This, along with using a straight razor to cut the pieces, made building the window inserts much easier and more accurate.  I also had forgotten to add the wood beams on the top.  Although I could have just used real balsa strips, I figured since I was re-doing the piece anyway it would be a time saver to just get the beams in there now.  The end result is much better in my opinion:
Re-made picture window.

Another lesson learned was that rather than having to use the scroll saw to cut 45 degree angles on the edges of most pieces, I could just create a 45 degree wedge and use it as one of the edges of the cast.  It turned out to save a little plaster, provide a more accurate and reproducible 45 degree angle, and of course save the time of having to cut the pieces.  Turns out I should have made more than one set of them since having my single set in use proved to be the bottleneck in more than one instance...

45 degree wedges.  The more commonly used 2" wedges were in use at the time.
Wall section ready for pouring - the 45 degree wedges are in place on each end.

The 45 degree cast angles can be seen here which allow the cutting step to be skipped.
It definitely took some thought, patience, and time, but as I mentioned in my previous post this method of building terrain has the potential to produce some fairly neat pieces in a relatively short amount of time. 

Although there wasn't as much time as usual for sleep, I was sure to make time for church this morning.  We're in a series talking about Genesis and that we are created in the image of God and reflect his attributes.  I particularly like reflecting this particular wavelength of light - God must have had a lot of fun creating the universe!  Please don't read this wrong - I'm not comparing my skills to that of our maker or do I have any sort of god-complex...  I just see this hobby as an outlet for the creative energy God put within myself and other artists - the same energy musicians, writers, and [insert your hobby here] have.

Yes, pressing bricks is fun, but it will be nice to take a break from it and look forward to the next step - assembly of the walls! 


  1. Ryan,

    Beautiful work!

    It also appears that you "re-scaled" to have the pieces in lego-block units (instead of inches). :D

    I look forward to seeing how you do the roof!


    - Jim

  2. Thanks Jim! Although I had considered re-scaling, I decided against it primarily due to the 45 degree angled wedges. Since I wanted to use those to prevent the need of cutting, the Lego blocks wouldn't be able to connect anyway. It is all for the better - now I'm free to use any dimensions that best fit the project rather than having to think inside the 'Lego box'. ;)

    Yes, the roof will be interesting. I'm planning on making a corrugated metal roof with balsa 'rafters'. It is possible that the Sketchup model was more difficult to create than the actual roof will be - now at least I have all of the measurements for the skeleton.