Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Chain Mugs

Today was sort of a funky day.
First, the University of Hawaii football team lost at Colorado.
Not a good way to start the day.
Then, what I thought was going to be fairly easy, turned out to be, well, not so fairly easy.
I needed some clay so off I went to the clay place:

The folks there have really helped my transition from high fire clay to low fire.
I looked at some glazes but all I needed was the clay so that's all I got.
I returned to Flat Tire Central and got to work.
First, I wanted to fix up my cookie cutter for the chain links. I used some epoxy to glue it together:

That helped a lot! The links came out nicer, so there was less to clean up.
My goal today was to make six mugs.
One didn't make it, so I had five to assemble.
Punching out the links:

Punching out more links:

It didn't seem like it, but I sure used up a bunch of those little suckers.
This time, I put the handles together while the mugs were still wet. That way they could dry together.
I think putting those links together is probably the most time consuming:

I was tying to think of a faster way to get them done, but because they are open, I have to put them together. If the chain were solid, I could make a press mold or something and get it done faster. I think if I do that though, I lose a bit of authenticity.
I set the handles then worked on the gears.
One thing I learned when I did the prototype was that the gears need to be sort of wet when you attach them to the mugs. If they are too stiff, they'll crack, especially the twelve tooth gear.
Cutting the gears out:

This is also a major time killer.
I am thinking again of trying to make a cookie cutter, but I need a slightly thicker gauge of aluminum sheet. I may also try some steel flashing.
Once I cut it out and trim it, I cut the bevels:

I ordered a 52T chain ring off of evil eBay so I can vary the design.
Hopefully it gets here before next week.
Here's a finished mug:

Better proportion than the prototype. Also the large gear is on the outside for a right handed person, and the small gear is on the drinking side.
I also did two larger larger mugs, for those who mainline their coffee, or you can use it for your favorite beverage.
All told, five of these things took me around five hours to do. I'm sort of beat.
I still have to glaze them.
Speaking of glazing them, I did the prototype, just to see exactly how much of PITA it was going to be.
It didn't let me down.
I think I may just do these in one color, it just takes too much time to do it in two tone. Together with assembly and glaze each mug will have about two hours in them.
I sort of wanted to sell them, but I don't know if it's worth my time.
Maybe I'll just do what I usually do which is ask some ridiculous price and see if anyone bites.
Just for fun.
Anyways, time to box up the stuff I'm entering in the show tomorrow.
More on that later.

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