Over the Winter Interim session at Albright, I worked with a student to build a new cupola furnace for the Sculpture Yard.
At Albright there are research opportunities called ACRE (Albright Creative Research Experience). These are collaborative endeavors between faculty and student(s). Where faculty or student(s) can initiate a project they have in mind. The goal is work in collaboration, not as an assistant to a faculty member.
For this project, I sought out a student with some welding background to accomplish the construction of an iron metal furnace called a “Cupola.” Alyssa had already made a welded metal sculpture the prior semester and seemed like a good fit.
The project started from selecting the metal for a local scrap yard, cutting and shaping the main section of the furnace, then welding all of the parts that make a cupola.
The final stage is casting the big temperature refractory (liner) in the furnace so it will be ready fro use this semester.
For my first visit to Cambridge-Lee, there was interest in creating a sculpture for their lobby. Since they were remodeling it, they thought it would be a great time to have something cast from there facility out of copper; in the form of a sculpture.
The series of images show the stages of making a wood pattern meant for a sand mold to cast in copper. Different types of wood, scrap copper, garden hose, Bondo and wire were used to design their manufacturing process.
If you notice the image of me shaving down material, I am doing this so the pattern will release from the sand mold with ease. Reason being, everything has to be smooth and free of undercuts or the pattern or mold may be damaged during removal of the pattern from the mold.
To understand the design, here are the stages of making copper tube at Cambridge Lee (some steps are not included).
- Top right: scrap copper, 2. Top middle: copper bails, 3. Top left: metal furnace, 4) Left middle: casting trough, 5) Bottom: roll, sizing the copper tube. In the last image shows coils of tubing around the entire process.
In short, scrap copper is collected and, compressed into manageable portions to load into the furnace. Once the melt comes up to temperature, the molten copper flows from the furnace to a distribution station via channels in the floor, see the video below!
Now on to making a mold and pouring some copper, more to come!