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 Post subject: Metal Rhombicuboctahedron.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 3:11 am 
I made this Rhombicuboctahedron from metallised polyester resins. The pictures don't show how shinny it is! It looks and feels like real polished metal.





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The metals used are copper, brass and silver/nickel (60%/40%). About the only pattern I can think of is the chequer board ;)





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The copper and silver faces.





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This is the puzzle I was copying, you can see why I chose these metals, it is about the best colour match I could find. It is a little smaller than the original because there are no tiles and it's loads heavier >200g. It is very very smooth, the metal on metal feel is incredible! It does need to be aligned well though, it can jam because of the high tolerances, I could round corners & edges more but I prefer the "sharp" look.

This one will have to go on eBay once the box and instruction sheet are finished. I need to make some money to replace my resin stocks etc. I have the pieces to make one for myself, but I don't think I will make any more. The puzzle is beautiful but not very challenging or original. The metals are very expensive and some of the methods are seriously dangerous! Each piece has to be sanded and polished after casting, this takes ages. The moulds only lasted for enough pieces to make two puzzles.

If anyone is interested I will post a technical description of how to work with these metals.

Max


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 Post subject: Re: Metal Rhombicuboctahedron.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 3:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2001 2:15 am
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This is a piece of art! Something that Naeff used to make from know puzzles. So I consider this puzzle Cube art. So great job Max!

So if it goes to ebay ... I hope you get some good money for it!

Maybe you could make a 3x3x3 brass or the other ones, with metallised tiles, with tiles of the form on the Rubki's deluxe.

The tiles could be colored silver/nickel tiles. It would a lot of work, but I would pay a lot it!


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 Post subject: Re: Metal Rhombicuboctahedron.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 5:10 am 
I was thinking of doing a cube with the metals. I was going to do it in 3 layers like this one.

I did the rhombi... in the end because it is needs sanding/polishing. The cube has 54 faces, this one only has 26. A tiled cube would have 108 faces to be polished!!!

Is the one you describe all brass with all silver tiles or did you mean with pigment added to the silver? It would look nicest with pigmented silver "tiles" recessed so they are flush with the cubies!

Max


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 Post subject: Re: Metal Rhombicuboctahedron.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:19 pm
Location: Yaroslavl, Russia and Maryland, USA
Max, it's a masterpiece! I have a sudden urge to touch and feel and twist this puzzle!

I'd love to see the technical description you mentioned.


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 Post subject: Methods.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:00 am 
Some of the things I list here are dangerous, all the ingredients are poisonous. I can't take responsibility for your wellbeing, you need to.

Well it took me a long time to get a resin mix and method that works! I tried polyurethane but it doesn't work well with the metal powders, it just gets too weak. So it had to be polyester or epoxy, clear epoxy is very expensive and does even more damage to silicone moulds than polyester, so I used polyester.

Here is the recipe. Makes about 3 pieces ;)

8ml clear polyester casting resin
6ml metal powder
2ml fine chopped glass fibre
0.5ml wax solution
0.1ml organic peroxide (the catalyst)

The resin is the sort of stuff used to make those clear paperweights, it needs to be clear to let the metal shine through.

The glass fibre you have to chop yourself, the normal stuff has fibres about 4mm long, get glass mat and chop fibres about 1mm long. This is needed to add tensile strength to the pieces, it also stops chipping. Wear gloves and mask to do this!

The wax solution adds some flex to the hardened piece and also ensures the surfaces don't stay tacky after cure.

Mix every thing except the catalyst in a film canister, it will make a kind of paste. Mix it really well, don't worry about bubbles just make sure every thing is combined.

This paste is no good for casting, it's too thick. You would get too many bubbles and it wouldn't run into corners etc if you used it like this. If you add less metal powder the finished piece will look like dirty resin with metal powder in it, with this amount the finished pieces look like solid metal.

Now the dangerous part! Stand the mix in hot water, I use an old baby bottle warmer set to about 60 degreesC. The mix will melt and become very liquid again ;) Stir it gently and then let it stand in the water for about 20mins to let bubbles float out. The reason this is dangerous is that the polyester resin (actually the styrene that it's a solution in) has a flash point of 31 degreesC. So at 60 degreesC you don't even need a flame to set it alight, a spark could be enough, it could explode. I was given this tip by someone who makes surfboards, he said that there have been deaths from people doing this and setting themselves alight. Burning resin is like Napalm. The quantities here are tiny, so I don't think it is so serious, but it is definitely a fire hazard. I recommend you use an earthing bracelet from a computer repair shop, to eliminate any chance of a static spark.

After the 20mins add the catalyst and gently stir it in trying to avoid creating bubbles. The amount of catalyst is less than recommended, the hot mix needs less than cool resin and less catalyst means a little more flex in the cured piece. Once the catalyst is well mixed in, let it stand for another 2mins and you can pour it in to the moulds.

Two part moulds have to be made with the joint line such that it wont be visible on the finished puzzle. The line cannot be removed by sanding etc because it comes from two surfaces that have a skin of resin without metal in.

Once the piece has cured (about 2 hours) it can be removed from the mould. Put it in an oven at 50 degreesC for an hour, then turn up the oven to 100 degreesc for another hour then 150 degrees for 2 hours. The piece is now really well cured.

The piece is dull because it is coated with this skin of dirty resin that has less metal in. It will need sanding, a lot of sanding. I start with 80 grit paper to remove about 0.5mm from the visible face, then 400 grit to smooth the whole piece and form the rounded edges/corners, then 1200 grit to get rid of the scratches on the face left by the 400 grit, then 2000 grit until it is very smooth. Finish with 40000 grit gem polishing compound on a cotton towel.

Thats all there is to it! See why I would want to do the 108 faces of a tiled cube. It would take a week full-time just to do the polishing.

Max


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 Post subject: Re: Methods.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 1:45 pm 
Wow, what a BEAUTIFUL piece! I hope all your hard work on it pays off. What's next for you? A metal 3x3x3 with colored gemstone tiles?

Always Cubing,
Rubix
Rubix Corner


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 Post subject: Re: Methods.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:18 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Fantastic Max! Further to Duane's idea, maybe next time you could learn how to carve all the pieces from crystal :-)

I think layers of rose quartz, amethyst, and jade would be very nice! :-)


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