1141 KC Mercury Clusters

an Artisan Industry document created to propose and teach for now and future.

 

Client: Cordish

Contact: Frank Cipolla

Project: to duplicate the lighting fixtures provided by client through photographs and direction.

    Fixtures are sculptures resembling large “Blobs” of Mercury filling space like a school of swimming fish.


  1. (1)vertical oriented approx 8’ high x 4’ diam.

(1) horizontal oriented approx 12” long by 6’ wide 24” deep

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not our scale

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TESTING

To begin we wanted to make some test “Beans” out of molds and chrome

we used river rocks. we made them really smooth and molded them.

CHROMING THE TEST SAMPLES

ARRANGING IN A CLUSTER

TESTING DIFFERENT LIGHTING AND HEAT

12 VOLT LED WORK LIGHT: 

Lumens almost enough. emits a ‘BLUE LIGHT” that is not desirable

500 watt HALOGEN work lightT: 

TOO MUCH LIGHT but the WHITE LIGHT is definitely what sets off the chrome.

the camera actually closed aperture due to the brightness. trust us 500w is too much.

250 watt HALOGEN work lightT: 

this is still a lot of light, but is more acceptable. still a heat sync issue.

120VAC > 23VDC LED:

this is very acceptable! the elements is SMALL and there is not as much heat as with the halogens

Smooth-Cast® Semi-Rigid Urethane Casting Resins


The Smooth-Cast® Semi-Rigid line of low-cost semi-rigid urethane casting resins cure quickly to semi-rigid plastics that offer excellent impact resistance. These plastics are easy-to-use (mix ratio is 1A:1B by volume) and have low viscosities for minimal bubble entrapment. Vibrant colors are possible by adding SO-Strong® color tints or Ignite® color pigments.


These semi-rigid plastics will really take a beating and offer exceptional abrasion resistance. They are good for making high-impact resistance tools, prototypes, abrasion resistant parts, foundry patterns, roller facings, vibration pads, fast concrete stamping pads, etc.


Smooth-Cast® 65D (Formerly Smooth-Cast® ROTO) has a unique gradual cure profile that makes it ideal for rotational casting applications.

  1. Smooth-Cast® 45D - 30 minute demold time

  2. Smooth-Cast® 60D - 30 minute demold time

  3. Smooth-Cast® 61D - 60 minute demold time

  4. Smooth-Cast® 65D - 10-15 minute demold time

Preparing for Production:

a rotomold machine

PLAN A is to create a two part mold of each of our “Pebbles”. we will inject a casting resin into the mold and spin it in a Roto mold machine that will spin the casting resin towards the outside of the mold surfaces.  we will choose a quick and durable resin (because we have to make so many) and we can then sand the seams and move to chroming process.

A SIMILAR PROJECT where we made an 8’ x 5’ x 6’ “orb” we made for 32 degrees in the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. the center of the orb had a dimple where a crystal chandelier hung from it and surrounding the orb and reflecting inn it was hundreds of Crystal shards.

IN PRODUCTION:

INSERT ISSUES WE ENCOUNTERED WITH THE FAILURES OF THE ASSORTED MATERIALS FOR PRODUCING THE “BEANS” HERE

INSERT ISSUES WE ENCOUNTERED WITH THE FAILURES OF THE DYNAMICS OF THE ROTO MOLDING MACHINE (SPIN RATIOS AND TIME) HERE

Fast Forwarding into the process:


we worked out the kinks in the Rotomolding machine, molds, material and a “Bees Nest” of other issue and finally got into successful production.

even at this rate of being able to produce the “beans” we find there is no getting around the countless man hours of sanding and wet sanding.

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INSERT ISSUES WE ENCOUNTERED WITH THE FAILURES OF THE MOLDS OF THE BEANS NOT HOLDING TOGETHER AT SEAMS AND IMMPLODING

MIXING the 65 D

getting the right portion liquid for each “Bean”.

it is a two part plastic that gets hard in about 3 minutes when you mix an equal amount of each. we added microspheres for thickness as well

ROTOMOLDING

The mixed ingredients were placed into a mold (silicone mold with Poluurea Mothermold) clamped together and screwed onto frame in Rotomold. it spun in all directions for 3.5 minutes the was taken out to cool.

what a mess after

120 + Beans

DE-MOLDING

TRIMMING

SANDING PHASE 1

Once mold is detached from Rotomold we let it cool down. then we remove it from mold and trim and sand the slag off the seams

PUTTYING / SANDING PHASE 2

There are defects and holes to fill with putty. an auto body filler type substance is applied and let to set then a ruff sand takes place getting the bean to a consistent shape

SANDING

SANDING PHASE 3

Once the putty cures it needs to be sanded all over and get it ready for finish phases.

it is sanded to shape then SPOT PUTTY is applied for the smaller issues.

SANDING
SANDING
SANDING
SANDING
SANDING

many rocks go “through the wash” again and again until all the imperfections have been addressed and sanded out.

SANDING
SANDING

Primer / Sanding Phase 4

Once the rock is free from ANY imperfection it is ready for a SANDING PRIMER.

the rocks have to be MIRROR SMOOTH to have the best results of chroming

these beans above have been sanded and primed and sanded again

SANDING
SANDING

WET SANDING

SANDING
SANDING

READY FOR CHROME

WHITE BASE

Once the the Beans are primed and wet sanded it is time for SILVER GRIP. it is a white primer that the silver in the chroming process attaches to.

WE WANT TO EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE AND AMOUNT OF SANDING THAT TAKES PLACE

the beans are then turned into popsicles.  (only one point of attachment) to go into the booth for THIS VERY CLEAN PROCESS. the beans are then spray applied with a white base coat and allowed to cure for a day

CHROMING

INSERT CHROMING VIDEO HERE

The Chroming process is magical to watch. it is a series of water based chemicals using real silver in “washes”.  the chrome appears magically in seconds.

    it is very  particular though. if all conditions are not perfect the product is ruined and you have to start all over again by spraying the white over it.

Bean after Bean they come out and get laid out

here we see the aluminum plate that all the Beans will be attached to to see spacing

MEANWHILE AT THE LOCATION.....

we took a trip to the location to review the conditions and form a plan of install. 


the vertical piece will hang high in the entrance lobby and the horizontal one will hang in the center of the big room

we evaluated doors we had to enter, structure the pieces will hang from, lifts etc.

The HOMESTRETCH

BACK AT THE SHOP

as we get close to 140 BEANS and have constructed our aluminum plates, we continue to research and develop our mounting hardware, electrical issues and lighting elements and have come up with comfortable solutions.

The MOUNTING PLATES

we acquired one HUGE sheet of aluminum 1/4” thick 12 feet by 6 feet and cut it into an oval. we had another 4 foot round cut.

  tabs were welded on the back to mount the fixture to the ceiling.  we then sanded the aluminum for a dull finish and clear coated it.

here we are mocking up how many beans to place on this piece

HOw’s it hangin?

we are seeking to use the smallest cables with the most minimalistic connections to the beans and the aluminum plate.


10 or so beans on each element will have LED lights brightly shining  and we are working to not see the light source as best we are able.

3/64 cable with 6-24 jack nuts