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About phoenix02

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  1. No, unfortunately porcelain is not a media that can be cut, at least to my knowledge. I make masters out of 1/4" thick corian countertop material. This is what I currently use to make lithophanes; the idea is to translate this into Porcelain by using the corian as a master to make a plaster mold and slip cast from there.
  2. Thank you for the reply! I know there's cheap lithophanes available. There's cheap everything available; that should not prevent us from trying to put out a better, skillfully made product in the same vein. I make furniture, cabinets, etc, in an Ikea world. It's hard and the clientele pool is small, but I try and I enjoy what I do. I also certainly do not attempt to compete on price; if a client cannot understand the stark difference betwixt a hand made, original design heirloom and an offshore mass produced particle board monstrosity, well, they're not the kind looking for my kind of work. As I'm sure you all know, it's hard to find the customer base, but they're out there... somewhere. I've been enamored with the concept of lithophanes for a long time; I think they are amazingly beautiful and a niche market that in my experience, people are apt to purchase for the wow factor. In adding them to an existing piece, such as a lamp shade on a custom lathe turned hardwood lamp, or inlaid with LED backers in the apron of a table, I think they would be amazing and sell ok. Well, as with everything, I hope they would. I am a photographer, my grandfather is a photographer, and my great grandfather was a photographer. Although it helped me put myself through college doing headshots and weddings, All 3 of us are amateurs, but I have a good library of nature, location and still life photography to pull from for original pieces. My grandfather traveled the world in his job, so there's work in Asia and Europe from the 60s- early 90s. My great grandfather would go on photography tours of the US every couple years, so there's photos of America and Americana from the 40s to the 80s. Here's another idea- anyone know what it would cost to sub out the work? I could make the master, make some plaster molds and hand them off to a ceramics specialist that already knows how to do all this and has the tools to do it properly. I stay in my little fab shop cocoon working with wood, metal and plastic and let the other guy do what he does best. Perhaps that would be a better option. Keep the input coming! Thank you. -Michael
  3. Hello all! My name is Michael. I am a woodworker by trade, and have always wanted to integrate ceramics into my furniture and other pieces i make. I think the time has finally come to dive in, as I have a real project I want to try. I have a CNC router I use for making complex things my meager carving skills cannot do. Of these things, backlit lithophanes in corian is one of them. They come out wonderful, but my problem is the cut time- for a 5x7 litho, you can be looking at 5 hours each. Also, there are more people with CNCs in their garage that are playing with lithophanes; the market online is getting flooded with people putting out product. My idea is to manufacture the original style lithophanes- in porcelain. The plan is to make a master on the CNC, use that to make a plaster mold and slip cast out of the mold. These will be made into luminaries, lamp shades, art pieces, etc. I have the corian. I have the plaster. I need a kiln, I need slip. - I am thinking to go with a medium fire porcelain, something ^6 max for the kilns I've been looking at. Needs to have good translucency for the lithophane to work. Any ideas on a slip to use? I am in Southern California, so it seems Laguna is the standard around here. -Kiln; 110v or 220v? Here's the contenders thus far: -Paragon A-88B. 220v. Comes with 6 half shelves. $100 -Cress B1411-H. 120v. Comes with 1 shelf. $75 -Cress B27-H. 220v. Comes with an analog pyrometer and a couple ceramic casting molds. $100 I am on a very tight budget to try this out, which is why I'm looking at these options. from a price perspective, the Paragon seems to be the cheapest option to get started, as it comes with shelves. The others are pretty much useless without further expenditure on furniture. Both the Paragon and the B1411 have chipping and small missing pieces of the firebrick, with cracking in the bottom. The B27-H looks to be in very good shape with minimal fire brick chipping, no real breaks and no cracks in the bottom. From a condition standpoint, the B27-H is the best option. For ease of testing, footprint and electrical use, the B1411 is the best. I know slip casting lithophanes will take some testing to learn how to do properly, trying to get a good firing without warpage or cracking due to the thinness of the material. Is this really much harder than I think it is? Am I doomed to failure without years of experience with other materials/ designs? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Michael