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Making a photosensitive powder


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I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience using Gaffer Glass's photosensitive ruby rods. 

Seen here: http://www.gafferglassusa.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=100  

My question is about crushing the rod. 

In this thesis on photosensitive ruby https://espace.curtin.edu.au/handle/20.500.11937/1840  they crush the rod into pate de verre and into powder as well. 

The thing is, nowhere is it mentioned in the thesis what type of machine they use to crush the rod into powder.  

I'm wondering 2 things:  

#1 How do you crush the photosensitive rod into very fine powder? What machine is used? It'd also have to be done in the dark.  

#2 Can the photosensitive powder be used with a binder to apply onto ceramics cold, like an emulsion? Expose, then fire. This is the main line of my thinking. 

I specifically would want to coat glass, with photosensitive glass. Skipping the glass blowing step altogether.  

Possible?  

 

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Sooo Cool!!

For the first: From the couple of classes I took in hot glass, if you’re making your own pate de verre or glass frit, usually you’re pounding it out by hand somehow. At school they had a 4” steel tube with another really heavy capped off steel tube that fit inside it that acted as a very analog piston, or a tube shaped mortar and pestle. If you wanted, you could create powders out of rod or found glass. It’s a LOT of elbow grease. I don’t know if that was a tool specific to the shop I was in, or if they’re commonplace in other hot glass shops.

The good news is that from looking at the tech data, if you were to place the rod into this style of crusher, you could probably pound it out without any issues around exposure. It seems like it takes a very strong UV exposure, or 2 days under incandescent or fluorescent lights to create the exposure. I don’t think you have to do it blind.

For #2:

I don’t know of an adhesive that would survive the strike fire to 575 C that’s needed to reveal the image, so the powder that you’d make from this bar would have to be fully adhered to whatever surface via the heat by the end of the firing process. This is possible if your substrate is glass, but I don’t think you’ll be able to get this to adhere to the surface of a ceramic object. Glazes don’t melt that low, and according to the spec sheet, Gaffer produces this bar to be compatible with most studio soda lime glass batch. While it does vary by manufacturer, glass batch COE is usually around 96 X10 to the negative 7. Calculated COE’s on a glossy glaze is somewhere around 7x10 to the negative 7.  That is a really big difference, and it’s one of the reasons why I tend to go on rants when people ask how to melt marbles into the bottom of bowls. Glass at a 96 COE is incompatible with glass at an 88 COE, and will separate if you try and slump or fuse them together. 

That said. If you’re looking to just do exposures on a flat piece of glass, creating a powder from this bar would definitely be a genius way to go!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ah, im assuming its a frit-maker then? Like: https://artistryinglass.on.ca/FRIT-MAKER.html  

Then I guess you sift out the powder.  I want to say, ive never done anything with glass....im coming from the photography side, so this is all completely new to me.  

So if the adhesive were to burn away before it reaches 575c, the glass powder would just fall off?  (if curved)

Gelatin decomposes at 200c. Too low? More or less, I would just need to find an adhesive that survive past 575c? 

Even though the practical application for photographers would be a flat piece of glass....I'm looking to do it on curved pieces too. Like a glass bottle.  

I had imagined coating the emulsion on with a brush, like a paint, so a thin layer...like other photographic emulsions, liquid light, pyrofoto...etc.  

This is me assuming that liquid light itself wouldn't work. I've seen no examples out there of liquid light on glass kiln fired. 

-Obviously though the bonus of photosensitive glass powder would be that you wouldn't have to develop it with a liquid, and that the image is formed within the glass and not on. 

 

Long shot question as well, are there places that carry gaffer glass that can crush their own stock rods? Because that would make everything way easier for experimentation. (I'm in Canada)

Edited by jsmoove
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Yes, the frit maker looks similar to the one we used. I think the one in that shop was homemade, but same principle. 

Most glues and adhesives are organic materials, and they’ll all burn out before the fluxes in either glass or ceramic become active. Photo emulsion also has a biological component, so it too will burn out. When I was working for Danziger Glass in Calgary a few years ago, we did some slumping and fusing, and I was never aware of an adhesive that would keep things together while in the kiln. You always had to work with gravity.

I do have an ask in to a glass blower friend about a Canadian supplier for Gaffer, but I don’t know of anyone that pre-makes the frit out of bar for you. I can see this being problematic to do with photosensitive glass.

I think the most direct method of working this material might be to find a glass blower you can collaborate with.  But I will consult with my friend to see if she has any better ideas.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thankyou, this is very informative.  

Hmm I see, so there are definitely a few issues with the idea.  I guess thats why it hasn't really been done, other than in that phd paper. 

I'm not actually sure making a powdered form is possible without flaming it first, im not really clear on that...the paper is 671 pages!  

I'd like to reach out to the author, but there is no contact info unfortunately. 

And the adhesive issue too.  Maybe there are inorganic adhesives that would work? 

The reason I had thought to skip the glass blowing was that I figured it would save a ton of time (and cost), since you'd only be using an electric kiln or microwave kiln(?). Which is probably more accessible for photographers without glass blowing experience.  But it might be the only option after all.  

 

 

 

Edited by jsmoove
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@jsmoove
My background is also in photography and my projects of late have revolved around getting a stable photographic image on ^10 ceramics.  I've not tried any glass work but am having plenty of success with a handful of techniques, most of which involve direct contact exposure with a large format negative.  

I've previously posted a few imageson the forum here so won't take up additional space re-posting those but the ones here are more recent takes on the two most successful techniques: cyanotype and gum bichromate.

Cyanotype is lovely, both unfired and fired.  Although it's main light sensitive constituent is iron, the iron is fugitive at higher temps.  I've not yet tested it's high limit but at bisque it comes off a nice toasty brown.

The gum bichromate is just like the paper print process though instead of watercolor pigment typically used, I mix mason stains or Manganese Dioxide with either Gerstley Borate, Frit 3124 or some clear glaze recipe as a binder.  

So far all of my tests are on slabs but I'm constructing an exposure unit that will allow for 360 degree exposure for taller thrown work.

I know it's a bit off topic from the ground glass rod query in the op but it does speak to the process of fixing true photographic images onto a ceramic substrate.

There are a couple of other processes I'm exploring but the results have been a bit weak so far, but still have some possibilities.  Happy to discuss if you're interested.

cyanotype then refired to bisque.jpg

Liber Novus Gum Bichromate.jpg

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Posted (edited)

@blackthorn Thankyou so much for sharing this...I've been wondering forever what cyanotype looks like fired. I had never seen any actual photographic examples. 

My original quest actually started off with wondering about cyanotype actually, but I was dissuaded by the fact that the ferricyanide portion releases cyanide gas. I'm assuming you have adequate ventilation for this matter though?  

In reality, any working higher resolution photoceramic method where I can use a contact negative like you have is what im after. The thing is, yes, I'm wanting to do it on glass specifically.  Bonding a photographic emulsion to glass to make it permanent forever.  

I've been told that cyanotype would just burn away off of glass, is this true?  Is it the same problem with not having an adhesive that lasts through higher temperatures like the photosensitive glass? Since gelatin just burns away.  I don't know what the decomposition points are for potassium ferricyanide and ammonium ferric citrate.  

Cyanotype would be a much more cost effective option in this scenario....if there is a way to fire it to glass, that would be amazing.

-Liquid light apparently does not work, as it just burns off the glass. 

 

Edited by jsmoove
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29 minutes ago, jsmoove said:

... The thing is, yes, I'm wanting to do it on glass specifically .... 

Can I point you to this advert https://tinyurl.com/t53rvyfn

Not because I think you will be directly interested in the product, but because it implies that you can [to some extent] fuse iron-oxide to [flat] glass at ~680-800°. And then slump the glass or make multi-layer sandwiches if you wish. @Callie Beller Diesel Does that sound plausible?

If it works as advertised it might try fusing with a gum bichromate image rather than printed decals, and perhaps Mason stains rather than iron oxide (esp. those with spinel structure?).

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Posted (edited)

@PeterHI wonder what exactly the product is made of?  Is it cellulose that is left on the glass? I have seen this before, but I had assumed you could only use your printer...I'm after curved, (application would be curved glass objects that aren't necessarily cylindrical) and would like to use something photosensitive, to get as high of a resolution as possible.  So you're saying to use the fusing paper to transfer the emulsion to the glass? 

Edited by jsmoove
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As for the cyanide gas release during the firing, yes, the kiln is outdoors and well away from any human traffic.  Even so, the amount of hydrogen cyanide is really quite small given the coverage of the pieces you see above.

As you say, you want to render your image permanent on the glass.  Firing is both unnecessary and most likely ruinous.  In order to use glass as an initial substrate like the fellow in the link below the glass has to be of reasonable thickness to allow for handling as well as support of the image.  That would make it at the very least 1/16th of in inch thick.  Regardless of how the image is affixed to the glass when is fired that image will most likely go all Salvador Dali and become unrecognizable.  Could be interesting but it's a grand toss up.

As you mentioned wanting to commit your artwork to glass specifically, so here are some links to two fellows doing just that.  Keep in mind that their works are finished pieces and would never survive a firing at any temp.  And your point about the Liquid Light is true, given the melting point of Silver Nitrate is something you can accomplish in your household oven, right around 450º F.

There are a few ways to render a permanent image on high or low fired ceramic surface but to the very best of my knowledge they don't involve an initial glass substrate.  Then again, I could be wrong.

Here are ways to render images on glass pretty permanently  - without firing:

 

Cyanotype on glass:

 

Carbon Transfer Printing on Glass:

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Min said:

@blackthorn, your ^10 cyanotype + white underglaze looks like fossil dug up from an excavation. Neat stuff! Thanks for sharing your process and results.

Thank you Min!  It's actually in my front yard pretending to be just that, along with some fossils I made just for that purpose.

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@blackthornI failed to mention an important aspect of what I wish to do, im hoping to leave the glass piece outdoors for an extended period of time.  I did watch Joseph McAllisters video there above, the resolution looks amazing.  But I worry about the cyanotype chemicals (or other emulsion chemicals) eventually coming off the glass years down the line. With firing, it'd help keep it from leeching, like the photoceramic photographs on gravestones.  So I wonder if photosensitive glass is literally the only way to go here since I'm wanting to use glass as the substrate and not on ceramic?  

 

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Ok.  Like you, one of my goals is to create an absolute permanent image, and, as it happens for my part, to make it on ceramic.  While I like the cyanotype process, my next project involves the other video link I posted - Carbon Transfer.  What I'm doing is creating the emulsion of Potassium Dichromate, Mason Stain and Gelatin.  I pour that on Yupo and let it dry in full dark.  After dry, I get the enlarged negative of choice and expose it.  I've also prepared a  bisqued slab coated with a mix of gesso and Whiting which is then coated with gelatin and hardener.  The exposed Yupo/gelatin substrate is sandwiched with that slab and set in a tray of hot water until the gelatin releases from the Yupo and adheres to the slab.  Yupo is peeled away and washing continues melting away all the unexposed gelatin leaving the exposed (hardened) image.  Now it's such a thin coat of gelatin that during firing, as it melts, the actual image suffers minimal distortion.  One down side is getting an image onto something thrown or more dimensional than a slab.  Of course the absolute major challenge is to find an image that integrates into that form and not just having an image on it for the sake of having an image.  I'll post an image of then when successful.  

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8 hours ago, jsmoove said:

@PeterHI wonder what exactly the product is made of?  Is it cellulose that is left on the glass? I have seen this before, but I had assumed you could only use your printer...I'm after curved, (application would be curved glass objects that aren't necessarily cylindrical) and would like to use something photosensitive, to get as high of a resolution as possible.  So you're saying to use the fusing paper to transfer the emulsion to the glass? 

I'm being very careful to say as little as possible, in order not to mislead you. I'm  just indicating further research might be worthwhile.

If the transfer paper was much cheaper, I'd suggest doing  a trial transfer with it to see how "archival" the the fused image is. [But I believe that not all toners contain iron.]

If it turned out well it's likely a proof-of-concept that a refractory powder can be fused onto glass, with the burn-out of a carrier (plastic in the case of toner?).

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6 hours ago, blackthorn said:

... Now it's such a thin coat of gelatin that during firing, as it melts, the actual image suffers minimal distortion. ...

I've no idea if hardened (cross-linked?) gelatin melts. If it does it might be worth trying the gum arabic form the gum-dichromate process instead.

PS
AFAIK the admittedly small quantities of gum arabic historically used as a glaze additive burnt-out cleanly.  Use of gum arabic has largely been replaced by the use of CMC (carboxy-methyl cellulose), but I've no idea if this can be used in the gum-dichromate process.

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Posted (edited)

I've heard of CMC too....namely this: https://www.modelingglass.com/product-info  (the liquid medium portion)  900c I think,

On 7/30/2021 at 8:58 PM, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Most glues and adhesives are organic materials, and they’ll all burn out before the fluxes in either glass or ceramic become active

What binder can be used to host a light sensitive emulsion for fired  glass.  Which binder is going to keep the photo intact? 

Gum arabic, gelatin, cmc...? I don't know either.  I haven't actually seen any examples of a fired image on glass on the whole internet,  so it must be tricky. 

@blackthorn I'd be very interested to see the final product!  Carbon seems the most involved, but the images are stunning.  The folks over at photrio (where I came from) would also be very interested seeing your process by the way. 

For carbon processes I had read: https://enamellers.net/enamel-photography/  and https://www.vidimus.org/issues/issue-126/feature/  which mention the "dusting on process" using carbon I think.  Sounds very involved!  

Edited by jsmoove
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I think that if you were to substitute any glass powder used for colouring blown glass in for the India ink, the carbon print process seems like a really promising route. You could then simply fire the flat glass in a tack fuse cycle. A tack fuse is what you use in warm glass to bind 2 layers of glass together, but retain characteristics of both. This would give you permanence while minimizing distortion. (I’m not sure all of it can be avoided.) Tack fuse cycles are relatively hot and fast. The aim is to get the glass to the temperature where it begins “working” as fast as you can without cracking it, hold it there for just long enough for the 2 glass pieces to stick to each other, and then crash cool it to the nearest phase change so it stops working. You then  anneal it slowly  from there, and doing this combination of steps avoids both cracking and devitrification.

The problem then becomes getting the image onto a not-flat surface. 

Slumping needs to be done at a slightly lower temperature than a tack fuse, but over a longer period of time. The whole point of a slump is to distort the glass, which will then distort the image that’s already adhered to the glass. 

So the question is then, how much will the image slip if you first slump the glass into the desired shape, use the carbon transfer method to apply a gelatin emulsion with an appropriate glass pigment and tack fuse the image onto the glass?

Usually tack fusing cycles assume 2 layers of 3mm glass (I can say from personal experience 2mm picture frame glass does NOT slump or fuse nicely). But since the layer of pigment is not going to be that thick, the tack fuse cycle might be even shorter, which would also preserve image resolution.

 

edited to add: If you’re using just regular glass colouring powder, you should be able to special order it from a stained glass supplier in your area. The companies that make stained glass also make powders/frit/ rod for glass blowers.

Note that when ceramic people think frit, they’re thinking a fine 80 mesh powder. When glassblowers think frit, they’re imagining something Te texture of coarse sand or greater. You want to ask your glass supplier for powder.

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11 hours ago, PeterH said:

"I've no idea if hardened (cross-linked?) gelatin melts. If it does it might be worth trying the gum arabic form the gum-dichromate process instead."

The gelatin melts at kitchen cooking temperature and burns out completely by bisque temps, regardless of whether it's hardened or not.  I use glycol as a hardener when needed.  It's also organic and vaporizes along with the gelatin.

As for the reason for using gelatin vs. gum arabic - if you want to lift and manipulate the image off its original substrate then gelatin is the choice material.  Gums, both Arabic and CMC are proper for creating the image directly on its final surface.  In the long tall image I posted above (Liber Novus Liber Novus Gum Bichromate) I used Gum Arabic.

 

Edited by blackthorn
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Posted (edited)

- I just wanted to add one more thing to the discussion, that the product "Pyrofoto" was the main product for this kind of thing, it is a dichromate, which is now banned in Europe.  https://www.rockaloid.com/_pdf/instructions/Pyrofoto inst.pdf

The product is now discontinued from Rockaloid, but can still be bought third party. I would have used this otherwise, but will eventually be out of supply which kindof sucks.  The alternative to dichromates is now: https://www.phototypie.fr/en/reactifs-photosensibles/14-diazidostilbene.html  but this is explosive under heat.  I think diazidostilbene is actually used with the carbon process too. 

So yeah, I've been looking for the alternative to this, something that I can coat. There is also "Selectacolor" by Rockaloid, which I think is also a dichromate, so maybe this is an option even if toxic(in europe)...not sure, im not a glass guy, is adequate ventilation all you need?

https://www.rockaloid.com/_pdf/msds/Selectacolor.pdf    

I do still like the idea of using crushed photosensitive glass though.  

 

 

EDIT:  8/1/2021

Hi

 

Pyrofoto was our only product that can be fired to make a lasting image on ceramic. Liquid Light can be used to make a b&w image on ceramic and  Selectacolor is for porous surfaces.

 

Regards,

Rockland Colloid

www.rockaloid.com

Edited by jsmoove
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On 8/1/2021 at 9:23 AM, PeterH said:

I'm being very careful to say as little as possible, in order not to mislead you. I'm  just indicating further research might be worthwhile.

If the transfer paper was much cheaper, I'd suggest doing  a trial transfer with it to see how "archival" the the fused image is. [But I believe that not all toners contain iron.]

If it turned out well it's likely a proof-of-concept that a refractory powder can be fused onto glass, with the burn-out of a carrier (plastic in the case of toner?).

This suggests a variety of ways iron-oxide can be applied to a ceramic glaze. Presumably the same methods would also work on glass.

DIY Ceramic Decals From Your Laser Printer (Update: and Magnetic Tape)
https://www.instructables.com/DIY-Ceramic-Decals-From-Your-Laser-Printer/

... including
To get the printed image to the ceramic glaze, you can simply glue the paper on the ceramic piece ...

This might enable you to test the result for its archival qualities. Before investigating alternative photographic processes to apply the iron-oxide.

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It would be very straightforward to make a decal by creating either a silkscreen from the photograph, or simply digitally printing one, and those you can fire on quite easily. 

But they’ve got a different quality than an image exposed from film, or as the OP is suggesting, exposing it right into the glass or ceramic substrate.

My glassblower friend was out of town, but she got back to me today and said you can buy Gaffer from Colour Fusion in Toronto. They didn’t seem like they had any G-080 in stock, but they did have a back link to the tech sheet for it on the Gaffer website. That suggests to me that they may be willing to special order it.

Edited to add:

My glassblower friend was very intrigued about the idea, and said she’d make a few inquiries herself.

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
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Posted (edited)

Whoops, for some reason I didn't get these messages!  

@PeterH For photographic resolutions I see: http://ceramicsresearch.ca/web/?p=1834 and this does look pretty great. 

This is definitely a direction I've considered, and if a liquid emulsion is not possible this might have to be the route.  I think for what im aiming for though, it needs to be liquid.  Like if I wanted to coat weird curved glass shapes that flat paper can not get into or around in one swoop, unless there is a way to make it super flexible?  I dig the magnetic strips, those are really cool.  I need to look into iron oxide as an emulsion process. 

I think iron oxide can only be used as a toner or dusting on method in a photographic process, probably not part of a photosensitive emulsion itself, but I don't know for sure. 

@Callie Beller Diesel

I'm mostly curious about whether it can be crushed or not, if the photosensitivity is lost? 

Gaffer told me directly:

'In theory, it can be crushed and applied cold/then exposed and brought to the proper temperatures for exposure.  Our glass was formulated for the glass blowing process specifically, and our technical write up stops at that so anything beyond that would require research and extensive testing." 

I'm actually in BC, but if Color Fusion carries them, thats great, at least somewhere in Canada does. 

Edited by jsmoove
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