Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler - WarmGlass.com

Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

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Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:55 am

Hi, first time posting here and thank you for the privilege.

After many years of tumbling rocks I finally modified a rock tumbler to polish any jewelry sized fusion regardless of glass composition.
So cold work is a large part of the process in some cases before and about always after fusing on a flat lap.
The grind marks that are left after fusion are tumbled off using abrasive steps in the tumblers.
Glass from all over the world is fair game if a good slump or fusion schedule can be found.
Glass from Polish/Italian/Czech/Romanian/China/US producers and several others have been polished to completion after fuse or slump.

My intention is to market the product as jewelry so the process will be kept proprietary and hope that is not a problem.

If I can figure out how to post photos I will.

Thanks again for adding me.

OK, photo attempt #1. Perhaps better if in next post on this thread....

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:05 am

Try #1

[img]https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/872/26821912267_f197b7ba87.jpg/img]

Maybe a link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/67205364@ ... 7/sizes/z/

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:07 am

Oh well, the link seems to work.

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:19 am

Or here is the link to the entire flickr album:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/67205364@ ... 9895637020

Most of the glass is scrap or from vases and plates.
I have only had a kiln for a few months so I am not very experienced at fusing glass.

Ed Cantarella
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:49 pm
Location: Highland, Michigan, USA

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Ed Cantarella » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:26 pm

Not to be a buzz kill, but you just publicly revealed your proprietary idea. Not seeing how this is different than what many people already do, using rock tumblers or vibratory laps(me). Tumbling is really slow way to get a final polish - hundreds of those chips could be laid on a kiln shelf after the initial tumbling and taken to a nice glossy kiln-polish in less than an hour of ramp time. I mean, if they are less than 1-1.5" across, you can ramp them as fast as your kiln can go both directions and stress is not a factor. At that size.
HER last words were, "I'm melting, melting . . . " Dissenting opinions generally welcome for comic relief or personal edification. Sometimes both.

Judd
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Location: Arkansas

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Judd » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:32 pm

I know a lot of "artists" who use rock tumblers to create faux sea glass.

Joyce Walters
Posts: 61
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Location: Stevensville MT

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Joyce Walters » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:01 pm

Hi Jim.
To skip right past the story about tumbling,
I want to say that you have some great color work in so many of your glass pendants-to-be!
Surprising and fun glass. Especially since you are new to this medium.
You made me smile w/delight.
I will review those photos when I'm looking for a kick start.
Re-check some of those possible fracture lines.
Thanks for sharing.
Joyce

jim simmons
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Location: Hillsboro Oregon
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Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby jim simmons » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:41 pm

HI JUD,
When I was doing the Saturday market rout, I did a LOT of faux sea glass with a glass tumbler and could hardly keep up with the demand :>). The only way that I could, was to keep raising my prices until I started to take some home, then drop them back a little bit.
Mostly from (Damn I hate this old timers disease) people that make pictures with pieces glass,wood,stones etc. .
The other Jim

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Thu May 03, 2018 3:28 pm

Thanks for looking at the jewels.

The ~.5 micron polish on the glass reveals the colors and patterns in the glass well.
Judging from the finish estimating the abrasive to have broken down somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 in the vibratory tumblers.
As glass approaches a 5000 grit finish micro bruising become a big factor causing it to frost like beach glass.

Acquired several tons of COE 96 scrap from a local glass blower and it has lost it's ability to kiln polish at it's specified Spectrum heating schedule.
It has seen 2000 to 2200F and has had it's properties altered.
It does fuse well with COE 96.

Most of the other glass utilized is from hand blown vases from many countries and is not easy to kiln polish for this newbie.
Perhaps you glass folks could figure the correct temperature schedule but it is a none issue as it all gets tumble polished in bulk loads.
Some vases fuse at 1200F, some at 1700F. Most vitrify, some crack. Fusing with COE 96 rarely attempted lest it was tested. Risky at best.
For the most part the original patterns that the artist laid in at blowing is targeted for preservation.
Their dynamic process can make some fine art glass.
In some cases slumping is required to avoid diluting the blower's handiwork, others can take full fuse without pattern/color alteration.
Either way test melts are performed.

A special thanks to Joyce for your kind words. Very motivational compliments.

Thanks for looking in. Very informative and resourceful bunch here.

Joyce Walters
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:06 am
Location: Stevensville MT

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Joyce Walters » Thu May 03, 2018 4:50 pm

Wow!
I read the line "several tons of COE 96" several times.
That is an outrageous amount and a lifetime of very beautiful & marketable scrap.

Perhaps you will explore possibility of drilling very tiny holes in your flat pieces of scrap before the tumbling begins.
The holes may enlarge & polish nicely, or they may break from not being annealed.
It was one of the first thoughts I had when first viewing your glass on flicker.
Nicely polished holes would allow more options for finished jewelry.
Many good looking pinch bails out there to balance against the pieces you wire wrap, leather, or pieces you set in bezels.
Testing will be easy for you.
You should have an answer in first completed batch from tumbler. Broken holes or not.?.

I have been using up a (free off craigslist) 5 gallon bucket of COE 104 scraps, all orange, for maybe 5 years now. Slowly since I work in COE 90, but a few orange pot melts have been gorgeous w/dk blue.
Great story about the scrap glass.
Lots of luck now with the financials.
Joyce

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Fri May 04, 2018 9:36 am

Hi Joyce

Your idea is an excellent one. Especially for those that drill with heavy hands and experience break-thru's.
Tumbling pre-drilled pendants in the later 'gentler' abrasive stages in the tumbler will be no problem.
To test for possible impact damage to the glass in a tumbler a few delicate pieces of 'test' glass are added to the batch similar to a thick toothpick.
If the toothpick stays intact then the batch survived without impact damage. Gentle tumbling paramount.

So, when making a 6x6x2 inch melt brick or a 12x12x5mm melt slab the glass blower's scrap make some wild confetti patterns.
Most of the motifs are designed around the glass blower's scraps. Most are the heavily fritted chunks attached to the blowing rod.
These items butchered into pendant preforms on a tile saw.
The scraps are screened into 1/4 - 3/8 -1/2 - 5/8 inch chunks using classifier screens and often picked thru and sorted by color or pattern.
These scraps have probably seen a dozen heat schedules and continue to resist a kiln polish. Doubt it will ever happen, as 2000F+ has impacted it.
The glass blower did not have any issues with his proprietary patterns displayed in the pendants, I did ask him about that.
The scrap is more resistant to melt blobbing so elevated temps are required for that.
COE 96 is pretty much the accepted glass that US glass blowers use. Many of them order Kruger colored glass bars made in Germany.

They amuse with the way they make frit, one heating a color bar while the other walks a molten thin strand back and forth say 50 feet wrapping it around posts.
Letting thin strand cool and then breaking it into pieces.
Or heating a bar to cherry red and tossing it into ice water making a different' shaped "thermally shocked" frit.

Have a great weekend.

Jim

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Fri May 04, 2018 9:38 am


Joyce Walters
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:06 am
Location: Stevensville MT

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Joyce Walters » Fri May 04, 2018 5:31 pm

Yes, I too think the drilled pendants will survive your gentle tumbling.
Maybe 1.5 mm hole since it will be at end of cycle?
My favorite drill set up is the cheapest and easiest of several systems tried in the past.
Check out Kingsley North for a small $80. drill press, then pair it up with 100 small diamond drills for $75. I just love that drill press for small glass pieces.
Only secrets I know is to let the drill do its work with out too much pressure; back off occasionally to allow water into hole; dump water and use clean water after every pendant. Usually is fast.

I saw what looked to be a marble in with your many glass pieces.
Been meaning to try that so will buy borax tonight on way home, then grind off small flat spot on a few marbles tomorrow. Fun and cheap entertainment.
Would be nice if all marbles flatten down to correct size of a pre-made Vintaj bezel,
but that is too optimistic.
Thanks for the ideas with all that gorgeous glass.
You did the right thing to ask the glass blower for permission. Even if he sold it to you.
Joyce

Barry Kaiser
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Location: North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Barry Kaiser » Sat May 05, 2018 12:14 pm

Easy holes a lot cheaper (no drill press):

Need a rotary tool. I use the better one from Harbor freight. I also use the Foredom knockoff from HF.
diamond bits $7.95 at Harbor freight or seller lau*** on ebay.
Can also get diamond products from Daniel Lopacki.

Holes drill easily and ultra accurately with no press.

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Mon May 07, 2018 4:27 am

Thanks for the tips on drilling Barry.
Perhaps it is my clumsy self but I have best luck with using a Dremel mounted in it's drill press over free handing w/a foredom.
grrrr, breaking the glass constantly free handing.

Spectrum 96 and Bullseye 90 is tough glass and melt to a durable 6mm and may end up 5mm after tumble shaping/polishing. Quite easy to drill without breaking.
Thin vases and shards are often slumped flat and then tumble polished ending up with 2 to 3mm thick pendants making drilling a sensitive task.

Thanks again.

Jim

Jim Price
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Re: Polishing any fused glass in a rock tumbler

Postby Jim Price » Mon May 07, 2018 4:46 am

Hi Joyce

Doing well with a Dremel set at 8000RPM mounted in a Home Depot purchased Dremel drill press.
Using water.
1mm and 1.5mm drills are sizes of choice.
.925 pinch bails working well with the smaller 1mm holes.
One of the pinch bails has a larger yoke that covers the hole and defects from drilling the hole which is nice.

Slumped glass and pendants sawn from melt brick and plates have fully rounded girdles if tumble shaped to that degree making them symmetrical in girdle shape.
This makes the glass pendant 2 sided and polished on both sides. The pinch bail works good because the pendant is often attractive from both sides.
Or, the girdles can be left squarish by reducing the tumble shaping after the silhouette has been ground on the flat lap.
Wire wrappers prefer a squarer girdle, especially on slick glass.

What will you use Borax for ? There were some reject marbles from a known marble maker in Texas that shut down in the 60's.
Those were simply tumble polished. I have yet to heat marbles but don't see why you couldn't. Why not ?
I will throw a couple in on the next cook. Been curious about that too.
Anxious to see your marble results.


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