Author Topic: Cutting my sculpts for casting  (Read 595 times)

Offline PBartholdy

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Cutting my sculpts for casting
« on: September 18, 2013, 07:19:09 AM BST GMT »
I'm not really sure if this is a part of the casting or the sculpting proces, so i'll pose the question here.

I'm wondering if you have any advice on how I should go about cutting my sculpts for multi-part casting. I'm reluctant to cut them myself as I don't have any experience with and don't know if a cut might be necessary. If I use a casting service, will they do it, or do I have to make the cuts myself? And if I have to do it myself, do you have any advice on doing so without damaging the sculpt?

Thanks in advance.
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Offline Badsmile

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 10:46:18 AM BST GMT »
Those are quite a few questions...

First of all, I personally don't consider a sculpt done until I have cut it up + repaired it  (made it ready for casting). This makes it easier to accept cutting your sculpts up after finishing the scupting part. I can remember pretty well how I struggled with myself before cutting my first mini up. This helps though.

As for how to cut your sculpts, it depends on what type of putty you have used and what parts you have to cut. It can be done with a sharp knife in green stuff or pro create or with a fine jewelers saw if the material in that particular spot is thicker. If you made a sculpt out of polyclay, most of the time you will use a saw to prevent cracking of the clay. Just use it steady and without pressure, let it cut through the material without forcing it and you should end up with a rather clean and nice cut. A good saw will also cut through the wire without problems. After cutting with a saw, there is always a certain loss of material of course, you can repair that by using putty again and while you are at it you  can make little pegs to insert that part into the main sculpt.

As for nescessary cuts, that really depends on your caster, I have seen people cast things in one piece, that would be impossible for other services. A good rule though is to asume that you will use standard casting methods, as those molds tend to hold for longer and you don't know how good the caster is if you are working for a client. So just go with that and cut your models accordingly. A model has to be cut in places it creates undercuts and would "hook" itself into the mold. If you look at your mini from the top, everything that is not alined in one line and is pointing elsewhere( as in into the mold) will have to be most likely cut.  This is a pretty bad example though and a picture of your particular miniature would help a lot.

As for cutting by the casting service, there are a few that actually do cut your minis up. Should your casting service offer such a deal, then it is up to you to decide if you prefer to cut it up yourself, a thing you will have to learn for the future anyway or have a total stranger fondle with your work ;) . I sure prefer to do it myself.

Once you have done it two or three times and have the mental approach of not being done with the sculpt until it is cut and casting ready it will become a routine. I know it is scary but... well you sculpted that figure, so you can fix it too.
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Offline PBartholdy

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 02:07:58 PM BST GMT »
Yeah, I guess I ended up posting quite a few questions. Thank you for answering them very thoroughly though!

I've been searching the internet thin and haven't been able to find any answers prior to this. I'll post some pictures of the finished sculpt within a week hopefully, meanwhile you can find pictures in my WIP thread http://minisculpture.co.uk/index.php?topic=1442.msg11588#new. It's the latest sculpt, and since I consider it to be some of the best I've done yet, I'd like to get it cast. I guess I'll have to psyche myself into cutting it when its done ... Thanks again!
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Offline Badsmile

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 03:57:21 PM BST GMT »
OK, this one is a bit tricky.^^

You'll have to cut off the head and resculpt parts of the neck, I see no other way of cutting it. Next time sculpt the head separetely to avoid such cuts. Other than that, if you cut it around the waistline it should cast up fine. you'll have three to four parts basically. The head, the torso with the arms and the hip with the bladelegs or you cut off both legs instead of cutting around the hip. The hip would be one less cut and with cutting in that area in mind you can sculpt something there to hide the cut, a loincloth or even overlapping skin etc. 
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Offline PBartholdy

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 05:25:39 PM BST GMT »
Oh, thanks a lot for the advice. Actually the head is sculpted seperately, so there is no issue with cutting there. The head can be taken off with no problems. I've posted an update now, so you can see the sculpt in greater detail. I thought I would have to cut the arms off too, but you don't think that is necessary?
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Offline moonmin82

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 10:39:21 PM BST GMT »
I'm very pleased to see this thread!

I could do with buying a jewellery saw...

Is there anything to look out for in a frame?

What size blades do you guys recommend? Do the sizes represent milimeters thickness for the blade?

Thanks in advance!

Offline Badsmile

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 06:58:33 AM BST GMT »
been looking at the sculpt again and maybe cutting of the hand will be nescessary. depends on how the model looks in the end though. I am guessign you'll get away without cutting the arms off for casting.

@moonmin: I got these here, great quality and a fair price.

http://www.goldschmiedebedarf.de/product_info.php?products_id=5131

http://www.goldschmiedebedarf.de/product_info.php?products_id=25190  <---this is an ssortment of all the blades you'll need, really thin ones for very fine cuts and a few bigger ones which I tend to use to cut thick parts of plasticard ( works better than my other saws! )

And while you are at it they have some of the bestest files you can get too.
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Offline moonmin82

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 06:18:36 PM BST GMT »
Thanks Badsmile :-)

Offline PBartholdy

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 09:00:06 PM BST GMT »
Thanks a lot badsmile. I've got to get some of those. The only thing near a usable saw that I have is this: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat470006a&prodId=prod1095446
I don't suppose that it can be used for this.
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Offline GriffinTamer

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 04:42:00 AM BST GMT »
A useful discussion for anyone like myself who's been pondering the hows and whys of cutting up greens. Thanks PBartholdy for starting the thread, and Mati for the thorough response!

I've been doing my own casting so far, using silicone moulds and polymer resins, and so far I've sculpted more complex pieces in multiple parts from the start to avoid having to cut them up (and then fix them) later. I guess I can see pros and cons for both ways of doing things, though it's clear cutting is the more standard approach.

Offline moonmin82

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2013, 11:03:43 PM BST GMT »
Well, last night I ordered a jewellery saw and blades from a UK based website. I needed one within the next seven days in order to cut up my Puppet Monster sculpt ready for casting. It was marked as dispatched this afternoon so hopefully I'll receive it Tuesday / Wednesday. Once I have it (and have tried it out) I will be sure to share my experience :-)

I opted for the 2/0 and 3/0 saw blades I believe. Hopefully they will be right for the job. Fingers crossed!

[Edit] Everything arrived today, can't wait to give it a go later this week! This is the one I opted for:

http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/3-Adjustable-Saw-Frame-prcode-999-3059

Not quite sure which blade to start with... I think I got a set of size 1, 2/0 and 3/0 blades. I may practice on a few rubbish old (unfinished) sculpts (of which I have many!).
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 08:36:19 PM BST GMT by moonmin82 »

Offline moonmin82

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2013, 04:54:23 PM BST GMT »
Had a go with my new piercing saw today and was quite happy with the results. I tried out the size 1 blade on an old (unfinished) sculpt and then decided to use the size 3/0 blade on my Puppet Monster.



I was necessary to use a scalpel to cut a guide mark for the teeth to start cutting. Although the cut was clean enough I'll also have a bit of tidying up to do later (just to ensure that the arms will fit back on as seamlessly as possible).

Offline Badsmile

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 08:58:39 AM BST GMT »
clean cut! result!^^
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Offline moonmin82

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Re: Cutting my sculpts for casting
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 07:12:51 PM BST GMT »