A Miniature Iraivan Temple in Bronze

You will remember from previous TAKAs that holly young is making a bronze model of Iraivan. Here is her almost finished wax model.

We take you now on a journey of how the temple, which will one day sit in Hanuman's hand, goes from wax to metal. It's an amazing process. We will let Holly's words explain below. All of this is happening in Colorado.

I received the little disposable camera today and did the translation to digital. Here is the process so far. If anyone has questions, I'm happy to answer what I can. I'll send the rest of the process when the photos come. Blessings to everyone, Holly

First you sculpt the original artwork. It can be in any material, like clay or stone. I like to sculpt in wax. Second you cut the original into pieces and make a mold out of high tech rubber, backed in rigid fiberglass, of all the pieces.Making a good mold is an art in itself and is a essential step in producing a good sculpture.

Third, you assemble all the different parts of the mold together (see the second photo in this series) and pour wax in and out of the each mold until you have created all your pieces about 3/8" thick in wax. Large pieces will be hollow. This is different from the original because originals are not hollow and usually aren't made of wax at all. This is the foundry wax from the mold for the roof. It's about 3/8" thick, hollow under the raised sections.

Fifth, you begin a process of many steps that will coat the foundry wax and its wax gates in a special high-tech cement called slurry. This is a photo of the large base piece being dipped in the first tank of slurry.

Here the wax wheel is getting it's first coat of slurry. Next it will go to the fluidized sand bed.

Here, the same piece that is wet with slurry is now dipped in a fluidized vat of sand. The sand has air forced through it so it offers no resistance to dipping solid objects. It feels cool to stick your hand in it. Once the first coat of slurry and sand dries, the process is repeated as many as a dozen times to build up a solid shell around the wax. It usually takes a few days.

This is a picture of several smaller temple pieces sprued onto a kind of wax wheel. Remember spruing means they have been melted onto wax bars called gates or sprues.

In the end, this is what the pieces will look like when the shell is complete. Everything in this photo is part of the little temple! The sixth step, for which there is no picture, the foundry workers use a grinder and cut holes in the bottom of some of the gates. Then they put them (that is, the shells that are encasing the foundry wax pieces) into a big autoclave (pressure cooker oven). The bring the heat up very fast and the wax in the shells melts out the holes. This is why the technique is often called "the lost wax process". In the seventh step, the now empty shells are filled with water to see if they leak anywhere. If they do, they are patched. Then they are placed in a large dry oven and heated until they glow red. When they are hot enough, they are quickly removed from the oven and settled into a special kind of sand that won't melt when it gets too hot.

Eighth step is to pour the bronze into the preheated shells, into one of the holes cut into the gate system. Now you can

see that the sprues or gates actually turn into hollow channels for the bronze to flow through. In this picture, the large base piece is buried in the sand to keep it hot. All we see is the gate system.

Fourth you "weld" big sticks of wax onto the various pieces of foundry wax. It's called spruing. This is the base of the temple upside down with a large wax "gate" or sprue that has been attached.

Step eleven: This photo shows the main roof piece with it's gate system cut off. Some of the shell always sticks to the metal. It is placed in a sandblasting cabinet and an operator blasts it off.

Here is the same piece finished blasting and ready for welding. The picture looks foggy because of the dust in the sandblasting chamber. And this is only the first two thirds of the process!!! From here, the bronze sculpture pieces leave the foundry where they have been "raw cast" to go to the metal working shop. I'll send more photos from there with explanations when they arrive. Aloha, Holly


No Responses to “A Miniature Iraivan Temple in Bronze”

  1. Sheela says:

    WOW!! Thank you, Holly, for taking the time to explain so much. It will require many re-reads to understand! How patient you must be! Aum AUM

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