"Do what you love for those who love what you do"

Bellering Idiot

Bells2I have a new passion that is growing out of my desire to be creating something very unique and artful. It is the making of small bells from silver, brass, bronze, bell metal, whatever works. My desire is to highly detail the bell as well as the decorative handle or top part. There are almost unlimited possibilities. I will be using lost wax as well as machining on my Taig Micro CNC mill and lathe.

The largest bell that I will be able to run on my Taig mill will be two inches in diameter at the wide end.  That limitation is created because of the depth that I am able to go inside the bell. I have to allow room between the mill bed and the spindle face for how I hold the bell and the length of the milling bit so I can clear the end of the wax cylinder before I start the internal milling. I have only four inches between the spindle nut and the face of the bottom chuck mounted on the table. Half that distance is the total height of the bell if I have to use an up to two inch long mill.

The fact is that I will be making bells of smaller diameter depending on the ratio of bell diameter and bell height. So with a two inch diameter bell the ration is 1:1 (d:h).  That will make a 1:2 ration bell a maximum diameter of one inch. I am thinking most standard looking designs will fall between those two ratios. But then I am not going to limit myself to any standard design. The only limit is that it has to fit on the machine.

There is one other design limitation and that is the wax master has to fit inside one of my casting flasks with enough room for the required investment thickness. There are many sizes of flasks available so it is not a critical design concern with the size masters I can make on the Taig mill.

I am planning for the top part of the bell to be a screw on assembly. That will give me absolute freedom to design whatever I want to finish off the top. The bell bottom becomes the support or base for whatever I design for the handle. That is another whole design area to explore.

The screw on handle also provides a way to design the clapper hanger inside the bell. That can be a machined part like a loop with screw threads. The hole drilled in the top of the bell can be smooth or threaded. I see the design coming together! The clapper can be a turned or a cast part.

I do need to start a design book with graph paper so I can sketch ideas to scale. When I have something I like then I can take it to the CAD and make the actual working drawings. In a few weeks I plan to have an example to show here. This category is sure to grow!


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