Quilter's Pendant

My wife, Gloria has her hobbies. The main one is certainly her quilting avocation. We could probably sleep every night of the year under a different quilt. Well, that might be an exaggeration, as I have never counted them, but she does have a passion for making lots of them. It's also a social gathering for her and her quilting buddies. They are all female, but there is no reason a male couldn't enjoy this sewing art as well.

The ladies gather in "retreats" where they spend a few days in secret hide-outs doing their sewing thing. As far as I know there are no men invited. :)

Gloria likes to give away some of my three dimensional printed objects as little gifts at these gatherings. The last item was a drink coaster with a quilting design called a square in a square in a square. Evey quilter knows that basic design pattern in their quilting work. I thought it was a good idea for a design quilters would recognize.

I designed a suitable coaster in Fusion 360 and was soon busy making a big pile of them (see pictures).

After the retreat, I was searching for ideas for creating a lost wax cast silver pendant design. There was an obvious conclusion. A pendant with the three nested squares is a perfect jewelry accessory for a quilter. It's a simple design and a recognizable symbol to them. It is also a good conversation topic starter to explain to a non-quilter what it represents.

Back to Fusion 360 and a new square drawing. The pendant needed to be small. I chose a one inch square as quilts are produced to inch measurement. The CAD drawing is metric though, because I intended to three dimensional print the master model. 3D printers almost exclusively use the metric measuring system for the materials as well as the print designs.

Being well practiced in both measurement systems, it is no issue to use either or both. It is the way it is today.

The bars in the design are designed to be 2 MM wide and the pendant is 3 MM thick (and 25.4 MM or 1 inch square).

I try very hard to use three dimensional printing with my silver work. It should be a natural fit, but there have been issues with the castable resin used to create the model. It has to burn out of the mold as clean as the standard wax model. That has been a very long learning path. It does work when all the production methods and secrets are known, and a rigorous process strictly followed. That's a story told in previous posts.

I will continue with both wax carving and 3D prints for my silver work. Each has it place.

I produced the green plastic example as a proof of concept to show my "boss" (Gloria). It was quickly produced on a FDM fllament type printer. It is a low resolution prototype.

Resin DLP 3D printing (by UV light) requires a lot of design effort in supporting the model for printing. Not necessary for FDM printing and the reason for doing the FDM print first.

AS it turned out, the first DLP print was what I can only call a disaster. My supports were inadequate and only one resin pendant survived. As I said above, resin printing is a bit of a challenge to get right. A re-think and a re-design of my supports and I was able to produce three high quality resin master models on the next try.

The printing is the first step. It is working well now that I have the correct resin and I don't make poor support designs. The really big issue has been getting clean cast silver from the burnout. Many of the resins tried and the process variables (trade secrets) are incorrect for the low cost equipment used by me and most other low volume craftspeople. But as you can see, it can be done. Much learning by failure is required as what doesn't work becomes a learning experience.

Happy days are here and the silver pendants are examples that printing master models will continue at KautzCraft.The pictures tell the story.

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 The coaster design rendered by Fusion 360  FDM prints very well and in many colors
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 As shown, I may have gotten "carried away" a bit. Note: They are shown on a table quilt!  The pendant design as renderd by Fusion 360. Same as iused in the coasters.
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 The "proof" rendered on a FDM "filament" printer. One inch square.  The second and fully successful castable resin print from The Wanhao D7 printer.
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 There is a rigerous post process that must be followed to ready these models for casting in silver  Freshly cast. The red models have been vaporized in 1350 degree kiln heat and the silver takes its place in the pouring of the cast.
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 The buttons are at the top of the mold and the silver flows down into the pattern space.  About an hour a piece to finish the pendants to this level. Ready for display.