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Marble Tricks & Tips Discussion of special techniques, methods, materials, and everything technical, including technical Q&A, can be found here.

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  #1  
Old 10-08-06, 03:03 PM
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Question Problem getting marbles smooth and round

Hi all,

I'm new to marbles and would love advice on a problem I'm having. I have a National 6B torch and I've been trying to make borosilicate marbles. I can never get colors and/or other clear layers to melt completely in. When I've annealed the marble it comes out with ridges and dimples. I'm spending two hours or more rotating marbles in the hottest flame I can get and using marble molds trying to get it smooth and round. I know a lot of the problem is my lack of experience but 2+ hours on each marble seems excessive. I was hoping to start doing production of these so this problem is really concerning me.

I'm attaching a link to a page showing an example of a marble that I had this problem with. For this marble, I wound yellow coloring around the clear, added two layers of dots, and spiraled some colors at the bottom.
http://homepage.mac.com/jenjeant/PhotoAlbum5.html

Any advice or suggestions you have would be really appreciated!

Thanks,
Jenny
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Last edited by jenjeant; 10-09-06 at 07:14 AM. Reason: Edited to add link with marble pics
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Old 10-08-06, 06:56 PM
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Old 10-09-06, 08:33 AM
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hmmm, i can see 1 hour but your right 2 and not smoothing is a bit long but that depends on what size the marbles are. that could be a problem too big for the torch. it does take a bit to melt color in but it should go, esp. if your using a mold. maybe try a rod of amazon night to test neutral flame to make sure it is really hot. too much oxy or too much propane and the flame is cooler, also where you work away from the torch face affects temperature. try working smaller marble and see if you can melt it/marver it in. technically if you heat it enough the whole marble should drip off your punti even in boro.
good luck
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Old 10-09-06, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I'll try testing for the neutral flame. I've been trying to make marbles 1 inch diameter or smaller. The one in the picture is approximately 1/2 inch diameter.

Jenny
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Old 10-09-06, 02:24 PM
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making marbles on a national

what size tip are you using?
have you tried a bush tip? (one that has 5 to 15 hole in the surface)?
i was able to do any thing on a national as i can with the carlile. you just had to stop and change the tips or even trying a little hotter gas unstead of propane?
the name of is called propelene it is like propane with a kick.
that helps too.
you could even melt quartz with it.

Last edited by glassfire; 10-09-06 at 02:26 PM. Reason: andding a name of gas
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Old 10-09-06, 02:38 PM
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Hi glassfire,

I'm using the biggest tip I could find.... the multi-orifice HTC-3. I have never heard of propelene. I'll have to look that up.

Thanks!
Jenny
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Old 10-09-06, 03:06 PM
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Hi Jenny, Lance here....

Hi Jenny,
I took a look at your marbles. Nice colors! I like to make marbles too. They are alot of fun! You need more heat. I think that you need more fire power or that you need to change the glass that you are using to a softer glass, say Moretti. Also, another thing is graphite marbles molds steal more heat than do the cherrywood molds; therefore, you need to fire polish more, thus more heat. The only thing with cherrywood molds is that when using them at the higher temps of borosilicate glass they don't hold up as long, they burn out to a larger and larger size very quickly. With soft glass you don't have this issue with the cherrywood molds. Cherrywood molds do have to be kept waterlogged in water, and used wet. Your glass floats on a bed and steam which gives an immediate smooth fire polished type finish.

I personally use the triple surface mix Glass Torch Technology torches and they are very powerful, and you can easily work soft or hard glass with them with no problems at all. With just a G.T.T. Lynx, you should be ready to rock!...or if you want a larger model, I recommend the Phantom, then you would be ready to really rock! With G.T.T. torches people out there have made the largest borosilicate marbles in the world......in excess of 6 inchers, and climbing everyday.
Good Luck
Take care,
I hope this helps you,
Lance
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Old 10-09-06, 03:31 PM
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Hi Lance,

Thanks so much for your reply! I didn't know that cherrywood molds used less heat so I am definitely interested in trying that. Are these similar to the ones used in offhand glassblowing?

I really appreciate the suggestion. I've tried working with soft glass but I don't have the patience for it. :-) All that cracking and sensitivity is annoying. I totally respect people that use it because I've experienced how hard it can be to work with! I need something more forgiving to ALL my mistakes and boro and I seem to be a good match. :-)

I am thinking that I will definitely move up to a GTT torch. I was looking at the Lynx or Cheetah. I ultimately want to create larger boro items in addition to marbles so I'm gonna need something strong! People consistently praise the GTT torches so I'm thinking that's the way to go.

Again, thanks for your help!
Jenny
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Old 10-09-06, 07:43 PM
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Hi Jenny, Lance here....

Hi Jenny,
Yes, the cherrywood molds used for lampworking are just the same as the ones made for the furnace, although most of them are smaller. I personally use ones from lampworking size, all the way up to furnace size.
I totally understand how you feel about the thermal shocky nature of Moretti, yet I must say that if you stick with it, it will be well worth the effort. I work both Moretti and Boro. I love both, and believe it or not, one has taught me about the other. Glass is glass, soft glass and hard glass, like people have different personalities that's all....lol. Just remember this, all glass, especially soft glass has thermal memory, and that is a key to understanding thermal management in glass. This "thermal memory" is especially key to understanding soft glass, and getting around it's thermal shocky nature.
Well, I hope that I have helped,
Good luck with your glass!
Remember, no matter what, just never ever give up, if once you don't succeed, practice it another hundred times.
God Bless,
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Last edited by FlameTree; 10-09-06 at 07:46 PM. Reason: spelling error...oops!
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Old 10-24-06, 12:50 PM
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OK Here's my two cents..... You're not melting your wrap (dark color) enough to totally fuse to the base color. Hence, the divit. You need to keep melting the whole wrap end (heat enough so that the glass still moves), twirling it into the mold, heat more, twirl, heat more....etc. Also, don't press down in the mold. Gently set the marble into the mold and twirl. You can get "digs" into the soft surface of the marble by pushing it into the mold. ( When you're going for the "finished" surface, try using the outer rim of the mold indentation that is one smaller then the marble you are making. ) After you reheat the marble, wait a second or two before you use the mold. This allows a "skin" to form over the glass and will prevent alot of digs. Your marbles are fine and I think your torch is OK.....You just didn't heat the part where the back wrap is first attached to the marble enough (or the wrap itself). Everything needs to "flow" together before the final shaping can take place. You just stopped too soon. Send new pictures. I hope this helps. Let me know if you're still having trouble. By the way, you should see MY first marbles!!!!!! YIKES!!! ( FYI - A good test to determine if your marble is round enough is to look at the reflection of your overhead light source on the surface of your marble. If it's round enough, the reflection will be a nice straight arch.)
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