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Gaps Between Pieces - Foil


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#1 Josie58

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 09:09 PM

OK I've been working with glass off and on for several years and I still end up with probably unacceptablely large gaps between the glass pieces. I use illustrator for my patterns and I set the line weigth for 2.5 pt for a foil design (1 pt =.3528mm foil is .8mm?). It seems that no matter how careful I am I still end up with gaps in the seams between the pieces of glass. I cut patterns using foil shears on card stock I trace with a sharpie and usually cut to the inside or the middle of the trace line. I normally cut all pieces and then grind. I've tried grinding matching the pieces rather than the pattern and I've tried grinding so the glass fits inside the lines on the pattern. Many times it looks like a snug match on the seam but when I go to foil I end up with about 50% of the pieces with large gaps. The latest piece I folded foil and placed in the seam gaps to hold the solder but that isn't a solution. I am concerned that my recent piece won't have the strength to support itself. Its an 18 inch circle. I put copper renforcing strip around the outside and it will be in an oak frame.

Help! do I just need more practice? looking for suggestions from the experts.

#2 Tod Beall

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:14 AM

Josie58:
I love that you're such a perfectionist! I'm wondering what you consider "large gaps", though.

In my view, one must have confidence that the piece will hold together, first and foremost. Next, the composition must meet your expectations.

In foiled projects, I prefer the cut, place and grind to fit the pattern approach. I concentrate on the lines. If the space between pieces changes too much while I'm foiling, I stop, evaluate and may regrind, even if the piece has been foiled.

But it's all about how the lines move across the panel and create the illusion I expect. If the line is too wide in a spot, I trim the foil with a sharp blade. Stained glass is a sculptural medium, after all. Make it work.

As to the integrity of your pieces, I can't offer an opinion. I guess if all of your lines have 1/8" gaps, you'd better take a different approach and practice cutting more.
But, I suspect that you're in some sort of middle area and your panels probably aren't as bad as you fear. Impossible to tell, however, without a picture.
- Tod

#3 Rebecca

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 01:41 PM

From one perfectionist to another, here's what I do. As I grind I lay the pieces out on the pattern with Dritz glass-headed pins, size 20-1 1/4-inch. I make sure that EVERY place along ALL the edges of glass have the space of a pin's diameter. This makes sure that all of my lines run true. I leave most of the pins in as I foil, to keep everything in place. I trim the foil as I foil as Tod described. Then I tack solder the pieces before I take the pins out. That way everything is PERFECT.

By the way, if the circle is in a wooden frame, the reinforcing strip around the outside doesn't do anything.

Rebecca

#4 Josie58

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 01:54 PM

From one perfectionist to another, here's what I do. As I grind I lay the pieces out on the pattern with Dritz glass-headed pins, size 20-1 1/4-inch. I make sure that EVERY place along ALL the edges of glass have the space of a pin's diameter. This makes sure that all of my lines run true. I leave most of the pins in as I foil, to keep everything in place. I trim the foil as I foil as Tod described. Then I tack solder the pieces before I take the pins out. That way everything is PERFECT.

By the way, if the circle is in a wooden frame, the reinforcing strip around the outside doesn't do anything.

Rebecca



#5 Josie58

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 01:58 PM

Thanks for the tip on the pins Rebecca, I'll try that. That would give me a good visual sense of what is the actual distance required between the pieces to allow the foil.

As for the re-enforcing strip my design had no lines that ran across the entire piece horizontally so I didn't think adding any inside the piece would be of benefit. Hopefully the frame will suffice for support.

#6 Rebecca

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for the tip on the pins Rebecca, I'll try that. That would give me a good visual sense of what is the actual distance required between the pieces to allow the foil.

As for the re-enforcing strip my design had no lines that ran across the entire piece horizontally so I didn't think adding any inside the piece would be of benefit. Hopefully the frame will suffice for support.


Yes, the frame should be enough. (Depending somewhat on the design.)

Rebecca

#7 Josie58

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 05:01 PM

Yes, the frame should be enough. (Depending somewhat on the design.)

Rebecca



Rebecca Thanks again for the tip about the pins. On my new piece it is really helping. I started SG by making step stones so I seemed to have a tough time visually getting the spacing tight enough. the pins give me a better sense of what I need for the foil.

#8 Rebecca

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 05:26 PM

I'm glad you like it! It's not for everybody, but some of us like the attention to detail and the perfect spacing.

Rebecca

#9 Audrey

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 07:03 AM

Spacing is my big issue. I tried sewing pins once and after I foiled and removed the pins nothing fit and the project was ruined. Maybe my pins were too big. Didn't know there were different sizes. I'll have to check into that and try again.

#10 Rebecca

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 01:25 PM

Spacing is my big issue. I tried sewing pins once and after I foiled and removed the pins nothing fit and the project was ruined. Maybe my pins were too big. Didn't know there were different sizes. I'll have to check into that and try again.



You don't remove the pins until AFTER you tack the pieces together with solder. Then everything stays in place and perfectly spaced.

Rebecca

#11 Josie58

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 02:17 PM

You don't remove the pins until AFTER you tack the pieces together with solder. Then everything stays in place and perfectly spaced.

Rebecca



OK so then that brings up a different but related question. Should there be a bit of a gap between the pieces? I am operating under the impression that once foiled, the pieces should be touching along the seam so the solder will hold them together. If there is a mm between the pieces, thats ok but if you have say 2mm (approximate thickness of the foil shear cut)gap or (heaven forbid) greater, the solder melts through to the other side,makes the solder line too thick and in the long run it would weaken the joint.

In the piece in question some of the gaps I had could easily stand a quarter on edge. Others a dime or penny.

#12 Rebecca

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 02:25 PM

OK so then that brings up a different but related question. Should there be a bit of a gap between the pieces? I am operating under the impression that once foiled, the pieces should be touching along the seam so the solder will hold them together. If there is a mm between the pieces, thats ok but if you have say 2mm (approximate thickness of the foil shear cut)gap or (heaven forbid) greater, the solder melts through to the other side,makes the solder line too thick and in the long run it would weaken the joint.

In the piece in question some of the gaps I had could easily stand a quarter on edge. Others a dime or penny.



I believe that you need for the solder to go between the glass and form a channel, just like lead came. Think of it this way - if you were going to glue the pieces together, you wouldn't put them together with NO gaps and spread the glue on the top and bottom and expect it to hold. You would want glue in between the pieces. Same thing with solder, you want it in between the pieces, but you don't really want it wide enough to stand a nickel in.

Rebecca

#13 malkore

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 04:59 PM

My two cents:

1. cutting patterns with shears only opens up opportunities to make mistakes. I too used to use this method, because that's how I was taught...carbon paper to copy to cardstock, then foil/lead shears to cut it out, then tape to the glass and start scoring.
I found that if I just used a light box, a pattern, and scored right there, I had better luck. Shears tend to remove too much seam space, and don't make nice smooth curves, but a series of tiny angles.

Its also really fast to do it like this...I always hated making pattern pieces.

Its sort of like making a copy of a copy...the more times you have to reproduce a pattern, the worse it gets. Rather than carbon, trace, cut, score...why not just score right off the 'hardcopy' original? Its not very tricky..you just score the inside of the line of the pattern. Next time you're cutting some gluechip (or anything you can easily see through without a dedicated lightbox) try scoring right off the pattern and see if its not you, but all the re-tracing and pattern piece making, that's causing your issues.

2. its fine when some parts are a little wider in their gap. Run your iron ever so slightly cooler and you should be able to allow solder to fill the gap without blowing out liquid solder all over the back. You'll want to let it cool a bit before running the bead on the backside, and it might take a few workings to get it 'right'...but in situations where the piece is hard to cut or you just don't have any more glass to try to re-cut the piece, filling with solder works fine, and actually makes a strong structure. You can cheat the edge of the foil back too, or use narrower foil, to maintain the same bead width.

#14 Tod Beall

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 05:54 PM

malkore puts it well. The fewer times one transfers a pattern, the more accurate it will remain.

I, for one, do not presume that my pieces are (or should be) so perfectly cut that too little solder will flow between them to make a strong joint. I find the pin-in-the-space idea just too fiddly for my personality. I do, however, use small bits of masking tape to keep the lines true until I tack 'em in place! I think my panels are OK anyway.

Having a completely consistent line width is not always the best goal for each project. One of the most exciting things about foil is that the line can be controled to enhance the design.

For absolutely consistent line width, use lead. It will work better and look better in almost every instance. - Tod

#15 Rebecca

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 01:23 PM

malkore puts it well. The fewer times one transfers a pattern, the more accurate it will remain.

I, for one, do not presume that my pieces are (or should be) so perfectly cut that too little solder will flow between them to make a strong joint. I find the pin-in-the-space idea just too fiddly for my personality. I do, however, use small bits of masking tape to keep the lines true until I tack 'em in place! I think my panels are OK anyway.

Having a completely consistent line width is not always the best goal for each project. One of the most exciting things about foil is that the line can be controled to enhance the design.

For absolutely consistent line width, use lead. It will work better and look better in almost every instance. - Tod



I said it's not for everyone, but my son calls me a control freak. If I want to vary the line, I want to control the variation. I will use different size foil, or I will trim it; just as I do when varying the line with lead. But I WILL CONTROL it! :hammer: :jester:

Rebecca

#16 Tod Beall

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:18 PM

I said it's not for everyone, but my son calls me a control freak. If I want to vary the line, I want to control the variation. I will use different size foil, or I will trim it; just as I do when varying the line with lead. But I WILL CONTROL it! :hammer: :jester:

Rebecca


I don't doubt it for a minute! - T

#17 Rebecca

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:47 PM

I don't doubt it for a minute! - T


:jester: :openrose:

Rebecca




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