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-   -   Lets talk about Tubing Issues (http://www.lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257747)

Onekura 2013-12-28 7:00pm

Lets talk about Tubing Issues
 
There seems to be an issue, working with tubes. In this thread I (and hopefully others) will help to address them and find solutions. So if you have issues, please post your questions here and we will try to make it a good tutorial thread.

Mary K 2013-12-28 7:58pm

What is a good size and type of tubing for a rookie to start with?
I have some large 1 1/2inch diameter double wall heavy stuff, and I
have some smaller I think it's less than an inch regular tubing.
I tried the big stuff, had no luck with it. I heated the end shut
and then tried puffing into the end of this big tube and got a messy
looking bubble, this was trying to do a spiral. I get the feeling I am not
doing something/nothing right. I know practice etc, but maybe I will try the
smaller stuff when next I torch. My tubing is very dusty, lol, and what
is best way to clean this stuff? Can you use it wet?

Onekura 2013-12-28 9:17pm

I suggest you start off with 20-22mm heavy wall (Simax). This is a good size for most pendants. Eventually you will need some blow-tube. I use 8 and 10mm. My advice is, stay away from big tubing until you get the hang of it - needs heaps more heat too. Cleaning the tubes before use is a must. Use regular glass cleaner and wipe dry. For inside cleaning I use a chopstick, I split the front down to about an inch and stick a rag through the slit and wind it arround until I have the required diameter. Best to push a cotton ball into the tube when you get it and keep dirt and dust out - easier than cleaning. The problem is, that any dirt will be visible and even magnified in the finished pendant.
Blowing a bubble is a little practise. Try it on small tube first. Close the tube and you will see more glass gathered at the end. Try to puff that out to a small dome shape to achive even wall thickness. Next, adjust your flame to a big bushy flame (disregard flame-chemestry) and heat about an inch evenly - always turning - until you can see it shrink. Take it out of the flame, wait 2-3 secs and than do a nice little puff. This puff is the part, where you need practise to get it nice and even - not too much and not too little. I start with a gentle puff and blow a bit more as the glass cools.
Here we go - practise this and we continue from there. :)

Bunyip 2013-12-28 9:27pm

First step: Watch these videos

http://lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257128

Onekura 2013-12-28 9:29pm

good one - there is a master at work. Thank you for the link :)

Onekura 2013-12-28 11:15pm

when you have some nice bubbles, you can fume them, add dots and melt it all in. Brent did stringer work, but I think to learn it is easier to start with dots. If you place them symetrically - each row off set - you get a nice honeycomb effect. Nice, easy and quite pretty :) Of course you can do it with colour rod too - doesn't have to be fumed.

Onekura 2013-12-28 11:49pm

But to keep things easy you could start with simple spirals. Just close the tube, paint on colour swipes (about 20mm long) - attach punty to the front and then heat, twist and pull to get the spiral pattern. Burn off the front (termination point) carefully to keep detail. Then melt it into solid, marver it - take it off the tube and shape the lense. Punch a hole and thats it - no blowing involved.

Onekura 2013-12-29 1:29am

wigwags: pretty much the same as the simple spiral, just alternate your twists. The trick is not to loose control. Use a small sharp flame, spot-heat just enough for a good 90 twist or more - do the twist out of the flame - let it cool a little - spot-heat a bit further out where the last twist ended and when its hot enough, twist in the other direction. You can repeat this quite a few times. When your tube shrinks too much, heat with a big bushy flame and blow it back out to the original diameter. Taper it to a nice termination point and then you can melt it into solid. Again, do that slowly - dont loose control. I do it on my barracuda with the center flame only. Use an ellbow down to let gravity condense it. When it is solid up to the point where your lines started, marver it lightly - take it off the tube and shape the lense.

I would love to see some pictures of your wigwags. Have fun :)

Glenda's Art Glass 2013-12-29 7:07am

You all make working with tubing sounds so easy. I have not learn how to pull points, but I have worked for several months on closing a 15mm tube and attaching a putty to blow christmas ornaments and I still have more failures than not. Just can't seem to keep things centered. I have no problem with rods but I'm beginning to think that tubing is not meant to be for me. I thank you for starting this thread and I know that I will pick up helpful hints to keep me wanting to move forward with learning how to make it work.

Bunyip 2013-12-29 2:43pm

One of the tricks I've found with tubing is to slow down a bit and not panic if it gets a bit droopy. If you add too much heat it can wrinkle or adhere together. Better to take it slow.

Cosmo 2013-12-30 1:26pm

This is the best piece of advice I can give to anyone learning to work with tubing:

Remember, while the tube you are holding may be 26mm in diameter, you are really only heating 4mm of glass at most. You are only heating the walls. It takes a lot less heat than you think. When I first started I was getting my glass really hot and when I pulled points they were incredibly thin and either shattered or closed up or some other random failure. You don't really need the glass to glow much. Just a dull orange glow is all you need. Get the glass warm, pull your point, and just as the glass is cooling off enough to set up, give it one quick pull apart to straighten the point. Keep rotating the glass evenly the entire time.

I never use blow tubes. I always pull points. Some will say that blow tubes are better, and some say points are better. I learned by using points, so that's what I do. Try them both and see what you like better.

Onekura 2013-12-30 1:38pm

Thank you for the input guys - great to see this come alive :)

Onekura 2013-12-30 6:43pm

I usually don't pull points - working on small diameter tubes I get away with it. I use blow tubes, when my "big" tube gets too short and I start burning my hands. Also, with some techniques I have to change 90, which I do by blowing a hole and attaching a small blow tube. I would defenitely pull points for bigger work or vessels.

nevadaglass 2013-12-31 8:38am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cosmo (Post 4495649)
This is the best piece of advice I can give to anyone learning to work with tubing:

Remember, ...... You don't really need the glass to glow much. Just a dull orange glow is all you need..............................

Thanks for the info - been pulling points off centered for about 2 years now but last few months been really struggling with them, then I saw this and now I know why....getting glass way too droopy and hot - so great advice!

Celestial B 2014-01-06 4:57pm

I have been practicing fumed dot tube implosion and getting something that looks a bit like honey comb. I don't understand how the clear dots over the silver clears out, but the silver between the dots stays. I blow a ball, fume then apply dots. All the same size (more or less). Then condense. I might be doing this a little fast. I have been using 10-12mm blow tube to get things down as the time spent working 20-22mm and getting spotty results was disappointing. My goal is to get the stretched out implosion type dots.

valjean 2014-01-06 6:48pm

Love this thread. I hope it keeps going, this info is great........Val

Cosmo 2014-01-07 1:11pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Celestial B (Post 4501980)
I have been practicing fumed dot tube implosion and getting something that looks a bit like honey comb. I don't understand how the clear dots over the silver clears out, but the silver between the dots stays. I blow a ball, fume then apply dots. All the same size (more or less). Then condense. I might be doing this a little fast. I have been using 10-12mm blow tube to get things down as the time spent working 20-22mm and getting spotty results was disappointing. My goal is to get the stretched out implosion type dots.

If you are looking at it from the side you applied the dots, you are going to see a honeycomb. If you make that the back and view it from the front, you see dots.

Celestial B 2014-01-07 4:35pm

Thanks Cosmo. I guess I need to work on my silver fuming then to find that range of color between barely visible and white. At least until I can get my hands on a wee bit of gold.

jhamilton117 2014-01-09 10:51am

So when you guys blow out your tubing, when your heating the tube do you just heat the gather to blow out the gather only? Or should I close up the tube, then move so the flame so it starts to condense next to the gather?

When I try to blow out tubing I only heat and gather the very end, is this where I'm screwing up?

jhamilton117 2014-01-09 10:54am

I hope that makes sense, I'm only heating and blowing the gather and not the inch or two of tube leading into the gather..

istandalone24/7 2014-01-09 11:22am

that all depends on how much you want to gather (how big/thick bubble do you need?) and how quick you want to gather.
experiment with both, as well as the angle you hold the tube to the flame.

LadyGlass108 2014-01-09 1:41pm

Thanks for this thread!! I've been working on tube implosions and do pretty well until it's time to pull the pendant off the tube. I tend to get an air streak across what would be the top (or lense) of my pendant. I seem to be able to pop the air bubble okay, but eventually get left with the air streak after I close the hole. Am I rushing on closing the lense hole, or not aiming my flame in the right spot, or ???

Talonst 2014-01-09 4:07pm

Usually I blow a bubble about 2x the diameter of the tube then put decoration on the bottom half and condense. I try to keep an area in front of the face blown out larger than the tube diameter so that disk won't run into the tube and trap air. When I'm ready to separate I punty on the bottom of the disk then heat the tubing on the other side of it and blow it out a bit to get it away from the face of the disk if needed. Then I heat that area good and hot and pull it away from the disk while blowing, then pop a small hole and flame cut off the tube. I use a small flame to heat the edge of the thin glass remaining and use a rod to wipe it up and out away from the face until I have a consistent edge. Whether this is the best approach or not is debatable but it avoids the air trap on the face.

Onekura 2014-01-09 4:58pm

When I blow a bubble, I close the tube (usually with tweezers) and I am left with a rather thin front. I hold the front into the flame, until I have so much glass gathered, that it is as thick as the wall thickness of the tube. If I have a little too much I give it a little blow to dome it. The idea is, that the tube and the closed front are the same wall thickness. Once you have this, adjust to a big bushy flame and heat the whole front to about an inch back evenly - take out of the flame - wait a sec and then gently blow. You can always reheat and blow more, but once it is too thin you lost it.
To get an even bubble you have to start off with an even wall thickness!

As to the air trap, I heat the tube until it is soft, then I strech it to make it as thin as possible, blow the hole and burn off the tube - exactly like Talonst said - I do it the same way. When melting in the lip, focus the flame on the lip and more on the outside of the lip and hold your ellbow down to let gravity work for you :)

Celestial B 2014-01-09 6:06pm

Thanks Talonst and Bernhard for those clarifications. I was not thinning enough at the tube cut from the lens and having troubles there with trying to melt a thick wall of glass that kept a dimple in the center trying to trap air, or so much to tear off I was distorting my pendant in the process.

Talonst 2014-01-09 7:28pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by jhamilton117 (Post 4504243)
So when you guys blow out your tubing, when your heating the tube do you just heat the gather to blow out the gather only? Or should I close up the tube, then move so the flame so it starts to condense next to the gather?

When I try to blow out tubing I only heat and gather the very end, is this where I'm screwing up?

If you want to blow a bubble larger than the tube diameter start by first closing the end and evening up it's thickness to be consistent with the rest of the tube. Usually this involves peeling away some of the glass to get a centered end then melting it back in and blowing out slightly. At that point heat a few inches of the tubing using quick rotations and a wide bushy flame. Bring it up to an even dull glow using even rotations (small gentle and consistent finger movements) and then take it out of the flame and pause for a few seconds to let the heat even out and sink in - this is critical. Then blow, slow at first then faster as the glass sets up. The angle you hold the glass determines the shape of the bubble - heat and gravity - assuming the heat is even. Hold up for a squat bubble, down for and elongated one

Here's a link to a more thorough explanation http://www.mickelsenstudios.com/articles/TUBEWORK.HTM

Talonst 2014-01-09 7:41pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onekura (Post 4494586)
But to keep things easy you could start with simple spirals. Just close the tube, paint on colour swipes (about 20mm long) - attach punty to the front and then heat, twist and pull to get the spiral pattern. Burn off the front (termination point) carefully to keep detail. Then melt it into solid, marver it - take it off the tube and shape the lense. Punch a hole and thats it - no blowing involved.


Just wanted to take the opportunity to point out that success in switchbacks and spirals has a lot to do with uniform spacing of lines and/or uniform distribution of glass viscosities when using different colors (more so even for Encalmo and Montage work)

In the fuming case the lines are probably clear, same as the tube, so as long as they are evenly spaced, consistent width, and melted in completely twisting should be fairly easy and the tube should move uniformly creating a nice spiral pattern.

If the lines are colored then there is a play between the differences in the glass viscosities. So if the lines were say cobalt, a stiffer glass than the clear they might need to be melted in and then condensed and blown out slightly a few times to even out the viscosities so that the tube moves uniformly otherwise the pattern could be discontinuous and funky. The problem grows in complexity when using a number of colored lines.

Remember also that viscosity and thickness go together. Adjusting thickness can help offset stiffness.

These things are less of an issue when condensing the glass for a pendant but become more difficult when blowing hollows for cups or feet.

Bunyip 2014-01-10 5:36am

Quote:

Originally Posted by LadyGlass108 (Post 4504386)
I seem to be able to pop the air bubble okay, but eventually get left with the air streak after I close the hole. Am I rushing on closing the lense hole, or not aiming my flame in the right spot, or ???

If you're using the method from Mr. Smiley's video (posted above), you're probably not heating the glass enough where the tube ends at the front of the pendant. If you're not using the method shown in the video, I reccomend that you try it. I do it a little differently - I heat the tube where it meets the implosion and blow while pulling. The goal is to get it as thin as possible without having a blow out and filling the air with glass "cellophane". This flares the tube away from the edge of your work, and then you can flame-cut the tube off close to the edge of your art.

Once you get to this stage, it's pretty much as shown in the video - some suggestions though: Once you've separated the piece and have a rim around the implosion, you can heat up any excess glass and use a scrap rod to tear it away. Then the "rim" around your piece should melt in with judicious application of heat and gravity. If you still end up with too much rim, you can heat it and spin it rapidly once it heats up and centrifugal force will help you to avoid having it trap air.

Practice helps a lot, and I suggest working a bit smaller until you master it, as you need rather a lot of heat (and time) to properly melt in a larger piece.

istandalone24/7 2014-01-10 8:51am

also, it seems easier to rip the tube off of the mib w/o trapping air if you use slightly thinner walled tubing. medium wall seems to be easier for me then heavy wall.

LadyGlass108 2014-01-10 11:41am

Thanks Onekura, Talonst, Bunyip, & others for the very helpful information. I am stuck at work right now (ohhhh, the bane of every artist -- having to pay the bills, right?) and can't wait to get home and on the torch. This will be my weekend to get back into implosions and I'm super psyched to try out your suggestions!


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