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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2005-12-08, 11:08am
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Default presses and bubbles

I often get bubbles right at my bead release when making pressed beads. I preheat my release to glowing orange/white, really hot, to make sure its dry.

Any tips for preventing this? Besides looking crappy, they are hard to clean out if it's a half salvagable bead.

I press a few times with each bead, so the glass does get reheated....

anyway, how do you all keep your pressed beads bubble-free, especially around the mandrel, but just plain in general? =)
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  #2  
Old 2005-12-08, 11:25am
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I sometimes have this problem to. Last week, I did nothing but sit down and make pillows for hours. I wanted to see if I could figure out how to get rid of the bubble at the release, and to get successful pillows.

I noticed that it typically happens if you press your bead, heat and then press again. I've never gotten a bubble after pressing once. However, I like my beads to have crisp edges and defined lines, so I re-press...several times if necessary. That's when the release bubble shows up.

I also heat my release to ensure it's dry, so I'm wondering if the release is just breaking along the mandrel if you re-press. Maybe the glass gets too stiff (too cool) but is still pliable, which causes the release to be pulled off the mandrel while re-pressing.

When I made pillows last week I was pretty successful and only had one bead with broken release inside the bead. I tried heating only the edges of the bead and re-pressing rather than heating the entire bead. Doing this caused the glass to stay in it's current spot along the mandrel, while the outside of the bead was free to move in the press. That seemed to work for me, although I'm curious to see if that'll work in a lentil, tab or any other press.

I do know what you mean about cleaning! It's a pain in the butt, and looks terrible in certain colors. If anyone else has tips...please share!

Thanks,
Karla
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Old 2005-12-08, 11:32am
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I've had difficulty with this as well. I would have suggested preheating the mandrel/bead release before placing glass on it, but you said you're already doing that.

I've found that I have to dip my mandrels and let them air dry over night. I get bubbles galore if I flame dry my bead release.

Could it may be a partial application issue? Make sure you're not trapping air when you apply the glass.

I still get some larger bubbles, but I squeeze those out. It's much better with the air drying.

Good luck
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Old 2005-12-08, 11:38am
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I've let my mandrels dry overnight, and I make sure I don't trap any bubbles along the mandrel. So for me....I think it's a bead release breakage issue, rather than trapped air.

How 'bout you, Lunesse?
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Old 2005-12-08, 12:30pm
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yes, it's clear the release is breaking up inside the bead. Sometimes an actual bubble alongslide the hole doesn't happen, but the hole gets wider where the release starts to ... I don't know what it does, expand. I also think it has to do with pressing multiple times, the bubble pockets, etc, don't show up until after I have made my first press (I'm a sharp line girl, too).

Hmmm...I let my mandrels dry overnight, always.
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Old 2005-12-08, 12:58pm
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Could this be from not making your base bead wide enough, and then when the glass is squeezed over the "new" areas, air is trapped between the bead release and the glass?

Courtney
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Old 2005-12-08, 1:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunesse
yes, it's clear the release is breaking up inside the bead. Sometimes an actual bubble alongslide the hole doesn't happen, but the hole gets wider where the release starts to ... I don't know what it does, expand. I also think it has to do with pressing multiple times, the bubble pockets, etc, don't show up until after I have made my first press (I'm a sharp line girl, too).

Hmmm...I let my mandrels dry overnight, always.
Yes! I totally know what you're describing! I always thought I was the only one experiencing this since other beadmakers didn't know what I was talking about. Yay! We've got a support group! Maybe we can figure this out together!

Anyway when the release breaks for me, I always think it looks like a football shape.

Courtney - The release break happens in the middle of the bead so it has nothing to do with "new" areas being covered. You just end up with a football shaped breakage in the middle of the bead (along the mandrel) that's a pain in the butt to clean.
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Old 2005-12-08, 1:12pm
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Ah. Very strange. Somebody hurry up and figure it out - I'm curious!

Courtney
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Old 2005-12-08, 2:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirWatson
Yes! I totally know what you're describing! I always thought I was the only one experiencing this since other beadmakers didn't know what I was talking about. Yay! We've got a support group! Maybe we can figure this out together!

Anyway when the release breaks for me, I always think it looks like a football shape.

Courtney - The release break happens in the middle of the bead so it has nothing to do with "new" areas being covered. You just end up with a football shaped breakage in the middle of the bead (along the mandrel) that's a pain in the butt to clean.
It sounds like you are on your way with your only heating the edges. Somehow we have to get more people looking at this thread! *waves hands wildly!*

I'll try with the same press as you, so we are working the same thing at first...it happens to me with all shapes, lentils, etc. GAH! GRRR! Anyone???
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Old 2005-12-08, 2:31pm
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Yes! Look here! Look here!

I'll take some post some pictures when I get home of beads that have the funky release break in the middle. Maybe it'll help others to understand what we're talking about.

I've had this issue with pillows, tabs, tiles and lentils. Strangely enough, I don't think I've experienced it with squeezed/crunched beads. I don't usually press those more than once, but when I do, I haven't had "the breakage".

Let me know how your pillows turn out, and then we can test another shape.
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Old 2005-12-08, 2:33pm
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I'll take some photos too. Once we get them in here, maybe we can er, direct traffic in the family room down here. =)
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Old 2005-12-08, 2:33pm
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Sounds like a plan!
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Old 2005-12-08, 3:31pm
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OK, I know exactly what you are talking about. I wholesale simple etched lentil pendants and sometimes make 30 or so in one session. If I get a bunch that bubble it really sucks. So I had to figure this one out. I don't really know why but here is what works for me. I only use mandrels that have been dipped at least two days before. I use Foster Fire. I'm not sure it has to be a full two days but it works for me so I'm not messing with it.
The other way is to make sure you only press once. But that isn't always ideal so I gave up on that plan.
Maybe it is water and steam? I don't know but I sure know I sold a lot of them in my wonkies for habitat for humanity bowl
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Old 2005-12-08, 3:32pm
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pictures. Well here is a mental picture. Bubbles complete with release that seem to spiral or cluster around the hole, usually in the center of the bead. Sometimes you can't get to them to clean the release and even if you do they are still visable.
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Old 2005-12-08, 3:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyQ
pictures. Well here is a mental picture. Bubbles complete with release that seem to spiral or cluster around the hole, usually in the center of the bead. Sometimes you can't get to them to clean the release and even if you do they are still visable.
Bingo.

I use Sludge Plus. I have some timberwolf I could mix up I got in the last chinese auction. Karla, what are you using?


Suzy, if you press once, you just firepolish out your chills and deal with the shape being softer?
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Old 2005-12-08, 3:45pm
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Well, for the chunkly lentils I make the softer shape isn't really an issue. After one or two I can get them right on with the first press. I have made hundreds of these beads! The two day mandrels is my method of choice for every other press.
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Old 2005-12-08, 5:28pm
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Lunesse - I also use Sludge Plus (I LOVE THAT STUFF)! Maybe it's that release, but it would be nice if others could chime in with what they're using and if the type of release can cause it. We shouldn't have to be limited to only pressing once.

Anyway, here are the pictures I promised! It's one of the pillow beads I made last week:




Like we've mentioned earlier, we don't think it has to do with air in the release, but rather stress on the mandrel during multiple presses. Does anyone else have anything they can add. Tips? Thanks!
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Old 2005-12-08, 5:58pm
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I have the same problem with Foster Fire.
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Old 2005-12-08, 5:59pm
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I think it has to do with moisture in the bead release. Because after two days I don't have the problem. I get it with Foster Fire so I don't think it is the bead release.
Here is my theory: The water gets hot but is fine when you first press. After time the water turns to vapor and is trying to escape. When you press the first time you loosen the release from the mandrel. The second press applies enough pressure for the vapor to escape and it explodes off the mandrel into the molten glass. It happens in the center because the core of the bead is what remains hottest and/or because the press is forcing the vapor towards the center of the bead while pushing the glass to the center.

I have only seen this on my lentils and pillows. Have you ever seen it on a shape that doesn't have tapered sides like a pastille or tab? I haven't. This would support my pressure part of the theory.

Comments?
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Old 2005-12-08, 6:50pm
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That happens to me when I press twice and I use air-dried mandrels and Fusion bead release. Sometimes the bubble will go away or shrink down if I re-heat the bead thoroughly but not enough to have it lose shape. If that doesn't work, into the waterdish it goes. Sizzzle!
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Old 2005-12-08, 7:13pm
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My mandrels should be pretty darn dry, because I don't go through all of them in one sitting. As such some mandrels, can be days old, but I'll still get the broken release.

Regarding the shape theory, I've had this issue using the following presses:
  • pillows
  • lentils
  • tabs
  • tiles
The only shapes I have not experienced the breakage are squeezed beads or pastilles/lozenges.

I've tried to reheat the bead to shrink the gap that's formed along the mandrel, but for me it only gets bigger with each press.
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Old 2005-12-08, 7:41pm
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I'm having the problem with my tab presses.
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Old 2005-12-08, 9:00pm
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i know i have used mandrels that have been sitting dry for days. Karla, that photo is spot on! Exactly! Ok, time to get some others in here.... I'll go recruit.
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Old 2005-12-08, 9:35pm
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Pretty much what Kimberly said...I make a lot transparent frit on clear simple lentils and if the bead release is too thick it will flake or break during the pressing and leave a big bubble. That and if it isn't totally dry when I start to wind on my glass. I had fewer problems with Bucket O Mud than with any other type of release, but most recently I've been making my own release and I use it really thin and it seems to be working pretty well. Like I dip my mandrels then whack them on the side of my trashcan to knock off any excess.
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Old 2005-12-08, 9:55pm
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Hm.

I double dip, maybe I will do a batch non double dip. I also heat from tip to base of mandrel, the opposite of what Kimberly said.

I will try these two things as experiments, next week, no time this weekend, I gots a Bullseye class! Actually, I will ask if they have any ideas. I will bring a "football" bead with me.

So much to ponder here.
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Old 2005-12-08, 9:58pm
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I got a tip on this once... haven't tried it yet, or even thought about it until I saw this question.

She said not to overheat your beadrelease. If you're getting it red hot, that's too hot and bubbles will occur. If you have to flame dry your bead release just heat it until it turns the lighter gray color.

Those of you who are lucky enough to torch in this weather will have to come back and let us know what your experiments reveal.
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Old 2005-12-08, 10:02pm
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Huh. I thought red hot was appropriate when heating it up for use, after air drying.
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Old 2005-12-08, 10:02pm
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Sometimes I get a bubble without the bead release even breaking or cracking. Sizzle.
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Old 2005-12-08, 10:05pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunesse
Huh. I thought red hot was appropriate when heating it up for use, after air drying.
I just don't know... but that's what she said. Next time I get some time on a torch I'll try it out. I was getting them all red hot before use, but was getting a lot of cracked beads with my lentils. She thought it might be the bubbles that can form along the mandrel line with heating the release too much before laying the glass.
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Old 2005-12-08, 10:56pm
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Wow - I thought when it happened to me that I was doing something really wrong! At the time, I was using Foster Fire which I really liked, then quite suddenly, I would get those blasted bubbles along the mandrel like everyone's described. I've since switched to Bucket o Mudd, which I really love! I think my problem was two-fold: first, the Foster Fire had thickened. Water - such a simple solution! Second, I was heating the release way too much. Usually, I just get it to glow, but for some reason, I started to incinerate it! Anyway, I'm currently using the Mudd, and that stuff is really great! You can tug, yank, use, abuse (so to speak), and the stuff holds - and without a bubble in sight! Also, to divert for a moment, the Mudd, like Foster Fire is very smooth, and a suggestion I read about soaking beads in vinegar before cleaning them is probably at the top of my list of great suggestions! The release comes out so easily and the hole is left quite clear. I highly recommend trying this if anyone is having problems cleaning their beads! (Sorry for the diversion, but the vinegar works so well!) Renee
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