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

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  #1  
Old 2012-11-29, 6:52am
Steven Steven is offline
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Default Bubbles in Transparent

Hi, sorry for these simple questions, but I did a search for "bubbles" and did not find anything.

I am just learning and many of my transparent beads have bubbles in them. Some have just a few large and small bubbles (which I assume is ok?) But some have many many small bubbles. I assume this is probably not good and I am doing something wrong.

Also, I have just a few mandrels now and want to order more. What size would you suggest for someone just learning with 104 glass? I just want them for making "basic" beads to learn how.

Thank you
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  #2  
Old 2012-11-29, 7:00am
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do you have bubbles in your rods? that'll do it.

it could also be from not gathering enough on the rod before making the base bead. make your blob bigger, smaller gathers give you more chances of getting air in your bead due to your basically just casing thin layer over thin layer.
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  #3  
Old 2012-11-29, 8:00am
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You could also be boiling your glass.
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  #4  
Old 2012-11-29, 8:12am
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Some transparents are just bubbly. You can try working cooler. What is your torch setup?

3/32 mandrels would be my recommendation.
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  #5  
Old 2012-11-29, 8:14am
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Hi Steven and welcome to the fun!

There are a few reasons why bubbles occur...
The first happens when you are laying down your footprint. Your mandrel must be warmed well enough to accept the glass. Make sure your mandrel has a nice orange glow before you lay down your first wraps of glass.

Another issue is overcooking the glass. Some glass is more susceptible to boiling than others. If your glass starts boiling in the flame, pull the hot bubbly tip off with tweezers and work back in the cooler part of the flame. Dirty, scummy and scratched rods can cause bubbling too. There are ways to clean them first that you can learn about if you search here on LE.

Then there is trapping air while winding on glass. This will get better with practice (PPP). Try to always get the edge of the glass you are adding to touch the edge of the glass that is already laid down, and smooth out one layer of glass before adding the next, where possible.

I hope this helps... Good luck to you! Oh and about the mandrels, 3/32" are a standard and are a good size for getting started. You can save yourself some $$ by going to a welding supply store and asking for 3/32 welding wire, or uncoated welding rods... I've heard them called both... then cutting them to the length you need.
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  #6  
Old 2012-11-29, 9:03am
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In simple beads you can cycle the bead between orange and cool to encurage the bubbles to raise the top and simply work them selves out.
More difficult bubbles can be removed with tweezers.

As for mandrels 3/32 work well 1/8" is a lot more durable if your abuseing your mandrels.

Your local welding shop should have them as TIG rod. make sure to buy Stainless. Cut them to lenth and smooth the edges a bit with sandpaper.

You can search "mandrels for sale" and find a few people selling them.
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  #7  
Old 2012-11-29, 11:21am
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Also make sure your bead release is thoroughly dried. Steam and other gasses come up from moist mandrels and add more bubbles to your beads. You know you don't have enough mandrels when you have to dip more in the middle of a session!

If its too late, and you have some larger bubbles in the bead, cool it down, then heat the surface of the bubble HOT, and then blow on it. It should pop. Then carefully melt in the crater. If you are seeing bead release in the center of the hole/crater then you know it is coming up from the bead release. If not, you might be winding air into your beads as you add glass to the mandrel. And it's happening in the opaque beads, too, you just are not seeing it -- and that can make them break.

These are the details that you work on after you get through your first newbie stage. So welcome to stage two!
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  #8  
Old 2012-11-29, 11:33am
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To add to what's already been said, dirt on the glass rod can cause bubbles too so you need to make sure that your rods are clean before working. Rubbing them with alcohol or vinegar works well but avoid water, which would hydrate surface cracks and cause more bubbles.
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  #9  
Old 2012-11-29, 1:50pm
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Could someone please answer this question cross-posted from a thread that no one replied to a few days ago:

I clean my rods with alcohol, and the first application/winding on of an encasing layer is just fine, but after I flame cut the tip of the rod and then try to add more glass from the flame-cut tip (or use that same rod to encase another bead later), there's a million tiny bubbles in that flame-cut tip. Every time I flame-cut the glass it gets these million tiny bubbles, so the only time I can apply clear without getting any bubbles is on a brand new rod. How do I prevent this, short of cutting all my clear into small, bite-size pieces?

A friend told me the best way to prevent scumming was to remove a small dollop of glass from the tip of every new rod, but the way I work my clear that would just give me more bubbles.
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  #10  
Old 2012-11-29, 3:16pm
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Aimee, I've discovered this, too. And it's a fairly recent thing, which seldom happened on the hothead except certain colours that were just buggers that way. Then again I'm also still learning to use a torch with oxy. In which case I'm thinking I'm simply working it way too hot/close to the torch. So I put it further out in the flame, and it goes away.
I conclude, then, that at least for me, while having this new firepower is just wonderful in so many ways, there remains the need for patience for certain things.
I even boil boro, which is really telling me something
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  #11  
Old 2012-11-29, 4:01pm
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I have tried going a bit farther back, but maybe I need to go farther back still. I'm afraid that if I go TOO far back I won't be melting the glass at all! LOL

I was watching a Corina video on YouTube last night and she was flame cutting her clear right in her flame, close to the torch. What kind of glass is she using that isn't bubbling like mine does?

Quote:
Originally Posted by essiemessy View Post
Aimee, I've discovered this, too. And it's a fairly recent thing, which seldom happened on the hothead except certain colours that were just buggers that way. Then again I'm also still learning to use a torch with oxy. In which case I'm thinking I'm simply working it way too hot/close to the torch. So I put it further out in the flame, and it goes away.
I conclude, then, that at least for me, while having this new firepower is just wonderful in so many ways, there remains the need for patience for certain things.
I even boil boro, which is really telling me something
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  #12  
Old 2012-11-29, 4:46pm
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Maybe Lauscha. Pretty hard to get that to bubble!

Steven,
You also don't want to melt in sawed off ends of your rods. Those will bubble too.
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  #13  
Old 2012-11-29, 6:51pm
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Thank you all so much for all the great info! I will check all the suggestions and keep practicing. And thanks for the idea on using welding rods! I didn't know that.
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Old 2012-11-30, 5:06am
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Your local library and inter library loan may have a few books on Lampworking.
"Creating glass beads" talks a bit about removing in wanted bubbles.
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  #15  
Old 2012-11-30, 5:35am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven View Post
Thank you all so much for all the great info! I will check all the suggestions and keep practicing. And thanks for the idea on using welding rods! I didn't know that.
Make sure you get stainless steel rods, and not copper clad mild steel. There are several threads on the site about which Stainless Steel alloys work the best for bead mandrels.
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  #16  
Old 2012-11-30, 8:35am
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I have a newbie question. Is it possible that some clear are more prone to make bubbles?

Someone sent me some Effetre Super Clear and it's way better than my regular clear.
I checked in many threads about clear and I believe that this Double Helix Zephyr is one of the best clear. It's too pricey for me at the moment but I am putting it in my wishlist.
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  #17  
Old 2012-11-30, 8:46am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolflord View Post
I have a newbie question. Is it possible that some clear are more prone to make bubbles?

Yes, no two clears are created equal. Neither are any two batches of the same clear, from my experience. There are many threads about it.

I've gotten consistently good results from Lauscha clear over the years, Effetre Super Clear is ok if it's not too thick, and I've yet to try Uroboros' or any of the DH clears. Of the other 108 I've tried (Reichenbach, CIM, Effetre 004, Vetrofond, Kugler) none was good, but it could've just been issues with the batches or my workstyle.
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Old 2012-11-30, 9:21am
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Steven, if you can find yourself a beginner class somewhere with a good beginner teacher it would really help you learn faster.
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Old 2012-11-30, 9:35am
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YouTube videos are helpful too. I find watching someone making a bead to be immensely useful.
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Old 2012-11-30, 9:41am
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You could also be boiling your glass.
This. For the first few years I was convinced it was the glass. Once I started to work higher and much cooler (slow down, slow down!) I discovered most of them were my fault for boiling the glass.
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Old 2012-11-30, 10:27am
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I normally use Effetre Super Clear (006) and it works great.
I had a few thicker rods of it from adifferent supplier and it immediately fizzed into tiny bubbles, although I was able to keep heating it slowly & most of them disappeared. Luckily I was using it as the core of my bead, so it didn't make much difference to me.
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Old 2012-11-30, 1:23pm
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Effetre glass is made in Murano of course so it is optimized to be worked with Muranese torches, which have as a general rule softer flames than many northern American torches. Oxygen-rich aggressive flames like GTTs for examples are not the best to use with this glass, they will tend to make it boil. So to minimize bubbles in Effetre, work cooler and farther out in the flame and lower the oxy pressure if you can.
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Old 2012-11-30, 1:55pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyssa View Post
I have tried going a bit farther back, but maybe I need to go farther back still. I'm afraid that if I go TOO far back I won't be melting the glass at all! LOL

I was watching a Corina video on YouTube last night and she was flame cutting her clear right in her flame, close to the torch. What kind of glass is she using that isn't bubbling like mine does?
Aimee, try keeping the very tip out of the flame until it melts in with the rest of the rod. I use Effetre Super clear too...love it.
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Old 2012-11-30, 2:00pm
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I don't understand what you're saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheila D. View Post
Aimee, try keeping the very tip out of the flame until it melts in with the rest of the rod.
Oh, and while watching another Corina video last night I heard Corina says she uses Crystal Clear. So now we know.
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Old 2012-12-01, 12:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne Londez View Post
Effetre glass is made in Murano of course so it is optimized to be worked with Muranese torches, which have as a general rule softer flames than many northern American torches. Oxygen-rich aggressive flames like GTTs for examples are not the best to use with this glass, they will tend to make it boil. So to minimize bubbles in Effetre, work cooler and farther out in the flame and lower the oxy pressure if you can.
GTT torches are only oxygen-rich and aggressive when you dial them in to that setting (which, btw, some glasses need - so it's better for a torch to have that capacity than not, if you plan to be able to work with the widest selection of glass).



I have no trouble working Effetre (or any other 104 COE glass) on my Phantom and I don't have to adjust my regulator to do it (when on tanked - I work mostly on concentrators). When I was a beginner, I was told by people on the glass forums that I had to adjust my regulator between working soft glass and boro, but I quickly learned that the valves on GTTs are precise enough that I can still have good control fine tuning the flame without lowering the pressure for soft glass. With other torches, however, the valves are not as precise (they have more "slack") and you may indeed need to lower the pressure to have better control over your fine tuning.

At any rate, Steven, make sure your rods are clean and not scratched, adjust your regulator to your torch manufacturer's recommended setting, adjust your flame so that it is a soft neutral flame (fuel and oxygen are balanced just right to give an efficient flame), and preheat your bead release before warming your rod and laying your footprint, as mentioned earlier. Start further out in the flame and work your way in to find the sweet spot. Typically, on 1/4" candles, it's going to be at about 3" (thereabouts) from the face of the torch. The longer you run your candles, the further out you will want to work.

The candles on your torch are the little blue jets with tips on the end and they will help you know the flame chemistry. The longer the yellow/white tips, the more fuel-rich the flame is. A solid neutral flame suitable for working Effetre will generally have candles that are about 1/4" to 3/8" long with yellow/white tips on them that are 1-2mm. The more fuel you add, or the more oxygen you take away, the longer those tips will be. The more oxygen you add, or the more fuel you take away, the shorter the tips will be. You can tell when a flame is about to go into reduction when the yellow tips of the candles start forming little points (feathering or streaking). Otherwise, they are nice and rounded.

If you run candles that are any shorter than 1/4", then you will want to run more oxygen through the torch. They should be all blue, with no yellow/white tips. Otherwise, you could have carbon issues (on any torch).
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Old 2012-12-01, 1:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyssa View Post
I don't understand what you're saying.



Oh, and while watching another Corina video last night I heard Corina says she uses Crystal Clear. So now we know.
Let me see if I can explain this better. First, when you pull the tip off, try not to leave a pointy end. The tip is of course thinner than the rest of the rod so when you start to melt it, it bubbles. Move the rod around a little, get it warm, turning, then soft and then start your gather. You might try turning your propane down too.
BTW, I don't think Crystal Clear is a brand, Corina uses several clears.
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  #27  
Old 2012-12-01, 1:27pm
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Great post, Kim. Triple mix GTTs get a bad rap here. Seems folks here want the ease of use of a hothead, with no adjustment, and the performance of a Mirage. Been working my Mirage for just over a year and I love it for working both soft and boro. Muranese torch? Just what is that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbinkster View Post
GTT torches are only oxygen-rich and aggressive when you dial them in to that setting (which, btw, some glasses need - so it's better for a torch to have that capacity than not, if you plan to be able to work with the widest selection of glass).



I have no trouble working Effetre (or any other 104 COE glass) on my Phantom and I don't have to adjust my regulator to do it (when on tanked - I work mostly on concentrators). When I was a beginner, I was told by people on the glass forums that I had to adjust my regulator between working soft glass and boro, but I quickly learned that the valves on GTTs are precise enough that I can still have good control fine tuning the flame without lowering the pressure for soft glass. With other torches, however, the valves are not as precise (they have more "slack") and you may indeed need to lower the pressure to have better control over your fine tuning.

At any rate, Steven, make sure your rods are clean and not scratched, adjust your regulator to your torch manufacturer's recommended setting, adjust your flame so that it is a soft neutral flame (fuel and oxygen are balanced just right to give an efficient flame), and preheat your bead release before warming your rod and laying your footprint, as mentioned earlier. Start further out in the flame and work your way in to find the sweet spot. Typically, on 1/4" candles, it's going to be at about 3" (thereabouts) from the face of the torch. The longer you run your candles, the further out you will want to work.

The candles on your torch are the little blue jets with tips on the end and they will help you know the flame chemistry. The longer the yellow/white tips, the more fuel-rich the flame is. A solid neutral flame suitable for working Effetre will generally have candles that are about 1/4" to 3/8" long with yellow/white tips on them that are 1-2mm. The more fuel you add, or the more oxygen you take away, the longer those tips will be. The more oxygen you add, or the more fuel you take away, the shorter the tips will be. You can tell when a flame is about to go into reduction when the yellow tips of the candles start forming little points (feathering or streaking). Otherwise, they are nice and rounded.

If you run candles that are any shorter than 1/4", then you will want to run more oxygen through the torch. They should be all blue, with no yellow/white tips. Otherwise, you could have carbon issues (on any torch).
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