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metal compatibility

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metal compatibility

Postby bertglass » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:28 am

Does anybody know if Bullseye frits are compatible with a metal substrate for metal enameling? I know, for instance, that Thompson's float compatible frits fit on 400 series stainless steel.

Firing on metal is quick because you only have to anneal the thin layer of frits, so you can add some frit, fire in 15 minutes,add some more frit, and on and on. It seems there would be a lot of cool applications for this approach.
Bert Weiss
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby hazeincornwall » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:01 am

Hi Bertglass,
Should be interested when someone replies to this query.
Currently am only am aware of use of glass based enamels on copper,that is the traditional enameling process.
regards
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby bertglass » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:59 am

hazeincornwall wrote:Hi Bertglass,
Should be interested when someone replies to this query.
Currently am only am aware of use of glass based enamels on copper,that is the traditional enameling process.
regards
hazeincornwall


Compatibility is required to fuse any 2 materials together, not just glass. The question is, is there a metal that works with BE?
Bert Weiss
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby Lani McGregor » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:01 am

Bert,

As I know you know, you need to first define compatibility to get a useful answer to this question.

We all know that very thin layers of glass or very small inclusions of various metals can be fired together without breaking apart - at least immediately.

That's not how we define or test for compatibility at Bullseye.

We haven't done extensive testing of thin layers of Bullseye frits or powders on metal substrates in our R&E department, so any opinion I could express would be conjecture.

Can you provide more detail on what you consider "successful" firings of Thompson float compatible frit on 400 series stainless - how thick a layer of frit? What is the gauge of the steel? Dimensions of the sheet?

Then how did you measure the supposed compatibility? Simply the fact that it didn't pop off the metal?

An interesting topic, but I suspect you have considerably more experience than we do. So cough it up :D

-Lani
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby bertglass » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:24 pm

Lani

Essentially Thompson enamels are made just like Bullseye frits. They are particle sized colored glass frits that happen to fit on various metal and glass substrates. Copper, gold, silver, and and low carbon steel have similar expansion properties, and their basic line of metal enamels fits them all. As I said, they report that their float compatible line of frits fit on 400 series (magnetic) stainless steel. I never actually tested this myself.

I would define compatibility as being able to create a panel that can live in the great outdoors, with glass fused to metal and the glass remains intact and stuck to the metal. There was a time when most gas stations were covered with glass on steel panels. Today every toilet and most sinks are made with a coating of glass over ceramic.

I looked on the Thompson site. They claim to have a line of frits that fits both 96 and Bullseye glasses. That is kind of a laugh. They describe this line as being "medium expansion and high temperature". On their lower temperature medium expansion line, they are compatible with copper, gold, silver, and low carbon steel.

Firing glass frits on metal is a neat process. You heat the kiln up to 1400 and place the panel in the hot kiln. You wait until the heatwork looks done, and then pull it out. Because the glass layer is so thin, annealing happens without extra effort. I once took a metal enameling class to learn how these folks work. Essentially what they do is pretty similar to what we do, except they work on metal and we work on glass. Except that with quick firings they do less work between firings and do more of them. To the bare eye the frits look like frits and as far as applying them to make art they are quite similar. Of course the technical issues of how the frits are made are critical to their success.

So I guess we need to get some metal enamelists to report whether or not Bullseye frits work for them. If they do, it is worth examining as a possibly killer app. Tile production for one thing could be economically feasible.
Bert Weiss
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby Lani McGregor » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:59 pm

Well, Bert, now I'm curious. I visited their site too. How their "medium expansion / high temperature" frits can be compatible with both System 96 and Bullseye defies my understanding of compatibility as we define it at BE.

So. I just ordered some. I'll report back in once we receive it and I can get it tested.

In the meantime, maybe someone with more experience than either of us will still pop in here and answer your question.

Cheers,
Lani
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby Lani McGregor » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:52 am

Hi Bert,

Fascinating info in your PM! Truly the kind of stuff that would benefit the glass community to learn.

Of course, I can understand your reluctance to be so candid in a public forum, but that’s what we put this place together for.

And don’t worry about lawsuits….we shot our lawsuit budget suing Spectrum a few years ago. I think the Woodinville guys are wasting theirs chasing Wissmach and I doubt that Thompson is watching this board anyway.

:lol: only sorta kidding.

But serious about keeping it on the Forum.

Warmly,
Lani
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby bertglass » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:03 pm

i'll give it a shot. Back in the 80's I was messing around with Thompson Enamels lead bearing float compatible colors. I did some pretty cool work with these. When I saw that Bill Helwig was going to teach metal enameling at Haystack school, I signed up to take the course, hoping to learn things I could apply to glass enameling. Poor Bill, I plied him with glass questions in his glass on metal class.

When I arrived at the class I learned that Bill had quit his job at Thompson. They were going through a tough period in their long history. Their head smelt man had also left and the glasses they were making were not up to their intended quality. I would buy a color and it would either not be compatible any more or the color had shifted. I know a lot more today about compatibility, than I knew then. Thompson uses cubic COE measurements to describe their glasses. You can't compare these with linear expansion, and of course, viscosity is just as important. Around this time, Thompson discontinued their lead bearing line and came out with a lead free line of glass frits. Personally I don't care for these colors. They lost their vibrancy. Eventually Thompson improved their consistency issues. By then I had moved on. Bill went back to work for them.

I decided to quit using the "float compatible" colors and switched to using onglaze style colors by Drakenfeld (now Ferro). "float compatible is a very misleading name. I have learned that float characteristics are quite broad and variable. What is compatible with one sheet of glass might not be compatible with another. Knowing which manufacturer makes the float glass you buy requires significant due diligence. From most sources it is impossible to know. I mention this in defense of Bullseye who guarantees that their glasses are compatible. You can just use them.

Last year I did quite a bit of research to start a tile company using Bullseye glasses. The failing economy stalled the effort. I am kind of excited about the possibility of creating a surface made of Bullseye glass on a thin metal substrate, backed up with cement, instead of on thick enough glass to yield sufficient strength. This could yield a compelling look with a fraction of the glass, power, and time consumption required to make the 6 - 9mm tiles I was working on. It is worthy of testing. I've ordered some copper for testing. We'll see.
Bert Weiss
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby Lani McGregor » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:52 pm

Bert,
Thanks for sharing. I'll be keen to hear the results of your tests and will share ours once we get the materials to test.

Cheers,
Lani
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Re: metal compatibility

Postby Thunderwomanartglass » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:25 pm

Bert, I have fused Bullseye glass to textured copper with varying results and I suspect the texture of the copper has as much to do with the result as anything. In one example, the glass and copper were fully fused. In another, I was able to pull the copper away from the glass without breaking. There was fire scale remaining on the glass and I fused it into another piece and received an awesome color change with the copper scale. The combination glass and copper piece that stayed together remains together after several months. These two pieces of copper had two different textures. That is the extent of my experience.
Good luck.
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