When I went into the CNC shop to fabricate my teapot base my expectations for the process flipped over the course of an hour-plus-long meeting with the talented lab tech Andrew. What we discussed was a multiple part strategy which goes as hastily sketched in my notebook by his hand and mine (the one with all the notes). Fair warning to anyone who wants to repeat this process- it is laborious.
- Laminate the maple into perfect blocks
- Do an initial rough turn of the block to create a cylinder
- CNC out a part which will clamp cylinder to the manual milling machine
- Center and clamp the cylinder to a rotary base and carefully bore out the center halfway down, flip and repeat. Drill your 1/4″ holes for dowels.
- CNC perfect endcaps to fit each end of the now hollow cylinder, include dowel dowl pegs so it can be turned without the part simply spinning in place.
- Fit your endcaps and return to the lathe for the last pass.
- Sand and finish.
4 cups & 3 teapots, fired ✓
My teapots came out of the kiln over spring break and they look great. I’ve made one more teapot and two more cups than I need in case anything goes wrong along the line. While I may make a few more in the long run, this is a good step towards having at least one set’s fabrication completely finished for filming during the next two weeks. Now on to the CNC part of my project!
After weeks of working in the ceramics shop I finished my four part mold and have begun casting my final ceramic piece- the teapot! I cannot adequately express how good it feels to hold this cool leathery earthenware clay form. While slip casting is only one leg of the fabrication journey, it is without a doubt the most time and labor intensive. Since the beginning of the semester I faced a steep learning curve. More than just understanding the process involved, I had to come to terms with the production speed of this medium. It’s been a humbling journey to arrive at this point. This success has kicked up my momentum to keep moving forward.