DIY Wax Fillet Tools (Michaels Mandala Dotting Tools)

Discussion in 'Foundry tools and flasks' started by Tops, Mar 17, 2024.

  1. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    I reworked my dotting tools into having wooden handles to use with my shiny new Amaz*n alcohol lamp. I should have sanded them better before stain and during polyurethane but still look forward to trying them.

    tops_fillettools (11).jpg

    Long Version:
    I got myself a set of these a while back, probably on someone's forum recommendation (Jeff?):
    tops_fillettools (1).jpg

    Kelly mentioned that the grips become an issue around open flame. I thought they could use a handle per ball.
    So I took them to work to cut in half, was told to use a vise...
    tops_fillettools (2).jpg
    I found some 3+1/2" x 1/2" tenon shaker pegs to use as handles. I spent a few minutes making a jig to drill them to accommodate the tapered tenons. Holes are about 3/4" (19mm) deep and 3/16" (4.7mm) diameter
    tops_fillettools (10).jpg tops_fillettools (9).jpg
    Then I set to taping them to avoid epoxy fingerprints in the final finish. Five minute epoxy with the excess wiped off while wet.
    tops_fillettools (3).jpg
    As mentioned previously, I did not sand the bare wood before stain, turned out to be a mistake.
    tops_fillettools (4).jpg tops_fillettools (5).jpg
    The first coat of poly was lumpy. I tried sanding between coats but first coat was still gummy. Pressed on anyways and discovered I had a nice drying rack.
    tops_fillettools (7).jpg
    And this takes us back to the top picture. Maybe I will wait a couple days and try re-sanding and a third coat of poly.
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  2. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    The do look like the ones I got. All I did was cut off the blue plastic sleeves, which got a bit melty when I left them on (as Kelly warned me also), but I like the idea of cutting them in half and putting nice handles on them. You could mark the size of each ball on its handle to save time measuring them every time you want to get precise with your fillet sizes.

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  3. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    I like that idea, part of the reason for cutting them was to not to have to remember which one of the ends I was using. They tend to roll around the table with the large wooden ends, maybe I'll add a flat spot to each.
  4. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    I took a look at the handles yesterday. Some of the polyurethane was still soft. I realized that as I opened the new can to dip the handles, I neglected to stir it both times I used it. I am debating whether to treat with Japan Dryer, sand/scrape/stir/re-coat, or use as is. I have two patterns almost ready for fillets but there is no good reason to hurry through any of it.

    tops_fillettools (12).jpg
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  5. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

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  6. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    Jeff, nicely done. The stamped markings and ferrules take them to the next level.
  7. Jammer

    Jammer Silver Banner Member

    I've been using mine for a couple years just as they came. I just love the smell of burnt plastic. OK, maybe not. I have some of those pegs somewhere. Looks like a great idea.
  8. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    I decided to upgrade my Mk I wax fillet mold (drywall corner bead heated with a MAPP gas plumber's torch ) to a Mk II machined plate and a cleaner DIY double boiler from an Aldi soup can, a beer can, and a bit of wire. This is also a Mk II as the Mk I boiler has a smaller soup can and was 'dirty' as it was used to melt raw comb so lots of 'bee debris'.
    I did a bunch of math in CAD to size the grooves, expressed in 4 places (.0001"/.003mm). The machinist had a good laugh, told me it's not going to happen, and made it for me anyways. The cutter was an insert type with a very small radius on the corner and worked best with multiple passes, deepest one getting 4 roughing at approx .050"/1.3mm deep and 1 finishing pass .005"/.14mm.
    I waxed it up with #2 release and went to pour. The pour was a mess, skips and globs, but the excess scrapes off easy with a knife. With only melting a small quantity of wax, the beer can cools the wax down after a few seconds without heat.

    I know these strips can be had pre-made but the messing around is more entertaining to me than the cash up front and storage afterwards.

    I am hoping to try the fillets out over the weekend on a couple new Roscoe-type flask brackets.

    Do people shellac-wax fillet-shellac or do the wax before or after shellac?

    tops_fillettools (13).jpg tops_fillettools (14).jpg
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  9. HT1

    HT1 Gold Banner Member

    I use Shellac to seal matchplates before I do anything , over fillets I use Auto Body Primer then Steel wool , normally I have to add a second coat of Primer , then steel wool with 00-000 with graphite powder , then its ready for parting and ramming

    V/r HT1
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  10. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    The patterns got spot puttied and sanded, then shellaced, followed by wax fillets.
    I like using the alcohol lamp and the tools with wooden handles.
    The home-molded fillet material was generally too big and I found myself spitting the fillets in half, kneading them to be longer/skinnier, and scraping lots off the patterns.

    tops_fillettools (15).jpg
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