Mouldy old dough
Posted by Martin on April 14, 2008
Brace yourselves, I’ve got a little bad news. But don’t get too worried, it’s not terminal.
I received a long-ish e-mail from Peter F. this afternoon describing some woes he’s been through this last week or so while trying to get the moulds finished for the first release of the Saxons. As you know, Peter is something of a perfectionist (a fact that we customers rejoice in normally) and as part of his quality control for the Saxons, he was inspecting and cleaning up the master moulds in readiness to make the production moulds when he noticed an unexpected loss of detail.
Slight aside: I really must ask Peter to walk me through this process one day so that I know the difference between master moulds and production moulds.
Anyway, Peter carried out a number of experiments to identify the cause of the problem. The first suspect was the batch of rubber used in making the moulds. But that was soon eliminated from enquiries after a trial to make production moulds with the same rubber (from stock only a couple of months old). Further experiments soon revealed a pattern with consistently only one side of the mould being adversely affected. Peter tells me that “eventually I could almost predict which figures would be affected”.
The cause? Well, to quote Peter’s words again: “I am fairly sure that the heating elements on the bottom platen of the vulcaniser are slowly burning out. There is a temperature variation of almost 20 degrees between the top and bottom plates and it is affecting one side of the plate more than the other. This is the reason for the lack of flow in the rubber as it is not reaching optimum temperature”. Now, I don’t really understand the technicalities of the mould-making process but I can understand that if the rubber isn’t heated to the correct temperature, it doesn’t acheive the correct state of liquidity to flow correctly and closely enough around the master figures to create a high definition mould.
The upshot of all this is as follows. The good news is that all the master figures for the first release of the Saxons are completed but the bad news is that Peter can’t, at present, make good enough moulds to go into production. Peter’s asked me to pass on his apologies to those of you waiting for these figures to become available and he’s busy penning an official annoucement that we’ll add the the Calpe Web site ASAP. We’ll be meeting up at Salute on Saturday, so I hope to be able to provide up-to-date news on Sunday.