We forgot to empty our bird bath last fall so when the water froze it cracked the ceramic bowl. Instead of buying a new one I decided I would try making one out of a scrap piece of Corian.
I started by cutting some scrap pieces of 2x4’s into segments to make an octagon, and then glued them up on a piece of plywood. Next I created a molding tool path in VCarve to create a bowl shape. Once I had that I carved out both male and female mold forms. If you notice in the first picture there is a hole in the center. I used a long bolt and my T-track to hold the piece down since I could be carving away the perimeter.
Once I had the two molds complete I put the Corian in the oven at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes. Then I placed the Corian between the two mold pieces and clamped all around the perimeter. After it cooled down for several hours I removed and clamps and it was done.
I later discovered that birds see the color white as danger and they would not use it. So now a friend is painting them with some epoxy paint. I also discovered that the original piece of Corian that was 1/2" thick was a little difficult to form. In the future I think I would mill the thickness down a bit.
Forgive my ignorance please. You taught me two things that I didn’t know (birds disliking white and heat forming corian). Thank you for that, but I’d like to try for a 3rd. Did you make your own corian or did you just use a sheet and heat mold it?
I’m wondering how you adjusted the pressure within the mold if you simply used heat. Likewise, if you made your own corian, would you please link to some instructions? I poked around on the web and found product descriptions and lots of references to corian counters.
Thank you for posting and teaching me a couple of things!
My Corian was a leftover piece from a countertop. Possibly a sink cutout. I got it free from a countertop company.
The molding process was to simply heat up the sheet in the oven until it was soft throughout. Then I clamped it between the male and female molds. The clamps were tightened down until I couldn’t clamp them anymore. I used eight clamps around the perimeter. One clamp for each segment of the octagon.
Super project, this is just a great project to get the ideas running around in my head!
I should have known better. I do not know why but somehow I was imagining that you had made the material and had to mold it while soft and then fire it in the mold–don’t ask.
Thanks for the explanation.
You sir, are a ninja!! Great work!!
I wonder if carving into the Corian before forming would work or look good, especially on the walls?
Thanks for all of the compliments everyone.
I like the idea of doing some light carving on the Corian before forming it. You could carve in some decorative patterns or something. The decorative pattern would also provide a foothold for the birds to grasp when standing on the ramped side walls. The only downside might be that those small recesses would collect dirt.
Just be careful that carving before forming isn’t the same as a tattoo:
Ink a flower, induce some stretching, voila… garden.
I like the idea of a pattern, especially being dual purpose. Not sure what the actual process is called, but when you create an outside boundary vector around what you want to V-Carve, it removes the material around the V-Carve vectors and is like an embossing effect.
Just find the right pattern (or customized words, or Texture toolpath in Vectric, etc.) with enough clear space in-between the elements that are sitting proud of the surface, without going crazy with the depth, and it would be more of surface finish. Yeah, at a bird bath scale, there may be a bit of material to remove but I would imagine you can (have to) open the throttle quite a bit on this material.
Wanna get fancy? Design a 3D model in CAD.
@SurfinGump Like a relief carving? Say you wanted a name to be prominent, you’d carve all of the surrounding area and leave the letters standing taller?
That’s a great idea BTW.