2003-05-05 Rev. 2003-08-17, -10-03, 2008-07-25, 2009-06-25
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| As I think about the reply (right), I
realize that many of the considerations of a portable rig are the same as
first building a studio on the cheap, with the added factors that the
equipment must stand up to moving and be able to be moved.
Insulating castable and insulating fire brick are lighter than the hard versions, but they are still heavy in bulk and they are fragile. The steel added to hold them together adds weight.
If the equipment is given wheels, it must be moved gently and if it is to be hoisted, the lift or crane must work smoothly and be strong. The springs on the trailer or truck must protect the equipment, especially if driving any distance where slower speed to protects against bounces is not an option.
I believe the result is the same as my first reply: frax for insulation.
| Is it possible to make a portable glassblowing rig
for use at Fairs, etc.?
Yes it is possible, the most critical choice being the annealer - are you going to save the glass you blow in the demo? I intended to build a portable site, but found my gloryhole weighed almost 200 pounds! By making the glory hole and furnace (perhaps combined) of fiber blanket, and a frax annealer, it is possible to save the glass. Either the annealer has to be fairly low power (my 2 cu ft one is 1100 watts) so it can be plugged in or there has to be a generator. I planned on a generator. I was going to put frax blanket or board in the annealer box to keep the glass from banging into itself and run the generator on a trailer to take it home or anneal overnight. Another choice would be to unplug the annealer, take it home hot, reheat to annealing temp and take it down from there.
|A number of portable rigs have been built, usually involving working on the ground either by unloading the trailer or standing beside it. There is a legendary rig that a guy built wherein photos exist of him working the glass from the furnace while in motion (about 25 mph) on the trailer. The best known "portable" rig is Aunt Alice (right) from Southern Illinois, which is very heavy, built on a double axle horse trailer chassis and requires a 250# propane tank be put in place and a high kilowatt power connection be made (100 amps plus)|
This is the astounding traveling rig of the Corning Museum of Glass as set up at the GAS Conference in Seattle in 2003. It is supplied with a lot of power and industrial strength natural gas. When at home, it is installed in a prepared space and becomes the summer/outdoor demonstration studio for the Museum.
The full width of the rig is not shown in the picture, extending more to the left, so when the light bar is retracted and the upper roof lowered and the lip of the stage raised, it becomes a standard sized over the road semi-trailer. The hand rail conceals the fact that the whole front is thick glass panels for visibility and safety. There is also a video screen, used with portable cameras. 2003-08-17
Corning has apparently parked the rig above most of the time, using it for classes and demos, while coming up with a set of equipment that they can configure in various ways and take out on the road in a less massive transportation operation. Called the Hot Glass Show Ultralight Hotshop [http://www.cmog.org/dynamic.aspx?id=6242] As shown on the site, it includes propane and electric glass melt and propane based glory and garage, everything on large enough wheels to make movement easy and safe.. 2008-07-25
The ultimate in portable rigs - if you own a yacht or cruise ship - is the studio that Corning has put on a cruise ship which is discussed and linked here
|Although it is a skill I have not worked on, it should be possible to build a unit like my Firehole, with glass in a crucible in the bottom and reheat in the space above it. This would allow small demos and if the glass pieces were either kept in a small low power annealer box or thrown out, it could be a small package.|
|Art Allison built a two barrel rig for some demos - glory hole over the glass melt in one barrel and anneal in the other, all frax. (Furnace at right)|
Message ----- From: Kika To:mikefirth
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 11:00 PM Subject:
Aloha from Hawaii!
I know of several mobile furnaces
and show a couple on my web site, besides having thought of doing
it myself.. My
experience is that unless you are willing to make a major serious
investment in a trailer, it is best to build the equipment of
frax fiber and live with the disadvantages of that. Art
Allison made small demo units to put in the back of a pickup.
SIU has a heavy rig taken to GAS conferences. There is a
legendary rig shown in slides at GAS of a guy blowing glass on a
trailer while it is moving.
The first choice to make is whether you are going to try and keep
the pieces made. If not, you will need no annealer.
If so, you will either need to leave the annealer plugged in
until the cycle is done, provide a generator to power the
annealer as you bring it back, or make the annealer thick walled
enough that you can bring it back without shocking the glass,
reheat and anneal properly. In any case, if you move the
annealer with glass in it, you will need spare frax blanket for
Contact Mike Firth