Archive for November, 2011

Oxycon maintenance: getting to the fan in a DeVilbiss

I had oxycon problems recently: seemed to overheat and cut out, so I peered about and could see that some of the sound insulation foam had fallen into the fan. I got instructions from Martin Tuffnell on how to get at the fan, because I didn’t want to have to ship it off and have to take days off to wait about for couriers!

(I also redid the clear oxygen hose connection at the torch end, as recommended by Sue on Frit-Happens. Undid the jubilee clip, chopped a couple of cm off the end, reconnected. In case it had developed a small crack and leak there).

I documented my oxycon-deconstruction in case it’ll be useful for anyone else. This is a 5lpm DeVilbiss from Tuffnell Glass.

We shall begin after having taken off the front and back parts of the case (there are screws in the handle in the top, on either side, and I think on the bottom as well – didn’t note that part!). You just need a flathead screwdriver for those. Then the case front and back lift out.

This is what the interior looked like, viewing from the back. The foam is falling to bits a tad. The thing in the middle is the compressor – the fan is underneath it.


Since the fan is under the compressor, you have to take the compressor out. First of all, on the front of the machine there are two recessed hex nuts that hold it in:


You need a tool to undo these. I got a 3/8in drive metric socket set (from Argos, as it was open when I needed them and the set was about £11.99 on sale). You want the 10mm socket – the set comes with a bunch of different sized sockets, a couple of extender arms, the T handle and a ratcheting handle too, so now I can undo these in all directions! The pieces click together, so here I’ve used the 10mm socket, the longer extension arm and the T handle. Makes undoing and redoing the hex nuts easy peasy.


I didn’t know which size I needed, which was another reason to get a full set – you can get them cheaper from Amazon, and also look for tap back nut spanners or box wrenches as they’re the same kind of thing. You basically need a hexagonal end on a long body.

Next, look at the back of the oxycon. There are a few things to undo here.
1. A jubilee clip attaching a hose to the compressor.
2. Two screws holding down the steel plate the compressor has as a base.
3. The compressor’s wiring connector.


A flathead screwdriver will do for the jubilee clip and the screws, and the wiring connector just pulls apart: one half is slotted into the other.


The compressor’s still connected to a hose at the back – I didn’t know how to undo that one so just left it connected. There’s enough give to lift and swivel the compressor out and put it on something level with the oxycon (I used the toolbox the socket set came in). Now it’s out of the way and you can see the fan!


The fan is screwed in with 6-pointed star screws. I don’t have a screwdriver that can do these, so didn’t actually take it out. I could however pull the pieces of foam that had fallen in it out through the gaps with a pair of long needlenose pliers. (I think the stars may be 5mm point to point. I measured it but can’t remember if I wrote it down).


I’d taken out some of the more falling-to-pieces foam from inside the case as I went – it’s for soundproofing rather than anything more important. Then I reattached everything, leaving the case back off temporarily so I could run it for a minute and be able to see that the fan was going. It was, so I put the case back on too.

There we go!

Like I said, it may not have been the fan that was the problem in this case, but it did have foam in it and the oxycon isn’t overheating anymore. And if I ever have to replace the fan, I know how to now!

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CiM Creamsicle disgruntlement!

I had a rod of CiM Creamsicle in my original starter pack – just a little skinny rod, and I’ve used over half of it and have been hoarding the rest until I get more, because it was a lovely creamy orange.

I made an order in Martin’s 20% off CiM sale – it was one of the needed rather than wanted choices, as I’m actually out of orange entirely now! I have plenty of yellows.

I was a bit dubious about the rod colour when it arrived, but thought that maybe it would strike darker when melted. Noooooo! It came out yellow!

Apparently the colour changed at some point – no more lovely orange :(
The colour examples on CiM’s website don’t show this yet (and I did double check that I hadn’t missed anything).

See the difference!


Also shown on this picture is the old pastel yellow, which was lighter than creamsicle but a similar lovely warm colour. Again, I had one rod, got more, and the new batch was yellower. I still like pastel yellow – it’s my default yellow because it’s still a bit warmer than some of the others, but it isn’t mango orange anymore. With that one, I was thinking it was just like coral and would vary batch to batch. With both of them changing in the same way, I’m wondering if it had something to do with the ingredients? We expect consistency from CiM so it’s unusual when something like this happens and they don’t make a note about it.

ETA: Kathy from CiM has sorted this out for me; it appears this batch should really have been labelled as a Unique. See my post CiM reds and creamsicle update!

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Of earrings and business cards

I made some earrings last week that are now up for sale at HeatherKellyGlass on Etsy. They’re my own lampwork beads: green core encased with clear and with red-orange dots on the surface. I wire-wrapped the beads onto fine silver headpins (that I made with my soldering torch!) and dangled them from my handmade sterling fancy earwires, so they can dance about as you move. They *can* be festive if you like, but they’re also suitable for wearing all year round.

I finished doing my DTP for designing business cards and stickers last night, so my order to has gone in. If you sell on Etsy, you can get a free pack of 50 full-size business cards from Moo – they have a small Etsy logo in the bottom left of the photo side. It’s worth going through to the image upload section before you design them fully so you can see where the logo will go, especially if you’re putting your business name on that side. I had to do a quick bit of moving things around, but I think they look rather good now, if I do say so myself! I refreshed my Mini Moo card designs at the same time and ordered a new pack, plus a sticker book. Cos I like stickers! Now I will have stickers with close-ups of my beads on them! Moo’s 30% off sale ends tonight – if you don’t have time to get in there, I’ve got a referrer link that should give you 10% off if you’re a new customer (and it gives me some points towards an order).

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Busy, busy, busy! And more Lauscha

It’s been a rather hectic week and half! I’ve had another Lauscha delivery (glass up on I have some odds: Grey Tint and Blue-Reddish (I tried to find a better name for the Blue-Reddish, but none were forthcoming and periwinkle is already taken to refer to a different colour…). I have a little SNT 230 Copper Ruby, which is an intriguing glass: transparent greyish olive in the rod, clear in the flame… strikes opaque brick red in the kiln! More of that is on order. A little bit of Czech glass from the guys at Lauscha taking over a workshop: transparents including a lovely deep blue, plus some white opalino. And a restocking of the soft clear.

So I’ve had all of that to make test beads of, cut and weigh the rods, photograph them, make labels and get them all up on my website so people can actually buy them! On top of that, my oxycon had troubles the weekend before last and needed taking to pieces and investigating. All working now *touch wood* and I documented the process in case it’s useful to anyone else, so there are more photos to edit for that! I’ll post it here too, once I get it written. It shows you how to get to the fan in a DeVilbiss, which is fairly involved and needs two specialised tools. I hadn’t had a look inside before, innnteresting. There are tubes and cylinders everywhere, and of course the compressor taking up a chunk of the space.

Oh, I did a blues comparison for the Odd Blue-Reddish, because blues are notoriously difficult to photograph accurately, so yu can see more accurately what’s what with them all side-by-side. Lauscha, a fair bit of CiM, some Effetre and Vetrofond. These aren’t all the blues I have, just the ones in the same sort of area. May do a more comprehensive one that also includes CiM glacier as I left that out. It also shows Lauscha sky blue, which is a lovely baby blue opaque. I asked for some to test as I had no idea how different it was from other sky blues: very much so! Will be getting some in the future.


I got a bundle of mystery glass: Kate Drew-Wilkinson’s brother was auctioning off a box of her old glass, including some stained glass. I won it, and he very kindly let me pick it up within London, so we went on an adventure one night to collect it and trundle it back via the Tube in my oh-so-trusty wheely trolley. (I did have to mend the bag beforehand, as it came a cropper when transporting the long boxes of Lauscha round the corner and up the stairs). Anyway, mystery glass! I cleaned it all up (the stained is gorgeous and I’m not sure I’ll be able to bring myself to cut it up for beads) and spent some time trying to work out what exactly it was! Think I have it IDed as Plowden & Thompson 93coe – I have a sample pack from them and some of the colours match exactly. Am also meaning to photograph those and see if anyone can give me colour names for the others. I have a lot of a very neon transparent green. Maybe I ought to try making mad scientist beads!

Etsy listings are continuing apace. I’m trying for one a day and frequently failing – getting 5 good photos edited for everything is killer.

In my oh-so-copious spare time (*snort*), I am trying to design some earrings made with semi-precious beads that I’m happy with. I can do lampwork earrings, and I can do semi-precious ones that mimic lampwork earrings: ie the actual design is simple and the bead or stone does all the work, but I’m trying to use some of the smaller beads I have in something a tad more complex and am not getting far. I want to use some hammered copper rings, for example, but use them with sterling earwires without that looking out of place, so that needs more silver accents elsewhere… and I don’t have any larger sterling jumprings to tie things together, so I think I need to make some of those first. It’s a bit frustrating, because it takes me a couple of hours of staring at components and trying them before I start to get anywhere, and then it’s bed time! That’s without distractions.

Oh, I’m also designing myself some more Moo business cards: if you sell on Etsy they have an offer where you can get a free pack of 50 full-size business cards (with Etsy logo on) free, and Moo are also having a 30% discount this weekend and I fancy some of my own-branded stickers, because wouldn’t that be awesome? Anyway, the DTP package is out (I use Scribus, it’s open-source, free and pretty good!) along with yet more photo editing. Am very happy with the way some of my photos look at full res, though! Much love to my camera: it’s a Panasonic Lumix TZ6 and a fab little worker.

That’s enough waffle for right now, I think!

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Birds of Paradise

These are something I’ve been working on. I’ve been wanting to have a go at pictorial/painterly beads for a while, and I started with birds of paradise because they have such beautiful plumage (and you can go off and make your own fantastical ones with ease once you’ve got started).

Here’s what I’ve been up to so far: the first pair I did off the top of my head. The blue one was the second and I wasn’t happy with the shape at all! The head came out much too big.


Version 3 was better. I do like the feathery fuzzing out I got at the side by superheating CiM hades. He’s perhaps a little vulture-shaped, though!


After that I went and found reference. I have a large collection of bird of paradise pictures now, arranged by species. I concentrated on Lesser Birds of Paradise to begin with, so the colours are reddish-brown, tan, yellow and white.

30.10.11_BirdofParadise_v4 30.10.11_BirdofParadise_v4_back

Version 4 (above) I got a bit over-enthusiastic with the feathers and the bird takes up rather a lot of space on the bead! I started doing green viney backgrounds too. This one’s fairly painterly in style.

03.11.11_birdofparadise_v5 03.11.11_birdofparadise_v5_back

Version 5 above is simplified and a bit sketchier. I rather like this one!

06.11.11_birdofparadise_v6_2 06.11.11_birdofparadise_v6_back

Version 6: looking back over his shoulder, a handsome fella! Fairly raised from the surface, this one. I want to start making the background darker green for this type.

I’m going to make more, including different species. Some of them have lovely patches of iridescent feathers: I’ll be breaking out the silver glass for those!

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Lauscha Caramello test results

I did some testing of Lauscha SNO 630 caramello recently.


It’s a creamy, caramelly warm beige that looks good with reduced silver leaf. It’s also really nice to use instead of white in black-and-white scrollwork beads, for a warmer but still crisp and elegant look.

You can see the full results here: Caramello Testing on

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