Monthly Archives: December 2012

Legacies of Glass

This post talks about the manufacturing of glass. First, glass is made from a bunch of different things. Silicon, lime, aluminum oxide, magnesium oxide and sodium carbonate are required in the manufacturing of glass; so sand, flint, limestone, soda (which is sodium carbonate), gold, nickel and other things are added in the combination process. The method for making flat glass is called the float glass process. 

The float glass process involves having a large furnace that mixes all the materials (listed above) together into an oven that heats up to 1600 degrees Celsius. In order to colour the glass, different metals are added to the batch. Iron makes green. Manganese shows purple. There’s a lot more that are shown in this website:

The heated up mixture is placed into a tin bath (a tub of molten tin) in order to make sure that the glass can be seen through and to make sure that the glass is nice and smooth. The glass from the tin bath is removed with some rollers. The speed of the rollers will determine the thickness of the glass. After all of that, the glass is cooled, cut and then sent for manufacturing.

There’s another way of forming glass called the glassblowing method, which is used to make vases and/or bottles and many other things. It involves blowing into molten glass with a long tube to make a bubble-like shape. Some glass bottles are still made using this method; however a lot of them are mass produced using machinery sending compressed air into the bottles instead of someone blowing through them. Some bottles are plainly carved from a piece of glass.hpm_0000_0001_0_img0021

The Finished Cabin Model 2

For the site plan of the cabin, I used a large board of wood with a big piece of foam that I got from my dad from his workplace. The foam was covered with some green cloth that I found around my house. The intention of the foam was to let me pluck in small trees into the foam, as it was very difficult to glue/tape on the tiny trees. A river was made from an Aeropostal bag (as I couldn’t find anything blue to put on), and the wind-turbine generator was made from paper/Bristol board.

The following explains about how I made the insides of my model:

For the windows, I cut out small sheets of plastic and then taped them within the inner walls of the cabin with duct tape. I then covered the inner walls with white paper, which helped hide the duct tape and the cardboard. For other parts of the cabin (including the rocket stove and the bathroom) I pieced together some cardboard using a glue gun and then covered them with white paper to hide the zig-zag patterns of the cardboard. For the doors and the ladder, I used some leftover balsa wood from my classmates and then glued them on wherever I needed them. For the foundation, I used four small pieces of wood to elevate the cabin.

Here are some more pictures of the cabin:



The Finished Cabin Model

I’ve finally finished my final cabin model! The cabin turned out better than I expected. Here’s a brief summary of how the construction went:

Since I used cardboard to make the walls of my cabin, I had some problems painting it with watercolours, as the paint wasn’t very visible (I could still see the Cheerios logo in the background from where I got the box from). As a result, I decided to cover the cardboard with white paper and then paint over it. This, however, caused to the paper to get really soggy and sometimes rip, so I had to tear off the white paper. Now that I think about it; this idea could have worked a lot better if I were to just use a thicker type of paper – one used especially for water colouring, or if I used a different kind of paint, like the paint used to paint walls. Instead, I thought of a much worse idea by covering the cardboard with drywall compound to help make the paint stick on it more easily (The actual use of drywall compound is to stick sheets of drywall together like a type of plaster or mud). In the end, the drywall compound caused the cardboard walls to curve slightly once it dried. Also, it caused some of the drywall to peel off and/or crack; thus revealing the cardboard within the cabin (in which I had to fix after); although this was probably due to my limited skills in using drywall compound, as the drywall compound appeared really bumpy in texture and had an uneven coating. When I glued every piece together, the four outer walls looked better than I expected (what I expected was having large ovular gaps between each corner in which the walls were glued together; however the walls stayed together appropriately due to the strength of the glue from the glue gun). All in all, I would advise planning your steps beforehand using project management to reduce the workload to yourself and to increase efficiency while working. Here’s a document I found on Google about the basis of Project Management:

For the roof of the cabin, I also used cardboard. I cut out the pieces of the cardboard according to the measurements made on AutoCad, and then pieced them together. I then covered the roof with cut out strips of black Bristol board to make the shingles look more realistic. I then added shish-kabob skewers within the roof to act as roof trusses (I don’t have any pictures of that now, but I’ll include them in my next post).

As for what I learned about the process of model-building; I find it quite relaxing and fun to do. Looking at my final product, I feel as if though I’ve accomplished a great goal in my life. Modelling the building allowed me to gain a better¬† idea about what it was that I was trying to build. While constructing the cabin, I’ve discovered several problems about my design (such as having a roof that was too small to fit a rain barrel within it); hence through modelling I was able to improve my design aesthetically and structurally. In addition, I found it frustrating to work with such small pieces in the cabin; so I guess model-building also requires a lot of patience and diligence.

Here’s a picture of the cabin:

I'll be sure to take more pictures after. The angle on this one's not the best, and the flash makes it look not-as-good

I’ll be sure to take more pictures after. The angle on this one’s not the best, and the flash makes it look not-as-good