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  • Footpump Blowhose Setup

    I got a few requests to explain my footpump setup a little more, so here are some pics with explanations. I have talked about it before on here, and I think even explained it in depth, but here it is in one spot with pics. It is incredibly easy to get set and use.

    I created this system about 10 years ago when I was doing a lot of inside out production frit. I was noticing I would occasionally get a grain or two of frit in my mouth, which I found unacceptable. I then switched to a blowhose, which alleviated the crunchy mouth, but I started to notice a funny taste in my mouth after using it for awhile. I held the blowhose in my mouth while I heated up the glass, I was actually pushing the off gassed shit from the frit into my mouth while I condensed it, yuk!. I then decided to use a blowhose but not keep the open end in my mouth - what a pain in the ass that was. I felt like I was fumbling with or untangling my blowhose more than I was using it.

    It was at this point that I came up with the footpump idea. It worked better than I had imagined, it only took a short time before using the footpump was second nature. I now use a footpump for 90% of the work I do, with safety not being the only reason. But like any tool, it has it's strengths and weaknesses.

    - You can apply pressure to the glass at any time at any angle (makes cleaner work easier and faster)
    - Safer
    - No fumbling for blowhoses, just plug it in and forget about it
    - The shit for linework (to give a slight puff after each wig to keep a nice even egg, and for doing precise stall and puffs for evening out uneven tubing like double layer bi polar) and for pushing bowls (if your hole shrinks down while heating your bowl, just do a little pump to keep the hole legit)
    - Frees up your mouth to talk more shit to your shopmates, while they are left defenseless blowing glass the old fashioned way

    - Not good for when a strong steady stream of pressure is needed (blowing out a large carb, doing a blow-in, etc.)
    - Forces you to sit for the majority of your work, otherwise you will be standing on one foot a lot
    - One more thing to travel with to other's shops - you won't want to leave it at home!

    NOTE: I did a bunch of AT and EBV blowins the other day not using the pump. I wasn't even looking for it or thinking about it, but I had a nasty weird taste in my mouth afterwards, and my tongue had a slight burning sensation. It was weird and I am quite sure it was the Unobtanium harshin me out, as you are definitely creating a lot of backpressure with a blowin.

    Anyway, onto the pics.

    Here is the footpump. I zip tied the pedal down about halfway to limit the amount of pressure with each pump. You can feather it for the slightest amount of pressure, or step on repeatedly for large amounts, with everything in between. I zip tied the whole unit to a small wood box to elevate it and stabilize it.

    Here is the connection point. I used 1/4" hard plastic line (like the water line for your fridge ice maker), which slides over the red cone adapter on the footpump nice and tight. I then just threw some electric tape over it just to make sure it wouldn't come out.

    Here is the hard plastic line coming up my station. I hung it on a loop to my side so it just hangs there in arms reach at all times, but is still out of the way. The normal 1/4" latex blowhose tubing fits right over the hard plastic stuff nicely. Make sure to poke at least one small hole in your plastic line so you don't create a vacuum. This is also another way to variate the pressure - more holes for less pressure, cover them up for more. I personally just have one small hole in mine, but season to taste. (Notice the 12" can fan mounted to the bench. I turn that on when pouring frit or creating dust which sucks it all out nicely. There is a backdraft damper on it so it is sealed when not it use.)

    Here are some of the stoppers and boots I use. You can get something to fit any tube you like. You can stick little pieces of 6mm in the holes to make them plugs. Note the Firekist swivel, if you use a swivel and don't have one of these you are really hating on yourself.

    I have yet to set one up on my lathe, but I turned another lathe worker onto this and he said he would never go back.

    Anyway, that is the long and long of it. Hit me up if you have any questions or comments!

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