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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Resin Casting Update
The Death and Resurrection of a Vision

Hi all!


You can tell from the title of this post that I have some bad news!  My resin casting test of the dollhouse Entry Floor was a total failure!


Photo Courtesy of Public Domain Pictures.net

The Resin was still sticky after 96 hours....it LOOKED gorgeous, but was totally unusable! There was a sticky residue on the top that made the surface entirely unusable for the application I wanted...i.e. Entry Floor!




But not to worry...

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

After I finally realized that The Resin on my resin casting test was just not going to cure properly, I called around to various stores that I thought might have folks who knew what they were doing with casting resins.  I knew I had followed the directions to the "T"...so why was my resin casting failing? 

I learned a thing or two I want to pass on to the next bloke who tries this for the first time!  So I am going to present you with the list of things to think about when doing a resin casting in order to get The Resin to set properly.

  1. First you must get Part A and Part B into the right proportions.  This I did...and did exactly right the first time...I know this was not my problem, at least at the beginning.  Depending upon The Resin type you are using, the proportions will vary, but for all of them, the ratio is critical.  I used 'Amazing Clear Cast',, which is an Epoxy Resin by Alumilite Corporation.  This epoxy resin required a 1:1 ratio.   No mystery there!
  2. Any non Silicon molds WILL require a mold release agent.  I have already revealed that I forgot this step, so I knew that I would probably not be able to remove the mold from The Resin...but that was OK..this was a test!  Right? 
  3. Don't use Transparent Resin Dye in Larger Castings!  I used Transparent Resin Dye in my last couple of pours, and come to find out, The Resin dyes can cause problems in larger pours.  One of the men I talked to says he will not use resin dye with clear resins, because it tends to create curing problems.  Now obviously, it must work in smaller resin castings, because I see many examples on the Internet..more to learn there!
  4. Watch out for old or separated resin parts.  I learned that resins can separate over time...and that it is important to shake each bottle and ensure that The Resin is fully mixed in each bottle prior to mixing the two parts.  It is also possible to get OLD resin directly from the store...since resins are scary to folks, the turnaround time on store shelves can be slow...So, testing is a GOOD idea all the time!  Not just for us newbies!
  5. Mixing Cups must be CLEAN.  As in...no resin residue left for EACH pour.  I didn't clean out the resin cups extremely well after each pour...you may remember that I did multiple pours...reasoning...will cure better...WRONG answer!  Multiple pours might  have been fine...but since I didn't clean up each pour well, it may have built up, causing me to have the wrong ratios in later pours.   A word to the wise... Resin is INCREDIBLY difficult to clean up!  Have lots of clean mixing cups available so you don't have to worry about it, and you can throw away the mess!
  6. Mixing time...don't skimp on mixing.  I think THIS is where I went wrong. The directions don't tell you this, but it is important to mix Part A and Part B of the resins for approximately 5 minutes! After one or two minutes, The Resin parts appear to have reacted to one another, The Resin clears, and you might (I did) think that The Resin is ready to pour.  NOT SO.   Mix for a full 5 minutes or so before pouring... The Resin is still in the process of reacting.
  7. Ensure that the Mold Release Agent is applied and dry! This takes a while, so start well before you want to pour.  Nothing tough about that!  But if it is not dry, it may cause issues with the pour. 
So....


Armed with my new information, I tried again!  This time with a smaller pour...that resin is SO expensive!  I repeated the use of cardboard, as one of the things I heard from one of the folks I talked to was that cardboard can retain moisture, and cause issues..but I didn't think that was a factor in my earlier pour, since there was no white cloudiness in the pour...and moisture causes that sort of issues. 

I used an old milk carton as my new mold...


I used two coats of the Castin' Craft Mold Release I had bought from Hobby Lobby...(before the last pour...I totally spaced on it the first time!).   In doing this again, I would actually use a third coat or perhaps some Vaseline, which is also supposed to be a good release agent. 

I mixed The Resin again, after having shaken the bottles for a good 5 minutes...and letting them set for nearly three hours to allow bubbles to escape.   I poured The Resin into the new milk box mold in one pour.  My final pour will be less than the 3/8 inch recommendation by the manufacturer, so I thought I would see how the single pour compared with the multiple pours.  



  At that point, I walked away and did not even look at the new pour until the next day.  Too much suspense is not a good thing! 


To my great joy and surprise...The Resin set very well within 12 hours!  Yeah!  I can do this thing after all! 

The Resin Has Been Conquered!

Now that I know what to avoid, and what things I need to look out for along the way, I am ready to pour my new entry floor!  I am excited to finish this project! 

I'll keep you posted on additional progress!  Until then...

Doug S




2 comments:

  1. Hello Doug,
    I am happy you figured out what went wrong. The resin floor idea is such a good one I would of hated you having to go with something else. Good luck!
    big hug,
    Giac

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sir Giac!

      I am glad for the harbinger of good luck myself! I'll start pouring once I buy a new supply of clear resin. I used most of it in the testing.

      I sure appreciate your comments. I love sharing the joy of creating special things with folks - it is one of life's great pleasures!

      Delete

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