My resin casting weirdness

I have Mrs Von D to thank for the blog title. We were out taking the air this evening when she described today’s hobby adventures as my “resin casting weirdness”. She’s got a pretty good handle on this geekiest of hobbies now, you see!

So yes, knowing that I’ve got a shed load of Infinity models to put together, I decided to try my hand at casting my own resin bases. It actually turned out to be fairly easy and I’m moderately pleased with my first results.

Over the past week I spent some evenings cutting up and scribing little bits of plasticard to assemble some bases that I could try to duplicate in resin.

Home-made sci-fi miniature bases

I’d watched a couple of Youtube videos on the process and, rather than using a poured silicon compound, I decided I could get away with using a 2-part silicon putty from Gedeo amusingly named Siligum.

It comes in two tubs, one blue and one white. You simply grab a small handful from each and mix it up like plasticene until it’s evenly pale blue. The stuff cures very quickly so I didn’t have long to squidge it onto the bases, which I had previously affixed to a piece of card using some blu-tac.

Home-made bases ready for the mould

Silicon mould putty

A mere ten minutes or so later the silicon had hardened nicely and I was able to peel away from the bases. Unfortunately I’d not squidged it evenly so there were gaps here and there on most of the bases. I decided to abandon that first mould as a learning attempt.

Silicon mould - first attempt

Second time around I decided to use less of the putty and was much more careful to massage the putty evenly across the bases. This time I was much happier with the result and it appeared the Siligum was able to capture the fine detail I needed.

Silicon mould close-up

It’s not a perfect mould though, there were a couple of places where I’d used separate putty blobs that created visible joins, but generally I’m happy enough – assuming the resin would take that detail ok.

So the next nerve-wracking part was prepping and pouring the resin itself. I’m using 2-part casting resin by Amazing Casting Products. It comes in two bottles that are mixed 1:1 and then poured into the mould. It has a pretty fast curing time of 10-15 minutes so, unlike the crystal clear resin I used before, I didn’t have to wait too long to see the results.

I was aware of lots of small bubbles in the clear mixed resin as I was pouring it but I trusted that they wouldn’t be an issue. Professional resin casting seems to involve a vacuum chamber or vibrating plate to eliminate bubbles but I didn’t have any such hardware. Thankfully bubbling wasn’t an issue for me as it turned out.

The resin began curing really quickly – turning opaque white within thirty seconds or so and noticably thickened as I was pouring the last base. It also got pretty hot but this was expected due to the exothermic reaction of the resin curing process. Apparently.

Resin casting bases

I gave it a good hour to fully cure and then crossed my fingers as I peeled the silicon away from the resin. It came away remarkably easily and the bases popped out one-by-one.

My first resin cast bases

I must say that when those little white bases plopped out from the mould it was one of those great moments you can get in a creative hobby like this. The satisfying sense that I had just made these object with my own hands!

My first resin cast bases

There are a few flaws in the casts and plenty of areas for improvement, but after a quick bit of sanding to clean the mould irregularities (and a sepia wash to show the details) I now have six new sci-fi tech bases to use for my Infinity minis. And importantly I have the ability to cast up another batch whenever I need them.

But perhaps most importantly of all, I feel like I learned a new skill today 🙂

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~ by Max Von Deadlock on August 25, 2013.

6 Responses to “My resin casting weirdness”

  1. thats brilliant! Thanks for the inspiring post, I have some of that putty somewhere…

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  2. Great to see some DIY casting and using everyday (well sort of) products that are generally available to anyone.

    I think they look good.

    Tony

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  3. Cool blog post, thanks for the insight I might give this a go. Was always a bit apprehensive of casting. Regarding making the molds; I have experimented with press-casting using that heat-up and mold stuff that’s reusable (can’t remember the brand name). And if you make a hollow box out of lego, preferably with those flat smooth plate bricks at the base, you can then put what you want to make in the bottom, face up, put in the mold material on top, and then press down really hard (I use another plate of lego with flat smooth bits on, the same size as the inside of my box) to capture the detail and also get a box shaped mold which is a bit more durable.

    By flipping the finished mold over and putting in the box face up you can make 2 part molds as well. Using nothing but 2nd hand lego. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the tips, Simon.

      I did consider doing the poured resin mould technique but the prospect of the putty seemed a little easier. I love Lego but don’t have any straight pieces to make up a pouring tray. I shall have to scavenge some!

      Like

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