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Old 04-24-2010, 10:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default could you add this please?

This is a tutorial i just finished up. Could you add it to the library please. There are no photos to gp with it, only text.


I will add the tutorial text to the reply.


Thanks, Ron
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Old 04-24-2010, 11:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Getting started casting your own blanks for less than $100.

I would like to first say Thanks to IAP and all the members that continue to help me learn every day! I hope this tutorial can help give back at least a little bit.

A quick disclaimer: This tutorial suggests the purchase and use of hazardous chemicals. Before you ever mess with any of these chemicals, make sure you have all the proper safety equipment. Fire extinguisher, ventilation, fume extraction, protective apparel, etc. The fumes are harmful and the materials are flammable. This tutorial was written for those that own safety gear. If you dont own the proper gear, your expenses will be much higher to set up in casting.

Ok, Now to the good stuff.
This tutorial is going to explain what materials you will need, where to get them, and what to do with them once you have them. The $100 is just the initial investment,and is only a rough estimate. You may spend a bit over 100, or you may have extra cash for more mica colors, But much like buying a lathe, you WILL spend more money on casting. With this plan, the idea is to sell pens with homebrew blanks, and if you like it, use that cash to expand your casting arsenal!

All of the prices listed in this tutorial are as accurate as i can find at the time the tutorial was written.

First, we will start with a bare bones list of supplies:

resin
pigment
casting molds
stirrers
cups
masking tape

Resin: For this, I suggest you start with Polyester Resin. US Composites sells a product called SILMAR 41 that is PERFECT. It is right at $50 a gallon delivered to Oklahoma from Florida. Shipping is expensive because it is hazmat and cannot fly. You may be able to save a dollar or two if you can find it from a local distributor, Or it may cost a little more for shipping if you live way out west or up north or something.

WHAT? Half the budget on just the first product? Cmon Ron, You can't make the budget now.... SURE I CAN!!!

Pigment: Coastal Scents carries a product on their website called Mica. It comes in over 100 colors and mixes very well with Silmar. These pigments can be purchased for right at $4 per ounce.The colors also mix well with each other, so if you buy the three primary colors, and one metal flake or pearly something, you will have lots of color mixing possibilities!

Casting molds and masking tape: Schedule 40 PVC pipe is perfect for this job. I use two sizes, The small size has an inside diameter of right around 9/16". The larger size has an I.D. of just over 3/4". This can be purchased from many sources. plumbingsupply dot com has the 3/4" for 18 cents a foot.PVC molds are somewhat disposable. After a few pours, the blank will start to stick to the inside of the mold. When this happens, replace the PVC with a new piece. The masking tape is used to seal the bottom of each pipe mold. I like the blue painters tape, but any masking tape will work.

Stirrers: a box of "Craft Sticks" is perfect for this job. You can get a small box of them for a couple dollars.

cups: Get a "silicone muffin pan". The soft, plyable muffin pan your wife has probably tried and discarded because it is "weird for baking muffins in". Cut the cups apart from each other. Now you have 6 reusable mixing cups that double as pendant blank molds. Mix the resin, let the excess dry in the mixing cup, and it will flake right out. Layer it with different colors for a cool double sided pendant blank!

So, let's figure up our budget and see how we are doing so far!

resin delivered: $50
pigment: (4 colors and shipping) $20
PVC locally: $10
stirrers and tape locally: $5
muffin pan locally: $10

GRAND TOTAL: $95

There are some things that will help you if you can find them for free, or budget them in. A cheapo toaster oven that you can dedicate to casting is a big benefit. If you get one, MAKE SURE it has a setting for 150 degrees. This temp is pretty critical from what i understand (I have not tested the heat limits of PR casting and dont plan on doing so any time soon) A pressure pot is helpful, but not a must. You can cast amazing blanks without it. More colors, and other pigments will also be a thought later in the game, and soon after getting started, you will look at things and think to yourself "I wonder what would happen if i cast that in resin", so new molds will be in order.

NOW, to put all this fun new stuff to work!!!

First, Understand that there are many different ways to make blanks. This is going to be the most un-scientific way imaginable!

First, figure out how long you want your blanks to be, and cut the pvc about an inch or so longer. Tape one end of each PVC mold so as not to leak any resin (one layer neatly applied does the trick).

Pour resin in the muffin cups (after you do your math of how much resin you need for the pour). Add a pinky nail sized amount of mica on the end of a craft stick in the resin and SLOWLY mix. The idea is to mix in the mica and dissolve all of it without introducing air.

Add the MEKP and mix again.

pour resin in the PVC and let sit for 24 hours.

If you are using a toaster oven, the wait time is much shorter. After you pour the blanks in the molds, wait an hour and a half or so and then put the blanks, mold and all, in the oven at 150 for another hour. Remove and let cool. Another benefit to a toaster oven is that you can preheat the resin to make it less viscous, and therefore more willing to let go of the air bubbles.

*sidenote--- If you wait a couple of minutes before you pour the resin in the molds, your multi color pours will have stronger color seperation. If you pour immediately after mixing the MEKP, the seperation will be much softer.

Now, Why are you still here? Go raid the kitchen for a silicone muffin pan!!!

Last edited by RAdams; 04-27-2010 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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It seems so simple...Just one question. What is MEKP? I don't see it in the list of supplies.

Chris
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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MEKP is the hardner that comes with the resin-----you don't have to buy it seperate
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Max View Post
MEKP is the hardner that comes with the resin-----you don't have to buy it seperate
That depends. If you buy from US Composites you don't. If you get your PR from other sources you may have to buy the MEKp catalyst separately.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Aha. Gotchya. Thanks.

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Old 04-26-2010, 10:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAdams View Post
Getting started casting your own blanks for less than $100.

** Snippity **

A quick disclaimer: This tutorial suggests the purchase and use of hazardous chemicals. Before you ever mess with any of these chemicals, make sure you have all the proper safety equipment. Fire extinguisher, ventilation, protective apparel, etc. This tutorial will not address the cost or use of any safety equipment. That decision is strictly up to you. (I wear a Triton when i pour)

*** Schnappity ***
Ron,

I applaud your desire to write an article on casting, however if you are discussing both the real costs to start-up and proceedures then you really need to discuss and add the cost of minimal safety equipment. Throwing the caveat regarding the choice of safety materials, and clothing being up to the user is a convenient misdirection, especially when you remark that you use a Triton respirator. JMHO.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I disagree. I think pretty much everyone here already has a shop full of tools. Casting just adds another dimension to what we are already doing. If you dont already own the minimal set up for safety (fire extinguisher and breathing gear) then you should really be spending your money elsewhere. Fact of the matter is, If someone has a shop full of tools, and no safety gear, they will likely skip right over the disclaimer. I just wanted to make people aware that these chemicals can be dangerous and should be handled properly, and safety equipment should be considered.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Thumbs up

Congrats to you Ron for helping out and showing alot of interest in helping the community of the forum.Keep up the great work it is much appreciated.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAdams View Post
I disagree. I think pretty much everyone here already has a shop full of tools. Casting just adds another dimension to what we are already doing. If you dont already own the minimal set up for safety (fire extinguisher and breathing gear) then you should really be spending your money elsewhere. Fact of the matter is, If someone has a shop full of tools, and no safety gear, they will likely skip right over the disclaimer. I just wanted to make people aware that these chemicals can be dangerous and should be handled properly, and safety equipment should be considered.
Ron,

New casters may not know what they need. If you want to tutor people, then help them understand what they need. Not everyone who turns wood, does woodwork or say, works on a car... has more than the tools they need and hopefully a fire extinguisher. Not everyone has breathing aparatus, or even dust extraction... That said, if you were to go through my posts on casting how-too's, you would see I have advocated fume extraction methods over and over again. I know from experience how dangerous the fumes alone can be. I have on hand, besides a fire-extinguisher, a fume extraction system, Bio/Chem-warfare masks, and a new chem/fire mask. So IMHO a little more than "Dangerous Stuff Ahead, Use Your Own Judgement", really seems appropriate for new casters.
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