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Casting & Stabilization Making your own blanks & stabilizing wood blanks.


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Old 03-06-2014, 12:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default I need clear advice on blank making...

Total newbie, have not made anything YET...wanting to buy what I need...nothing more! I want to stabilize my wood and vacuum it. SOME I want to pour into blanks and add colored resin, maybe 2 or 3 colors in a mold. I see different methods at this point...can I just mold then let it cure on a table? Or do I mold, then put back in the vacuum tank? and I have seen ones talking about a pressure tank...what is the reason for that? I just dont want to invest in tons of equipment, because I am only ever going to be doing small amounts...and I DO have other hobbies that take resources too!


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Old 03-06-2014, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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if all you're "ever" going to do is small amounts and don't want to invest in a bunch of equipment - you might not want to get started in casting and stabilzing.

you might be better off having someone stabilize want you need done, and buy pre-cast blanks. I've had Jonathon Brooks cast a few blanks for me and his prices are very reasonable
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I enjoy DOING things, so will invest in this hobby, just not wanting to go whole hog into it...NO ambitions or desire to do a lot of turning...I do cast other things already, and if I can use the same product for the other hobbies that would save me having lots of stock...the pressure tank idea confuses me a little, do I REALLY need one or can the vacuum tank do it all well enough???
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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From the reading I have done, you dont NEED a pressure tank, you just have to be more careful when mixing. I am ordering my stuff to start casting, and Im not going to use a pressure pot.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I say to start with the stabilizing...it has a little less of a learning curve (and less initial "waste" of money) than going into the casting...which can get very expensive while working out techniques.

I started with a used Harbor Freight Vacuum, a home built chamber (plastic fittings & a cheap gauge($*8) work for starting and save a lot of $$ over buying brass), a gallon of Cactus Juice, a pack of Alumilite Dyes & some good dry wood (or wood & a toaster oven).

I ended up with right around $200 in my initial setup...and still use that one to this day to degass silicone & resin.

Brad
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Oh !!
The pressure pot works by squishing the bubbles so tiny that you cant see them...works much quicker than trying to vac on thicker resins. Id say a pressure pot is a must have if you are going to do any of the clear based resins.

If you want to try casting, I would go with some Alumilite white.
Cures in just a few minutes (instant gratification) and usually no visible bubbles if you stir carefully. You use the same dyes with this and can make molds from the cheap white cutting boards from Walmart.

Brad

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Old 03-06-2014, 01:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Thank you...I do stir my clear resin for other hobbies carefully, no issues with bubbles, so not too worried about that. I already make my own molds too, so that part is easy and cheap enough for me. So if I dont NEED to vacuum cast...if I want 2 or 3 colors in it can I pour one, then pour another over it and have it stick securely? Or do I have to pour at the same time?
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Clear advice requires clear information. There are three resins most of us here use: polyester resin, alumilite, and System Three Epoxy resin. Questions will have different answers depending on what resin you are using or plan to use. So, more information on your casting plans will help get the best answers.

As for stabilizing, purchasing stabilized wood or having someone stabilize for you might be more economical if you only plan to do small amounts.

Vacuum is used mostly with stabilizing. Vacuum can be used to degas resins prior to catalyzing. I'm not sure I know anyone who uses vacuum with casting.

Using a pressure pot is not necessary with some resins and is an absolute necessary with others.

There are several articles in the library that may answer your questions or at least give you information to help you get started.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by merrym View Post
Total newbie, have not made anything YET...wanting to buy what I need...nothing more! I want to stabilize my wood and vacuum it. SOME I want to pour into blanks and add colored resin, maybe 2 or 3 colors in a mold. I see different methods at this point...can I just mold then let it cure on a table? Or do I mold, then put back in the vacuum tank? and I have seen ones talking about a pressure tank...what is the reason for that? I just dont want to invest in tons of equipment, because I am only ever going to be doing small amounts...and I DO have other hobbies that take resources too!


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Old 03-06-2014, 03:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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As Don said it depends on what material you want to cast with, even then you are going to get different answers from different people. It seems like everyone that's starts casting finds the materials and processes that work for them and stick with it. You don't list a location but even that can make a difference because temp and humidity.

Just read up and pick a path and welcome.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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OK, here's a sort of Capt. Eddie approach, down and dirty (cheap), I love that guy. I made some molds using tubes of silicon caulk from the big box store and scrap wood. I get polyester resin at Hobby Lobby or Michael's when I have a big, 40% or 50%, coupon. I got a bunch of coloring material from Costal Scents and HL or M's. I use a Goodwill toaster oven to hasten the cure and the IAP Library to get the How To's and walla, I have some pretty cool blanks; also have some (s)crap one too, they're good for practice though.
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