could you add this please?

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RAdams

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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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RAdams

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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!!!
 
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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.
 

RAdams

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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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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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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.
 

RAdams

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I am not trying to advocate any dangerous practices. I have changed the tutorial to express the fact that it does not cover buying safety gear. I also added that if you do not have safety gear your expenses will be much greater than $100.
 

Gin N' Tonic

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Do you wear the Triton PRA001? If so you have a false sense of security, see the following blurb from their product page.


Note: The PRA001 is not suitable for use against gases, vapours, chemical fumes or in an explosive atmosphere such as auto paint booths.


If you want to guard against chemical fumes then your respirator should be rated for it. The Triton, like the Trend is very good for filtering the fine dust associated with woodturning but does very little to protect you from chemicals.
 

dow

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Holy Thread Hijack, Batman! We've gone from a casting tutorial to a treatise on safety equipment. Wow.

Good tutorial, Ron.
 

Mark

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Holy Thread Hijack, Batman! We've gone from a casting tutorial to a treatise on safety equipment. Wow.

Good tutorial, Ron.
I agree. Awesome Tutorial. I've printed the original and filed it in my notebook with the pen instructions, Pen & Tube chart and other documents I want to keep handy.
The tutorial is on how to cast on the cheap, not instruct a person on the proper safety gear to wear. That is likely a subject for another tutorial.
 
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RAdams

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I honestly have no idea what triton i have. Thanks for the heads up though!
 

Daniel

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Ron, Thank you for whittling a ton of information down to something that is doable. I hope it motivates others to finally just go out and buy this stuff and give it a try. Like CA finish. The options associated with casting can become overwhelming all on their own.
I appreciate the time and effort.
 

RAdams

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yeah it is definately the one with the helmet and ear muff things... I been trying t ofigure out how to replace the stock ear muffs with my headphones!
 

RAdams

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Ron, Thank you for whittling a ton of information down to something that is doable. I hope it motivates others to finally just go out and buy this stuff and give it a try. Like CA finish. The options associated with casting can become overwhelming all on their own.
I appreciate the time and effort.


THANK YOU! That was my goal. I felt like alot of people were scared of casting because of the high cost and difficulty. I wanted to show everyone that there is a simple, cheap way to do it. You can cast outdoors to prevent breathing fumes until you can afford breathing gear, and you can pour in very small pours so if you have a fire, it will be fightable without a fire extinguisher... Again, OUTDOORS.

So In my opinion, there are steps a person can take to be safe without buying a bunch of expensive specialty gear. I mean afterall, you don't even know if casting is going to be something that you keep doing. Like my dad always told me... "Learn to be smart". Use common sense. This stuff IS dangerous!
 

Gin N' Tonic

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Another way to cut a few bucks off if you have a Michaels craft store near you is to wait until they have a 40% or 50% coupon and buy the Castin` Craft resin. It comes in a 32 oz size and the hardener is sold separately for $5.00 or so. I think their resin is very expensive but with the 40% off coupon you could get enough resin to make a small number of blanks for less than the $50.00 cost of a gallon.

Of course if you plan on casting a LOT of blanks then the gallon is the best way to go.
 

Penl8the

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Hi Ron,

Thank you for your great effort. I enjoy reading it.

Question: I have been pouring "left over" PR into PVC pipes. I have sprayed the inside with "mode release" from Castin' Craft and NewLondon88's special mixture (1 part Vaseline and 10 parts mineral spirit). I have 3 and half tubes of blanks sitting inside of the PVC pipes.

Question: What is the trick to remove the blanks from the PVC?
 

RAdams

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If you sprayed the inside of the pvc then they should just slide right out. Gently tap them on the workbench to get them to break loose fro the pvc, then push on one end. I just made some Horizontal round molds out of silicone because of this problem. When the pvc gets old, the blanks dont want to release as easily. I have cracked blanks driving them out of the pvc.

I think I have pretty much made the pvc technique obsolete with my new silicone mold. I probably should do a mini tutorial on how to make it!
 

Brooks803

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Hi Ron,

Thank you for your great effort. I enjoy reading it.

Question: I have been pouring "left over" PR into PVC pipes. I have sprayed the inside with "mode release" from Castin' Craft and NewLondon88's special mixture (1 part Vaseline and 10 parts mineral spirit). I have 3 and half tubes of blanks sitting inside of the PVC pipes.

Question: What is the trick to remove the blanks from the PVC?
Shhh...you're not sopposed to give away the recipie to his secret sauce! Now the "King" will come out with his own! Only he will use generic petrolium jelly to avoid patents and copyrights :wink:
 

RAdams

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OK, everyone, this tutorial is in re-write. I will be adding pics, a bit more in depth info, and the mold change as well. I will write an accompa... acompany.... another tutorial on how to make the molds.
 

jpr28056

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If you sprayed the inside of the pvc then they should just slide right out. Gently tap them on the workbench to get them to break loose fro the pvc, then push on one end. I just made some Horizontal round molds out of silicone because of this problem. When the pvc gets old, the blanks dont want to release as easily. I have cracked blanks driving them out of the pvc.

I think I have pretty much made the pvc technique obsolete with my new silicone mold. I probably should do a mini tutorial on how to make it!

Thanks for the tutorial.

The way I am getting my blanks out of the pvc is to line the tube with wax paper. I just insert it and then pour the resin. When the blank is ready to come out I tap it a couple of times and it pushes right out. Your pvc molds will probably last a lot longer.
 

RAdams

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That is a pretty slick idea! I never thought of that and kinda wish i had. I have Horizontal round molds made from silicone now. I like them MUCH MUCH better than the PVC.

I will remember the PVC wax paper trick when i do color pours in the pvc again! Thanks for sharing!
 

Brooks803

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Thanks for the tutorial.

The way I am getting my blanks out of the pvc is to line the tube with wax paper. I just insert it and then pour the resin. When the blank is ready to come out I tap it a couple of times and it pushes right out. Your pvc molds will probably last a lot longer.

I do the same thing only for pendant blanks. Only I use the lids from used coastal scent powders and make a wall with the wax paper. A lil masking tape around the sides so you don't leak and you have nice round blank.
 
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