Differences in Alumilite forumlations

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MesquiteMan

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Fist, let me state specifically and to the point, I do not work for, nor get paid by Alumilite in any way. I am just a very happy customer that has had the privilege of working closely with Mike Faupel, the owner, over the last 6 or 7 years. I thought I would state thins since I just did some videos for them and don't want anyone to think I am on their payroll somehow!

With that out of the way, I thought I would list the various formulations of Alumilite and a little about them. I have used every one of their casting resins over the years and since I see the question frequently of which one to use, I thought this might be helpful to someone. I will focus only on the resins commonly used in pen blank casting.

First, some definitions:

Pot Life: This is the amount of time you have to get the resin poured into the mold and under pressure. It begins sometime after you have started mixing the 2 parts

Viscosity: The "thickness" of the resin. The lower the number, the thinner the resin. Compare this with the CA that you use as they both are rated in Centipoise (cps)

Demold Time: The amount of time you need to let it "cure" before removing it from the mold

Shore D: The hardness of the cured resin. This is measured with a durometer and uses the Shore D scale. The higher the number, the harder the resin.

Elongation: This is the amount of "stretch" the cured resin has before it breaks. It is an indication of the brittleness of the resin for penturning and indicates how chippy it will be. Lower elongation equals more chippy and likely to blowout.

Temperature Resistance: The temperature where the cured resin will deform. This is important when sanding.

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-CLEAR RESINS-
Good for clear casting or casting where you want translucent swirls and depth of colors. Requires pressure or vacuum to get rid of bubbles.

Alumilite Water Clear
Their original clear casting formulation, thinner and less brittle than Alumilite Clear but does not polish up nearly as well. It also sets quicker and has a higher temperature resistance.

Pot Life: 5 Minutes
Viscosity: 400 CPS
Demold Time: 30-60 minutes
Shore D: 80
Shrinkage: .5 %
Elongation: 9%
Temperature Resistance: 155° F

Alumilite Clear (Formerly Alumilite Crystal Clear)
This is a formulation developed for the benefit of penturners. It polishes better than Water Clear but is more brittle but still WAY less brittle than PR, however. It also has a longer open time and is the preferred resin for pen turning.

Pot Life: 7 Minutes
Viscosity: 450 CPS
Demold Time: 45-90 minutes
Shore D: 80
Shrinkage: .5%
Elongation: 8%
Temperature Resistance: 140° F

Amazing Clear Cast
This is an epoxy casting resin and is NOT advised for penturning. It is real slow set and is more useful as a bartop finish or where you need a really slow setting resin.

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-OBSCURE RESINS-
Good for solid color or multi- solid color blanks. Does not give any significant effect when using metallic powders. Does not require pressure or vacuum.

Alumilite Regular
This is Alumilite's original casting resin. It is available in light tan or black. It is also the fastest setting Alumilite and does not have a lot of use for penturning. It is the most resistant to temperature, however.

Pot Life: 90 seconds
Viscosity: 190 CPS
Demold Time: 5-8 minutes
Shore D: 75
Shrinkage: .5%
Elongation: 7%
Temperature Resistance: 250° F

Alumilite White
This is Alumilite's thinnest resin but is also their softest. it is good for making multi colored blanks,

Pot Life: 2.5 Minutes
Viscosity: 90 CPS
Demold Time: 5-15 minutes
Shore D: 72
Shrinkage: .4%
Elongation: 10%
Temperature Resistance: 140° F

Alumilite RC-3
This is a good value resin. It is the cheapest of Alumilite's casting resins but is only available in gallons kits. It comes in light tan or black and has a high temp resistance.

Pot Life: 3 Minutes
Viscosity: 110 CPS
Demold Time: 5-15 minutes
Shore D: 74
Shrinkage: .4%
Elongation: 12%
Temperature Resistance: 190° F

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Here is some info on Polyester Resin for comparison sake:
Pot Life: 30 Minutes?
Viscosity: 450 CPS
Shore D: 78
Shrinkage: 4%
Elongation: 1.5%
Temperature Resistance: 160° F
Odor: VERY HIGH!

Hope this information helps someone!
 
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witz1976

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Just curious for reference, Curtis but do you know the Elongation % of PR?

To me the 1% difference between clear and water clear means a tiny amount, however when I do not know the % of the comparison it is hard to make an educated analysis.
 

cnirenberg

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That is good. Thanks Curtis. This helps to clear up (no pun intended) some things when choosing the correct product. I must say that Mike is very helpul and available to communicate with. One question, does using pressure or not affect the Alumilite Clear in any way? I know that Don Ward has gone through a great deal of testing, but I am thinking of a solid piece not one with a tube in it.
 

MesquiteMan

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One question, does using pressure or not affect the Alumilite Clear in any way? I know that Don Ward has gone through a great deal of testing, but I am thinking of a solid piece not one with a tube in it.
I am not sure what you are asking here, Chris? Both of the Alumilite clear versions need pressure when casting to get rid of the bubbles that occur due to the curing process. I don't believe Don has tested Alumilite with his alternate methods.
 

MesquiteMan

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Just curious for reference, Curtis but do you know the Elongation % of PR?

To me the 1% difference between clear and water clear means a tiny amount, however when I do not know the % of the comparison it is hard to make an educated analysis.
I included data on PR at the bottom of the list. Silmar 41 has an elongation of 1.5%
 

Jeff G

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Thanks for all the info! Can I use a vacuum pump and chamber to get rid of the bubbles or must one use a pressure pot?
Thanks
JeffG
 

MesquiteMan

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Great post Curtis. I was wondering if you have the same information about the West System 105 Epoxy and hardeners?

Dave
Well, since West Systems epoxy is not a casting resin, I did not include it. However, I do have the info handy so here it is!

West System 105 with 205 Fast Hardner:
Pot Life: 9-12 minutes
Viscosity: 975 CPS
Cure to solid (thin film, thicker applications will cure faster): 6-8 hours
Shore D: 83
Shrinkage: NA
Elongation: 3.4%
Temperature Resistance: 118° F

West System 105 with 206 Slow Hardner:
Pot Life: 20-25 minutes
Viscosity: 725 CPS
Cure to solid (thin film, thicker applications will cure faster): 10-15 hours
Shore D: 82
Shrinkage: NA
Elongation: 4.5%
Temperature Resistance: 123° F

What else ya got? :)

Hope that helps some!
 

Jim Burr

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Curtis, this is a great post!! But...can you decode the terms...shrinkage, shore, Elongation and so on. With a post of this detail, all the stuff that it means would be cool. Thank you sir!!!
 

Bellsy

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Great post Curtis. I was wondering if you have the same information about the West System 105 Epoxy and hardeners?

Dave
Well, since West Systems epoxy is not a casting resin, I did not include it. However, I do have the info handy so here it is!

West System 105 with 205 Fast Hardner:
Pot Life: 9-12 minutes
Viscosity: 975 CPS
Cure to solid (thin film, thicker applications will cure faster): 6-8 hours
Shore D: 83
Shrinkage: NA
Elongation: 3.4%
Temperature Resistance: 118° F

West System 105 with 206 Slow Hardner:
Pot Life: 20-25 minutes
Viscosity: 725 CPS
Cure to solid (thin film, thicker applications will cure faster): 10-15 hours
Shore D: 82
Shrinkage: NA
Elongation: 4.5%
Temperature Resistance: 123° F

What else ya got? :)

Hope that helps some!

The 207 hardener that makes it clear. Sorry I should asked for all 3 the first time around.

BTW.....what a difference in viscosity. That could be a BIG factor for some casts....Hmmm.

Dave
 

Linarestribe

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Great info.
You posted that for the clear resins that vacuum or pressure is needed to remove bubbles.

I keep hearing vacuum for stabilizing and pressure for casting. My pressure pot goes to 50 and I have your chamber. Which is better for removing bubbles?

Jorge
 

MesquiteMan

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Pressure without a doubt. I stated vacuum because that it what Alumilite says. I have found no use for vacuum when casting with Alumilite!

Great info.
You posted that for the clear resins that vacuum or pressure is needed to remove bubbles.

I keep hearing vacuum for stabilizing and pressure for casting. My pressure pot goes to 50 and I have your chamber. Which is better for removing bubbles?

Jorge
 

arioux

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Great info Curtis thanks you. May i suggest that this text be put in the WIKI section under "Allumilite" . i think this information shoud be kept as a reference.

Just my .02
 

witz1976

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Just curious for reference, Curtis but do you know the Elongation % of PR?

To me the 1% difference between clear and water clear means a tiny amount, however when I do not know the % of the comparison it is hard to make an educated analysis.
I included data on PR at the bottom of the list. Silmar 41 has an elongation of 1.5%
Wow big difference. Thanks for the info!.
 

makirk

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Curtis, you mention the Alumilite Regular not having much use for Pen Turning. Question, I want to attach items to a tube, then pour a solid black color so when I turn, I'll reveal the glued on items. My issue is I don't want it transparent at all. If the Alumilite Regular won't work, what do you suggest?

Thanks!

Mike
 

MesquiteMan

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Curtis, you mention the Alumilite Regular not having much use for Pen Turning. Question, I want to attach items to a tube, then pour a solid black color so when I turn, I'll reveal the glued on items. My issue is I don't want it transparent at all. If the Alumilite Regular won't work, what do you suggest?

Thanks!

Mike
Mike,

That may be a little bit of a mis-statement on my part. The reason I say it does not have much use for penturning is that that it is so fast, most folks have a hard time with it. Also, the tan colored stuff is hard to get a good color other than black due to having to overcome the tan part. That said, if you have your ducks in a row and work fast, it is possible to make pen blanks with it and the blank would certainly do what you want it to do. Personally, I use RC3 when I need black due to the longer open time and lower cost but it is only available in gallons which may be much more than you need.
 

makirk

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Curtis, you mention the Alumilite Regular not having much use for Pen Turning. Question, I want to attach items to a tube, then pour a solid black color so when I turn, I'll reveal the glued on items. My issue is I don't want it transparent at all. If the Alumilite Regular won't work, what do you suggest?

Thanks!

Mike
Mike,

That may be a little bit of a mis-statement on my part. The reason I say it does not have much use for penturning is that that it is so fast, most folks have a hard time with it. Also, the tan colored stuff is hard to get a good color other than black due to having to overcome the tan part. That said, if you have your ducks in a row and work fast, it is possible to make pen blanks with it and the blank would certainly do what you want it to do. Personally, I use RC3 when I need black due to the longer open time and lower cost but it is only available in gallons which may be much more than you need.
Thanks Curtis,

That's what I was hoping. Appreciate all the info, saves us rookies a lot of time and headaches. :)
 

Bellsy

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Never mind on the added info Curtis.....I managed to find it on the West System website after a bit of clicking and searching.

West System Properties

Dave
One thing to point out, Dave, at least for others, is that West Systems is a laminating epoxy, not a casting epoxy. Sure, it may work for casting but is not designed for it.
Thanks Curtis, I was just making the product info available because I know some people do use it.

I bought some to try it out for my own curiosity. I am currently looking into another source of Epoxy that is supposed to be designed for it. I believe it is called Potting Epoxy. I'll have some next week to play with as well.

Dave
 

reiddog1

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Curtis,

I noticed in one of your videos that you didn't paint your tube or blank when using alumilite white. Is that because the white is not translucent and when you dye it, it gives a solid color unlike the clear? Tried PR, but I've gone through 16oz with nothing to show for it. I think I would like alumilite better, but do not want the translucent look. Thanks for the info Curtis.

Dave
 

Bitemeflys

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Hi Curtis,

I have been trying to make some blanks at home but have not had a good success yet. I have a pressure pot good to 80 PSI and a vacuum chamber good to 26" (max for our altitude). I started using Allumilite Water Clear but find it takes to long to cure in the pressure pot and all my additives I use settle to the bottom. What do you use or recommend? Does it change the time to cure when you have it under vacuum or pressure?

PS. I have been using your Cactus Juice to stabilize different woods and have had great success! I do have a question for you if you can PM me on dying wood with Cactus juice. I tried it once with a punky spalted piece of wood and it only seemed to take 10% of the color intensity I mixed.
 

MesquiteMan

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Alumilite Clear is still the best one for clear casting. It is the same formula as before. Alumilite Water Clear has changed from the info above. It has a longer open time now but it much softer with a Shore D of 70-72. It still does not polish as well as Clear.
 

Preyou

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I am new to this and look for information.
Are you familiar with Solid Cast 606. As I understand it it is an epoxy resin but you do not need a vacuum or pressure even to pour a column for a pepper grinder.
 

Wvperch

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Curtis, any feedback/information on using Alumi-UV as a finish? I thought maybe I saw someone somewhere use that on a bowl? It was applied and cured in minutes while sitting in the sun? Always sort of intrigued me. (the bowl, I think was not going to be intended for food usage or needing washed regularly)
 

jttheclockman

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Curtis, any feedback/information on using Alumi-UV as a finish? I thought maybe I saw someone somewhere use that on a bowl? It was applied and cured in minutes while sitting in the sun? Always sort of intrigued me. (the bowl, I think was not going to be intended for food usage or needing washed regularly)
Curtis does not come here any more. Try him at his web site.


www.turntex.com
 

bmachin

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I purchased some Alumilite UV a couple of years ago with that in mind. It is very viscous and ends up (as I recall) feeling kind of rubbery. I didn't do too much with it, but didn't think at the time that it would work for pens in terms of holding detail or polishing up.

The videos on Alumilite's website seemed to be oriented much more toward fishing lures.

Somebody at about that same time (Tonyl maybe?) was experimenting with a different UV curing finish with much more success although it had issues of its own.

I would not go down the Alumilite UV road unless you know that they have had a formula change recently.

Hope this helps,

Bill
 

JoeCallahan

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I may be the only one who believes this, but I feel that Amazing Clear Cast is a very good resin for those just getting in to casting. While it does have a very long set time (45min), it has always been an overnight cure for me. When casting something as large as a stopper blank, I've been able to turn it after as little as 10 hours in warmer weather. It definitely doesn't polish up as well as Alumilite Clear when doing clear or transparent castings, but you can still get some spectacular results with practice. I've found that clear castings with A.C.C. tend to look better with a micromesh polish rather than buffing.

Just my 2 cents
 
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