First try with some worthless wood.

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KenB259

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This didn’t turn out half bad from someone that didn’t know what they were doing. No pressure pot just very slow and careful mixing. I have a bunch of small worthless cut offs from the maple burl I recently cut up. Figured I had nothing to lose. The resin is just “Amazing Clear Cast” from Hobby Lobby and some mica powder also from Hobby Lobby. I am thinking about buying some Liquid Diamonds resin to use in more of the cutoffs. I really don’t want to invest in a full scale casting setup. I just want to be able to use up cutoffs in a creative way when I have them. I am very happy with this pen and it just goes to show, you shouldn’t be afraid of just trying new things. I’m sure there will be some telling me everything I did wrong. Bottom line, I’m happy 😃 Also I made my own mold.
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SteveJ

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Ken, that is real nice. You may have inspired me to do something similar. Like you, I don't want to invest in a full scale casting setup, but I've got quite a bit of burl which could benefit from some casting. Thanks for the inspiration.
 

magpens

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GREAT WORK, Ken !!!!

Thanks for making us aware of this kind of casting without a pressure pot !!
 

KenB259

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That is awesome! Can you share some photos of your casting process, including the mold?
Here’s the mold I made. Just cut some HDPE plastic sheets that I had to line the box. I used hot melt glue to seal the edges and I hot glued the wood pieces down. Mixed the resin very very slowly and poured it in. I got 4 blanks total from it.
 

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mark james

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Very, very nice. Nothing to critique here. The finished pen looks like you have done considerable casting. I agree with Steve. Maybe those cut-offs I have been saving as a paper-weight will see a new life yet.
 

KMCloonan

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Really Nice! I love the blue against the burl. I also like that you were able to do this with "off the shelf" materials, and your own mold. I gotta head out to Hobby Lobby now... they're closed tomorrow. 😁
 

jrista

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"Worthless wood"? No! No such thing!! :D

Wonderful pen! I love the color contrasts, also love the translucency of the resin. I've played a bit with Liquid Diamonds. It is intriguing stuff, as it really does not seem to bubble. It does when you stir it, but when it sets, it does seem to set without bubbles.
 

qquake

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"Worthless wood"? No! No such thing!! :D

Wonderful pen! I love the color contrasts, also love the translucency of the resin. I've played a bit with Liquid Diamonds. It is intriguing stuff, as it really does not seem to bubble. It does when you stir it, but when it sets, it does seem to set without bubbles.
Liquid Diamonds is kind of pricey. $25 for a 12oz kit on Amazon. Is it worth the price?
 

KenB259

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Liquid Diamonds is kind of pricey. $25 for a 12oz kit on Amazon. Is it worth the price?
For what little I will use it and considering there’s no expense in getting a pressure pot or pump , it seems a good compromise. I doubt it would be a good choice for those casters selling blanks.
 

jrista

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Liquid Diamonds is kind of pricey. $25 for a 12oz kit on Amazon. Is it worth the price?
Yeah, it is a bit pricy...and I guess that just kind of has to be a judgement call. I did pick up a pressure pot, as I wanted to start getting into custom pen blanks, which I've recently purchased some molds and label-rapping jigs for Sierra pen kits. So with that, the Liquid Diamonds would not be essential.

Before the pressure tank, it was the only resin (and note that its an epoxy, rather than a urethane like Alumilite, so it hardens differently and turns a little bit differently) that would cure bubble-free. I actually originally used it to fill in voids and such in turned bowls, and for that purpose it actually is still a really nice solution. Expensive, yes, but when you need to fill in voids with say mica-powder resins and want them to be bubble free, the liquid diamonds is great. The alumilite and other resins always seem to bubble a lot, and I've never liked the little bubble cavities after I turn the resin down on a bowl.

If you get a pressure pot (I picked up the 5 gallon California Air Tools, which was $250...which as I now understand, is actually a very good price considering the more popular pots are often around $400+), then the bubble-free nature of liquid diamonds loses its value, as any resin will do as long as you can get it in the pot in time. If you don't want to get a pressure pot, I think the liquid diamonds could be a valuable option. At some point, the total cost of liquid diamonds would reach and surpass the cost of a pressure pot, at least until the pot needs to be replaced.
 

sorcerertd

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That came out great! I also agree with Steve. It's good to know results this nice can be achieved (very carefully) without a pressure pot.

I wonder if, to reduce the chance of bubbles, one could stir mica, or whatever, into one part of the resin then let any bubbles rise out before mixing the two parts together? There would be less stirring during the more delicate part of the process.
 

KenB259

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That came out great! I also agree with Steve. It's good to know results this nice can be achieved (very carefully) without a pressure pot.

I wonder if, to reduce the chance of bubbles, one could stir mica, or whatever, into one part of the resin then let any bubbles rise out before mixing the two parts together? There would be less stirring during the more delicate part of the process.
Good idea because one of the components was very thin and I bet it would have worked easier if I had put the mica powder in the thin component first.
 

KenB259

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Wow, I thought there was dye in it. The color came out really nice.
I am probably using a wrong term. I went and checked and it’s called powdered pigment, not mica powder. I apologize for any misunderstanding. So it actually is a powdered dye.
 

jrista

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I am probably using a wrong term. I went and checked and it’s called powdered pigment, not mica powder. I apologize for any misunderstanding. So it actually is a powdered dye.
I think he is asking if you used both a powder pigment and a dye. For contrast, a lot of blank makers will do both, a dye to give a bit of a baseline "background" color, then the pigment (usually mica), similar but slightly different color, to contrast with that dyed background color.
 

sorcerertd

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KMCloonan

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Ken, I did indeed make it to Hobby lobby, and bought some of the same epoxy resin, and some powdered pigment. I do have a question for you - did you coat the inside of your mold, or line it with anything, or did you just use the HDPE sheets as-is, and the epoxy didn't stick to it? I'm just wondering (before I give it a try), how easy it was to take the cured block out of the mold. Thanks for any advice.
Kevin
 

KenB259

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Ken, I did indeed make it to Hobby lobby, and bought some of the same epoxy resin, and some powdered pigment. I do have a question for you - did you coat the inside of your mold, or line it with anything, or did you just use the HDPE sheets as-is, and the epoxy didn't stick to it? I'm just wondering (before I give it a try), how easy it was to take the cured block out of the mold. Thanks for any advice.
Kevin
It stuck somewhat to the hdpe, but was able to pry it off. Next time I might try some sort of release agent.
 
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