Customs: Head moulding help please.

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by dsn1014, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    I'm looking for tips for my next attempt at casting a new head. I gave it a shot today, I've also given my blow by blow of it so that people might tell me where I went wrong.

    Moulding a head for less than €5,

    equipment; tea lights
    plastic cup
    epoxy glue
    saucepan of hot water
    drinking straws

    To start I boiled up water in the saucepan, removed wick and container from the candle, leaving only the hard wax. Put the wickless candles (I used two) into the plastic cup. Then I sat the cup on the water, as it boiled the wax liquified.

    When the wax was melted I removed it from the water and let it stand for a few minutes until the white pigment came back, it was a bit harder than the liquid, but very malable.

    With the soft wax I pressed the piece in. Allowing it to sit there until the wax fully cooled and hardened. Removed the original head with a tweezers, so as not to damage the mould.

    I mixed up some epoxy glue in a container, covered my work area to avoid sticking. I used a straw to mix the epoxy together and to deliver the compound to the mould, I found blowing it out through the straw helped to get it into the corners, though I can't say its a safe way to do it. Though for next time I think I might use toothpicks.

    Sadly this mould will only be usable once.

    This is my first attempt at this, I've read a couple of tutorials, but I was mystified, hope it makes sense to those that read this and maybe someone might learn from what I'm doing. Before asking for help I wanted to have a shot at it so I might be better able to understand what people might have to say.

    Attempt1 complete, lots of bubbles, but I'm thinking it may have been as much due to my own impatience in getting it done. I selected the Blaster head as a possibility for Apeface, but have found it's too small, so the search continues. Sadly no photo as the camera died on me before the head hardened.

    SO my question is then what can I do to avoid another mess.
     

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  2. convoymagnus

    convoymagnus Yeshua Is Mashiach.

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    use silicon mold and resin, you will have to pay a bit more than 5.00 bucks but the castings will pay you back! :thumbs2: 
     
  3. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    he is right but i am betting you can do it your way if you keep practicing. i love resin casting but the silicone gets so expensive. if i find time i will try your method and see if i can offer any advise after doing so. maybe you could try plaster of paris or alginate instead of wax.
     
  4. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Silicone and resin seems to be the way to do things, sadly my budget doesn't share my views, so I'm exploring cheaper alternatives to it. However I'll keep an eye out for more tutorials on the methods involved.

    Plaster of paris sounds tempting. I'd worry though that the plaster might snap if the piece had too many ridges, also about release from the mould, the danger of damaging either the mould or the original head. But these are only my assumptions, if I'm wrong I'll happily give it a try if my adventures with wax fall on their face.

    What's alginate?

    That said adventures in wax continue.

    Thanks for your thoughts
     
  5. convoymagnus

    convoymagnus Yeshua Is Mashiach.

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    The most expensive part of casting is silicone:mad , but you may substitute it for latex, it will give you great results but a lot of patience is needed as you have to brush it over the original, and let dry, brush again and let dry,brush again and let dry ,brush again and let dry and so on untill you have a very consistent mold, another issue against latex is that you can only make half molds(one part) and no two part molds.

    I tell you, I have tried casting in wax molds but the thing is that no matter how you perfect the technique, a lot of detail will be always lost :( , so unless you want the parts for scratchbuild, try to get som silicone, smoothon has some kits you may use, here:

    http://www.smooth-on.com/Getting-Started/c4/index.html

    hope you succed in your experiments! :thumbs2: 
     
  6. asphalt

    asphalt King of the road

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    the wax and epoxy method is a completely viable casting technique. I have used it for ife casting on a much larger scale for years. A couple tips. First build an overflow collar aroundthe openning of the mold. This will help hold in any overfill. second get ahold of a fish tank aquarium air pump. the things used to put bubbles in your tank. These make great agitators. use a little extra wax to secure the mold to the top of the pump. Keep it level. Second, get a can of nonstick cooking spray, generic, Pam, doesnt matter. Now to the casting. After securing your mold to the pump, VERY lightly spray the pam intot he mold. An even better release is candle mold spray but its pricier. Now fill your mold wth the epoxy. Please do not suck it up in a straw. The fumes can seriously mess up your lungs. when filled turn on the air pump. Its slight amount of vibration in combination with the mold release will make the bubbles rise and the epoxy settle. Dont use quit set epoxy. the longer it takes to harden the more the bubbles can work out. After it has, let it go longer than advised, plunk him in some hot water to soften the mold. Peel the mold off rather than prying the part out. this should help out. PM me and we can shat more.
     
  7. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Wow convoymagnus, thanks for the information, part of why I'm trying this is for the art of info gathering, so all is welcome. Thankyou for the link as well, the products you pointed me too look perfect, but alas its a budget issue. Resin sounds decent for molding too, as for the minute I want to cast just one side of a suitable figures head. But for the moment I have a bag of small candles and a tube of quickdrying epoxy, so I'm making lemonade. Though you've given me an idea for epoxy application, filling tiny spots at a time, layering it around the walls of the wax mold, though I have no idea will it work until I try. Cheers for the support :) 

    Thankyou Asphalt for the tips. Getting an aquarium pump might be trying to run before I can walk, but good to know none the less. Lol, saving myself some expense could I sit it on the drier? Or too much shaking? However a slow setting epoxy may be more the direction I'll take next. Also considering wax, is there much of a difference if I melt down crayons for example and use that wax? You are very correct about the straw, I was aware of it being dodgy when I did it and won't be doing so again, was stuck for something to use to administer the epoxy, but I'll be prepared for next time. I'm going to use up the last of the quick set I have if only for the benefit of observation, then look for some slow dry, I'll pm you once I've my next one done to pick your brain if thats cool.

    Thanks again for the feedback, your tips have given me a couple of ideas about what to do next, I don't expect to get it perfect yet, so lots of time to try what has been suggested.
     
  8. asphalt

    asphalt King of the road

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    yeah the drier will probbaly throw things everywhere. A problem when you are striving for cleaner. Anything that gives a little vibration wil word. S mechanical squiggle pen tabled to a board would do it. You just want a little aggitation. Crayon wax may be a bot too brittle. Its a fairly rigid wax, not real good for casting, and the epoxy may leach the color. good luck, and keep us posted.
     
  9. Massdestruction

    Massdestruction Instrument of Destruction

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    For inexpensive molding, I use Mighty Putty quite often and love the stuff. It comes 3 tubes for $10, which is enough for many molds. I use it to make the mold off the original and then use it to make the copy. And after you get comfortable using it, the molds can be used multiple times.

    I recently used it to make 2 copies of the head off of an Energon Blackout (I'm making Fastlane and Cloudraker using Cybertron Brakedown). Both the mold and the finished copy maintained the crisp detail of the original tiny scout head.

    It's fairly soft when kneaded, not at all messy, starts hardening quickly, hardens very strong and very hard, easily cut/drilled/sanded when hard, and it keeps details great. It is inexpensive, works great and is available everywhere.

    If I could afford the better quality stuff, I would probably use it. But Mighty Putty does give incredible results for a low, low price.
     
  10. Bruticus82

    Bruticus82 Well-Known Member

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    I've seen this thing called "Friendly Plastic" or "Shapelock" both are names for the same product as far as I can tell. They're little plastic beads which become malleable at the temperature of boiling water. I've been interested in trying to make molds and/or castings of it, but to the best of my knowledge they don't sell it in Canada...
     
  11. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Ok asphalt, drier is a no no :p , while I don't have a squiggle pen I think I have a grasp of the level of vibration necessary and I dig on the crayon front too. Progress continues, I'm quite enjoying the trial and error nature of this and all just to cast one part, but its a chance to learn how to do it right.

    Mightyputty sounds so damn perfect Massdestruction, but I'm afraid I wouldn't know where to look for it and I expect its not available over here in Ireland. Cheers very much though :)  But you've made me aware of it and I'll be sure to keep my eyes open, I'm doing my best to source stuff locally, I like to go to the smaller hobby shops around the area as they're dieing off sadly, so looking for it online will be as a last resort.

    Thanks for the suggestion Bruticus82, but sadly its the same story as the previous paragraph. Also I'd worry that its too advanced a material for my level just yet.

    ok so I have an update,
    - I've uploaded (or will in a sec of my first and second attempts at this. Forgive the finish and the paint on them, just wanted to get some brush practice in and every practice head is space for more paint.

    This time around the bubble factor was less of a problem and generally held much more detail than the first attempt. I applied much smaller amounts of epoxy at a time, taking time first to cover the walls of the mould, and then cover that once or twice and then filled. Though the finish still isn't perfect as the air has made the surface a little rough. Soon I'll switch over to slower setting stuff once I've used up my quick dry, waste not want not, still think there are things to be learned from it.

    While on colour of the mould, is it possible to add a pigment to the epoxy? The light just shins through the paint I'm putting on now. Not an excuse for why the paint looks crap (the paint is very poor, but thats next on my list), but I find the light coming through is effecting my application. If it is possible to add pigment, what works best?

    Thanks for the tips, I'm definitley feeling the benefit of it as I work this out in my head.
     
  12. convoymagnus

    convoymagnus Yeshua Is Mashiach.

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    Hi again, you can go to Michael's craft store or pearl's and find resin pigment, they are a bit pricey but not to kill, around $6.00 a small bottle, they are available in transluscent and opaque colors you will find them in the castin' craft resin aisle they are good for polyester and epoxy resins, smooth on has their own pigments but they are mostly good for polyurethane.

    Now for a cheper way to tint epoxy, specifically the one that comes in tubes you may try testors enamel small bottles(oil based, not acrilyc), they will do the work but will increase softness to the resin, do not use a lot, with a toothpick pick drop and mix it with one of the resin components, then when completely mixed add the b part of the resin and mix very well then pour in your mold. hardening time will be a little delayed as well.

    good luck!
     
  13. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Thanks man, well I've used the enamel paint for a tint and I got myself a slower setting epoxy, so in a couple of hours I'll know if it has done the job and I'll put up pictures tomorrow. Also I'll keep an eye on what it's done to the strenght of the finished head. Used a little more paint than you suggested, so I'm definitley going to have to do it again anyway.
     
  14. Bruticus82

    Bruticus82 Well-Known Member

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    Keep us updated. I think everyone is interested in "low cost" molding techniques.

    Good luck.
     

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