Jay Mazur, from Reynolds Advanced Materials, stopped by Nova Labs on January 25 to lead a demonstration on various types of mold making materials, applications, and techniques. Hailing from Macungie, PA, Reynolds Advanced Materials is a distributor for Smooth-on, a supplier of many different casting supplies to hobby and industrial markets.
Classrooms A and B were both full of people interested in learning more about what can be done with urethane, silicone, rubber, epoxy, and more. Some of the materials had pot-life (the time you can work with the material after mixing the various parts together) in the two or three minute range, while others remain workable for much longer. A cast of a large silicone dime in Smoothcast 300Q (Q for “quick” apparently!) even had a dramatic reaction going from clear to opaque in a few seconds, surprising everyone in the room. It was pulled from the mold and passed around the room hardly 30 minutes after being mixed and cast.
Jay offered tips for working with various products:
The ‘double pour and mix.’ – you start by mixing in one cup, then transfer to another cup to ensure that you can thoroughly stir all the hard-to-reach material at the bottom of the container.
For foams, mixing part B a LOT before you combine with part A will help – you can add a lot of air to part B without worrying about the pot life (one flexibile foam he demonstrated only had a pot life of 50 seconds, so pre-mixing really helps).
You should also keep some clay on hand, just in case the wall around the part you are casting begins to leak.
At the end of the multi-part demonstration, Jay mixed a product called Alja-Safe and had everyone do a life cast of their thumb. After the 8-minute cure time, the same fast-cure urethane used on the dime was used to create reproductions of each person’s casting. At least a few people said that these would be used to create literal USB thumb drives!
Prepping the Alja-Safe alginate before each student was able to mold their thumb.
Molding a thumb in Alja-Safe.
6-8 minutes later, each participant could remove his or her thumb
Thumbs ready to be filled.
Round 1 complete, mixing round 2. The pot life of the Smoothcast 300Q was no more than 70 seconds, so Jay had to pour fast.
Red tinted Smoothcast 300Q for the thumbs. Photo by Brian Jacoby
Waiting for the thumbs to cure.
Comparison of the copy to the real deal.
A thumb in SC300Q.
Here are some more photos from the class.
Jay Mazur pouring the first item
A casting made of Dustin Hoffman’s face. The first layer was SC325 with flesh color added. Foam iT!5 was used as a backfill material, and was tinted blue at the request of someone inthe class. The skin-toned first layer was too thin to be opaque.
Showing the difference between resins being degassed in a vacuum chamber vs. not.
Large silicone mold of a dime.
The finished dime mold, including color. Product was SC300Q and Red Devil Cast Magic powder.
Testing Body Double Fast, a skin-safe silicone made to capture fine detail.
The details captured in Body Double Fast silicone.
Resin with bronze dust. Product was Cold Cast SC Onyx Fast with Bronze powder.
A resin with bronze dust in it and lightly polished. Product was Cold Cast SC Onyx Fast with Bronze powder.
2 castings of a hand and forearm.
2 part silicone mold.
2 part mold for a model car.
This post was written by Andrew Albosta for the Nova Labs blog, and cross-posted here.
On January 16, 2016, Nova Labs members were treated to a wood milling demonstration at Belle Grey Farm in Upperville, VA. The 51HP diesel powered, hydraulically controlled portable saw mill ran through the wood with ease.
Members were shown how entire trees were rough cut down to boards. The boards were then put into a solar kiln to dry for at least several months and sometimes as much as several years. Once dried the boards make it to the shop where they are used to make equestrian jumps.