Fuck resin. Seriously. $80 per jug. I get maybe two models out of each jug and I’m on my 7th one. The first three don’t count though — just failed tests. Necessary though. This semester I cornered myself into a resin bubble.
The first one was supposed to be a one-time study model but Kumpusch’s response was always “Yes! MORE and ADD THIS. ACCUMULATE. Stack them! REPEAT!” not realizing that each mold takes, like, a day and a half (of my undivided attention). I had never cast anything before so the idea of creating a mold of the negative of what you want to mold and then molding THAT took a little time to wrap my head around.
The payoff is kind of awesome, though. The resin blocks produced just look stunning. The details in the crevices make it look quite enigmatic. Where does the solid end and void begin? Is the resin block a massive wall or a massive volume with glass enclosure? Someone actually thought that my entire project was made of ice. “Whoa, is that ice?” Idiot.
I was making a duplicate of a found object. I was making a resin model of something that already existed. To make this object, I had to make molds of the voids of the object – the negative – in order to then cast into it to create the object – the POSITIVE.
So first I thought I’d be able to pull the resin out of this shell:
I was wrong. But it was a cool study model.
What I Learned:
TIPS. (Thanks Luis for these, and setting me up for this maddening exploration)
at Canal Plastics get:
-RESIN (80 bucks. Cheaper there than at Compleat Sculptor)
at Compleat Sculptor get:
MOLD STAR 15 SLOW (The rubber compound. they may recommend a different one)
MOLD RELEASE (Talk to Jessica in the back. She’ll recommend the right mold release/rubber mold after you tell her what you’re doing.)
BUCKETS W/ MEASURES
NITRILE GLOVES (the blue ones. SO NECESSARY. Must be Nitrile. Others will stick to the resin)
MASK + FILTER(S) (Would not be alive by the 4th model without these)
GLUE GUN with lots of glue sticks (sealing. covering holes in the mold)
PACKING TAPE (sealing. covering holes in the mold/box)
CLAY (last minute sealage)
They also have this toolbox specifically for sanding/buffing cured resin. It’s this kit – ask Jessica about it. It goes a long way for the cleaning up edges, etc.
There’s a special adhesive for gluing things to cured resin if you want it. It’s there. Forgot the name. Some epoxy something. I needed it. In the end I was gluing resin to resin and I didn’t have time to cook more resin just to cure it to itself. The entire process requires so much set up, and space and time. You basically have to set up a lab each time. And there is NO space in New York City. There are not enough horizontal surfaces in this city. I miss LA. In LA I could sprawl out in the sidewalk and make a toxic mess and no one would ever see, notice or complain. NYC changed everything – model-building wise. It is just difficult to roll around the city with irregular –shaped and –sized objects. Anyway, long story long, I did a batch in my room which required me to sleep with my mask on and have all windows open in the middle of winter in February. I did a batch on the sidewalk outside my building at 4 am. I did 2 batches in my rooftop, which required papers to be signed by Columbia University Housing (had to call the superintendent EVERY time I opened and closed the rooftop door). And FYI: you need to be physically attending to your curing resin, like, 75%, to pull out bubbles (using the stirrer) and to make sure it’s curing nicely. There are several times when I had to re-pour from jug to box and act quickly before the resin cured. And it takes roughly 8 hours to cure. So I was in and out of the rooftop overnight like a madman. I had alarms set etc. You need to make sure there’s nothing spilling out of the mold. That’s what the clay was for. Liquid resin is dense and heavy and it’ll just seep through every joint/corner of the box mold. My box was out of styrene and styrene is hard to cut so you buy the thinnest, flimsiest styrene just to have a nice resin which means the box needs RETAINING WALLS.
BTW. 3 seasons of Breaking Bad over Spring break. Meth = resin, basically.
First, the rubber mold. The negative.
Then the styrene box around the rubber mold.
Then the resin WITH CATALYST mixed, stirred, etc. I was putting 30-50 drops of catalyst for half a jug. The resin jug had instructions but Jessica at Canal Plastics gave me completely different instructions so I improvised. And made tons of mess(es?). Wasted a lot of resin. Spilled it all over my floor and cured and had the cost taken out of my security deposit months and months later. Just complete bedlam the first two cooks.
Wow the sloppiness. Beginner’s problems. Clay for emergency leakages
Peeling off the styrene.
The hardest part is releasing the resin from the rubber mold. My Mold Release was great, but my cast had too many things going on in there. I basically beat the hell out of that rubber mold just pulling it out of there because it was so thick. But the rubber mold is good quality — good for about 3 casts. Yeah, after a while it gets torn up from pulling the resin out etc. And yeah, I had to make that rubber mold 3 times. Basically, I was casting 24/7 for 3 weeks straight.
Lousy lousy images of a lousy mold/process. More later.
FFWD to THIS
Also something I learned after a few casts: you can always pour another layer of fresh resin onto a surface that is already cured (if it comes out bad) to clean it up. Surface exposed to air will always be the clearest finish.
Cutting resin. More later.