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FROM THE February 2008 ISSUE

Resin-casting

RELATED TOPICS: RESIN
Q: I'm fairly new to resin-casting at home, and I'm having a problem that is making me appreciate the aftermarket resin casters more every day.

Sometimes I get a good casting; sometimes my castings don't harden completely in spots; other times they appear to be dry, and then start to "bleed" and get tacky.

What's going on?

- Steve Bonney
Via E-mail


Ken: Funny you should bring this up, Steve; I've had the same thing happen at the T&T Workshop. It's really frustrating, and it certainly does make one respect the level of expertise of the commercial resin caster.

One of the most-important factors in mixing a two-part resin is to combine the two parts exactly by weight. Always pour each part into a separate cup, and then pour each measured amount into a third cup to actually mix the batch. That's the best way to ensure that you're still getting equal weights of each part into the mixing cup.

Be sure to stir the resin thoroughly - but gently - so that the components are completely mixed. By stirring gently, you'll also avoid air bubbles that can create an entirely different set of problems.

Remember to coat the model cavity with a suitable mold release, so the resin won't stick to the mold. This is an unrelated concern, but an important one nonetheless.

Assuming you have done all this and your castings are still "weeping," it could just be that the resin is old and/or has absorbed moisture at some point during its lifetime.

Resin does have a shelf life, and as soon as you open the container, it will begin to age to a point where it will eventually become unusable.

Unopened containers aren't immune to this phenomenon either, so resin that's been sitting on the shelf for a long time could be affected as well.

Unfortunately, there's no way to know before you mix and pour. If you get a bad part that's either weeping or soft in even a small spot, it's best to throw it out and start over.

All of this certainly does make the aftermarket resin casters look good, doesn't it? Thanks for the question, Steve, and good luck with your casting project.

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