January 10, 2015

Making the Shuttle mold


Usually I use one of the three materials below to make my molds. No matter which type of product you use make sure you have the object you want to copy clean and ready to be used when you make your molds. Be patient. There are varying wait times for the mold to be ready to accept resin into it.


                                               Molding Material type:  Oyumaru.
... fácil, rápida y económica , y así es como descubrí el Oyumaru

 This is a plastic clay type of material. It is resin ready as soon as it cools. Cooling time can be quicken by placing it in the freezer for a minute. It is reusable and all that is need for prep is hot water and paper towels for excess water seepage. I purchase mine on Etsy.com or Ebay.com. Although I have found prices more reasonable on Etsy.com. Gloves are completely optional, it does pick up detail very well with minimal effort. This is preferred method for first time casting. There is no extra wait time needed for it to be used beyond the three to five minutes for it to cool. All my casting have come out clear with no hazing or matte finishes.

                                         Molding Material:  Easy Mold Silicone Putty
Using gloves is optional. It does have a slight greasy feel to it when working. It's a simple 1:1 ratio mix on the two different components. The pieces are ready to use for clay or food in about 4 hours but for resin casting it is a 24 hour wait. This is to make sure there is no chemical reaction between the different elements. You can use it after the four hours, but you'll get a filmy/matte cast to the piece instead of the clear/shiny look. I use this to make a more solid second mold of my pieces after all the sanding and smoothing has been done. It does hold up to multiple uses well, however it will eventually wear out with repeated use. This is easily available at my local crafts stores, Michael's and HobbyLobby. You can also purchase online on Amazon.com or Ebay.com.

                                      Molding Material: Amazing Mold Rubber

the New Amazing Mold Rubber ???
 This is one of the only products that I use where I had to wear gloves. It can be really tacky so lay down some wax paper in the area you are working. Also use in a well ventilated area, it has a strong smell to it. With this mix I have to pay more attention to make sure I'm using the correct mix ratio. The detail this picks up is amazing! Don't be stingy when casting, make sure your piece has a solid base, otherwise the mold will wear out fast. If the mold is too thin, it will tear. It's flexibility is perfect for helping to shape the shuttle blades without removing them from the mold. Depending on the thickness of the mold, you may have to wait up to two days to be able to use. Generally, the instructions say 2-4 hours to demold. You only have 20 minutes to work with this before it starts to solidify. The final pieces come out shiny. The final texture of the mold is smooth and reminds me of  gummy bear candy.

Now on to the actual tutorial...This is for a flat surfaced shuttle, not textured like my small hearts shuttle.We will be working in reverse. The top of the finished product will be on the bottom of the mold. Keep this in mind when using something like a broken shuttle with the post still attached, to copy. Through my many experiments, I've learned it's easier to make the blade flat and shape it before it is fully cured. This also makes it easier to embed items into the resin. It also helps to reduce time spent sanding and finishing the final product. Always keep in mind the thickness of the final blades when making your mold. If it is too thick, your hands will tire more easily when tatting for long periods of time. It may also be more difficult to hold the shuttle in your hands.

Starting with no item to create the shuttle with.
 I recommend using either the Oyumaru or the EasyMold Putty for this.  First you have to make a template. I used a piece of cardboard and cut out the basic shuttle shape.
 You can also use an old plastic gift card. Just make certain that what you use has a definite smooth side. This is what you are going to impress into your molding compound. Gently push the smooth side of your template into the compound, making sure to use even pressure. If you push too hard into one side and not the other, the mold will be skewed and you won't get a flat surface out of it. Only push deep enough to be able to create a "lip" to keep the resin in. The lip has to be tall enough to not allow the overflow of resin but not too deep that the cast piece comes out too thick.

 You'll have to experiment to get the tension level you want out of this. That is the main reason I recommend Oyumaru, if you mess up just pop it back in the water and start over. Less wasted product. You will also have to create a smaller mold for the center post. If you have a broken post shuttle, just use that to make your post. If not, you'll have to find something similar in height and width to create the mold out of.

 After waiting the appropriate time, you'll have your first shuttle blade mold ready for use!

Making a copy of an existing shuttle blade.

For this portion I highly recommend using a shuttle that has already come apart. You can use the outside of it but you must be aware of the pressure needed to get your mold made. The blade is already concave or shaped so you will not get a flat surface. This will make casting a bit more difficult. You will end up having to sand off a bit of resin after it has cured to make it even. This is unavoidable. I also do not recommend turning the shuttle on it's side and making a mold of it in this manner. It is possible to do this with The Amazing Mold Rubber, but not recommended. IF you plan on embedding items into the resin, it will be very difficult to keep the items from moving while the resin is curing. Also you can only go halfway up the shuttle. The final piece will have a seam going down the center that will take some work and another coating of resin to get rid of. With items embedded you must keep an careful eye on your piece frequently to correct drifting of items. There will also be problems with the blade tension. Once the piece is cast, you can't really adjust the tension since the first half of the shuttle has to be on the second while in its gummy stage to bond.

Assuming your shuttle is broken with the post still attached to one of the blades we are going to make a mold. This time instead of working in reverse, we are going to press the blade with post facing down into the molding compound. Make sure this molding compound part is rather thick before you begin. Starting in the center where the post is located, gently press down into the compound. Keep in mind to not push too quickly or deeply. You want to have a bit of a thick base still when you are done. If you push too deeply the post will protrude out the bottom or the layer will be too thin to withstand the resin and will leak out. Again, gently push from the center to the outside of the blade to create the lip to keep the resin inside the mold. Shape it up if needed to create the lip. You might have to shape the lip by gently pushing up from the sides. Be mindful to not have the molding compound cover over the top of the shuttle. You want to be able to easily pop the shuttle blade out of the mold.
 If you push too hard or too quickly, you will create 'streaks' or uneven layers under the blade. It leaves a bad mold that while you can still use it, it will require a lot of sanding to fix the layering. Another way to create the mold is with the Amazing Mold Rubber. For this prep your shuttle pieces.

You will want to have the top of the shuttle secured to the "mold box" bottom. The post should be facing you on top. Make sure you tape the pieces or glue them down. They will move because the molding compound begins as a liquid before solidifying. Make certain that you leave enough space between the two blades to create a divider. The blades should not be touching any part of the mold box except the bottom where they are secured to. After mixing the rubber, slowly pour it onto the pieces. In my mold there is a bit of a gap between the blades and the bottom of the molding box.

 I will have to "trim" this down after it finishes curing. If you did not mix enough of this compound to fully cover the post, do not worry. This material bonds to itself, so just make another batch and pour it over the existing portion. If you do not have one of these small plastic containers, you can make a mold box out of practically anything. There are YouTube videos showing people using clay as a base and Lego blocks to make their mold boxes. Clean up on this rubber material is super easy after it finishes curing. It peels right off. With the thickness of this particular mold, I will have to leave it for about three to four days to be certain it has finished processing and will be ready for resin use.

There you have it, you've made a shuttle mold!

January 8, 2015

Beginnings of another tutorial

After thinking it over for a few months, I've decided to make the post shuttle tutorial. I presented a question on what style of tutorial it should be. A video with some edits to keep the whole thing from becoming too long? Or a more simple picture based tutorial like the one I already posted of the flat shuttle? Then I had to take into account on whether to include also the mold making process. I've realized that I've taken for granted that mold making step. I've been working for resin for so long now, that I assume everyone would know how to find videos and other tutorials to help them.

With my own clumsy stumbling into resin in mind, I'm going to begin this tutorial. I can do both, shoot the actual video and if seems like it would be too much work later, I can just make it a picture tutorial. I could actually just pull the still shots from the video. Two birds one stone mentality. On this blog, I'm going to post the tutorial as multi-post picture lessons. Honestly, this isn't going to be anything but involved and time consuming. Since I'm seriously lacking on time, maybe there's others out there who can help expand this particular skill to the world.

I hesitate on the video version because I don't like the way I sound on camera. It's stiff and sometimes my tone can be interpreted as bored and angry. I tend to just want to get it done and slowing down to 'teach' bugs me sometimes. Which I find funny, since I tend to want to teach others, I usually just lack patience with myself. Information overload and all that. With that in mind, you'll receive two posts today! The first will be this introduction, then the first step into mold making! I have a tatting friend, Jane Eborall, who does a Tat-it-and-see every year. She releases small parts of a final motif in small lessons. Using that as my drafting process, I will begin my shuttle tutorial for everyone. I will try and release the next portion on Friday evenings, since it's the only day I know I will have free every week.

My Honey suggested I sell the actual tutorial to make up for the supplies. While it does make sense to do that, I'm not sure if I really want to do that. I only just decided to actually do the tutorial. Thoughts for later. I will start off with making the molds. Afterwards, I can decided to whether to sell the tutorial or give it away for free. Or maybe do a coupon code to give away the tutorial for a certain amount of time? Monetizing on something I do for fun just seems like too much work for my lazy habits.