Epoxy Comic Book Tabletop

April 6, 2018

We have received lots of phone calls from people wanting to use old comic books and epoxy to make comic tabletops, bar tops, and floors. Wherever the installation, the basic steps are the same. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a small tabletop decorated with comics and epoxy.

Materials needed:

  • Wood tabletop (I used 3/4″ thick, round plywood)
  • AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin and Hardener
  • A clear urethane or acrylic sealant spray
  • A comic book (Since this table is small, I only need one comic book. For a larger area, you will need more comic books.)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic measuring/mixing containers and utensils
  • Inexpensive brushes (I used 1 inch chip brushes)
  • Gloves
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper (I prefer 60 grit)
  • Acetone and a clean rag
  • Heat gun or propane torch

If your tabletop is not yet attached to legs, then you will need the following as well:

  • Something to keep your tabletop lifted off your work surface. I used little yellow plastic triangles from the hardware store. You can see them in the first picture below.
  • Four 2″x2″x2′ pieces of hardwood for the legs
  • 16 small L brackets and 32 1/2″ wood screws

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • I decided to use a newer comic book for this project for two reasons; 1. The paper newer comics are printed on is usually thicker than the paper older comics are printed on, which was barely a step up from tissue paper. This means I don’t need to apply as many coats of sealant to the comics, saving a little time and materials. 2. I am reasonably sure I’m not cutting up an expensive collector’s item. If you are using old comics, I recommend Googling your comic book titles to make sure your not about to cut up your retirement fund and encase it in epoxy.
  • When doing larger areas, most people just use pages of the comic book. Since I’m doing a small tabletop I’m cutting out panels and arranging them in a way so I can show characters and scenes that I like. I also tried to be aware of the colors of the panels, so all the predominantly brown (or green or blue) panels don’t all end up in one spot.

  • You can see that the comics hang over the edge of the table. It will be easier to glue them down this way and then use an X-acto knife to trim them. Make sure you take a picture of the layout of the comics for reference.
  • Next, I need to seal the comic panels with a clear acrylic sealant spray. Epoxy will penetrate the paper and give it a permanent “wet” look if the paper is not sealed first. Please read the directions on the can of sealant you are using because they all have slightly different directions and you’ll want to follow them carefully. I applied two coats of sealant to each side of the comics.

 

  • Your comic book pages/panels should feel like plastic at this point. That’s the result we want.  It means that they are completely sealed and ready to be epoxied onto the tabletop.
  • Next, I set my tabletop on my work space. Since my table doesn’t yet have legs, I set it on these little yellow triangles I picked up at the hardware store. They make sure that any excess epoxy doesn’t puddle under or around the tabletop.

 

  • I mixed up a few ounces of the AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy, according to our directions, and used a brush to apply a thin coat to my tabletop. This coat seals the wood and will reduce the amount of air bubbles that can arise when we do the next coats, with the comics and the following thicker pour coats.
  • After the epoxy cured, I laid out the panels next to the table top. I mixed up about 3 ounces of epoxy and brushed another coat on the tabletop. Then, working from the picture I took, I laid the panels on the wet epoxy. For panels that were laying on top of other panels, I brushed a small amount of epoxy on the back before setting it in place. Once all the panels were in place, I used the remaining epoxy to brush a thin layer on top of everything.

  • Once the epoxy was cured, the comics were stiff enough to trim with an X-acto knife.

  • Since I cut the sealed paper, I used my spray sealant on the edges of the cut comics. It does’t matter if you over spray a bit and get sealant on the top where the epoxy is. Once you do the remaining top coats of epoxy, you won’t be able to tell.
  • I did one more thin brush coat to make sure all comic panels were all sealed down nicely.

 

  • After the epoxy cured, it is time for some thicker pour coats. First, I used painter’s tape to seal the edge of the table.

  • Then I use the tape to create a dam to stop the epoxy from rolling off the table when I pour it  on the tabletop.

  • I want to do a fairly thin pour coat, enough to evenly cover the whole tabletop, but I’m not going to pour the epoxy to the thickness I want for the finished product. I like to do several thinner pours rather than one large pour, because it cuts down on air bubbles and also gives me a chance to sand out any air bubbles between coats.
  • After the pour, I used a heat gun to pop any bubbles that rose up. I used the lowest setting on the heat gun and held it at least 6 inches away from the epoxy. I also kept the heat gun moving fairly quickly, so as not to heat up any one spot of the epoxy. You can also use a small propane torch to do this. The same technique still applies.

  • The first thin pour was bubble free thanks to the heat gun. So, I left the tape in place and did another thin pour coat, again using the heat carefully to pop any surface bubbles. You can see in the picture below how glassy and even and bubble-free the epoxy is turning out.

  • Next, after the epoxy cured, I pulled the tape dam off. It can be hard to see bubbles at the edge, next to the tape, so I want to check the edge and sand down the meniscus (where the epoxy meets the tape and wicks upward). After sanding, I wiped the whole table down with acetone on a clean rag.

 

  • The edge looks nice and bubble free, a quick sanding and then taped back up for the next pour. This pour should even everything out, making the epoxy even and bubble free so I can do the final, finishing pour coat without the tape dam.
  • I pulled all the tape off, gave a light sand to the edge and top. Now, I’m ready for a final pour coat to bring it all together.

  • After I did the last pour coat, I waited about 25 minutes and came back and used a plastic scraper to to remove the drips. 25 minutes gives the epoxy time to gel so the drips don’t form again.

  • Lastly, I attached the legs with “L” brackets and wood screws.

  • When I have time, I’ll go back and seal the underside of the table and the legs with some epoxy. Just a couple of brush coats of the AeroMarine Products 300/21 epoxy will work well. However, that can wait until I find some more time in my busy project schedule. I think my epoxy comic tabletop turned out quite nicely.

 

 

If you have any questions about this project or any other projects, drop us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com or call us at 1-877-342-8860.

The Bloopers Blog

March 1, 2018

I’ve done a lot of projects in the last 7 years I’ve worked here. Which means I’ve messed up a lot of times as well. In this blog post, I’ll go over some mistakes I’ve made and how you can avoid them.

General Bloopers:

  • The most common problem I had when I first started was not having my work area properly set up before I began mixing products. I would carefully weigh out my silicone and catalyst and suddenly realize that I forgot to grab a mixing utensil. Or, I would start mixing epoxy and find that I forgot to tape up the edge of my tabletop to make a dam. After a few of these problems, I started taking a few minutes to walk through the steps I would take for the project, after I gathered my materials but before I started measuring, mixing, and pouring. This quick extra step has saved me countless headaches and wasted product over the years.
  • Always read the directions on materials you haven’t worked with before AND give them a brief read if it’s been awhile since you worked with the product. I’ve always been good about reading the Technical Data Sheet the first time I use a product.  However, after messing up the mixing ratios a couple times, I learned that I shouldn’t rely on my memory for product directions. I always double check mixing ratios and product directions now. Obviously, if you only ever work with one product this isn’t an issue. If you have a lot of different types of projects using different products, it is always good to give the Technical Data Sheet a quick read before starting.

Product Specific Bloopers:

  • Epoxy: The epoxy resin 300 and 400 resins can freeze at a pretty high temperature, 50F. However, unless it’s really cold,  the resin doesn’t freeze entirely.  Instead, it partially freezes, usually at the bottom of the container. You might not notice the white, frozen crystals until you are adding the hardener. At least that’s what I’ve done. If you notice the epoxy is partially frozen before you mix it with the hardener, it’s easy to defrost and use. However, if you miss it and mix it with the hardener, you will have cloudy epoxy that can’t be fixed. So, now I always inspect the whole bottle, give it a thorough shake and turn it around, before I measure out  the resin to be mixed.
  • Urethane: The most frequent mistake I make when working with urethane is mixing it with wooden stir sticks. Urethane is very moisture sensitive before it cures.  Any moisture that might be in wood or paper products will create bubbles, discoloration, and result in a poor quality rubber or foam. So, do not use wood mixing utensils and/or paper mixing cups for measuring and mixing urethanes and do not use urethanes on rainy or humid days.

 Moisture damaged Urethane Rubber

  • Silicone: My most common silicone mistake is not mixing up enough silicone for the mold I’m making. Instead of measuring and calculating the volume needed, I have often just decided I can eyeball how much material I’ll need. Several times this has ended with me frantically mixing another batch of silicone to make up the difference. Now, I always measure my mold box, measure my part, then subtract the volume of the part from the volume of the box. This gives me the cubic inches of silicone I need. I can mix it accordingly.

Specific Project Bloopers:

  • Small Epoxy Tabletop with embedded pictures: This was my very first project, just a few months after I started working here. I glued down some photographs to a square piece of scrap wood about 12 inches by 12 inches, made a tape dam that rose about an inch and a half from the surface of the wood, mixed some 300/21 Epoxy and poured it a little over an inch thick onto the wood. Everything looked awesome for the first 10 minutes or so. Then, I saw a bubble, then another bubble, then oh man, so many bubbles everywhere! I had poured the epoxy way too thick for the small surface area of the tabletop!   The epoxy had boiled, resulting in a bubbly, uneven mess. It looked like a pot of boiling water frozen in time. This project has long since been thrown away because I was so ashamed of this terrible failure, though I wish I had taken a picture. I have since reminded everyone who is pouring a tabletop or bar top that it’s best to keep the pours under 1/4 inch at a time and do multiple pours to build to the desired thickness.
  • AeroMarine Products Logo Block: This wasn’t too bad, but it was frustrating. I was trying to make a small silicone block mold of a small cube that has our raindrop logo on the top. I was trying to save time and not wait for the hot glue gun to warm up, so I used some clay to stick the cube to the bottom of my mold box. I have successfully used this method with small pieces in the past. This time I mixed and poured the silicone and when I came back the next day the block had dislodged and floated to the top of the silicone. So I cleaned it up, used a dab of hot glue to anchor it to the bottom of the box again, mixed and poured the silicone. Again, I came back the next day and it had floated to the top. I applied a very thick layer of hot glue to the bottom of the cube the third time and it finally stayed put. You can see in the picture, the cube is hollow and I should have known it would need to be anchored very securely to the bottom of the mold box. Lesson learned.

 Hollow cube that likes to float in silicone.

  • Foam Pumpkin in a Latex Mold: Everything went wrong with this project. I decided to do a latex mold for the blog.  I had a pumpkin that would be fun to use because it was Fall.  I wanted to demonstrate casting with foam for the blog as well. Generally, you don’t want to use urethane in the latex because the heat the urethane generates can damage the latex over time. However, I only needed one cast so I knew the latex would be okay for that. I also didn’t want to take the extra time to make a mother mold to back the latex. I figured on setting it in a box of sand to support it for the cast. This has worked for me in the past with small to medium sized pieces. Making the latex mold went fine.  Latex doesn’t heat up as it cures so it’s fine to use on organic things, like pumpkins.

 Making the latex pumpkin mold.

I removed the finished mold off the pumpkin and placed upside down in my box of sand. I sprayed a little urethane mold release into the mold, mixed up some urethane pour foam and urethane colorant and poured it into the mold. Almost immediately, I can tell I mixed and poured too much urethane foam and its going to overflow. That’s fixable because I’ll trim the excess off after I de-mold it. Then, I noticed that the expanding foam is distorting the mold. Okay fine, maybe the pumpkin will be a little rounder than the original. When I de-molded my foam casting, I had trouble getting the pumpkin out with the foam overflow.  The pumpkin foam casting stuck to the latex in some places where I didn’t spray enough mold release. So, I had to cut the mold apart to remove the pumpkin foam casting. This is where I noticed that there are large voids, probably from the mold distorting. Unfortunately, both the piece and the mold are both complete loss. So, because I didn’t want to do two projects to demonstrate two products, and because I didn’t want to take the time to make a mother mold, I ended up with nothing to show for hours of work. Lesson learned: always take the time to do the project properly.  Don’t cut corners!

If you have any project questions, or projects you’ve messed up and are looking to fix, please call us at 877-342-8860 or drop us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com

 

Concrete Stamp Made from Urethane Rubber

February 14, 2018

Urethane rubber has many uses because of its strength, durability, and flexibility. It is often used to pot or encapsulate underwater electronics, make shoe insoles, make molds for concrete bricks, blocks, and statues. It also makes an excellent stamp for concrete, where it is pressed into fresh, wet concrete to create a pattern. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a urethane rubber concrete stamp.

Materials needed:

  • Tiles, or something that has a pattern that you want to stamp into concrete
  • AeroMarine Products 75A Urethane Rubber with Mold Release
  • AeroMarine Products AM128 Silicone (not necessary for all projects)
  • Spray paint or spray sealeant
  • Plastic mixing cups and utensils
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cardboard
  • X-acto knife

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • For this project, I found interestingly shaped tiles that I want to use to make a concrete stamp. Since I’m not doing a driveway or other large scale concrete stamping application, I won’t make a large 2ft x 2ft original with tiles thin-set and grouted into place. Instead, I’m making a smaller concrete stamp as a decorative accent.  I will use silicone to reverse the tiles, so that when I make the concrete stamp, I’ll be pressing the shape of the tile into the concrete, rather than pressing the space between the tiles into the concrete. When using a concrete rubber stamp to mimic a tile or brick pattern over a large area, you will do the opposite, so that the tile/brick pattern looks like the real thing.
  • First, I cut out the cardboard and glued it together with hot glue to make a mold box.
  • Next, I glued my tiles down and mixed up some AeroMarine Products AM128 Pourable silicone. I picked a corner and poured the silicone slowly, letting it flow around the tiles. After 24 hours, the silicone cured. I removed it from the mold box. Again, if you are making a stamp to mimic brick/tile work for a large area, make the mold box around your tile/brick work, but don’t pour silicone into it. You would apply mold release to the tiles and pour the 75A Urethane into instead. I go in to more detail on mixing and pouring the urethane in the next few steps below.

 

  • For the next step, I need to construct another mold box around the silicone. However, this is the box into which I will be pouring the 75A Urethane Rubber.  Urethane is moisture sensitive before it is cured. Things like paper, wood and cardboard can retain moisture from the atmosphere and cause bubbles in the urethane. So, I am going to cut out my cardboard for the mold box and then seal it with a clear acrylic spray. You can also just paint it using any old can of spray paint you have around.

  • Once the sealant is dry (read the directions on the can), I used my hot glue gun to build the box around the silicone piece. This is easier than building the box and then trying to put the silicone piece in it.

  • Before I mix and pour the 75A Urethane Rubber, I need to apply some mold release to the sealed cardboard. This 75A Urethane Rubber kit comes with a silicone based mold release paste that I am going to apply with a clean rag.

  • Now I’m ready to mix my 75A Urethane Rubber. The mix ratio on this product is 1:1 by volume. I mixed a pint of part “A” and a pint of part “B” vigorously by hand for about 60 seconds and then poured it into the mold box. This product has a short pot life, at about 3 minutes at  70 F, so mix quickly and thoroughly, taking care to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing container.  The full cure takes 12 hours, so I’ll come back to de-mold tomorrow.

  • Fully cured now, my concrete stamp is ready to go!

 

  • Because the urethane rubber is pretty stiff, I poured it thinner than I did the silicone. The AM128 Silicone has a Shore A hardness of 28, which is a little firmer than a rubber band. The 75A Urethane Rubber has a Shore A hardness of 75, which is about the firmness of a car tire. So I always want my silicone to be about 1 inch thick, but the urethane rubber can be 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • The finished stamp can now be pressed into concrete!

If you have any questions about this project or your own projects, give us a call at 877-342-8860 or drop us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com

Polyester Resin Vs. Epoxy Resin

January 24, 2018

 Epoxy resin makes a strong and durable tabletop.

We frequently get asked about the difference between epoxy resin and polyester resin. Often, people say “resin” without specifying which resin. It all depends on what your project is as to whether you would choose epoxy resin or polyester resin. Here’s a quick breakdown on the differences between epoxy resin and polyester resin.

Epoxy Resin Characteristics:

  • Epoxy is extremely strong and has great flexural strength. Our 300/21 and 400/21 epoxy resins have a flexural strength of 17,500 psi. Our 300/11 and 4/11 epoxy resins have a flexural strength of 12,800 psi.
  • Epoxy has a great shelf life. While we guarantee our epoxy resins for 6 months, you can reasonably expect the epoxy to last at least a few years properly  stored on the shelf.
  • You cannot vary the cure time of epoxy resin. Epoxy resin’s cure time is determined by the hardener and the temperature. Our 300 resin with 21 hardener has a cure time of 24 hours at 70 F.  Adding more hardener will not make it cure more quickly! Too much hardener will actually make the cured epoxy rubbery. You can decrease the cure time by raising the ambient temperature around the epoxy resin. For every 10 F the temperature is raised above 70F, you can cut the cure time by 10%. However, don’t raise the temperature over 100 F.
  • A gallon of epoxy generally costs slightly more than polyester resin.
  • Epoxies like ours that are 100% solids are low to no VOC. They have a hardly any odor.  You don’t need a filter mask when working with epoxy. Epoxy is also non-flammable.
  • Epoxy cures fully when applied as a thin film, making it ideal for adhesive applications.
  • Epoxy does not shrink when cured.
  • Epoxy is very resistant to wear, cracking, peeling, corrosion and damage from chemical and environmental degradation.
  • Once cured, epoxy is moisture resistant.
  • Epoxy is not, on its own, UV resistant. Some epoxies have a UV resistant additive added to them that works moderately well. However, the best way to ensure that your epoxy doesn’t yellow or breakdown from UV rays is to top coat it with clear UV resistant urethane. Then, you will have the strength and durability of the epoxy and the UV protection of the urethane.
  • Epoxy generally has a bonding strength of up to 2,000 psi.
  • Epoxy will not bond to polyethylene, polypropylene, EPDM, anodized aluminum, Teflon or Tedlar.

Polyester Resin Characteristics:

  • Polyester resin is brittle and prone to micro-cracking.
  • The shelf life of polyester resin is about 6 months – 1 year.
  • You can vary the cure time of polyester resin by adding more or less of MEKP catalyst.
  • Polyester resin generally costs slightly less than epoxy resin.
  • Polyester off-gases VOCs and has strong, flammable fumes.
  • Polyester resin does not cure well as a thin film, so it doesn’t work well as an adhesive.
  • The larger the pour, the more polyester resin shrinks when cured.
  • Polyester resin is UV resistant and does not need to be top coated to prevent yellowing or degradation from sunlight.
  • Once cured, polyester resin is water permeable, meaning water can pass through it eventually.
  • The bonding strength of polyester resin is generally less than 500 psi.
  • Polyester resin will not bond to epoxy resin.

With its strength, glossy finish and durability, epoxy resin is ideal for things like bar tops, table tops, and counter tops,

 

Building and repairing wooden and fiberglass boats,

Making fiberglass and carbon fiber parts,

 

Coating wood and concrete,

Casting small objects,

As well as flooring, potting electronics, bonding wood, metal, concrete and many types of plastic, sealing and patching wood that has dry rot, pebble paving, and many more applications where thorough bonding, strength, glass-like finish and durability are required.

If you have any questions about what product would be best for your project, send us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com or give us a call, toll-free, Monday -Friday 9am- 4pm Pacific time at 877-342-8860. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have!

 

Epoxy and Wood Star Holiday Decoration

January 8, 2018

Epoxy can help make wooden decorations last a long time. For this project, I will be painting and decorating a large plain wooden star that I found at a local craft store and then sealing it with epoxy. This application process can be used with any size and shape wood decoration. Make sure to use a water based stain/paint. Oil based paint/stain is quite difficult for the epoxy to bond to it. It takes a lot of thin coats and sanding to get the epoxy to look nice over oil based stain/paint. It can be done but it just takes a lot of work and that is a project for another blog post.

Materials needed:

  • Wood star (or other shape)
  • AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin and Hardener
  • Water based metallic wood stain/paint
  • Glitter
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Plastic measuring/mixing containers and utensils
  • Inexpensive brushes (I used 1 inch chip brushes)
  • Gloves
  • Acetone and clean oil free rag

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • This star had a loop of twine at the top of it, so I taped that down and out of the way first. Then, I applied a water based metallic stain/paint according to the product directions. I used a 1 inch chip brush and applied 2 stain coats, waiting 12 hours between coats. After the last coat, I waited 72 hours before applying the first coat of epoxy.

  • Before I applied my first coat of epoxy on the whole star, I did a little test area on the side of the piece. I did this because it was my first time using this particular stain/paint. I didn’t think there would be any issue because it is a water based material intended to go over wood, but better safe than sorry. The test spot turned out fine, so I proceeded with the full application.

  • The 300/21 Epoxy is mixed 2:1 by volume. I measured, mixed in a clean container, then after mixing for a couple of minutes, poured it into a new, clean container and mixed for a few more minutes. I did this to make sure the epoxy was completely mixed and there wouldn’t be an unmixed material clinging to the sides of the mixing container. Any unmixed resin or hardener will make it difficult for the the epoxy to properly cure. I mixed up a total of 3 ounces, which is a very small batch.
  • Next, I used a 1 inch chip brush to apply a nice thin coat all over the star, brushing the sides as well.
  • I let each coat of epoxy cure for at least 24 hours before applying the next coat. If I had mixed a larger amount of epoxy (at least 6 ounces), if the weather was warmer or if I had a heater running in my work space, I would have only waited 12 hours between coats. Smaller batches and colder temperatures cause the epoxy to cure more slowly which is why I gave it each coat more time to cure. This epoxy does not need to be sanded between coats, unless it has been longer than 2 weeks since the previous application.

  • Once I had 3 brush coats of epoxy applied and cured, I taped off the edges of the star with painter’s tape. I want to apply glitter just to the center of the star and have a nice border of just plain gold.

  • Once the edges were taped up, I mixed up and applied another coat of epoxy just to the middle of the star. Then, I sprinkled glitter on to the wet epoxy. I let it cure for 24 hours and the applied another coat of epoxy.

  • After the epoxy cured, I removed the tape. I used some acetone on a clean, oil free rag to wipe the entire surface of the star, focusing on the areas that had been taped. You really want to make sure the cloth/rag you are using does not have any oil residue on it. Oil contamination will make the final coat of epoxy look uneven.
  • After the acetone has evaporated (just a few minutes), I mixed and applied the final coat of epoxy. The last coat will even out the difference between the glitter area and the border.

 

You can see the sharply delineated edge between the glitter and border and how the final coat really smoothed the whole piece out. This whole project took about week, applying a coat of epoxy a day. You can check out our epoxy page here, https://www.aeromarineproducts.com/product-category/epoxy/

As always, if you have any questions about this project or your own projects, send us an email at Info@AeroMarineProducts.com

 

Silicone Glove Mold and Fiberglass Mothermold

November 14, 2017

With larger pieces, it is more cost effective to make a glove mold rather than a large block mold. A glove mold is also less cumbersome than a large block mold. Glove molds do need a supportive structure since they are thinner than a block mold, so I will make an epoxy and fiberglass mothermold to support the finished glove mold. Additionally, the piece I picked for this project has a lot of detail so I will be using a silicone diluent to pick up all the detail and decrease the risk of air bubbles.

Materials needed:

  • Original part
  • AeroMarine Products 128 Silicone with Brushable Catalyst
  • AeroMarine Products Silicone Diluent
  • AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin
  • AeroMarine Products 6oz Plain Weave Fiberglass Cloth
  • Scale
  • Measuring and mixing containers and utensils
  • Piece of cardboard large enough for original to sit on
  • Inexpensive brushes (I used 1 inch chip brushes)
  • Gloves
  • Scissors for trimming fiberglass

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • To start, I set my original on the cardboard, right in the middle. The mold needs to have a lip at the base. The cardboard is something that the silicone can be applied to and will peel off easily when I’m done.

  

  • Because of the detail on the original, I am using silicone diluent to thin the rather viscous brushable silicone. The diluent is added to the white silicone base (Part A) up to 10% by weight. For the first coat, I weighed out 150 grams of silicone Part A and added 15 grams of the silicone diluent and mixed well. The total weight of my silicone is now 165 grams and the catalyst needs to be added at 10% of the total weight. I rounded 16.5 grams up to 17 grams because my scale doesn’t do half grams. This silicone isn’t finicky or exacting, so you can round up or down. It will turn out fine either way.
  • As I applied the silicone using a 1 inch chip brush, I really focused on getting into all the nooks and crannies of the piece. This silicone has a 45 minute pot life which allows me to take my time and makes sure there are no air bubbles in my first coat of silicone. Any air bubbles in the first coat will be recreated as lumps in every casting. So while I try to avoid air bubbles in every subsequent coat, it is extremely important to not have any in the first coat.

  • I let the silicone cure for 24 hours. For the next two coats, I mixed 150 grams of Silicone Part A, 8 grams of silicone diluent (5%), and 16 grams of catalyst. The 2nd and 3rd coats can go on a little thicker to help build the mold. I also focused on making a “lip” all the way around the piece, extended about an inch out. I always let each coat cure for 24 hours before applying the next coat.

 

  • For the 4th and final coat, I went back to adding the silicone diluent at 10% because I want this coat to flow more into the remaining detail and be mostly smooth on top. This makes it easier to do the epoxy and fiberglass mothermold. I let the silicone cure for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

  • Now that I have a nice smooth glove mold, it’s time to make an epoxy and fiberglass mothermold to support it. First, I peel the whole thing off the cardboard, taking care not to peel the silicone off the piece. I set it back down on the plastic covering on my work station. The epoxy peels easily off the plastic, but would stick to the cardboard.

 

  • I’m using our 6 oz plain weave fiberglass. Since this piece is mostly flat and not too large, I’m only going to do one layer of resin and fiberglass mothermold. If the piece was larger or more vertical, I would do several layers to give it more support.
  • I trimmed the fiberglass to fit comfortably around the mold and then set it in place. I pressed the fiberglass into the contours of the mold. This was fairly simple because I filled in most of the detail with the last coat of silicone.

 

  • Next I mixed 4 oz of AeroMarine Products 300 Epoxy Resin with 2 oz of AeroMarine Products 21 Epoxy Hardener. I stirred it vigorously, taking care to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing container, for several minutes. Then, I dribbled the epoxy around the edges of the fiberglass to hold the edges down. I used my chip brush to apply more epoxy to fiberglass, saturating it completely.

  • If I needed to do more layers, I would let this set up for at least 12 hours and then follow the same procedure, this time laying the fiberglass in the opposite direction for added strength. Since I’m only doing the one layer, I just let it cure for the full 24 hours before coming back to remove the fiberglass mothermold and de-mold the piece.
  • The raw edges of fiberglass and epoxy were very sharp, so I used heavy duty scissors to trim and shape teh fiberglass mothermold.

  

  • Once the sharp edges were trimmed away, I carefully pulled the mold (with the piece still inside) away from the fiberglass mothermold. Then, I carefully removed the silicone mold from the piece.

  • If I was going to cast, I would then sit the mold back into the mothermold for the casting.

Done! This was just a simple glove mold with epoxy and fiberglass mothermold. The same method can be applied to larger and/or more complex projects. As every project is different, give us a call, toll-free, at 877-342-8860 or drop us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com if you have questions about your own project!

Latex Storage and Winter Weather

October 30, 2017

Latex is a great mold making material that makes durable, long lasting molds for concrete, plaster, hydrocal and other non-exothermic casting materials. Finished latex molds have a long library life when properly stored as well. Howeve,r winter is coming and that can mean issues with shipping and storing uncured latex.

Our AeroMarine Products Mold Making Latex is a creamy white color with a smooth texture when uncured. It cures to a light beige color. Here is what our uncured, properly stored latex looks like:

To keep your latex viable, it needs to be stored indoors at a temperature between 60F and 72F. If the latex gets below 60F, it can freeze which ruins it. Frozen latex becomes clumpy and cottage cheese like and unusable. Once the latex has frozen, it cannot be revived and used again. Here is what latex that has been frozen looks like:

  Before and after stirring 

Do not store your latex in a garage, basement, shed or any other unheated building during winter. Proper latex storage should be indoors in a heated building in a locked cabinet or closet, away from any pets or small children. When kept at the appropriate temperature, your latex should last for six months.

On the shipping side of things, we put big “PROTECT FROM FREEZING” stickers on all the latex we ship out during the months of October-April. When shipping the latex to the East Coast and other colder climates, we also generally ship 3 day shipping instead of ground during the colder months. This reduces the time the latex may spend in cold weather in transit. We ask UPS to require a signature on latex shipped during the winter to ensure that no packages containing latex are left on porches during cold weather. This method works well. We generally don’t have an issues with our customers receiving frozen latex. However, if you receive frozen latex, you can email us a picture of the latex ASAP and we will send you a replacement.

Remember, proper latex storage is indoors, between 60F and 72F.  Latex should be used within 6 months from date of delivery. Remember to check the Technical Data Sheets for any other materials that you may be storing over the winter. Many have special temperature and storage requirements. You can also read these blog posts for more information:

https://www.aeromarineproducts.com/trouble-shooting-common-problems-with-silicone-latex-urethane-epoxy/

Curing Issues- Trouble Shooting

If you have any other questions, drop us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com or give us a call Monday-Friday 9am-4pm Pacific time at 877-342-8860.

Penny Tabletop with Epoxy

September 7, 2017

For this project, we are taking an old side table and refinishing it with pennies and epoxy. Penny epoxy counter tops, table tops, and floors are a popular project that we get asked about frequently. This post will walk you through doing a penny epoxy table top over wood. If you have any questions about doing a floor or counter top over concrete, you can always send us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com or give us a call toll-free at 877-342-8860.

Materials needed:

  • Wooden table
  • AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin and Hardener
  • Water based wood stain
  • Acetone
  • Sand paper (I used 60 grit)
  • Lots of pennies (I used about $4.25 for a foot square tabletop)
  • Paper barrier mask and gloves
  • Plastic drop cloth or similar
  • Inexpensive brushes (I used 1 inch chip brushes)
  • Mixing and measuring containers and utensils
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Paint (for the legs of the table)

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • First, I needed to sand the old paint off the top of the table. Our epoxy sticks to most paint but I want a lighter background for the pennies. I also want the epoxy to penetrate and bond to the wood, not the paint, so that there is no worry about de-lamination over time. I used 60 grit sandpaper to sand off all the old paint.

 

  • When I was done sanding, I wiped the table off with a dry rag to clean off all the wood dust. Then, I applied the first coat of my water based wood stain. It is a lot of work to get epoxy to stick to oil based stain, whereas epoxy goes over the water based stain easily. Follow the application directions for the water based stain that you choose. The stain I was working with said to brush on a coat and then wipe off any excess immediately and wait two hours between coats. I did three coats following those directions and then let stain set over the weekend.

  • While I was waiting for the stain to dry, I laid out my pennies. I chose to arrange them from brightest to darkest for a gradient look. This also allowed me to check the pennies and make sure none of them had large amounts of dirt on them.

  • On Monday morning, I brushed on a thin coat of AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy using a 1 inch chip brush. The 300/21 is mixed 2:1, 300 resin to 21 hardener. I mixed up 3 ounces for the brush coat, which was a bit more than I needed but it kept the mix ratio easy to measure. Mixing up less than 3 ounces can make getting the mix ratio right rather tricky. Very small batches will also take longer than the standard 24 hour cure time. On Tuesday morning, I did the same process. The reason that we do a couple of brush coats first is to seal the wood and cut down on air bubbles when we get to the pour coats. On Wednesday morning, I brushed a coat of epoxy on and then set my pennies on the epoxy immediately after brushing on the epoxy. I like using the epoxy to glue down the pennies rather than using a super glue or something similar because it is one less product to purchase. Also, there is less space for air to get trapped under the pennies and cause air bubbles later.
  • Thursday morning, I checked to make sure the epoxy had set up and the pennies were glued into place. Everything looked good, so I taped up the edges of the table with painter’s tape to prep for the first pour coat.

  • It takes a couple layers of tape to make sure the bottom is sealed completely and the edge of the tape rises above the pennies.
  • I mixed up 6 ounces of epoxy for the first pour coat. I poured the epoxy on the pennies and then used a brush to spread the epoxy out. The aim of this first pour coat was just to fill in the spaces between the pennies. I like to do multiple pour coats because the thinner the pour, the easier it is for air bubbles to rise up to the surface and pop. Additionally, if there are any air bubble once the epoxy cures, it is easy to sand them out before doing the next pour coat.
  • After 24 hours, I pulled the tape off and checked for bubbles. There were a few bubbles on the surface and along the edge where the tape was. I sanded these bubble out with 60 grit sandpaper and wiped the whole table top with acetone on a clean rag. Then I taped the edges up again. Then, I mixed another 6 ounces of epoxy and poured another coat, this time covering up the pennies completely.

 Surface bubbles

Surface bubbles sanded out

  • I decided to do one more pour coat to give the epoxy more thickness and depth. After the third pour coat, I pulled the tape off and sanded down the edges where the epoxy met  the tape. The epoxy wicks up where it meets the tape so it is important to sand it flat. That also happens to be where bubbles like to collect, so sanding serves two purposes.

 You can see some bubbles and the wicking effect along the edge

  • The next step is to do a thin pour coat that flows over the sides of the table. Once the tabletop was all sanded, I spread out a large trash bag underneath the table. This table also has some slats that connect the legs near the bottom that I covered with tape to protect them from epoxy dripping off the edges of the table. I mixed up another 6 ounces of epoxy and poured it on the table and used a chip brush to spread it out a bit. The epoxy will run over the sides, so use the brush to brush the epoxy along the edge. Once the epoxy starts to gel, about 20-30 minutes, I used the back of a plastic knife to scrape the drips off.

 Drips hanging off the underside of the table

 Plastic knife used to scrape those drips off

  • If there are any bubbles once the epoxy has cured, you can sand them out and do a thin brush coat. Fortunately, I didn’t get any bubbles in the final pour! Now, I’m ready to paint the table legs.

                           Penny Epoxy Tabletop

  • Finally, I taped up the edges of the table and applied two coats of forest green spray paint. Follow the directions for the paint you choose in regards to surface prep and dry time.

 Taped edges, ready to paint

 All done, just drying

 

I got little green paint on the epoxy of one corner when I turned the table to paint the other side of the legs. It easily wiped away with some acetone.

This project was done on a small wooden table, but penny epoxy flooring, counter tops and larger tables are also common. Hopefully, this post gives you a good idea of the process. If you have any questions about the products used or general application questions, check out our website, https://www.aeromarineproducts.com/ or send us an email at info@AeroMarineProducts.com or give us a call at 877-342-8860.

 

Silicone Mold to Modify a Fragile or Broken Original Part (Post 2 of 2)

July 12, 2017

This is a continuation of our last post about using silicone molds to modify a broken or fragile original part. In this post, we will go over sculpting in clay on the new piece and making a new mold. You can read the first part of this blog post here: https://www.aeromarineproducts.com/silicone-molds-to-modify-a-fragile-original-part/

Materials needed:

  • AeroMarine Products AM128 Pourable Silicone
  • AeroMarine Products White Urethane Casting Resin
  • Urethane colorant
  • Mold release
  • Original part
  • Modeling clay
  • Mold box
  • Chip brush
  • Scale
  • Mixing containers and utensils
  • Gloves

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • Now that I have a original, I can use clay to sculpt directly on to it. I’m using non drying, sulfur free modeling clay. Because I’m using a non drying modeling clay, I want to make sure that what I’m sculpting will be able to be pulled from a one piece or clam shell mold. If I want to sculpt something more intricate, it would require a two part or multi piece mold. For a two part mold or multi piece mold, I would use a clay that air dries for sculpting and then use the modeling clay when making the mold. You can watch our video about making two part molds here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqwr8ZoH5E0
  • I decided I wanted my part to have two versions, unicorn horn and monster horns. I cast two parts in urethane casting resin from the silicone mold and sculpted the unicorn horn on one and the monster horns on the other. If you want to save on materials, you can certainly use one cast, make the mold, remove the clay and then sculpt on that part again.

 

  • I reused the same plastic containers for these new molds, so I mixed up the same amount of silicone (900 grams part A, 90 grams of part B catalyst) as I used for the first mold. Because of the detail of these pieces, I again used a chip brush to brush a thin coat of silicone on to the pieces before slowly pouring the rest of the silicone into a corner of the mold box.

 

  • About 16- 24 hours later when the silicone cured, I removed the original part.
  • I checked to make sure the humidity was under 50%, sprayed a little mold release into the molds and got ready to mix up my urethane casting resin.
  • The AeroMarine Products White Casting Resin is mixed 1:1 by volume. Urethane colorant is always added to the part B and well mixed before combining the two parts. Make sure to mix vigorously for about a minute with a plastic utensil and then pour slowly into the lowest part of the mold. AeroMarine Products Urethane Casting Resin is ready to demold in 30 minutes. Because of the shape of the part with the horns, I found it is best to demold right at the 30 minute mark when the casting resin is still warm and a bit pliable. It makes it much easier to remove the part from the mold. Once the part is removed from the mold, I set it aside to allow it to continue hardening and cooling off.

  • The cast on the right was colored with green urethane colorant. The cast on the left was painted with orange glow-in-the-dark paint with the horns colored with permanent felt tip marker.

The final results! All of these were achieved by a combination of colored resin, paint, and felt tip markers. As always if you have any questions, send us an email at info@aeromarineproducts.com.

Silicone Mold to Modify a Fragile or Broken Original Part (Post 1 of 2)

June 8, 2017

Sometimes, I have an original part that is either broken or that I want to modify in different ways. In this 2 part blog post, I am going to make several slightly different variations of this part. However, the original is a bit fragile. I don’t want to damage it by sculpting clay on it and then making a mold from it several times over. So, I’m going to make one mold, cast a piece in urethane resin, and use the urethane resin part to sculpt on and make new molds from it. If the part was broken, I would mold and cast the original and then use clay to fill in the broken areas of the original part.

Materials needed:

  • AeroMarine Products AM128 Pourable Silicone
  • AeroMarine Products White Urethane Casting Resin
  • Urethane colorant
  • Mold release
  • Original part
  • Modeling clay
  • Mold box
  • Chip brush
  • Scale
  • Mixing containers and utensils
  • Gloves

Your work area:

  • Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
  • All materials comfortably within reach.

Project steps:

  • If your original is unpainted clay, old concrete or plaster, or another similarly porous material, seal it before making the mold. You can do this by painting the part, or using a sealant type material. For my clay original part, I used an clear aerosol urethane sealant.

  • Anchor the original to the bottom of the mold  box with a small amount of modeling clay. For this mold box, I used a plastic food storage box because it happened to be just about the perfect size. You can always make a custom mold box using cardboard and a hot glue as well. This blog post covers how to make a mold box, https://www.aeromarineproducts.com/two-part-pourable-silicone-pumpkin-mold/

  

  • I weighed out about 900 grams of the silicone Part A base and 90 grams of the Part B catalyst and mixed well until it was a nice uniform pale purple color. The mixing took about five minutes.
  • Since this piece has a lot of fine detail, I used an inexpensive chip brush to brush the silicone into the detail of the piece before pouring the rest of the silicone. This AeroMarine Products AM128 Pourable Silicone has a pot life of 45 minutes, so there was plenty of time to brush some on before slowly pouring the rest into the mold box.

  • 20 hours later, I removed the mold from the mold box and the original part from the mold. It took a little wiggling, because of the undercut of the beard, but it all came out in one piece.

  • Then, I ran into a problem. I will cast the piece in a white urethane. The weather here in San Diego was very uncooperative for about a week. It was overcast and muggy (June Gloom, we call it). The humidity didn’t get below 50%, which is the threshold for working with urethane. Urethane is very moisture sensitive before it is cured.  Mixing and pouring a urethane on a humid or rainy day will result a lot of bubbles in the piece. So, I put this project on hold until the weather cleared up.
  • When the weather finally cleared, I washed the mold with warm water and dish soap, patted it dry and then let it air dry as well. I did this because it had been sitting a dusty warehouse for over a week. Once it was completely dry, I sprayed some Urethane Mold Release into the mold and let it sit for a few minutes. This lets the propellants evaporate and leave behind just the mold release.

  • I mixed my AeroMarine Products Urethane Casting Resin 1:1 by volume, stirring vigorously for about a minute and then poured slowly into the mold. Not super slow because the pot life for the Urethane Casting Resin is only about 3-5 minutes, but slowly enough to let it flow through mold without causing air bubbles.

 

  • It’s hard to tell from the second picture, but all the little bubbles from pouring the material have popped and the AeroMarine Products Urethane Casting Resin is smooth and bubble free.
  • After thirty minutes, I popped the cast out of the mold. Because of the mold release, it came out very easily.

  • An excellent, sturdy replica of my fragile, original part.

In the next blog post, I’ll go over sculpting, re-molding, and using the urethane casting resin and colorant to create new pieces.

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