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October 25, 2019
Tin catalyzed silicone molds usually have a life span of about 5 years. However, there are a lot of factors that play into the life span of any particular mold. The complexity and detail of the mold and how frequently it is used are the biggest factors and the ones over which we have the least control. There are other factors that we can control that lead to a much longer mold life span.
Mold release is extremely important in getting the most casts from your mold. While most materials won’t bond to silicone (except silicone, glass and other silica containing materials), they do do mechanically stick to the silicone. A good coat of mold release before you cast will make it easier to remove the casting, saving wear and tear on the mold.
The mold below is one which I intentionally did not use mold release when casting. I also left this mold out on my work bench when not using it. I made it almost exactly a year ago. It was a simple trinket dish mold, no real detail and a basic one part mold. The AeroMarine Products 128 RTV Silicone is durable, so even without mold release, I made about 18-20 decent casts from it. It started breaking down really quickly towards the end. Now, it is completely unusable.
Above are photos from the process of making the trinket dish mold a year ago.
Proper storage of your silicone mold when not in use will prolong the library life of the mold. Library life means how long the mold can be stored without deteriorating. The best way to store your silicone molds when not in use is: 1. With a cast in the mold to help it maintain it’s shape. 2. In an air tight plastic bag with as much of the air pressed out as possible. 3. In a cool, level place, like a drawer or a shelf where it won’t be moved around a lot. The three molds below are properly prepared for storage.
This skull mold below is over 7 years old. It is one of the first 2 part molds I made when I started working at AeroMarine Products over 8 years ago. I’ve probably gotten several dozen casts from it. It is fairly detailed but I’ve always used mold release when casting and stored it in an air tight plastic bag, wrapped with tape, in a room temperature drawer in our office. I used it yesterday. It works just as well as the day I made it!
“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”
So if you want your tin catalyzed silicone molds to give you beautiful casts for as long as possible, always use mold release and store them properly! If you have any questions about this topic or any of your own projects, give us a call toll-free at 877-342-8860 or drop us an email at [email protected]