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Cheap flexible molding material?

Discussion in 'Molding and Casting' started by Rhasputin, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. I've been doing a lot of custom jewelry lately, and I make my own molds to build resin and porcelain cast jewelry pieces.

    I've been using a pricey sort of mold making material specifically for jewelry, but it's -so- expensive.

    Is there something cheaper that I can use? Preferably something silicone, I need to be able to pour resin inside, and get it out without ruining the mold. Needs to be flexible and re-usable. Looked into Mckenzie's site and saw alginate powder? How does that work?

  2. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    alginate decomposes after a while, so its a one shot use.....the only cheap molding material i know is latex....most all pourable silicones are expensive

  3. Well take into account the small scale I'm working with.

    The putty I'm using is very pricey, and it works, but I'm thinking it's more pricey than pourable silicone.
    What's a price conscious and effective pourable silicone?

    I just looked into bluestar but I have to wait for a quote from them, so i have no idea about their cost.
  4. 2wbdft

    2wbdft New Member

    DAP brand 100% silicone might work for you. i use it in all my waterfowl head molds.

    ... you may pm "polymerguy" with your question. he's helped with all sorts of molding "issues" around here.
  5. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    i seen about a 2.5lb kit on the Dick Blick web site....think it was about 30 some dollars , and its a 1:1 mix, no scale meeded
  6. Thanks! Looking into all of these leads now. :)
  7. If you are making something to sell, then wouldn't it be worth investing in a product that provides good release from your casting material and stands up to long use without deteriorating?

    If so, then look at a platinum silicone material. I would point you towards Sortaclear 40 from Smooth-on. It has good body (firmness) and is, as the name says, Sorta Clear. That helps you when you need to cut the mold, you can see through the material and guide your knife. But you also said cheap. Again, you get what you pay for when it comes to mold making. Go cheap and you have to remake your cheap mold many times before you wear a well made mold using a good, and yes, not so cheap rubber.

    Check out tfbplastics.com or Smooth-On.com for spec sheets on sortaclear.
  8. Ravenson

    Ravenson New Member

    You will save money in the long run by going with a good Platinum cure Silicone if you are planing on selling what you make. Also I find the 1-1mix silicone's to be more cost effective than the silicone putties for production molds.

  9. Yeah, I'm thinking that for the main purposes, the high quality stuff is really what I need.

    I am trying out latex molding tonight. Slow going, but I think it will work for this particular mold.
    Still looking around for the right size silicone materials.

    Thanks guys. :)
  10. A sample size of sortaclear runs $35 or so. It's a pint kit (pint A, pint B). That will make a few small molds for you depending on volume if your mold.
  11. I have playing around with molding and casting for some time now and there are a few things I have learned:
    1) It's not cheap to do.....period.
    2) If you skimp on materials, you will be sorry

    I have tried the alginate and Wallmart silicone.....you might get 1 good pull if your lucky. Stick with the good stuff and you will get good results, but it does cost.

    Just spent $300 buying SmoothOn products yesterday for 1 large peice I am working on. I hated to spend that much, but.....I know it will turn out well in the end!
  12. Great points, everyone.
    I guess when I think about it, if I buy a $300 kit, with the small scale I'm working on, I would be able to make hundreds of molds out of it. So really, what am I paying? $1? $2 per mold? ;)
  13. I think he spent $300 total. That's a bunch more than 1 kit.
    If you purchase a gallon of good platinum silicone (that's a gallon of A and a gallon of B) you can expect to pay $175 at the high end for the product. That's a bunch of molds for jewelry sized components.

    Well said TX. It ain't cheap to do it right. But, the money is well spent.
  14. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    if you spent on a gallon of silicone for what you want to do....it would go bad because of the shelf life.....buy smaller kits like doug suggested...that 2.5 lb kit i mentioned earlier is a Smooth On product
  15. I didn't even realize it would go bad! Thanks!
    What is the shelf life like on those products? A year? 6 Months?
  16. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    about 5-6 months ..i had resin last years and some 2 months......it starts going bad once you pop the lid....the smooth on site gives you the shelf life of all there products
  17. The manufacture says around a 6 month shelf life.
    But, if you clean the lid/sealing surface of the container and if you use Extendit, you can expect much better shelf life. But, yes, plan on using the product within 6 to 9 months.

    I know I have had some product on the shelf for over a year and still used it.

    So, if you are only going to use a small amount of product, get the trial kit and use it up first.
  18. Thanks!
  19. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Active Member

    I haven't tried SmoothOn, but I've heard it's great. However, I'm not sure I agree that you get one good pour with cheap stuff. I have molds that I made with ordinary, super cheap, silicone from Home Depot/Walmart, thinned with Xylene, with some acrylic paint added. They work great for what I used them on (bison horns, fish, etc.). I've poured many times from the same mold and as long as I use mold release everytime they work fine without sticking. I've made $500 worth of fish from one mold and the last was as good as the first. I'm sure eventually they break down, but certainly not after one pour.
  20. Mostly Fantasy

    Mostly Fantasy New Member

    You can extend the life of resin with nitrogen gas- I think that's the main ingredient in X-tend, but probably cheaper. I buy a tank at a local welding supply. I've used resin that's 6 years old. Same with silicone. Platinum molds (vs tin) have a longer shelf life, but don't wear latex rubber gloves, as the sulfur used to vulcanize them (the gloves) will inhibit the silicone- same goes for masking tape. It's not as sensitive as it used to be, but can still give you problems. I don't even mix my tin and platinum silicones in the same buckets, or with the same mixers- I keep 2 sets, one for each type of silicone. You'd also benefit from a vacuum chamber to de-air the mixed silicone (pulls the air bubbles out from mixing the base and catalyst together).