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Anyone Used Clear Epoxy Resin?

Discussion in 'Miniatures' started by TheRedZealot, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. TheRedZealot

    TheRedZealot Well-Known Member
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    I have a somewhat insane idea but it will involve using clear epoxy resin. This is a product I have never personally used and I Have alot of questions about it. I also have a fairly limited workspace so I'd like to avoid jumping into the project if it turns out Epoxy is not a medium that will work for me.

    I'd love to pull someone aside who has worked with it before and ask them some questions. Anyone here every used clear epoxy resin before?

    I'd be looking at using a large volume of it to create an underwater effect but I'd like to know more about its properties once cured, if there is a preferred brand of resin and the like.
     
  2. chromedog

    chromedog Less than significant minion

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  3. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Get the Bar-Top resin. crystal clear and relatively cheap.

    Follow the mix instructions EXACTLY. Too much hardener may cause a fire! Too little hardener and it will never set up at all. You will want/need gloves, safety glasses, wax-free paper cups, and some untreated wooden craft sticks/tongue depressors. You are also going to want something to put over the top of the project to keep dust from settling on it, but this dust-shield cannot touch the resin, either.

    Mix small quantities at a time and fill multiple layers for deep water.
     
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  4. cory

    cory Member

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    It may seem obvious, but try a few practice pours first.

    That adrenaline rush as one sees a project coming together leads so many people to skip a practice run, but a little wasted material now is worth it for a piece of terrain you intend to use for a while.

    For the practice pours be sure to paint the surface with any paints you will be using, I have seen some react with clear resins, usually by leaching color.
     
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  5. jherazob

    jherazob Well-Known Member

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    One thing: what do you mean when you talk about "deep"? Because there's practical limits to how deep you can pour resin, as the hardening reaction is exotermic and if you pour too much the heat will start affecting the rest of the materials in your diorama/terrain/base/scene. For most of our uses it's just fine though, and in fact it's not rare to use that kind of thing even in big boards for rivers, bodies of water and the like.
     
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  6. TheRedZealot

    TheRedZealot Well-Known Member
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    First off thank you all for being cool dudes/dudettes who know more than I do :D

    Secondly I suppose I should explain some more what my general intention is. This is I think a convoluted story but hopefully as I take you from A to B to C you'll see where I'm going and how cool this could be.

    When I was looking at the VIRD concept art it occurred to me that the Echo-Bravo has wings, and that an aquatic assault force to my mind would likely deploy you know from the water not from the sky. The first thought I had was this was a major missed opportunity for the EB to have a Swimmer Delivery Vehicle/drive propulsion vehicle (see picture below). This naturally led me to think that the Drons would be super cool as little mini subs.

    [​IMG]
    Generally speaking this made me wonder about how many armies I had seen of models under the water. And while I have seen plenty of models submerged up to their ankles/waist/chest in water, I have yet to see an aquatic force of guys that is fully submerged. My going theory is that it may be workable to model the various VIRD models I want to look like they are either swimming or otherwise floating in their scuba gear and cast them fully encased in a cylinder of resin so that they are maneuvering under the water.

    Based on what I've seen here and my own thoughts/readings I have the following concerns:
    1. Paint being stripped/leeched/removed from the models.
    2. Pours not setting correctly.
    3. Fingerprints/other noticeable markings on the resin during regular use.
    4. A proper method/mold to cast the models within.
    It seems to me that what I should probably start with is developing a simple silicone mold for the cylinder and to paint up an old model and do a test cast or two.
     
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  7. jherazob

    jherazob Well-Known Member

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    That's basically insane, i'm looking forward to your updates :grinning:
     
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  8. TheRedZealot

    TheRedZealot Well-Known Member
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    Only Basically? :D

    I'm starting to look at the models I'll be using and pondering how to get them to look good without over lapping a base...its an interesting issue.
     
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  9. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    Go to http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2009/10/tutorial-overview.html and search the word "water". Most of the results are about epoxy resin (others will be about plastic supports or acrylic gels).

    As for no base, cast slightly oversized cylinder, then sand down. Above tutorials do this for smooth sides and one does it for the top surface. This one http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-ugly-truth.html

    Tinting a tiny cylinder is going to be tricky, and not look much like the photo, as you have to tint in layers, giving a weird side to side transition (will only work from the right angle), or too radical top to bottom change. Distortion is also going to be an issue, Savonarola's tanks can give you an idea of what to expect. https://www.deviantart.com/xeno-savonarola/art/DarkWing-Zero-476063993 inside tank becomes https://www.deviantart.com/xeno-savonarola/art/The-Summit-2015-579558340 (beware NSFW, latex fetish)

    As last resort, make them float with undersea base, without using resin, just in air. Also solves the issue of being limited to tight, view distorting, cylinder.
     
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  10. Musterkrux

    Musterkrux Well-Known Member

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    So, I've been planning on doing my VIRD as 'storming a beach' for the last year or so (ever since we heard they were coming). So, sounds like you and I are on the same page.

    I've done some test runs (Vietnam-era Ariadna army, boots deep in jungle marsh) and a small MO list during a slow grow as a proof of concept.

    I used Feast and Walter from a local hardware store: https://www.bunnings.com.au/feast-watson-0-5m-glass-finish_p1520388 Someone at an art store advised me that the floor-finish stuff like Feast-Watson turns yellow-ish after it has cured but I think they were just trying to sell me on their premium resin, which was the same price for about 10% as much resin. If you're tinting the resin, don't worry about any aging/yellowing.

    My notes:

    1. Get the mix perfect on first mix. 5:3 or whatever your product advises as the ratio. Pre-measure using water to mark 'fill levels' in pen (or score with a scalpel if it's a plastic/papercup) on your mixing vessel by using a syringe to get exact volumes.

    2. The reason you need to get it right first go is that an improper mix can't be fixed after it starts setting. I tried to add a little more hardener to one model that wasn't setting properly and the fresh hardener interacted poorly with the unset mix, leaving some really weird 'score marks' on the surface.

    3. If you want to add colour to your epoxy, I found washes to be decent here. Just make sure to measure them in single drops. Drop, stir, check. Drop, stir, check. It only takes 1-2 drops too many to turn a mostly transparent/translucent mix into a nearly opaque ocean nightmare. I found something like 2 drops blue, 1/2 drop green to be a good ratio to get the bright Caribbean blue you're referencing in that diver image. Don't trust me, though: Drop, stir, check.

    4. Inking for colour is easier on a larger batch, as is mixing the right ratio of epoxy to hardener. After your testing phase, you might need to commit to doing models in larger batches (or even just throw out 80% of a batch after doing 2-3 models).

    5. Standard model bases are bevelled on the edges, this means the edge of the base is not straight up and down. So, if you use Painters Tape as the well for your models (protip: use Painter's Tape), try to base the models on bases with straight vertical edges, not the standard bases that CB ships them with. The tape well will taper inwards due to the angle of the bevel and: A. Be hard to wrap around the model accurately. and B. Cause your water effect to look like a 'cone'.

    6. Be really diligent about the curvature of the painter's tape well. Any mistakes here will be readily apparent once the resin dries. Wonky cylinders aren't attractive. Keep resetting the tape until it's perfect. You can measure twice...thrice...four times but you only get to pour once.

    7. DO NOT use the slots on your model to insert them into your bases. The epoxy WILL trickle through the slot of your base (even though the sand/PVA on the base) and leak everywhere. Chop the tabs off and just glue the model in (maybe a little greenstuff under the foot to settle them in. The resin will hold the model in place, so a secure fixture to the base is not necessary.

    8. Store the models perfectly flat while the resin is drying. If they are at even a slight angle, the resin will dry like that and it looks weird.

    9. Cover the models with something to stop dust settling on the resin while it dries. I use the same clear plastic cups I mix the resin in (they're cheap and plentiful, saves you buying two different things where one product can do both roles). Addenda: Not the cups that have had resin in them, though. Throw those out immediately after use.

    10. The resin will 'creep up' on the painter's tape as it dries, see: Capillary action: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capillary_action So, you might need to think about how to remove this lip. My current theory is: let it dry 100%, remove tape, skim the lip off with an incredibly sharp scalpel and then use a very, very fine sandpaper to polish it back.

    11. You might need to repose some models to make sure their feet don't poke out over the base, as that interferes with the painter's tape creating a smooth, round cylinder. Same wih guns poking out over the base. Be aware of this.

    12. Test. Test. Test. Test. Testtesttesttesttest. Don't let you first, second or even third model you resin up be something you expect to put on the table. You're going to screw up the first few times, don't commit your Cutter to this process without being comfortable with your outcomes. I used a slow-grow event as an excuse to turn a 300 point MO army into a resin experiment. On top of that, I have about 4-5 individual models that I tested on before that (stuff like old school Bashi Bazouks, models I'll never use again).

    Hopefully that helps. Happy to answer any other questions.
     
    #10 Musterkrux, Dec 6, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  11. Usashi

    Usashi Well-Known Member

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    I must say as a modeler I find this idea to be amazing and I'd really love to see the final results of it. On the other hand as a gamer I think I'd prefer enemy units to be somehow submerged rather than move around the table in their personal fish tanks. :slightly_smiling_face:

    Best luck with your project.
     
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  12. TheRedZealot

    TheRedZealot Well-Known Member
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    I dont know how I forgot to check Massive Voodoo D: Thanks!

    And an interesting example I wonder how much distrotion I'll get through the cylinders I'll be doing...It'll be interesting thats for sure.

    Just wanted to focus on this for a second. I was planning on getting a friend to cut some straight edged acrylic bases for me to use as a base. But I see you're referencing painters tape. Are you literally just winding painters tape around the base as the mold for the poor? Sticky side in? Have you tried it for larger pours or mostly smaller stuff? I've seen tape mentioned a few times but have yet to see any tutorials that use it.

    It may be one of those projects that just ends up done (mostly done?) and sitting on a shelf just because its impractical to use. but thats ok. I personally find basing in general to be an incongruity on the table top in general At this point its mostly just a quixotic goal I think. I may end up casting the models larger than a 25mm base just to give myself some extra space to pose the models. Which is less ideal but such is life.

    PS: Pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest in the thread D: Feel free to harass me in a few months If I go silent. I may need a kick in the butt to keep this project going.
     
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  13. Musterkrux

    Musterkrux Well-Known Member

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    Painters tape has worked for me on bases all the way up to Judgement models, which is something like 60mm.

    Have done a depth of one inch on them or so but not much deeper. Unsure if tape will work on anything deeper. Possibly?
     
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  14. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    Tried transparent bases? Now that I think, you could use them too for this resin thing.
     
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  15. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    All of this.

    So much all of this.

    Especially that part about throwing away 80% of a large-ish batch of resin! Bar-top resin has a very small resin-to-hardener ratio, so it needs to be very well mixed. Fortunately, it also has a pretty long 'work time' (and unfortunately a very long 'set time,' those two things are directly related).



    Whatever resin you buy, pay attention to the Work Time and Set Time.
    • 'Work Time' (or 'Pour Time') is how long you have to pour it. I've done stuff that had a 5-minute pour time, it sucks to work with because you will just barely get it properly mixed before it starts to really heat up and become too thick to pour. If you're tinting stuff, buy clear resin with the longest Work Time you can find, even though that also means the longest set time.
    • 'Set Time' (or 'Cure Time') is how long you need to leave it completely alone to set solid. And that's no joke, if it says 24hrs set time you need to leave it alone for 24 hours from the time you poured it. I mean, COMPLETELY ALONE. Don't touch it, don't move it, don't even look at it too hard. Mix it, get the tint to the right color, pour it, and put it in a place where no dust can get on it. Then leave it alone for at least the Set Time.
    One trick I remember reading from a model railroad magazine suggested using ziploc bags to mix the resin in. This lets you knead the heck out of the bag, and do that kneading while in a bucket of warm water (makes it easier to knead the resin, but also reduces the time you have to pour Having an hour or more of work time is good here!). Then you cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and squeeze all the resin out like a pastry bag.

    Chemically speaking, resin cures as a chemical reaction. However, the speed of that reaction varies with heat. Once you start mixing, hotter resin will set faster. Leaving the resin in a cold room once you pour it will slow down the Set Time. Those Work Time and Set Times are figured at about 20degC/68degF, and can really start to change with very little temperature change. Hotter will shorten things, but DO NOT assume that just because you poured the resin hot and stored it in a 40degF painting booth overnight that it will be set in the morning. ALWAYS WAIT THE FULL SET TIME!
     
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  16. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    Cool water. Warm water will speed up things. Or our definitions of water temperature differ a lot.

    Another thing, really check the pigment/ink/paint used is compatible. Resins don't tend to like water (so beware with the water cooling), and my guess is that when "it works" is because it was just a drop or two of the water based product; professional colors are not water based, but specially marked and priced. You may want to mix the color with the parts first, proportional to the ratios, so you get the color first, then start the reaction by mixing the parts.
     
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  17. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Water warmer than 70degF/20degC, at any rate. Over 100degF/39degC is way too warm. But this is assuming something with a ~2hr pour time to begin with, so losing an hour due to warm mixing isn't a big deal.



    That's probably a good idea.
     
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  18. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    Ah, OK, yes, if the time is long, using warm water will shorten times, but still workable.

    Some resins need, or end better, if heated later. Called postcure. Check instructions.
     
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  19. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Note that I'm talking about losing HALF YOUR WORKING TIME to mixing warm, so long working and setting times are a bonus for that!

    And mixing warm, despite costing you half your working time, DOES NOT reduce your curing time. Always give it the full cure time, and then some.



    Always check the instructions.

    And then check them again.

    Go through the motions of mixing the resin, and pouring it (use water, or maybe some food coloring). Maybe even do everything BUT pour the resin once you mix it, and see how long you have before it heats up (it will get hot as it starts to react and cure) so you're not surprised how hot it gets.

    Wear gloves. Long gloves, if you can find them, but short gloves will work. You WILL get resin on your hands. If you're careful, you won't get any on your arms. If you do get resin on your arms, it will come off in about a week, don't worry. I'd work in short sleeves rather than wearing anything that I might not want destroyed.

    Put something down that you absolutely don't care about getting resin on, like some newspaper or a cheap painter's dropcloth. Spill some resin directly onto a concrete floor, it's NEVER coming off.
     
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  20. chromedog

    chromedog Less than significant minion

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    Most 2 part epoxy resins are weak to heat (it's their weakness, like superglue and freezing). You can cook them off (160-180*c will do it). It goes all crystalline and then falls apart. The faster the cure time, the faster it will happen (a 5 minute epoxy 2-part resin will start to crack after about 10 minutes of that temperature). A 24 hour cure will need 30+ minutes. You certainly CAN get resin off concrete. IF the concrete has cracks or irregularities, it will be a lot harder, though.
    We used to use 5 minute epoxy to attach clips to certain parts in an old factory job - and they were fine when they were placed the right way. If they went in slightly off, you had to cook them to break the bond, scrape it out and start again. We used an autoclave on a "low" temperature.

    My home resin casting endeavours usually had me keep my resin A&B bottles in a small bar fridge to extend the pot-life (the stated times given are for 22*c ambient. When it gets above 30*c, you have less than HALF of that time. At 36*c, a "15 minute pot life" polyurethane resin has about 4 1/2 minutes before it starts to go off after mixing.).
    And as S9 said, the warmer ambient temperatures are, the faster it will start to cure (and as it's also an exothermic reaction, the heat it releases as part of this will also accelerate its curing). You WILL feel that heat of the curing as it goes off if you have any ON you.
     
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