Resin Mold Release: How to Use this Essential Tool

Resin Mold Release: How to Use this Essential Tool

If you’re a hobbyist or a professional, working in resins and polymers enables you to do many amazing things. However, having access to a reliable resin mold release agent is essential.

What is resin mold release? Resin mold release is a chemical agent that helps release resin from metal and plastic molds. While many resins are designed to be easily removable from various metal molds, resin that sticks can damage a mold or the actual resin product. Resin mold release is an essential tool if you work with resin and create your own products. Used correctly, resin mold release agents will enable you to separate your project pieces from your molds safely, ensuring that neither your molds nor your castings become damaged.

In this article, you’ll learn about resin mold release and how it can help you in your hobby and manufacturing work. No matter whether you make jewelry for fun, create artwork or miniatures for your Etsy store, or run a manufacturing business, we’ll show you the technique of DIY resin mold release agents so that you can make your work easily and safely.

What are Epoxy Release Agents?

Epoxy mold release agents are substances that prevent epoxy resins from sticking to molds. They are essential for pulling resin castings from molds. These come in various kinds of spray forms, both aerosol and non-aerosol. Usually, epoxy release agents are composed of substances like polyvinyl alcohol. These are used to coat molds and form a film that will enable a casting to be removed easily.

Normally, a mold is treated with an epoxy release agent before casting the mold. If this is not done, the casting will stick to the mold and be ruined. It’s also important to note that porous materials, such as wood or plaster, should be sealed before being used with epoxy resin. These porous materials will bond with the resin and not be removable without damage. 

It’s also imperative that any molds that you use be dry and clean. Debris that gets into resin can not only damage the mold but ruin your project. Before starting a project, it’s smart to inspect and clean any molds you plan to use.

Types of Resin Mold Release Agents

There are two types of epoxy resin mold release agents that are used by hobbyists and in small scale manufacturing: resin mold release wax and resin mold release spray.

Resin release spray is the most common and is usually sold in aerosol form.

Resin mold wax is usually carefully applied by hand and left to dry overnight, forming the seal for the casting. It is best used on large, flat surfaces.

What is the best release agent for epoxy resin? That depends on your project and your preference. Some people prefer working with sprays and others prefer waxes. This will depend on your project and the materials that you plan to use. Test your options and experiment! 

Keep in mind, if you’re looking for a resin mold release alternative some common household materials like vegetable oil, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly may work for your project. 

How to Use Epoxy Resin Release Spray

Below are steps to properly apply resin mold release spray to a mold. You should use an outdoor workspace if possible and wear a safety mask and eye protection.

1)     Clean the mold thoroughly with soap and water. Let dry.

2)     Use a resin mold release spray to create a light cloud.

3)     Slowly draw the mold through the cloud. You may need to repeat steps 2 and 3 two or three times. Make sure not to spray the epoxy mold release spray onto the mold. This can damage the casting and isn’t necessary.

4)     Wait at least 30 minutes for the resin mold release to dry. Waiting to do so overnight is perfectly acceptable.

How to Use Resin Release Wax

The instructions to use resin release wax are identical to the directions above, except that you should be careful when mixing the resin release wax. This product often comes in a liquid form where components are separate and where vigorous shaking is necessary to mix the resin release wax. A brush can be used to apply the wax, gently detailing surfaces that need separation.

What is PVA Release Lacquer?

PVA release lacquer is a product you can use with either resin release spray or wax to initially treat porous surfaces. This is essential if you are working with wood, plaster, or any other porous material that epoxy can possibly bond with. Make sure that any porous material is sealed before you insert it as an inclusion or use it in any resin project.

Success with Your Projects: Plastic Materials Answers Your Questions About Resin Release Products

Let your creativity shine through! Regardless of whether you run a small business or if you just enjoy being creative, Plastic Materials can help you with any questions related to resin mold release products. Contact us today!

How to Make Fiberglass Repairs on Boats

How to Make Fiberglass Repairs on Boats

When boat owners find that their precious fiberglass boat has been damaged, no doubt one of the first things they think is, “I need to find a fiberglass boat repair near me.“ However, going to a boat repair specialist comes with astronomical fees of up to $3,000.

But here’s the surprising truth most boat experts won’t tell you: most repairs really aren’t that expensive. Patching a fiberglass boat can cost as little as $500 or less if you’re not afraid of some elbow grease.

This article will discuss fiberglass boat repair: how to do it yourself, how much it will cost you, and the materials you’ll need.

Fiberglass Boat Repair Overview

Before we get into the specifics of doing a boat hull repair, let’s briefly discuss the material you’ll need.

In most boats, “fiberglass” is a combination of fiberglass strands and epoxy resin, finished with a thin layer of pigmented resin called the gel coat. That outer coating gives fiberglass its sheen.

The depth of the damage will dictate how you’ll approach the repair. Is just the outer layer damaged or does the inner fiberglass core need repairs too? If it’s just the gel coating, you should be able to sand it down and apply a fresh coat. However, if the core has been damaged, it will need to be filled. You’ll know that the fiberglass core has been breached if you see fiber strands.

Fortunately, fiberglass is straightforward to repair. You can fix even the gravest of damage with relative ease and minimal expense.

Preparing for a Fiberglass Gouge Repair

If you want to achieve the best results, you should prepare the affected area for repair.

First, remove any decals or stickers on your boat using a heat gun set at the lowest setting. Gently run the heat gun over the decal and peel carefully. Use an adhesive remover to clear off any residue as needed.

You should also check the surrounding areas for delamination. If you find any it’s best to remove these spots altogether. Use a screwdriver and tap the affected fiberglass – any dull sound is a sign of delamination. These areas can cause issues down the road, so you should cut them out. Repeat this process, checking the edges of the hole and enlarging each as needed.

Fiberglass Boat Repair Cost and Materials

One question that will pop up when you start any hull touch-up project is, “how much does fiberglass repair cost?”

Fortunately, it’s relatively inexpensive to do a fiberglass repair. Boat scratches, deep gouges, and even holes can cost less than $500 in materials. If you have the required tools, then the cost might be even lower.

It’s essential that you buy and prepare everything ahead of time so the repair session goes smoothly. Here’s the equipment you’ll need to perform the repair:

  • Heat gun
  • Rotary tool
  • Disposable spray gun
  • Variable speed buffer
  • Wool buffing pad
  • Burr nose grinder bit
  • Sanding block
  • Paper cups
  • Stir stick
  • Sandpaper

Then, you’ll need materials. Most of the materials are available at any hardware store. Or, you can contact Plastic Materials Incorporated to buy everything in one convenient place.

  • Acetone
  • Gel coat (try contacting the manufacturer to match the exact color to your boat model)
  • Gel coat reducer
  • Buffing compound
  • Powdered fiberglass filler
  • Wax

Lastly, don’t forget your safety gear:

  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator
  • Chemical resistant gloves

How to Fix a Fiberglass Boat: Step-by-Step Solutions

This guide will show you how to repair deep gouges that have penetrated the fiberglass core.

  1. Use a V-shaped grinder bit to cut grooves into the gouged area. Smooth the edges of the gel coating to eliminate any sharp areas.
  2. For lighter scratches, you can use sandpaper to sand it down. Start with 80-grit sandpaper, then move a 150-grit, before finally finishing with a 240-grit.
  3. Prepare a gel coat filler in small batches. Gradually mix gel coat and powdered fiberglass together until they form a paste resembling peanut butter. Add the hardener last and mix thoroughly for a full minute to remove any resin patches.
  4. Apply the gel coat filler on the gouged areas. It’s perfectly okay, and in fact recommended, to overfill, as you will sand these spots later on.
  5. Allow the filler to cure for 1 – 2 hours. You can touch it to tell if it’s ready.. The filler should be fully hardened without a sticky texture.
  6. Prepare a batch of gel coat mixture, which consists of a gel coat, gel coat reducer, and hardener. Place it in a disposable spray gun and use short bursts to apply it over the affected area.
  7. Wait for the gel coating to cure.
  8. Finish the repair areas with sandpaper. Start with 600-grit, then move on to 800-grit. Finally, end with 1,200-grit before buffing.
  9. Re-apply any decals you want, and then wax.

A Fiberglass Boat Repair Is Easy with the Right Materials

The quality of your repair work is only as good as the materials you use, so make sure you only get the best. For everything you need, give Plastic Materials Incorporated a call. We have everything you need, from fillers to gel coatings to epoxy and polyester resins

 

How To Harden Sticky Resin

How To Harden Sticky Resin

If you’re a resin enthusiast, you’ve probably had a few not-so-successful projects and experiments in your creation space. Maybe you’ve even had instances where resin doesn’t harden correctly. Sticky resin can ruin a project,  and we want to help you learn how to fix uncured epoxy resin. No one wants to have to ditch a project because their resin won’t properly set. Learning how to fix sticky resin is an essential skill that can save your project.

In this piece we will talk about uncured resin, how it occurs, and how to harden sticky resin so that your projects will be successful. 

Common Resin Sticky Situations

Resin that hasn’t cured properly is a hassle. You may be asking yourself, “why Is my resin flexible?” Here are three common situations that you may run into with sticky resin:

Sticky, Tacky Resin

If you inaccurately measure your ingredients, don’t mix the resin thoroughly enough, or cure your resin in cold temperatures, you may end up with sticky resin.

Soft and Sticky Spots

Soft and sticky spots sometimes appear on otherwise nicely-cured resin. This phenomenon occurs when you don’t properly mix your resin. If this happens, you should scrape off and then sand down the soft resin, and then carefully apply a new coat that has been mixed properly.

Liquid, Runny Resin

You can end up with runny resin if you don’t use the  correct 1:1 ratio of hardener and resin or if you use too much color additive. You’ll need to scrape away the runny resin and add a new layer.

These are all tough situations. But we’ve compiled several strategies that you can use to deal with your sticky resin situations. Hopefully you’ll never need to Google ”what to do if epoxy doesn’t harden” again.

How to Fix Tacky Resin

In this scenario, your resin has started to cure but is tacky. When your resin is tacky, it will stick to objects like the sticky side of tape or an envelope. 

Why Did It Happen?

Your Resin Room May Be Too Cold

You should always cure your resin in a room that has a temperature between 75 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you are working during a cold season or in a chilly locale, you can use  heating lamps in your work space to keep the resin at its appropriate temperature.

Inaccurate measuring

The 1:1 ratio is a hard rule. When you’re mixing up a batch of fresh resin, make sure to maintain this precise ratio between your hardening agent and your resin.

If you don’t have the right ratio, you will run into tacky or runny resin.  

Not enough mixing

If you didn’t thoroughly mix your concoction, the hardening agent may be streaked in with the resin, resulting in a bad cure.

How to Fix Tacky Resin

Taking preventative measures when mixing resin is key to ensuring you don’t have to fix tacky resin. If you’ve used inaccurate measurements or haven’t mixed it properly, you may have to make a fresh batch. However, before you throw it in the bin, you may be able to salvage your project. 

Try setting the piece in a warmer area for twenty-four hours. Your resin room should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Resin doesn’t cure well in cold surroundings.

How to Harden Runny Resin

If you have runny resin, it may be more like liquid, or it could have partially hardened but still be gooey, runny, and wet.

Why Did It Happen?

Too Much Colorant

Too much colorant can cause the resin to become runny, even if you used the correct proportion of hardener. 

Measuring by weight, not volume

Most commercial resins are designed to be mixed by volume, not weight. Be careful to follow mixing instructions on the product, including the measurement unit.

How to Fix Runny Resin

You’ll need to entirely remove the wet or runny material. Scrape away the runny resin, remix new resin, and apply a new layer. If necessary, sand the leftover depression, and make sure to cure your resin in a warm space as detailed above.

How to Harden Resin Soft Spots

In an otherwise finely-cured piece of resin, you may have soft spots.

Why Did It Happen?

Did you scrape the sides of your mixing container after pouring?

We recommend that you scrape the sides of your mixing bowl while mixing, but we don’t recommend scraping when you pour your resin. This is because you might pour in unmixed resin. To avoid this, scrape down the sides as you mix, and gather all your resin in the center of your mixing bowl before you pour it. 

How to Fix Soft Resin Spots

The best way to fix soft resin spots is to scrape and then sand these areas to remove all the soft material. After you have removed and sanded down the entire spot, use a new resin mix to carefully fill in your spot. Once it hardens, sand it again. Add layers as appropriate.

Resin Hardening Tips and Tricks

Knowing how to fix epoxy that won’t dry can save your project. Here are some tips and tricks to help harden sticky resin:

  • Try applying triple-thick polyurethane. After waiting twenty-four hours for your resin to cure, carefully spray on a layer of polyurethane and then wait 30 minutes. Be sure to apply thin, even layers—thick sprays may cloud your surface.
  • When you’re fixing a  sticky spot, you should apply a new layer of resin to your entire project, rather than just the problem area. This process will help you avoid a seam line between the old and new layers.
  • Always remove gooey or runny resin; you can’t fix them. You can leave tacky or sticky resin and use another method to deal with those issues.
  • Keep your colorant at or below 6% of your resin mix.
  • Create a practice project before tackling a large project. You will catch mistakes when you practice mixing and applying your resin.
  • Always follow the mixing directions on the product precisely! Too little hardener in resin mixtures can lead all of the above problems.

Hardening Sticky Resin: Plastic Materials Has You Covered

We at Plastic Materials have been producing products that have been helping resin crafters for years. If you have questions about tacky, sticky, or runny resin, we’d love to help! Contact us with your questions about epoxy resin, polyester resin, and more. 

Epoxy Cure Times: How to Get the Best Results When Drying Epoxy Resin

Epoxy Cure Times: How to Get the Best Results When Drying Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is a terrifically versatile material. Many hobbyists and crafters all over the world work with various epoxy resins. However, when not mixed correctly, epoxy can remain liquid and ruin your project. So, how long does it take for epoxy to dry? Here, we share the information you need for successful epoxy curing.

In this piece, we’ll be talking about mixing and drying (or “curing”) epoxy for the best results. There are many reasons why your epoxy may not be curing correctly, and we want to show you some tips that can help your project be a success!

How Long Does It Take for Epoxy to Dry?

Answering the question “how long does it takes for epoxy to dry?” depends on a number of factors:

  • The nature of the project you are carrying out and the number of pieces you are curing
  • Which brand and type of epoxy resin you are using
  • Whether or not you are using a slow-curing epoxy

How long does epoxy take to dry? Generally, it takes 24 hours for most types of resin to cure. Slow-curing epoxy types take up to 72 hours to cure. This presumes that you’re conducting your work in a well-ventilated place with a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

How Can I Minimize My Epoxy Dry Time?

So, you’re asking “how long does it take for resin to dry?” Most factors that keep epoxy from setting have to do with incorrect mixing and other mistakes. We’ll list below some common reasons why epoxy may be slow to dry, and what you can do to speed up your epoxy cure time

Old Product

If your resin is past the expiration date on the bottle, then it’s most likely not usable and should be replaced.

Moisture Contamination

If you have kept your resin mix in an environment that is not climate controlled or dry, moisture may have collected inside the resin mix container and contaminated the product. This is important to know if you’re asking how long does resin take to cure.

Improper Mixing and Measuring

Did you mix your resin properly? Different brands of resin have different mixing instructions. They’re not all the same! If you didn’t mix your resin thoroughly or measure it correctly, it might not cure. 

Dirty Mixing Cups and Inclusions

Did you make sure your inclusions were dry and sealed before inserting them into molds? Did you make sure that your mixing cups were dry and clean before mixing? These can both have a big impact on how quickly it takes for your epoxy to dry. “How long does resin take to dry?” is a question that won’t be useful if your mixing equipment isn’t clean and ready.

Are Your Molds Dry and Clean? Are Your Molds Made Out of Latex?

You should only work with molds that are completely clean and dry – epoxy won’t cure in bad molds. Likewise, certain mixes of epoxy react badly to latex. Be especially careful when working with latex molds. This can be a big factor in figuring out how long it takes resin to dry.

Too Much Hardener

This is a big mistake. Adding more hardener will not decrease cure time. Follow the listed directions on your product. 

Tips on How To Cure Resin

Here are some tips and tricks on how to cure resin effectively for successful epoxy projects.

Use More Heat

The use of heating lamps and working in a room that is at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit can help your resin cure more quickly. Make sure to abide by safety precautions and ventilation, but applying more heat can help your castings cure faster.

Try Out UV Resin

The innovation of UV resin enables you to mix a resin that dries with exposure to UV light.  This kind of epoxy needs to be applied in thinner layers and with some care, but the ability to instantly dry your resin is worth it.

Don’t Over Color

Mixing in too much of various color agents can prevent your resin from curing properly, therefore, m

easure your colors carefully and only use the recommended amount.

Make Sure Your Measurements are Correct

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not following directions and not mixing your epoxy according to the recommended directions.  This can cause your casting to cure slowly, be cloudy, or otherwise come out wrong.

Compare Different Resin Products

Different epoxy products are intended for different styles of end products. Compare different products, check out online reviews, and speak to fellow artisans. Cure times should be listed on the packaging for epoxy products, in the meantime check out our products and pick the one that best matches your project.

Let Plastic Materials Answer Your Questions About Epoxy Curing

Plastic Materials helps business people, artists, and hobbyists with these products and knows how to succeed when using resins and epoxies. If you’re asking “how long does epoxy take to cure?”, we can help you. Contact us today!