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Covering Foam for Mold Making?

 
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Blue Banshee Leader (Alex Buirch)
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Covering Foam for Mold Making? Reply with quote

Greetings,

I'm not sure if something like this exists but it doesn't seem too outlandish so I thought I'd ask. I don't know, but perhaps someone here might. We've got some pretty crafty people lurking around the RL!

I've been working on my next B-wing pilot chestbox and I've been making it out of white floral foam (not the softer packing foam, the denser stuff-- the stuff that makes a huge mess when you cut it). I've been making it out of the foam because it's easy to cut and shape, but I was planning to put a hard surface over it so I could make a rubber mold and then make some resin casts of it. I was planning to put some thin sheets of wood over it (balsa or possibly something a little sturdier), and then put some clear coat or sealer or something over that to better protect it from the mold release.
In other words, I was just using the foam to create the basic shape, and I would do the detailing in the wood sheets.

But I was wondering if instead there was something I could spray or paint on over the foam to give it a coating that would give it a hard layer so I could just mold directly over that, skipping the wood altogether. Obviously, without something over the foam it would just soak up the mold release (and possibly the silicone rubber) and distort... but I was wondering if there was something that I could spray or paint onto the foam itself that would serve as a protective coating, and perhaps even fill in the pores in the foam to smooth it out (even though it may require some sanding, which is fine).
Being able to do all of the detailing in the foam, and then cover it with something to protect it during the mold-making process (mold release and rubber) would make life a heck of a lot easier.

Does anyone know if any sort of coating or what-not like this exist? Or does someone have any idea of something else I might be able to use? I'm saving the thin wood sheets as a last resort as that will be a little harder for me to work with, but if there was was something I could spray/paint/spread directly onto the foam itself I could just do all of the cutting and detailing on the foam itself, making things much easier for me, and it would save me some time.
Or perhaps there's something else that I could put over the foam, something that wouldn't be too difficult to cut details into (something easier to cut into than wood).

Any help, tips or advice would be much appreciated.
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Last edited by Blue Banshee Leader (Alex Buirch) on Sat May 26, 2012 4:16 am; edited 3 times in total
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're looking for Foam Coat. I highly recommend you check out Hot Wire Foam Factory. In addition to Foam Coat and its various additives, they also sell foam and plenty of hot wire foam carving tools.

What kind of mold are you making? Be sure to check the list of ingredients of the foam coat (and the foam) and make sure it will not inhibit or react with whatever you are making your mold out of.
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rubber mold is silicone rubber. That's what I'll be putting over the foam mother mold (along with mold release, of course). I've got a whole bucket of the stuff sitting around from when I made my helmet molds.
I'm not sure what the foam itself is made out of...
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of silicone rubber? Tin cure? Platinum? Check the MSDS sheet for your product to see what will inhibit it, then do a test on a piece of junk foam. Cleaning off uncured silicone sucks.
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not certain if this will work with that type of foam, but I saw a vid earlier tonight from an rpf member on urethane coating craft and polystyrene foam. He might be able to tell you if it would work with floral foam. http://www.xrobots.co.uk/blog/?p=219
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Blue Banshee Leader (Alex Buirch)
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GotWookiee wrote:
What kind of silicone rubber? Tin cure? Platinum? Check the MSDS sheet for your product to see what will inhibit it, then do a test on a piece of junk foam. Cleaning off uncured silicone sucks.

What's an MSDS sheet?

And the label on the bucket just says "premium liquid latex rubber". It's from TAP Plastics.

Angelariel wrote:
I am not certain if this will work with that type of foam, but I saw a vid earlier tonight from an rpf member on urethane coating craft and polystyrene foam. He might be able to tell you if it would work with floral foam. http://www.xrobots.co.uk/blog/?p=219

Thanks, I'll take a look at that.
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MSDS is Material Safety Data Sheet.

This document will tell you much about the properties of the chemichal that your using. I should also have warnings of what not to use it with. I would highly recommend going to the manufacturer and ask them about what applications you can or cannot use the material on.

You could literally ruin your mold and have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Mold release will not prevent a bad chemical reaction... it only prevents molds sticking to the patterns.

Good luck...!


Bob
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try giving TAP a call and ask them. Hopefully they'll be able to tell me if something like the silicone rubber I bought from them would be able to work with something like that Foam Coat (or something similar).
I do hate asking them anything. At least at the local store they're always so snippy whenever you ask a question, like they think that you're an idiot if you don't know something, and answering your question is beneath them. >>;;

All I know is that I used this same silicone when I made my helmet molds. I used the same foam, too. The only difference was that I used PaperClay to cover the foam.

Looking at the Foam Coat, it looks like that should work with the floral foam I have. Whether or not it'll work with the silicone rubber I have... I don't know.
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you're doing a latex mold instead of silicone? What are you making the mothermold/jacket out of?

Also be aware that latex shrinks as it cures due to the water in it evaporating. 10% shrinkage is pretty common in many latex products. Mold building latex may be less. The MSDS sheet should have some info.

Read the MSDS sheets, get some samples, and do a test. Let the test sit for a few days and see what happens. If everything seems okay, do your mold.
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's latex. Sorry about that, I don't know where I get "silicone rubber" from.

I didn't have any problems with the rubber shrinking much when I made my helmet, but it was drying over a fairly solid hunk of clay and foam, so that probably kept it in shape as it dried. I haven't checked the rubber mother molds recently so I don't know if they've shrunk any since I last used them.

Anyhow, I'll look up an MSDS sheet. Is that something I'd find online or would I need to stop by TAP to look at a sheet in their store?

But yeah, I think I'll just give it a shot on some scrap foam. A few people gave me a few other ideas on the RPF that I may give a go as well.
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Kyle Darklighter (Garrett K McCarthy)
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In all honesty Latex is not a great material to use to make a mold with. It is designed to be a casting material. You will likely not get a lot of life out of it. It is normally to weak a material to be handled roughly. Silicone is a much better choice. www.smooth-on.com

They have great products for mold making & casting. You can even use a few of the plastic resins to skim coat your master with before you pour the mold making material over it.

Garrett
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want something that can be sanded and further detailed, I would use Bondo. Test it first on a scrap piece of foam to make sure it doesn't melt it... but shouldnt do anything to the crunchy floral foam. You will have just two or three minutes to squeegee it on after you mix it, so it may take several allpications to cover the whole thing. But it can be sanded, added to, etc. Then seal the bondo with spray primer. After the primer cures, usually 48 hours, you can add your mold release and mold it.

I use Silicon tin RTV from Silpak, Inc. in Pomona, CA. I'm on the East Coast now, but still order from them because I have been using their family of materials for fifteen years and am familiar with their behaviors. Others use products from SmoothOn.

Receintly finished a helmet for my Mercs group. Three gallons (30+ lbs) of silicon:

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've head that silicone is better... but I've got a bucket of latex, I might as well use it. The stuff was really expensive and I'd rather not waste it. I can always make another silicone mold later.

But yeah, Bondo is another option, though I was hoping to avoid using a clay-like substance that I'd have to mold and shape. But Bondo is a little thinner, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

With here and the RPF I've got a number of ideas to try out. So thanks, everyone!
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the latex you have to layer it up; you can't just pour it or it won't dry. Paint a layer, let it dry, then paint another. Repeat until you have a decent thickness. Heat will help it dry faster but will also cause it to shrink more. A friend of mine has made latex molds for various small props and statues. He uses silicone caulk form the hardware store as a mothermold.
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's exactly what I did when I made the molds for my helmet. I brushed on a thin coat, let it try, brushed on another, let it dry... did that probably around a dozen times. It worked well enough.

I did make a small piece once and poured the rubber over it. Like you said, it never dried. I let it sit in the sun for a week and it barely hardened at all. In fact, the piece I had put the rubber over actually disintegrated inside. Razz
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