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Over the festive season we eventually found some spare time to try out our new Pen Blank Casting moulds.
The good news is that the first of our blanks appeared to be very successfull. After the new castings have had the appropriate drying time which is normally 24hrs I will mount them on our Lathe and turn them to ensure our success in casting without air bubbles trapped within the casting. Touch wood !! so far so good.
I thought I might share this little insight into the making of our cast blanks, and to assist anyone else that may like to give casting a try whether it be making pen blanks or casting jewelery as the process for casting is pretty much the same.
Items used during the casting were as follows
1. 30ml /1 Ounce mixing cups.
2. Plastic measure/dropper.
3. Silicone Pen Blank mould.
4. Epoxy Resin.
6. Assorted Pigments and Pearl-Ex powders.
7. Electronic Scales.
8. Popsicle mixing sticks.
10. Pen tubes.
11. Cup of hot water.
I had all the above materials ready on my workbench for easy access when required. I started by installing the brass pen tubes into their required positions within the mould before then pouring an amount of water into the hollowed section of my mould and around the brass pen tubes where the casting was going to be poured. This allowed me to then measure the volume of water which will advise how much epoxy resin is required for the casting, lucky for me it was exactly 30mls or 1 ounce. I then dried the mould, brass pen tubes and the mixing cup using a dry towel to ensure no water remained on the mould or on the resin measuring cup.
I then continued to measure out 30ml's of Clear Epoxy Casting Resin into the measuring cup, before then adding a very small amount of Pearl-Ex powder being Duo Blue and Red on the end of the popsicle stick to the epoxy resin and slowly mixing together. To aid in this process and to thin the epoxy resin allowing air bubbles to rise to the top of the resin more easily, I sat the resin mixing cup in the hot water cup continuing to stir slowly ensuring that I did not splash any water into the epoxy resin.
Once the Pearl-Ex colour was properly mixed with the epoxy resin I then dropped in 6ml of activator using the plastic dropper to start the curing process. Further mixing was required for another minute or two prior to then pouring the epoxy resin into one side of the mould letting it fill and find its own level and ensuring that the mould was completely filled.
As the resin was mixed by holding the mixing cup in another cup of hot water the resin was very thin and poured into the mould very easily, the small amount of bubbles that did form on the top of the casting during the mixing and pouring process floated to the top of the mould very quickly and easily. Using a toothpick the bubbles were picked and removed from the casting until they were all removed. Having the epoxy resin hot and thinned allows the air bubbles to rise more easily and significantly reduces the risk of bubbles within the casting.
After several hours the epoxy resin had cured enough to remove the blanks gently from the moulds. Further curing of the cast pen blanks is required up to and sometimes in excess of 24hrs.
So there you have it folks, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed making the castings.
Until next time, take care.
The Team at Perfect Pens and Pencils.