Monday, July 19, 2010

Make Your Own Resin Water Tiles! - Part 3

In my the previous post on creating water tiles which can be found here , I gave you an overview of what the final result was and showed you some pictures of those results.  In today video, after the jump, you'll see the tools used and I'll talk about some of the resins I've been using.  

The resin that I recommend is called Easy Cast Epoxy Resin (pictured above).  This resin is a 1 to 1 mix ratio of resin to hardener.  I found it to be the most forgiving and the results are near perfect every time.  The cost is relatively low too.  I picked up a gallon for 50.00 and my calculations is that you can get 32 5x5 in. and 1/4 in. thick water tiles out of that amount of resin.  The smaller you go however the price seems to increase so you're better off buying in the larger quantity.  The only drawback that I see is it takes a full 24 hrs to cure so this is certainly not a speedy product.  Also they recommend if pouring very thick projects, say you're making your own gelatinous cube, that you should pour in no more than 6 oz. at a time.  One last thing of note, this was the first resin I used to cast some tiles so I've had these tiles the longest and they are still in the same condition as when I created them.  I didn't have any of the issues I encountered below with the clear-lite resin with the crystallization of the tiles after a few months.

I Wouldn't Recommend This
Product At This Time
I did use another resin for a number of my tiles, its from tap plastics and comes in a blue tin called TAP Clear-Lite Casting Resin and uses MEKP catalyst in various ratios Dependant on how thick you are pouring.  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS RESIN AT THIS TIME.  While it is cheaper, I've had more trouble with this resin.  First the resin and the catalyst have a very limited shelf life.  I had a tin that I never opened and in less than a years time it crystallized in the tin!  Also the MEKP catalyst is a form of peroxide and will weaken over time. Old MEKP will result in very tacky top surfaces or it'll taking days and days, when it should take an hr or two, to fully cure a tile.  When I did buy some fresh product and used it and I was very satisfied, it was clear, and durable though it seemed to shrink a bit more than usual and cause a bit of warping toward the edges.  Then about two months later I'm looking at the tiles I made with this product, which I coated with 5 min epoxy to create the wavy water pattern the day or two after casting the tiles and there is now a layer of crystallized snow flakes trapped in between the layers of the 5 min epoxy resin and the clear-lite resin.  I Suppose I could sand it down and reapply the 5 min epoxy and hope it doesn't happen again or not even bother with that much work and just go with the easy cast and make new tiles. One trick taps plastic mentioned for a faster cure too is to lay a piece of mylar on top of the wet resin which will also generate a very smooth finish, but using this with the legos mold it would the mylar would sink in at the middle and the edges would flare up causing warping, so that again I'm not impressed with this product.  I suppose if you were using it to create a gelatinous cube this might be the product to use as you could do one large pour and using silicone molds seems to work fairly well with this product as you can place a piece of mylar at the mold sprue opening.

Anyways, Its very aggravating as these the tiles I made with the clear-lite were pretty cool.  I did some additional variation pieces, not just whole water tiles, or straight water banks, and now they are all clouded up and you can barely see the grid below.  I think it was just a chemical reaction over time between the 5min epoxy resin and the clear-lite resin which is disappointing.

Well here is the video discussing the resins:

Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for stopping by!

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