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In stop motion puppet making with foam latex, I need a oven. I plan on baking foam latex. What convection oven or Toaster oven do I need for baking foam latex? With wires?

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I'm trying to research this next.. I'm surprise no one answered you at the time... 

you don't need a oven. the chemicals do the trick.

Ok where do I start then, any ideas?

For silicone, yes, the chemicals do the trick.  But for foam latex, you do need an oven.

Foam latex is being used less often these days, as silicone has some advantages.  But foam is much lighter and has less resistance to bending, so for bulkier figures and monsters where a little skin wrinkling is not a problem, I still use foam latex.  I have the sales, Sunbeam mixer, and oven so I might as well. In fact I will be buying some later this week.  

Foam latex bakes at around 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), for anywhere between 2 and 4 hours, so you need to check that the oven temperature settings go down to below that.  Some ovens won't go that low.  I have a toaster oven that can bake small moulds, with settings down to 50c and can turn down a bit lower but without numbers below that point.  It can easily do heads, and some figures up to around 11 inches tall (the mould is a couple of inches bigger than the cast).  For big moulds, I turned a gas fired commercial pie warmer into an electric oven by removing the gas fittings, and adding a U shaped 1200 watt stove element and thermostat control.  It lacks proper insulation, it is basically a big aluminium box, so not as efficient as it could be but works fine.  However, you want something ready made if possible.

An internal fan would be good to circulate the heat, especially if the mould sits very close to the heating element, that would likely cause hot spots.  

Make would be different here, and models change every couple of years, so I can't say what is around now.

Basically, depending on the size of your mold,  any oven that reaches at least 175 degrees will work. You can even build one our of plywood and a plug-in stovetop burner that heats up enough. You'll need an oven thermometer that you can read from the outside, and about 3 hours to babysit it.  Or if you have a small enough old, a toaster oven with the rack removed, and a couple of pieces of wood blocks to hold the mold off the floor will work. StopmoNick is right about a fan inside the oven though. Heat circulation is very important or you will get hotspots, burns, and vulcanized rubber instead of supple foam cells. Happy foaming!

ok thanks Kathi for the info.. I send an email to you regarding the download etc.. 

Kathi Zung said:

Basically, depending on the size of your mold,  any oven that reaches at least 175 degrees will work. You can even build one our of plywood and a plug-in stovetop burner that heats up enough. You'll need an oven thermometer that you can read from the outside, and about 3 hours to babysit it.  Or if you have a small enough old, a toaster oven with the rack removed, and a couple of pieces of wood blocks to hold the mold off the floor will work. StopmoNick is right about a fan inside the oven though. Heat circulation is very important or you will get hotspots, burns, and vulcanized rubber instead of supple foam cells. Happy foaming!

Hey Nick, thanks for all that info, I am going to start looking for a used oven with fan then.. I'm gutted I need the fan because I was going to consider dedicating the oven I already have for the form latex baking, as I hardly use my oven these days.. did you do videos on latex foam?  Did you use Ultracal30? is that GM Foam Kits.. I don't know this is all an alien language to me at this point..  I'm in U.K. any suggestions for where I can buy any of this stuff from.. I will ask Simon T. next see what he says, unless he sees this post first and answers... 

James.



StopmoNick said:

For silicone, yes, the chemicals do the trick.  But for foam latex, you do need an oven.

Foam latex is being used less often these days, as silicone has some advantages.  But foam is much lighter and has less resistance to bending, so for bulkier figures and monsters where a little skin wrinkling is not a problem, I still use foam latex.  I have the sales, Sunbeam mixer, and oven so I might as well. In fact I will be buying some later this week.  

Foam latex bakes at around 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), for anywhere between 2 and 4 hours, so you need to check that the oven temperature settings go down to below that.  Some ovens won't go that low.  I have a toaster oven that can bake small moulds, with settings down to 50c and can turn down a bit lower but without numbers below that point.  It can easily do heads, and some figures up to around 11 inches tall (the mould is a couple of inches bigger than the cast).  For big moulds, I turned a gas fired commercial pie warmer into an electric oven by removing the gas fittings, and adding a U shaped 1200 watt stove element and thermostat control.  It lacks proper insulation, it is basically a big aluminium box, so not as efficient as it could be but works fine.  However, you want something ready made if possible.

An internal fan would be good to circulate the heat, especially if the mould sits very close to the heating element, that would likely cause hot spots.  

Make would be different here, and models change every couple of years, so I can't say what is around now.

I used GM foam for years, but Gil Mosco sold his business to Burman who produced it for a while, but I don't know if they still do.  In the last 5 years I've used Monster Makers foam, which is just as good.  And maybe a bit more forgiving with mixing times and amount of gelling agent.  I just ordered a quart kit yesterday, not stocked in my city any more but can be shipped from Sydney.

Most ovens I have used don't have a fan.  It's only an issue if there is a heating element on top for toasting and grilling, and part of the mould sits really close to it, so that part is getting super hot.   It seems worth trying the oven you have.  Or fitting the parts from it into a bigger box, like Kathy Zung was saying.  People haver made wooden or particle board boxes with foil lining, it works but I wouldn't go away for a couple of hours with it running because of potential fire hazard.

I was assembling a video on making a foam latex horse, but I didn't like how it was turning out, and didn't feel like publishing a how-to of a failure.  Though that was mostly the main not working right, the foam casting process was ok.  The nearest thing is a time-lapse of making a foam latex monster for Peter Montgomery Scott, which he put together from my footage, and LIO posted it.  I'll look for it...  

Oh, and there is the classic Kathy Zung DVD tutorial on foam latex casting, don't know if that is online.

I sometimes use Ultracal 30, more often another hard plaster called Hydrostone.  There is a UK brand called Crystacal R.  https://www.mbfg.co.uk/crystacal-r.html 

I use the good stuff for the first couple of coats, then a mix with some casting plaster, then casting plaster with fibreglass reinforcing for the back layers, it's cheaper but gives me the hard surface where it matters.

Found my foam latex monster making video for Dark Earth:

Thanks for much for all the information and links for materials there Nick.. I appreciate it and follow that through next.. I did write a really lengthy response which took me an hour lol and I lost it.. your probably thinking thank god for that.. haha.. but I did have some questions.. but I won't rewrite.. I just crack on with it.. 

and I do have Kathi's tutorial.. I bought that this week.. just trying to get everything ready to make a start... I'm still tempted to just go and buy a B&S armature, but I'm still eager to learn right now so I will continue with wire, I should at least give it my best shot right... 

and great puppet from DARK EARTH, thank for sharing, it did help...

sorry if I forgot anything here..

James.

 

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