taking one frame at a time since 1999

My Production Diary for Jam #3 (H21-918) pg03 "Silicone Failures"

6-19-21 (147) - I bought Dragonframe 4 $338 (USD) with tax. Got a free upgraded license and a link to Dragonframe 5

6-28-21 (156) - Dragonframe controller arrives, much smaller than expected which is a good thing. I doubt I'll even use it since my current set up has my monitors away from the stage.

6-28-21 (156) - Since you do not need a set for the Jam, I will start working on the puppets first. I'm so lazy that I am reusing an old practice sculpt from last year. All I need to do is to rescale it to match my masking tape prototype.

6-29-21 (157) - My plan is to 3D print the mold with my SLA printer. It is a $250 Elegoo Mars. I bought it in mid 2019 and have completed about 140 prints with it that amounts to 500 hours of printing. I've decided to try silicone in a printed mold and to make it even worse I am going for Platinum cure silicone. Why do I do these things with a deadline I'll never know. Test number one: do nothing, no coating or dipping or anything that could help the silicone work. See just how bad it gets.

6-30-21 (158) -first print was way too small plus it had a random flat plane inside of it. I then printed the next set of molds at the right size and left them solid. There was a small hole in the molds and it turns out my FEP sheet had a pinhole in it. The last time it happened it ruined my screen and costs $30 to fix. Luckily it was easily fixed with a new FEP sheet. I did my normal curing process then shoved some foam and wire into the mold and poured silicone in it. The mold is open face.

7-6-21 (164) - FAIL - big surprise. The puppet came out a gooey mess. The leftover silicone cured perfect in the mixing cup. I am using Ecoflex 30 by Smooth On. It is super stretchy. Spent most of the day trying to get a good version of actor number 2. Decided he will not be printed and just be a build up puppet of some kind.

7-10-21 (168) - FAIL - Smooth On recommends a long cure time, a clear coat and mold release. I did all three except instead of clear I used 4 coats of primer. Mixed a small batch of silicone and tinted it green and left it over night. Another gooey mess should be useful if I am making a runny nose video. "You may think its funny but it snot."

7-11-21 (169) - repaired FEP and purchased a STL furniture pack ($10) from Etsy. I will be able to modify the furniture for my set and print it out.

7-12-21 (170) - typed a confusing and lengthy blog post and poured more silicone into the mold. The mold has three coats of Krylon Matte Clear and was allowed to dry over night. Current temp in the studio 65 degrees F and humidity is 49%

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Comment by Steve Copeland on July 16, 2021 at 6:55am

My results. The plan is to make two halves and a wire frame. Then glue the silicone skin over the frame with silicone. Then paint the outside with silicone paints tinted bright orange.

Comment by Steve Copeland on July 16, 2021 at 6:52am

My setup. A SLA printed mold that was made as a negative from the original digital sculpt. A FDM print in PLA that was a scaled by 90% is suspended in the mold. Light orange tinted silicone is poured in after being degassed in a vacuum chamber.

Definitions: SLA (Stereo-lithography Apparatus) My printer uses a vat of liquid resin that is cured by UV light.

FDM (Fused Deposition Material) MY printer uses a hot feeder wheel to force plastic thru a hot nozzle which is melted into a fine string and layered ontop to create the shape.

PLA (Polylactic Acid) A roll of plastic type material that I use for printing. A 2kg roll of the brand I use costs $24 (usd)

Comment by Steve Copeland on July 16, 2021 at 6:39am

Success - I coated the mold with two coats of Krylon Matte Clear and the silicone cured perfectly. Also in this test were gloves. Both gloves are Nitirile which are the recommended gloves for SLA printing. The silicone on top of the gloves did not cure.

Comment by Steve Copeland on July 16, 2021 at 6:35am

FAIL #2 I tinted the resin green. In this photo the  mold was cured for 7 hours in a UV LED chamber then it was coated with Rustoleum Hi Build Primer then it was coated with Krylon Primer. I also tested the foam I was using. Its sort of dry but very tacky.

Comment by Steve Copeland on July 16, 2021 at 6:32am

Gooey mess. Used no clear coat or anything other than my normal curing process. Also the foam has latex in it and could be another cause of cure inhibition. The product is Smooth On Eco Flex 30. The mold is Elegoo ABS Like Resin.

Comment by Steve Copeland on July 16, 2021 at 6:30am

Failed print. Tried to hollow the print to save $1 worth of resin and it created a flat spot in the center which I then poked out to test the strength.

Comment by Hans Jacob Wagner on July 14, 2021 at 5:45am

In this video "the craftsman" is having some similar problems with resin printed molds and silicone curing. And he goes through some solutions as well. Hope that can help.

Comment by Steve Copeland on July 13, 2021 at 8:35pm

Success!!! Coating the mold with clear coat worked perfectly! (On the small test)

I used Platinum silicone when i did a life cats of myself and had no problem at all. Smooth-On has an entire FAQ devoted to SLA printers and Platinum Cure. Also I came across a youtube channel of a guy testing all the "Wives Tales". He tested different materials like the water washable resin and different chemical baths plus he even cooked his print in the oven which I have never heard of. MOst of his molds cured but had loots of surface bubbles like the silicone was bubbling against the model. My prints cure in a big lobster pot that has a string of UV LEDs in it. I use the standard "Elegoo ABS like Resin" and even after a curing it has a very different feel to it.

Sure I can post a picture but I want a full test first. It was supposed to happen tonight but my FDM printer which I was going to print the core on is having a memory card issue. I'm making a pumpkin and while silicone is overkill its small enough that my experiments won't cost an arm and a leg.

Comment by StopmoNick on July 13, 2021 at 6:13pm

I didn't know SLA would inhibit platinum cure silicone, but so many things do, it's not hard to believe.  I put little samples of different plasticines, epoxies, polyester resins, polymer clays, and release agents on a couple of boards and mixed up some plastic and painted a bit of platsil on all of them, to see what would cause curing problems.  But there are always new materials to test.  I wonder, can your printer work with more than one type of plastic?  I haven't attempted to get into 3d printing yet, but I believe some models can print with 3 or 4 different materials.

Comment by Hans Jacob Wagner on July 13, 2021 at 9:38am

The idea of a 3D printed mold has been a thought for me as well. Never been close enough to a printer though. Can you share some pictures or is going to reveal to much? Do you think it's the resin that inflict on the curing of the silicone? It doesn't take much to mess up silicone. What about to use some good old latex just to get going, time is running faster than silicone(ʘᴗʘ)

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