Step 2: Handy Tools to Have on Hand

Some tools that are great to have - but not really required:  A pressure/casting vessel (a large paint pot in this case purchased off eBay), a vacuum pump capable of a very high level of vacuum (eBay again), an air compressor (to pressurize the casting chamber), a vacuum chamber for use in de-gassing silicone (mine is a Nalgene 5305-1212), and a cheap toaster oven (that you don't use for food) for heating up clay and post-curing silicone molds (not necessary - just speeds up the process).

So, why de-gas your silicone and pressure cast your resin?  Pressure casting yields much better results than "gravity casting" or casting at atmospheric pressure.  Molds that have fine details will almost certainly end up with bubbles in the castings - either from air entrapment, surface tension issues, or moisture in the mold (resin+water=foam).  Casting under pressure (80PSI in my case) basically "crushes" the bubbles down to almost nothing - or to a size much much smaller than they would have been without it.  Of course, this same phenomenon (crushing the bubbles) ALSO works on your molds - so if your mold has bubbles below the inner contact surface, those bubbles will be "crushed" and will produce bumps and bulges in the surface of your casting - so - if you want to pressure cast your resin, you need to have bubble-free molds to go with it.

If you aren't going to pressure-cast parts, you can skip the compressor and pressure pot.  If you are going to use a mother-mold system, or, some of the thin-viscosity mold-making silicones (less durable but easier to work with) then you can forgo the vacuum chamber and vacuum pump.  What you choose really depends on your end goal and what you're willing to put up with in exchange for your time and money (Isn't that the case with just about everything?)
<p>If the silicone is degassed you should not have this issue with the resin cast parts under pressure</p>
<p>Agreed. The ideal, IMO, is a properly de-gassed silicone mold, and pressure cast resin to almost completely eliminate bubbles in the casting. My purpose in this step was to show what can happen if you don't properly de-gas your silicone, and you pressure cast in that mold. It was also to show how effective pressure casting is at eliminating bubbles in the casting.</p>
<p>That's one beautiful piece of art! Looks amazing. She's bad-ass! :) Thanks for sharing the steps to your talent.</p>
<p>This instructable is a tour de force in creative and scientific mastery. I am stunned at your talent and incredible attention to detail.</p><p>...in '80s-speak: You totally rock, dude!</p><p>Thanks so much for taking the time to document and post this incredible (and awesomely successful) project. I am really, really impressed!</p><p>Cheers! </p>
Thanks, Syntegrator - it was a challenging project, but I learned a lot (which is the whole point). I'm glad you liked it :)
<p>woah you're a master!</p>
<p>I'd like to thank you for your detailed description of finishing your 3D printed figurine. For me, one of the best tips was using putty and Duplicolor filler primer. This made a huge difference in the final surface finish. Much appreciated and awesome job!</p><p>Gunter</p>
Hi Marko, <br> <br>The service I used for the &quot;print&quot; was 3DArtToPart.com - but I don't know if they're still running(?). The print, at the time, cost about $250 which was far more affordable than the $7K-$10K quotes I was getting from places that provided a better surface finish. Prices have come down and quality has gone up since that time - so you'll probably have to do a little searching around. <br> <br>There are a number of places that will print a model for you, but they seem to come and go. Protodemon.com was a place that specialized in outstanding surface quality and detail - but they seem to have disappeared. I would search for 3D Printing Services, or Rapid Prototyping Services and just check around for the best bang for the buck. A good place to ask around would be the zBrush.com forums - those guys do a lot 3D printing. Good luck! :)
HI - Awesome instructable! If I may ask, where did you have the object 3D printed and how expensive was it? I would like to follow your instructable with a smaller, less complicated 3D character and I am new to the 3D printing world. <br> <br>Thanks again for this great instructable! --Marko
Nice ! Thank you
wooow you are friking awesome!
thank you for taking the time to document this great, instructable - i learned a lot from your work, and will read this several times - Great mold making and beautifull character
My god, you have left me breathless throughout all the instructive reading. The quality that you has developed to generate all the steps to creating a perfect (why not say) molds and models, makes it can receive more than one award. To say that and from now this instructable became part of my book training (I'm not writing a book, just learning this), my sincere congratulations on the entire process of manufacturing parts, and this spectacular steep-by-steep instructive. <br>By the way my brother wants to know what is the approximate cost of the figure, in materials and paint-work, figuratively &quot;comparing it&quot; with other models that may be for sale, warcraft, mass effect, etc. ..
Thank you for the kind words :) It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot in the process. <br> <br>As far as cost of materials, there's probably somewhere around $80 in resin and another $45 or so in paint depending on what brands and colors you buy. I don't know how that compares to some of the other models for sale - but I'm assuming this would be quite a bit more since it's not mass produced. <br> <br>Thanks again - I'm glad you enjoyed the Instructable :)
Wow, this is an amazing project. The final outcome is incredible. <br>This just goes to show the large amount of skill and hard work needed to create this piece of art. Your painting skills really make this thing &quot;pop&quot;. <br>I really enjoy reading your presentation.
Where did you get your vacuum degassing machine? Never seen one like that!
I got it off eBay ;) It's a <u>Welch Chemstar 1402N Vacuum Pump</u>. It can actually &quot;boil&quot; water!
Thanks for the info!! Great instructable :) Is the chamber itself made by Chemstar too?!

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Bio: I am a perpetual student, researcher, and hopelessly dedicated skill collector. I hope that you can find something inspiring or useful in the instructables I ... More »
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