Iron Man! How I Made My Own Metallic Piece

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Introduction: Iron Man! How I Made My Own Metallic Piece

About: I love making and creating things - and I'm lucky enough to do it for my job and as a hobby!

I know someone who used to love Iron Man as a young lad so I thought I would make them their very own grown up Iron Man gift!

Luckily I've got access to silicone rubber and casting resin, so I borrowed my son's Iron Man action figure and set to work.

I've broken the process down into a step by step guide of how I made a metallic effect Iron Man piece using aluminium powder by:

  • Creating a splash mould
  • Casting a splash part and making some modifications
  • Creating a final mould
  • Casting an aluminium powder and resin piece and finishing the piece by bringing out the metallic effect.

This technique is often referred to as Cold Casting and you can achieve different effects with different metals - there are some photos showing a Copper version too!

Step 1: Materials

Materials:

Silicone Rubber and Catalyst - I used Easy Composites CS25

Fast Casting Polyurethane Resin - I used Xencast® P2

Metal Powders

Mixing Pots and Sticks

Gloves

Something to make a container - I used Signboard

Cutting Board, Craft Knife, Ruler, Pen, Screwdriver, small tube

Glue Gun and Tape

Scales

Black Spray Paint

Steel Wool, Abrasive Paper, Sanding Block and a spoon

Prepare the work area - cover work surface and wear protective clothing.

Step 2: Prepare Original

  1. First I decided which part of the toy I wanted to replicate - I wanted to create a bust type piece that would look good on a shelf, so just concentrated on the head and shoulders area.
  2. To make life easier for creating a silicone mould I removed the arms of the toy and then I turned his head to the side to make it look a bit different.
  3. Then I used filleting wax (because it came in the casting kit - or you could use modelling clay) to seal under the chin to stop the silicone getting in and to make a continuous surface, then I smoothed it off.
  4. Next I measured the part of the original I wanted to replicate (height, width, depth) and created a container from signboard (also in my kit).
  5. Because I'd removed the arms I was able to suspend the toy from the top of the box with the tube and glue it into place.

Step 3: Creating a Splash Mould

  1. Next I weighed out the correct amount of silicone and catalyst and mixed them together until it was a consistent colour - mixing steadily to minimise air bubbles
  2. Then I poured it over the original by approximately 5mm and left it to cure (as per the manufacturers instructions).
  3. When it had cured I removed the container and made a zigzag cut to the mould to remove the toy from the splash mould.
  4. Then I taped up the mould ready for the first casting - the splash part.

Step 4: Creating a Splash Part and Making Modifications

  1. I weighed and mixed together equal amounts of Parts A & B Xencast® P2 fast cast resin and poured it into the mould.
  2. I always tip, roll and tap the mould to make sure the resin gets into all the detail and helps to push out air bubbles.
  3. Then I left it to cure - this resin is so fast working - it starts to cure in 2-3 minutes and is ready to demould in less that 30 minutes!
  4. Then I demoulded the piece and made some modifications like trimming the shoulders and levelling the base ready to make the final mould.

Step 5: Creating a Final Mould

  1. At this point I used some more wax to make a good base for the piece - this also stuck the part down to the base of the container and I built up a snug container.
  2. Then I mixed up some more silicone and poured the final mould.
  3. When it was cured I removed the container and the part and taped up the mould ready to cold cast the metallic piece.

Step 6: Casting a Metallic Part

  1. I measured out a new batch of resin and added aluminium powder to Part A and mixed it thoroughly, before adding Part B and mixing.
  2. I experimented quite a lot for the best effect and found that matching the powder to the resin by volume rather than by weight gives a much better result.
  3. I repeated the resin process from before ,working quickly to fill the mould and left it to cure.

Step 7: Finishing My Metallic Part

  1. When it was cured I demoulded the part and set to work making it look metallic - when it comes out it doesn't look metallic at all because a thin layer of resin forms over the metal particles so it just looks grey.
  2. Then I used a sanding block,abrasive paper and steel wool to bring out the effects.
  3. I also used a spoon to burnish the surface - this brought out really bright highlights.
  4. Then I sprayed black paint all over the piece and when it was dry I used the steel wool again to bring out the detail, contrast and highlights - or you could just leave it plain.

Step 8: Iron Man - Cold Cast With Aluminium Powder!

I'm really pleased with the end result and can't wait to give the gift!

I also cast using copper powder and it would be interesting to try some effects on different powders at some point like rusting and replicating patina's.

This process could be used on any toy or figurine and if you were doing an exact replica you would only need to take one mould which would reduce your working time.

Timescale: Once I had created the final mould (2nd) - Iron Man took me about an hour to create, including the finishing effects!

Links:

Resin Casting Starter Kit (on Easy Composites)

Metal Powders (on Easy Composites)

Fine Steel Wool (on B&Q)

Black Spray Paint (on Halfords)

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    53 Discussions

    This looks awesome and seems easy enough. Question though, why did you make 2 molds and 2 casts? Cant you make the one mold and cast it with the aluminum powder the first time?

    2 replies

    Thanks - the only reason I repeated the process was so i could modify the shape but if you were casting a replica of the original you would only need to carry out the cold casting part :-)

    Gotcha, thanks. I was looking for a simple way to duplicate some small emblems and this is perfect.

    Awesome project! I think I wouldn't be able to get past step 1: tear Iron Man limb from limb. I'm not The Hulk.

    This is really good info! I especially like the idea of burnishing with a spoon.. that's brilliant!! :)

    5 replies

    "Spoon burnishing" sounds like one of those timeless skills passed on through generations of metalworkers

    Tricks of the trade ;)

    I know - someone else told me about burnishing and it really works! I've always got a spoon in my craft box now!

    If you do a lot of it get a burnisher, they are simply a piece if hard material that is polished smooth, often steel but you can get stone & other materials.

    e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Curved-Burnisher-Bezel-Setting-Stone/dp/B000RAYBMG

    Jewellers/ metalsmiths use them to polish hard to reach areas & create effects.

    Thank you - I know, can't wait to cast some more metal so I can do it again :-)

    All I can do is echo what many others have said, AWESOME!!! (both the pieces and the Instructable). My mind is reeling at what I can do with this combination! A Billion Thanks!!

    1 reply

    Thats awesome how smooth that finish is. Do you know if a part made with this process would be conductive enough to electroplate? I have to try your paint technique soon for shadowing/ageing.

    1 reply

    Thanks, I asked around on this subject too and couldn't find out much about it but I was given the following info: the resin is an insulator (poor conductor) and the metal powder on their own have high resistance (due to the oxide layer over the particles) so together there would not be an improved conductivity. Having no knowledge on electroplating maybe someone else could offer some advice? :-)

    I rarely comment on here because people tend to go over the top but for once I think it’s true. Not only did you create an amazing piece but your instructable was so well done that it is almost as amazing as the craftsmanship you displayed in making the piece. Thanks for showing us how a instructable should be. Keep it up and thank you so much I learned a lot (spoon burnishing!?! just wow) and now I feel inspired to try it myself.

    1 reply

    Thanks for your great comments - hope you get making!