Intro: Koosh Vortex Rings
This instructable will show you how to make molds and then cast new Koosh Vortex rings.
Lets get everything started with a little bit of history. Back in the early 2000's I and my friends invested in these Koosh ring shooting toys. They are great toys and I still enjoy them. One big company that shall remain nameless bought the company that made these toys and decided they would stop making them. By the mid 2000's these toys could not be found in stores. Lots of people still had the shooters but over time the rings would get lost. Once your supply of rings is gone you are done playing with these toys. For a while you could find rings on ebay. Now the rings that are left are highly prized and you almost never see them for sale anywhere. Now I have kids of my own and I want to play with these toys with them. With my personal supply of these rings very low I needed to do something. So here we go.
Step 1: Whats It Made Of?
I did a bit of research to find out what the original rings were made of. There is almost no info about them. I took one of my original rings to a local business and asked them about it. They said it could be one of many materials. They also said it didn't matter that much. All I needed was to find a material that met my needs. I then contacted the guys at Smooth-On. Just do an internet search and you will find them. I purchased and tried a lot of their samples kits before I found what worked for me. In the end I used their MoldMax 40 to make my molds and I use ECON 60 to make my rings.
Step 2: Other Supplies
Red Solo Cups (at least one for the mold and two more for mixing)
Stir Sticks (I used wooden chop sticks but anything will do)
Scale (I used a digital scale for weighing food. It needs to be able to measure grams)
Craft Knife (I used an X-acto)
Syringe (I used one that came with my kids medicine. It was a 10ml or 2 tea spoon)
Rubber Gloves (to proect your hands from these chemicals)
Safety Glasses (to protect your eyes)
Drill and 1/8" or similar size drill bit
One original Koosh Vortex Ring
Mold Max 40 Sample kit
Econ 60 Sample kit
Step 3: Molds Step 1
I tried a few different ways to make molds. In the end this is what worked.
I used a red Solo cup to start my molds. I cut it down to be about half of its original height.
Place one original Koosh ring in the bottom of the cup. Try to put it in the middle of the cup. You will be pouring the Mold Max 40 into this cup and directly on the original Koosh ring.
Step 4: Molds Step 2
Now in a second cup mix your Mold Max 40 silicone.
You will need to use a scale to measure out part A and part B of the Mold Max 40. Just follow the directions that come in the box.
You will need to measure out enough material to get about a one inch layer in the bottom of the cup. You want to be able to cover the original Koosh ring completly plus a quarter of an inch or so.
Once you have both part A and part B mixed up you will find that it is quite thick. Its like cold honey.
Now you are ready to pour.
Step 5: Molds Step 3
The Mold Max 40 has a long "pot life" or the time it stays a workable liquid. This makes it easy to work with. Start to pour the Mold Max 40 into the red Solo cup. Take your time and pour slowly with a very thin steam of Mold Max 40. This will help pop any bubbles that you have in your mixing cup. Pour into just one or two spots and let the Mold Max 40 silicon flow into the mold cup. This will also help to keep bubbles from forming. Again, make sure that you cover the Koosh Vortex ring completely plus about a quarter of an inch. Now you wait. It takes several hours for the Mold Max 40 silicone to fully set up. I waited over night to be sure.
Step 6: Molds Step 4
Now that the Mold Max 40 silicone is set up you will find that the Koosh Vortex ring has floated up and is just barely showing at the top of your hardened silicone.
Now mix up more Mold Max 40. You want enough to add about a quarter of an inch on top of your mold. Once you are ready, pour this directly onto your mold. This will now cover the Koosh Vortex ring. This new pour will fuse to the first pour as it sets up. Once done they will not come apart. Let this new layer set up over night or as instructed on the packaging.
Step 7: Molds Step 5
Now that the mold is done setting up you can cut away the red Solo cup and admire your work. The original Koosh Vortex ring is now trapped inside. The Mold Max 40 silicone will not fuse to the Koosh Vortex ring because they are different types of silicone.
Now its time to cut the Koosh Vortex ring out. Use a craft knife like X-acto. I used a zig-zag cut so that it would be easy to put the two parts back together when done.
Start by making your first cut into the side of the Mold Max 40 mold. Take your time making shallow sweeping cuts until you reach the Koosh Vortex ring. The Koosh Vortex ring is a bit tougher than the Mold Max 40 so you don't have to worry about cutting the Koosh ring. You will feel the ring before you cut it if you take your time.
Now work your way around the mold making your cut down to the Koosh Vortex ring. Once you have it all the way around you will need to cut through the middle of the mold. This is much harder to do. You might want to have a friend help.
Pry the Mold Max 40 open wide and bend the Koosh Vortex ring down a bit to expose the middle of the mold. Now use your craft knife to cut through the middle.
(Ignore the hole in the top of my mold. It was something I tried but it didn't work)
Step 8: Molds Step 6
Once you have cut all the way through the Mold Max 40 mold it will come apart in two pieces. Take your time and use your finger to separate the Koosh Vortex ring from the Mold Max 40 mold. Once you have broken the slight sticky bond the Koosh Vortex ring should lift out easily. You can now put the two pieces of mold back together. These two pieces are called the Cope and the Drag.
(Again, ignore the hole in the top of my mold)
Step 9: Molds Step 7
Now we have to make a way for the ring pour material to get in and air to get out. I used a power drill with a small drill bit. I think I used an 1/8" drill bit. The drill bit does a poor job of removing material. It is silicone after all. The holes don't need to be 1/8". They can be smaller.
Take the bottom half (the Drag) of your mold and use the drill to drill out a hole through the mold. Make sure you use the bottom half of the mold. You want to be drilling through the back or trailing side of the Koosh Vortex ring. This is because you will have to trim some exes material away and you don't want a rough spot on the leading or front side of your new ring.
Now drill another hole on the exact opposite side of the ring. Once done you should have two holes drilled. See the diagram and photo.
These two holes are called the sprue and the vent. The sprue is where you will put the casting material in and the vent is where the air in the mold will come out.
Step 10: Casting Step 1
Once you have the sprue and vent drilled in, put the two halves of the mold back together. Now take five or six rubber bands and use them to keep the two halves together. You don't need them to be very tight, just enough that the halves stay together when you handle the mold.
Now get ready to mix up your Econ 60. This is a bit easier to mix because it is 1:1 meaning you mix equal parts A and B together. The hard part about using Econ 60 is that you have a very short pot life. I think the package says six minutes. That is crazy short so make sure you are ready before you start mixing! Once part A meets part B the clock is ticking. It is a good idea to have a stop watch running so you can see how much time you have left.
Econ 60 says is pours like water and it is like water but unlike water it is sticky. Because of this I used a syringe to inject my Econ 60 into my mold. Econ 60 is a urethane rubber and not a silicone. Econ 60 will stick to almost everything once cured except silicone.
Step 11: Casting Step 2
A ring made of Econ 60 weighs about 5 grams. I mixed up four grams of part A and four grams of part B for a total of eight grams just to be safe. You loose a bit in the syringe and the vent and sprew. You will get more efficient the more rings you cast.
Mix part A and B in a red Solo cup. Make sure you spend three minutes mixing A and B together. With such a small amount of A and B the potential for a bad mix is quite high. If you don't get them mixed up well the Econ 60 will never set up and you will have a mess on your hands.
Econ 60 cures an odd translucent amber color. I wanted hi-viz orange. I added two to three drops of Smooth-On's So Strong coloring to my four grams of part B before mixing.
Once mixed I used the syringe to draw up the liquid Econ 60 and then injected the Econ 60 into one of the holes drilled into the mold.
Take your time and inject slowly. this will allow the air in the mold to escape through the opposite hold in the mold. Once you see Econ 60 coming out of the vent hole you know the mold is full.
Step 12: Casting Step 3
Econ 60 sets up in about four hours. Once you have waited the four hours you can de-mold your new ring.
Remove the rubber bands and use scissors to cut any excess Econ 60 off of the tops of the vent and sprue holes. Now pull the mold apart and remove your new ring. Use scissors to trim off the sprue and vent stacks. Some Econ 60 will have leaked between the two halves of the mold. This is called flash and it can be scraped off with your thumb nail.
Step 13: Casting Step 4
Original Koosh Vortex rings weigh between three and four grams. Econ 60 rings weigh five grams. This weight difference only sheds about one to two feet off of the flight distance of the rings.
Your new rings may have some bubbles in them, don't panic. The bubbles actually help make the ring a bit lighter and don't seem to affect the flight at all.