And the casting call please..
First of all i am to be very clear on this, we (I) am doing our own casting of the resin ships with the miniatures and yes we are using smooth on resin. Many people think it’s not the best, it’s overpriced, but with my experience of using it, it works really well and I am very happy with it. In fact Forge World uses smooth on as well with some of the research I’ve done, or at least they did. Added with the Dragon skin silicone the molds are very clean.
Like anybody else we use a pressure system which we can then connect to an air compressor and around 60 pounds of pressure then pushes the air bubbles out of the mold.
These are in-house manufactured resin miniatures. And to the processes of learning how to make the ships with the best molds possible, I have gone through the process in the last year of making over 150 molds. It is my goal to make the best molds possible but in mold making it’s a crap shoot, even when I talk to experienced guys who have been making molds for the last 30 years of their lives, specially using little miniatures or parts, bubbles can get hung up in the cavity.
As I mentioned in other blogs about remastering the Masters, sanding and polishing the miniatures this has helped to eliminate bubbles believe it or not it’s true I’ve only been making molds for the last three years of my life but I’ve made more molds of those three years then some people have the in their lifetime. And believe me when I say this is something I have grown to love to do, or I’d have gave up years ago. Making my first molds I had to engage in babysitting after I poured the silicone, I would gently tap the table, and watch the surface which would see little bubbles float to the surface and I’d do this for the first 30 minutes of the mold making process to make sure there was no air bubbles.
My theory on why the polished parts have fewer bubbles for smaller miniatures in size, and again this is just my theory but it seems sound. I’ve made enough molds of rough surfaces to semi-smooth the polished and there is a difference in each one. Some the earlier training pieces we are making had a rough texture like rocks and whatnot.. And so surely there’d be bubbles but who cares it was a scenery didn’t matter. Any good overuse owns molds like a lot and it wouldn’t matter because it just added more character to to the piece.
Then I use semi-smooth 3D parts for the most part and it’d be bubble free some the extent. I started to think, that the cavity itself where the resin pours into so if the walls of the cavity is smooth less friction with less friction creates less bubbles and if anybody has poured some resin should always pour slowly into the mold. Let it fill the mold and build up slowly to the top of the poor spouts. After making more of a polished Masters I noticed less bubbles or even problems and again it comes back to the cavity walls are smooth and there is less turbulence to make bubbles with just a theory.
And please I am not here to teach anyone how to make molds, there is enough material on the Internet to watch, videos of prop makers who’ve been making molds for a long time. They’re here to teach you, watch and learn, it does go a long way. My greatest teacher is experience, of hands-on and a ton of failures. Yet it has given me a base of knowledge where I can talk shop to many different mold makers, prop makers and many different operators in this field and understand their experiences just to offer the support and as the ones I’ve learned on my own.
And like all processes I’ve learned, I’ve watched YouTube videos, learned how to use the air compressor and put the mold under positive pressure, all these things came together into a grand scale for me to making the best molds possible. Now 2016 and the new molds we are making now are some of the best molds I’ve made in my life, they are clean, and the molds themselves have very little problems.
That being said I need to gear up and tool in order to make thousands of ships this year which is one of my goals. Or I pay other people to do it which would drive cost through the roof because I’m paying those people $60 an hour and if they don’t make enough ships, our revenue falls as you can see, plus materials resin and other costs the ships can be quite costly. That would be a fail.
I think that most new companies are doing it in-house to some degree it’s the only way you can make it, by finding people you can trust to do the work or you do the work yourself. So yeah it’s tough but I’m doing this to keep the prices down, so I can turn a profit and you guys can have a low costing game to get into and play. So on our next blog will talk about our price point and why were offering what we are for the prices were selling the game for.