31 August 2012

Homemade Molding/Casting Agitator

A long time has passed since my last post, my time having been filled with major work and life events.  Pretty soon I'll be starting a year-long school and will have to cease gaming and put this blog on hiatus.  So before then I'm trying to cram in as much scratchbuilding as possible.

I'm finishing the scratchbuild tank I started way back, and starting on another spaceship.  As I've discussed, I'm using water-putty to make the masters, silicone for molds and resin for the casts.  In each of these materials I have to vigorously tap the respective container to ensure air bubbles don't form.  I'm some cases, especially with the water-putty, I don't get all the bubbles out.  To remedy this I cobbled together a crude agitator, inspired by a blog post on the Ultrawerke site.

First I bought a 4x6 inch wooden picture frame for a US$1.00 at the dollar store.  I cut up the fiberboard backing to make legs to elevate the frame.  I cut the bottom out of a cardboard coffee bean  container, leaving a 30mm lip all the way around.  I suspended the coffee can platform from the frame using springs from the hardware store.  I then mounted a 1.5V motor to the side of the frame.  The motor and associated wires, switch and power source were all left over parts from a graduate course I completed last winter but could easily be purchased from Radio Shack for US$5.00 to $7.00 total.  I fixed a weight to the drive-shaft using epoxy putty and turned it on and to my amazement it worked.  It worked a little too well and the frame starting scooting across the kitchen table.  My wife suggested placing the whole contraption in a cardboard box, which worked beautifully.

I"m off to pour the top and bottom hulls of a new spaceship sculpt.  I think this agitator will go a long way towards making more crisp scratchbuilds.