I recently learned that the fine print doesn’t always contain the most important, critical information.
First I Researched
I’ve been experimenting with casting using the Smooth-On’s Crystal Clear resin and did my first pour in the making of Deconstructed. The resin wasn’t cheap and casting was new to me, so I did my research before purchasing the best product for my needs.
At the store I explained to the sales associate what I wanted to do and he agreed that I had chosen the best resin for the job. Confident about my product selection, I bought two kits – enough for a one-inch-thick casting, according to our estimations.
Then I Planned
Back in my shop, I began planning for the pour, trying to anticipate everything that I would need. I waxed the mould well, got a bucket and mixing spatula for the resin, figured out where to pour and how to maintain the correct temperature range, and read the instructions and safety precautions again and again.
The Pour Wasn’t Perfect
With as much planning done as I could bear, I took a deep breath, opened the resin and began mixing, then pouring the resin. The pour went well, but I noticed that the resin was curing more quickly than I had expected which resulted in trapped air bubbles.
At first, I thought that it was my fault – that I had poured too quickly or that the vibrating technique introduced air bubbles instead of releasing them. Then, talking with Paul-Marcel, I realized what the problem was.
How I Made the Mistake
When I bought the resin, I had four Crystal Clear formulations from which to choose: 200, 202, 204, and 206. From my research, I had learned that the most viscous (thick) resin is for castings 1/16 – 1/2″ thick. Thinner mixtures take longer to cure so they allow air bubbles to escape from thicker pours.
It was the second most viscous resin that I wanted, which was recommended for castings from 1/2 – 3″ thick, so I got the Crystal Clear 202 formulation. What I had overlooked was that 202 is actually the resin for castings up to 1/2″ thick and I wanted Crystal Clear 200 (so from thin to thick castings, you’d want 202, 200, 204, then 206).
When I got back to my shop, I opened the boxes in which the resin was packaged and put the resin bottles on my bench, saved the instruction sheet, and tossed the boxes in the recycling. The instructions that came with the resin were for the whole family of Crystal Clear resins so I didn’t notice that I had the wrong resin.
As I later realized, on the front of the boxed in large print, it said: “Crystal Clear 202, 90 minutes cure time, 9 minutes pot life”. I knew that the resin I intended to use had a 16 hour cure time so had I noticed this I would have clued in to the fact that I had the wrong product. But I didn’t. And so my casting cured too quickly and trapped some air bubbles.