Frequently Asked Questions?
Q. Can you tell me more about the video/booklet combination?
A. "Reproduce Almost Anything" with Basic Silicone Mold Making, Second Edition Vol. 1 (ISBN 0-963-4267-0-2) is a 56-minute DVD, or VHS videotape, 44-page workbook and national materials souce list combination, that shows a beginner how to make a two-sided silicone rubber mold from almost any object and then use that silicone mold to make exact copies in metal, platic, rubber, ceramic, plaster, etc.
Q. Is it really possible to make big money using silicone molds?
A. Absolutely, some years ago, a major manufacturer accepted a proposal for a part from me, and issued a Purchase Order for one thousand parts. At the time, I hadnt the money to make an expensive injection mold to produce the part, so I began making the part using eight silicone molds.
In order to obtain the necessary physical properties needed for this part, it had to be cured in an oven for an hour before demolding. This limited me to only 32 parts per day. However, since I was charging the manufacturer $33.00 per part, my positive cash flow per day was $650.00. I have since made an injection mold for this part, and am still selling it today after 19 years of production. Whether you make money, or not, depends on your idea and perserverance.
Q. Exactly what kinds of plastic parts can I make using silicone molds?
A. There are a number of two-part, liquid casting systems for making both rigid and flexible (elastomeric) parts. Polyester, epoxy and urethanes are the most common castin systems. Most hobbyist find the urethanes their favorites , as they make possible tough, durable, colored clear, and even rubber-like parts with good U.V. resistance.
Q. You mention making metal parts in your description of the videotape/workbook, how is this possible?
A. Some silicone mold making systems can tolerate temperatures up to 1000 degrees F, thus one can cast Cerrometals and even pewter-like metals directly from the silicone molds. For higher temperature metals, one must cast a wax master from the silicone mold, and then use that wax master via lost wax casting to produce the metal parts in bronze, brass, aluminum, etc. Companies that do lost wax casting can be found in most metropolitan telephone Yellow Pages.
Q. Whats a "Cerrometal" ?
A. Cerrometals are metal alloys made mostly of a combination of antimony and bismuth, with smaller amounts of other metals included. The inclusion of the correct amount of bismuth results in a metal alloy that doesnt shrink on cooling, giving a cast part of the exact size of the original part. Temperature of Cerrometals can melt a temperatures as low as 98 degree F. Sources of these alloys are found in our Materials Source List, at the back of the included workbook.
Q. Can I make colored parts?
A. Absolutely, one can make colored parts. Many of the urethane resins that one first uses turn white, or off-white on curing and as a result cant be colored effectively. If one uses a clear urethane resin and adds the appropriate color and amount, a perfect colored part will result. See the our Materials Source List in the workbook for suppliers of colorants.
Q. Can parts made using urethane castings be screwed or bolted together using threads in the plastic?
A. You can thread the plastic but the resulting threaded plastic may not be strong enough for your application. This problem can easily be solved by casting a threaded metal insert into the cast part, giving you a tremendously strong thread. Our Material Source List includes several manufacturers of threaded inserts.
Q. What in your opinion is the most difficult area of making silicone molds?
A. The making of the silicone molds is quite easy, if you follow the directions. The most difficult part is the placement of vent holes in the mold, so that the casting liquids completely fill the silicone mold. Even the best of us cant always install enough vent holes on the first try but it is very easy to place additional vent holes in the mold after casting your first part. Our 3D animation in the videotape graphically shows an X-Ray view of a mold as its filled to demonstrate the need for air vents and their best locations.
Q. How large a part can be made using Silicone Molds.
A. The size of the silicone mold is limited only by your pocket book. Many unusually large sculptures are made using silicone molds, so that several reproductions can be created. Many older buildings have molds made of their architectural facades to preserve, or restore large areas. Castings have even been made of giant African ant hills for museum dioramas. So, in this area of silicone mold making, as in most other areas of creative endeavor, the only limiting factor is ones imagination!
Q. What kind of detail can I expect from Silicone?
A. Silicone can capture incredible detail. So much so, that if you accidentally leave an impression of your finger print in your pattern. Each part made from that Silicone mold will be personalized with your print!
Q. Does one need special equipment, or a science degree to make Silicone molds?
A. No. Infact, if you can bake a cake, I can show you how to make your first Silicone mold!
Q. Is the Silicone mold making material expensive?
A. The process is inexpensive, safe and can easily be done by a teenager. It's the ultimate tool for any creative hobbyist, craft person, inventor, or classic car and antique furniture restorer.
.Q. Have you a question? Send us an email !