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Molding and casting - a journey


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#1 rvec

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 08:36 AM

Since I grew up in the 60s, it is no surprise that the cars of that era are some of my favorites, especially the endurance machines. The struggle for supremacy during the 60s between Ford and Ferrari was the real story of LeMans contests in that era. GT40 Mk I, GT40 Mk II and Ferrari 330 P4 plastic models are readily available, albeit a bit pricey. Unfortunately the GT40 Mk IV is not available in 1/24 scale in plastic.

That was no deterrent. I purchased a couple of Mk IVs cast in resin over the internet (see images below). The resin models were beautifully detailed but extremely heavy at 91 grams; totally unsuitable for slot racing. I thought about hogging out the extra weight; however, I was concerned that the first hard crash would demolish the car.
 

Resin1.jpg
 
Resin2.jpg
 
Resin3.jpg

I considered a couple of options. First was 3D scanning and printing. Second was molding and casting. After some research and discussions with others on the forum, I decided that 3D printing was out. The resulting printed model would require a huge amount of work to smooth ridges. Also, I would have to find some entity to do the work which would have been prohibitively expensive and a one off as well.

I began researching the option of molding and casting. I received some input from members of this forum and I discussed resin casting with a sister club in Eugene, Oregon that runs several classes of cars cast in resin (I have chosen not to name these folks for privacy reasons, but they are certainly welcome to comment). I also looked at many videos on the internet.. Check out the following video
https://www.youtube....h?v=WlTuDgzhTlk ).
 
Also check out this link which shows how to slosh cast. 
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAWgrwYq0iY 
 
Finally, I determined that my first molds and casts would be completed using Alumilite products. I discussed my project with their technical support staff. They recommended that I use Alumilite HS2 for creating the mold and AlumiRes RC3 for casting (see images below). Their Technical support also put me in contact with a master resin modeler named Bob Hays whose scratch built masterpieces are truly works of art. Discussions with Bob were quite illuminating and interesting. After due consideration, I decided to make a one piece mold and slosh cast the model. This would minimize the cost of the mold making material. In addition, I would not have to thin the walls of the original model to create a thin walled (and therefore light) casting of the model. Since I used the Alumilite products, below is a link to the molding product I will use.
 
https://youtu.be/C5fdr9aFmro
 
Now that a plan was developed, I needed to know how much molding and casting material to buy and then create a cost estimate for the project. Since these materials are quite expensive, I did not want to purchase too much or worse yet, not enough to make a mold or cast a model.

Steps in calculating molding material are as follows
Determine the size of the mold box in cubic inches
     o Determine the max length, width and height of the model
     o Add a buffer around the model
Determine the actual volume of the cavity that the model would create
Calculate the weight (in pounds) of silicone needed
     o Volume of mold = Volume of mold box volume of cavity of model
     o Knowing that the silicone weighs 21.5997 grams/cubic inch, calculate pounds of silicone needed for the mold

Below is a table illustrating the volume of the mold box in cubic inches.
 
 

MoldBoxCalculation.jpg

When the mold is created, the inside of the model will be filled with clay so as to create a cavity in the mold box which is the female representation of the model. For the sake of estimation, I wrapped the model in clear tape. A rectangular vessel was filled about half way with water. The height of the water was marked on the outside of the vessel. The taped model was submerged in the vessel and the new height of the water line was marked. The amount of water displaced by the model was removed, weighed and then the converted to cubic inches. This calculation is shown in the table below along with an image of the taped model
 

CavityCalculation.jpg
 
TapedBody.jpg

Knowing the volume of the mold box and cavity volume, the volume of silicone in cubic inches can be calculated. It is 74.25 22.143 or 52.107 cubic inches of silicone needed.

According to Alumilites website, there are 21.5997 cubic inches per pound of silicone. Therefore the pounds of silicone needed for the mold is 2.412 (or 52.107/21.5997)

Below is an image of the molding material I will use (a screenshot from the Hobby Lobby website). Note that the HS3 shown below is one pound in net weight. Therefore I will need three to create a squish mold for this project.
 

MoldRubber_HS3.jpg

Casting Resin Requirements

I will slosh cast the model and it will have thin walls to ensure lightness. Here, I will also use an Alumilite product called RC3. Notice that the product is two parts and each part is 16 fluid ounces. This should be enough for several castings.
 

Resin RC3.jpg

Other Supplies
Mold Release agent (Purpose prevent resin from sticking to the mold) Note - after several replies to this post I have decided not to use mold release
Clay (Purpose to fill inside of the model before making the mold)
Misc. mold box material, receptacles for mixing, stir sticks, etc.
See images below for sample products
 

UMR.jpg
 
Clay - non hardening - Sulfur free.jpg

Next, I developed a ball park cost estimate. See table below
 

CostEstimate.jpg

Dang, this is going to be an expensive project. Not only will I spend about $100 for materials, I also have incurred a sunk cost of the resin models I purchased on the internet (about $130), but what the heck. In these Covid times I really need projects to keep from going stir crazy. In addition, this is my first attempt a molding and casting and creates an opportunity to learn something new.
I will post as additional progress is made and I welcome comments.
 

Today (10/3/20)  I had a chance to work on getting the model ready for molding. The model was filled with clay and I decided to add fender flairs in front. I looked at some early images of the MKIV and flairs were a part of the package. It did take a while to get used to forming the clay. I recently purchased some clay forming tools and just started fooling around with them as I worked. I improved over time and the next project should be easier. After preparing the model, it was mounted on some hardboard (I drilled and countersunk a hole in the bottom of the hardboard and used a countersunk wood screw to attach). Below are a couple of images of the car ready for molding
 

Ready_For_Molding1.jpg
 
Ready_For_Molding2.jpg

 

 

Matt D suggested a ledge under the body so there would be a clear demarcation between the underside of the body and waste material. I did this but it is hard to see. Below is Matt's image
 
 
 

EntpCasting1.jpg

 
 
The mold box is now complete.  Note that I have sealed all edges of the box so that silicone will not seep out. I used caulking but some use clay or hot glue. See images below
 

MB1.jpg

MB2.jpg

Today (10/9/20) I poured the silicone mold. First the mold box was raised about a quarter of an inch at the rear of the car.  I used three, one pound kits for the job. Each kit includes a plastic container of silicone and a plastic bottle of catalyst. First I mixed the silicone (by itself)  to make sure there had been no separation of product (this is recommended). The catalyst bottle was then shaken, again to ensure that there had been no separation. I then poured the catalyst into the plastic vessel that contained the silicone (there was space at the top of the container for the catalyst). The silicone is white and the catalyst has a pink hue.  I mixed the silicone and catalyst thoroughly so that there were no swirls. The mixture was poured into the mold box in the corner near the front end of the car being carful not to pour on the car but in the space between the front edge of the car and the box. This process was repeated for the second and third kits. The silicone was pushed uphill toward the rear of the car. The process is supposed to minimize potential for air bubbles to adhere to the car itself. The entire process took about 25 minutes well within the 45 "work time limit". See the image below for the workbench
 
 

Mold_Poured.jpg

Today (10/12/20) I removed the model from the mold and prepared the mold for slosh casting.  First I deconstructed the mold box and pull the sides of the box away from the mold. It took a bit of force but not a great deal. Then I removed the model from the mold. I was surprised that it was so easy for two reasons. I did not use any mold release and also because the MKIV has a severe undercut in back and some in front. I then carefully cleaned the inside of the mold removing a few small bits of clay.  I used a wooden popsicle stick and a paper towel moistened. Finally I cut the mold box so that when the mold was slipped back in the top was flush with the mold. I then reassembled the mold box and slipped the mold back in. Notice that I used hardboard on the edges of the top of the mold box. These will keep the mold in place as I slosh in all directions (sometimes even upside down). I am now ready to slosh cast. 
 
 

RCast1.jpg

RCast2.jpg

 

RCast4.jpg

 

Today 10/14/20 created the first slosh cast. Quite easy I would say. I mixed about 20 grams at a shot (10 part A and 10 part B) and poured it into the mold. sloshed for about 3 minutes when it began to set up. The did 3 more of the same amount mixes. The cast came out awesome! The detail was fantastic!!! Next time I will use less material. The first cast will need to be lightened by removing material from the inside of the cast. Below are some images. The second image shows my first cast versus the original model.
 

CastingLayout.jpg
 
Cast_1.1.jpg
 
Cast_1.2.jpg

Today (10/20/20) I poured a second cast. This time I used much less material and used a dye in the casting mixture so it would be easier to tell where the casting mixture was laid down and where more was needed.  I was happy with the result and the weight of the cast was about 34 grams before the windows were cut out, however, I did not leave the cast in long enough and when I removed it from the mold it twisted a bit. Upon further work I realized this cast was not going to work. Also, I did find that my custom front flares needed to be set higher so I used some JB weld epoxy and added some material. This will allow the front wheels to extend to outer edge of the flare.  I will post an image when the model is ready for paint. One lesson I learned this time is that the dye is difficult to a consistent color from each of three pours needed to complete the cast. 
 
Today (10/27/20) I poured cast number three. I allowed much more time for it to set (several hours) and it came out pretty good. The cast weighed only 29 grams before removing windows, and cutting wheel openings. There were a few thin spots that I will fill with JB weld from the inside. Belows is an image.
 
 

Cast_3.jpg

 

JB weld.jpg


Today (11/1/20) the latest progress is in regard to painting. After several types of paint, I found this worked for me. First, I used the duplicolor primer shown in the center of the image below. I gave the car two light coats then one finish waiting 10 minutes between. Still there was a blemish on the top.  I waited 30 minutes and wet sanded the blemish then re primed.  Came out quite well.  I waited 24 hours then used duplicolor perfect touch paint. I selected a red (can not shown).  I gave it two dusting coats then a heavier coat.  I did not yet like the coverage so I gave it another heavier coat.  After each coat I waited ten minutes. I was happy with the coverage but the finish was dull.  I waited 24 hours then used Future.  The paint shined up nicely.  Note that the paint comes out in larger droplets than model paint but don't worry.  Take you time with any number of dusting coats. with ten minutes in between. The heavy coat will appear to come out "wavy" but as it dries, the surface tension of the paint will smooth it out. See images below
 

Primer.jpg  

 

Paint_Test.jpg

 


Today (11/11/20). I primed and painted body#2. I used the Rustoleum Lacquer black paint show in one of the images above. The paint went on nicely, however, It highlighted the flaws in the casting which look like several pin holes. Chalk that up to experience. I also primed body#3 (see model in gray primer below). I will attempt to fill in flaws with the Tamiya putty shown below
 

2_1.jpg

2_2.jpg

3_1.jpg

Tam_Putty.jpg


 

11/17/20. Today I cut the #3 body front wheel wells to the proper wheelbase. Tedious because of the small amount of clearance.  Image is shown below. I still have some work to do  with the flairs (they need to be extended) 
 

3_2.jpg



11/18/20. Body #2 finished in fantasy livery.
 

2_4.jpg

2_5.jpg


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Rich Vecchio





#2 MattD

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 09:06 AM

Rich the Alumilite products at Hobby Lobby are fine for  small hobby jobs like this and with their 40% off coupons they are the cheapest materials you can buy.   

 

 I do not use mold release for casting any parts unless the mold is extremely complicated.   If you are only making a few pieces, you won't need mold release to protect  your mold and you also won't have paint problems from using mold release.   Many casters don't use release for this reason.    It can cause all kinds of paint problems.   With no mold release your bodies will need very little cleaning to be paint ready.   A little too much mold release and it actually gets into the resin and you will have persistent paint problems.   I am going thru this with a body right now that came from one of the well known Indy car guys.  His mold was shot and made a pretty crappy body.   He obviously used a lot of mold release to stretch the life of the mold.   I have painted this body about 5 times now to try and get it ready to use to make a mold.   Most molds are good for 20-50 pours without mold release.

 

One alternative is to do a complete build up of the body, then make a mold of the outside and  a solid resin pour with that mold.  That  would make a buck that can be used for a very detailed clear vac body.  You just have to find somebody that can pull a couple 20 or 30 thou body's for you.    

 

Slush molding is fine for limited production, but it is much slower than making an inner mold and being able to cast your body in one pour.   I do slush casting a lot for bodies I only want to make 2-3 of.

 

It is enjoyable to be able to make stuff basically from scratch.   Here is a webpage I put together back around 1990 when I first started fooling around with resin casting.  Luckily one of the guys on the old 132 slots forum copied it and save it to his website a long time ago.

 

http://hodrags.com/EntpCasting.html


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#3 Dave Crevie

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 09:26 AM

Slosh casting will not give uniform thickness over the casting. Some material will still settle in low spots before the resin fully goes to solidus. A two-part mold is still the best way. 

 

The Alumilite High Strength 3 rubber is very soft after it cures out, but is best for casting undercut details. It is close to the GE 1000 I used for some jobs. The Alumilite Fast Cure is more like the GE 325, which is stiffer after curing, and retains shape better when casting large parts like a GT-40 body, or the Camero done in the video. The Alumi-Res is a direct knock-off of the Eager Plastics product I use. It has more than enough flex to absorb hits as a slot car body, but is stiff enough to not distort when mounted to a chassis. You will not need mold release when casting parts in either the mold rubber you plan on using, or the fast-cure. You will need their rubber-to-rubber mold release if you go with the two-part mold method. It keeps the two halves from joining together.

 

Here's a few of the bodies I have cast. I've been doing this in one form or another since 1968.

 

006.JPG

 

IMG_0213.JPG

 

002.jpg

 

IMG_0219.JPG

 

 

 

 


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#4 Brian Czeiner

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 12:02 PM

I can pull .030 bodies I keep it in stock. PM me for details and costs.


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#5 rvec

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 12:45 PM

Thanks all for the info. I'll check back as I progress


Rich Vecchio


#6 rvec

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Posted 27 August 2020 - 06:38 PM

I have updated the cost estimate in the original post to reflect the purchase of mold rubber, casting compound and clay to reflect actual purchase of these items (and the removal of mold release from the estimate). The bottom line cost was reduced from about $120 to about $100


Rich Vecchio


#7 rvec

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 06:20 PM

I have updated the original post to include images of the car ready for molding also shown below
 

Ready_For_Molding1.jpg
 
Ready_For_Molding2.jpg


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Rich Vecchio


#8 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 11:02 PM

I use a process that yields a strong and light body from a one-piece mold.  Pattern and mold are made as described above.  Without using a release, I "slosh" cast a thin body using only enough resin to coat the mold interior.  This is accomplished by using a fast setting resin and continuously tilting and rotating the molds until the resin sets up - that's why the "fast setting" spec - you really don't want to sit there and tilt and turn for hours!

 

Without removing the resin cast from the mold, I laminate in 1-2 layers of thin carbon fiber or kevlar scrim set in a low viscosity penetrating epoxy (West Marine)  Give the epoxy 24 hours to cure and pull the body.  The epoxy bonds very firmly to the fresh resin and, unlike polyester, is flexible.

 

I have used this only for 1/32 shells.  A large 1/24 body might need an additional layer of fabric.

 

I know there is some concern about the need for filtered breathing apparatus when working with carbon fiber.  This would certainly be the case if one were in a production environment, i.e. building CF bicycle frames all day.  Given the small amount of material and brief exposure in this process, I choose to ignore these precautions.

 

EM


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#9 rvec

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 06:37 AM

Where do you get the carbon fiber or kevlar scrim? I will check out West Marine for the epoxy


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#10 rvec

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Posted 07 October 2020 - 05:43 PM

Mold box complete except of sealing of sides. 
 

MB_Almost.jpg
 
MB_Almost2.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#11 MattD

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Posted 07 October 2020 - 06:22 PM

Rich, I like at least 1/2 inch of rubber around the edges.   If the mold is too flexible at the outer sides, you can always cut some pieces of wood to line the outside and then use a couple rubber bands to hold them in position.  That will give the stability the mold needs around the edges.    Ask me how I learned that lesson?   Be sure you have the sides stabilized exactly the same in each step of the process from pouring the outer, to re-inserting the body and then when you pour the resin.   At all of these steps you need the outer sides of the mold to be exactly the same.

 

   Saving a few dollars on rubber is never worth the cost of a mold that can't be used.


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#12 rvec

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Posted 07 October 2020 - 06:42 PM

It may not look like it but there is at least .5 inches all around. The box is screwed together. I plan to leave the box intact and remove the mold from the bottom.  I think this will work. What do you think?


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#13 MattD

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Posted 07 October 2020 - 08:05 PM

If you leave the outside frame intact and pull the mold out the bottom, you will need to use that outside frame for pouring the inner mold and then for any bodies you pour.      Everything has to consistent to make sure that your molds fit precisely and your body thickness is not too thin in some places or too thick in other places.   

 

The outer mold you are pouring first should include a shelf around the lower edge of the body so the inner mold sets firmly and can't be pushed in too far.   It should also have a couple keyways cut in it. so it fits precisely everytime.


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#14 rvec

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 07:28 AM

Matt,

This will be a one piece mold and I will slosh cast so body thickness will be determined by how much resin is poured and sloshed. Therefore is the outside frame as critical as you say?


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#15 MattD

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:25 AM

Rich, you need to be sure that as you turn and twist the mold to flow the resin over all sides, that the mold is stiff enough to not flex a lot at the sides.  You can have a little flex and  the body will not be exactly like the original, but if you get too much flex, the shape may change more than you want    You can at least cut some 1/8-1/4 inch plywood or similar product to line the outside, then put a big rubber band all the way around to hold them.  This will strengthen the walls so there will be no flexing.

 

You need to go ahead and mix a little resin and see how it sets up and how  many coatings it will take to get a body with consistent thickness.   Mix just a little resin and coat the inside like water.   Good luck, it may be a couple hour process to cover it all consistently.    You can't just mix a bunch of resin and do it in one or two pours.   Do your first couple bodies just to try and learn the best process.   

 

 

 

When I slush, I lay my mold on a different side after each pour, maybe upside down, maybe right side up.   It's a learning experience.


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#16 rvec

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 06:18 PM

Mold box complete and sealed

 

 

Attached Images

  • MB2.jpg
  • MB1.jpg

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#17 rvec

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 04:39 PM

Mold has been poured. See below for an image. See original post (which I have modified) to include detailed instructions

 

Mold_Poured.jpg


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#18 rvec

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Posted 12 October 2020 - 06:02 PM

Today 10/12/20 I got the mold finished and the mold is now ready for casting material to be poured. See the image below and refer to the original post (which I modified) for details

Attached Images

  • RCast3.jpg

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Rich Vecchio


#19 rvec

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 12:31 PM

I added hardboard panels to the top of the mold box to keep the mold from shifting while I cast

 

 

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  • RCast4.jpg

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Rich Vecchio


#20 MattD

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 01:25 PM

Anxious to see how it works out.   I can't see how you can cast the windshield pillars thin enough to be workable, but maybe you'll find some trick.  Good luck.


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#21 rvec

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 02:00 PM

Anxious to see how it works out.   I can't see how you can cast the windshield pillars thin enough to be workable, but maybe you'll find some trick.  Good luck.

I may plastic welder a piece of piano wire or maybe use some styrene


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#22 rvec

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 07:04 PM

First cast - WOW. I have modified original post for commentary and more images

 

 

 

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  • Cast_1.2.jpg

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#23 Alchemist

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 12:55 AM

Turned out great Rich!

 

Great job.

 

Ernie


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#24 rvec

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 07:07 AM

Thanks Ernie. I still have a lot to learn but I was amazed that the process was as easy as it turned out to be. It is also interesting to note that the amount of resin needed to cast the model was quite small. The kit that I purchased had a pound of resin for about  $18. I should be able to cast at least 10 cars with it. Obviously the big expense was the silicone. I will post progress on the first cast as well as further casts soon.

Rich


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#25 MattD

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 08:20 AM

Rich, the cost per item is really low when if you figure the resin cost.   You do a few more bodies and probably you can gets the wall thickness closer to what you want without having to sand or grind the resin.   the more you do themore you learn.  Do not breath resin dust.


Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars





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