Has anyone looked into alternative hardeners?

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  1. #1

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    Has anyone looked into alternative hardeners?

    So as the title suggests, Iam looking for alternatives to fiberglass.. reasons are... well the stuff is going to my head even with proper ventillation and respirator.....

    EpoxAcoat® RED Surface Coat Epoxy was suggested (by Smoon-On, but hey, looks promising, right?)
    http://www.smooth-on.com/Laminating-...366/index.html

    or even

    EpoxAmite® 100 Laminating Epoxy (102 in specific)
    http://www.smooth-on.com/Laminating-...336/index.html

    Although EpoxAmite might not be reasonable since it has such a long cure time (6-8 hours for the FAST stuff)


    Has anyone dabbled with these yet?

    I'll admit they are a tad on the expensive side for 'paper hardening' techniques, but Honestly if they can get a thin coat and add tremendous strength or at least east of process, I'am willin to give em a try... just money's a bit tight right now and I can't buy both to test out. Lol.


    Or any other type of hardening agent. Even for "inside use" instead of Outside use.

    "Plastic Resin Glue" was suggested, and 1lb of it (powder, mix w/water to activate) is like $7 which if it can get the results fiberglass does then it's definately a better deal then fiberglass itself (especially at $20+ a small can)
    Last edited by Kissker; May 20, 2011 at 12:15 AM.

  2. #2
    ventrue's Avatar
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    I use epoxy and it works fine. You could probably save some money by not buying it from Smooth-On, they seem to be rather expensive. I'm sure there are other brands you can use. The cure time also depends on the two components, my supplier offers a variety of hardeners for work times anywhere between 4 and 60 minutes (and accordingly long cure times after that; my 15 minute work time combination cures in maybe 4 hours).
    Technique-wise, epoxy lets you do everything you can do with polyester resin as well (paint on, laminate, put in fillers, thoxotropic agents, colours, etc.). The two main differences are that you have to be very precise when mixing epoxy (no more eyeballing, you'll need scales) and that epoxy contains sensitising substances that mainly enter your body through the skin - and through most gloves, which means you have to be more careful there.

  3. #3

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    What exactly do you use? Because I am scraping at options here.

    Unfortunately not many 'costume props' making, or 'sfx studios' here in Missouri (western side close to Kansas, so not even the cool St.Louis stuff) makes for hard pickings for a trip to Lowes/home depot etc.

    I am looking but don't have a ton of money to try 10 new things, you know? I'd really like another brushable hardening agent, I mean if we could find a material that hardens super strong with under 1mm thickness, it would be ideal for this stuff.

    I need to make a wearable suit by Sept, which is kinda pushing it, but modest time, and soon I will be starting and cranking 40+ hours a week into it to get it done, 1 part at a time (I learned from my past, 1 part, 1 harden, etc, less chance of theft/utter devastation)

  4. #4
    Another missourian...Realy.I live a hour away from kansas city ,You ever been to planet con?

  5. #5
    ventrue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    What exactly do you use?
    It's just a plain epoxy resin I'm buying from an online store here in Germany, looks like this in the smallest available containers. Based on the description, I'd say it's kind of an allround resin, suitable for just about any application (but that may also be marketing talk, it's a store after all ;-)). Not sure if they also manufacture it or if they just sell it, or if it's available in the US as well if they buy it from a larger manufacturer. But then again, you're not building an airplane, so most products will probably do I suppose. See if you can find one for laminating.

    I also didn't want to say that the Smooth-On stuff wouldn't work, I'm just saying that there probably are cheaper alternatives.

  6. #6

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    I am all for cheaper alternatives, that was half the point on this, fiberglass resin is very costly when you consider it's clean up in the factor, especially if you HAVE to go "green" in your area. (can't do any hazardous chemical dumps around here, even if they are just mild like solvents, have to use green solutions which of course.. cost more to get the results done.)



    And nah I haven't been to any cons actually. Every time I had money to go/show something dreaded happened, so I figured.. make the suit.. the rest will follow.

  7. #7
    This is a tutorial for using wood glue instead of resin. It works pretty well, is cheap and pretty strong. The down side is that it does take a little bit longer than resin, but if you wait to do all of the armor pieces at the same time it will all go a lot quicker.

    http://www.405th.com/showthread.php/...epakura-Method

  8. #8

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    Warping will be an issue, although I have considered thisDAP weldwood Plastic resin Glue in a similar fashion.

    http://www.castlewholesalers.com/DAP...lue-1-Lb-.html

    1lb of powder to mix to desired consistancy goes a long way too.

  9. #9
    ventrue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    I am all for cheaper alternatives, that was half the point on this, fiberglass resin is very costly when you consider it's clean up in the factor, especially if you HAVE to go "green" in your area. (can't do any hazardous chemical dumps around here, even if they are just mild like solvents, have to use green solutions which of course.. cost more to get the results done.)
    Polyester resin (what you call fibreglass resin) is pretty much the cheapest method you can use for hardening that still gives you decent results.

    I also don't see why you would have to dump any hazardous chemicals anywhere. Cured resin is inert, you can put that into a regular garbage can. Only the containers and respirator filters would require special disposal - but so will the cans of your paint and for using spray paint you'll need a respirator anyway, which means you must already have a solution for getting rid of these items, regardless of which way you go for hardening your pep.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ventrue View Post
    Polyester resin (what you call fibreglass resin) is pretty much the cheapest method you can use for hardening that still gives you decent results.

    I also don't see why you would have to dump any hazardous chemicals anywhere. Cured resin is inert, you can put that into a regular garbage can. Only the containers and respirator filters would require special disposal - but so will the cans of your paint and for using spray paint you'll need a respirator anyway, which means you must already have a solution for getting rid of these items, regardless of which way you go for hardening your pep.
    Actually what fiberglass resin is, is Epoxy Resin, which differs greatly from Polyester resin .

    Poly Resin is the cheapest resin, but it's that way for a reason
    Vinylester Resin is middle grounds
    Epoxy resin is the most expensive

    Least thats the info I found, is anyone using something that is actually labeled "polyester resin" ?

    Although these may all be marketing gimmicks and what I commonly use may be listed as "polyester resin" in it's ingrediants, I'd have to check.

    So what I need to do is check into lightweight Epoxy Resins for this, or Laminating Epoxy Resin to be more specific... *sigh* so many marketing words.

    and now I gotta head to work, be back later.
    Last edited by Kissker; May 20, 2011 at 2:35 PM.

  11. #11
    ventrue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    Actually what fiberglass resin is, is Epoxy Resin, which differs greatly from Polyester resin .
    No. Fibreglass resin could be anything used together with fibreglass I suppose, but most commonly it refers to polyester resin, at least around here. A lot of people here use the one manufactured by 3M under the Bondo brand, and 3M calls it "fiberglass resin" on the can, that's why the term is so popular. If you have a look at the MSDS of that product, you'll find this list of ingredients in section 2:

    POLYESTER POLYMER
    SILICA
    STYRENE MONOMER


    Basically that's fancy speech for "polyester resin".

    Poly Resin is the cheapest resin, but it's that way for a reason
    Vinylester Resin is middle grounds
    Epoxy resin is the most expensive
    You should note that price is not proportional to quality here. These resins are different, but you can't say that one is generally better than another.

    At least within Smooth-On's product catalogue, polyurethane resins (which are way more popular than epoxy around here) are even more expensive than epoxy resins, but I don't know if that's true for different brands as well.

    I have never seen anybody use vinyl ester resin here though and none of the resin-selling shops I've seen had it either, I don't know why.

    is anyone using something that is actually labeled "polyester resin" ?
    Yes, also me, before I switched to epoxy. Looks like this, the label says "Polyesterharz" near the hazard symbol, that's the German term for polyester resin.
    But as I said, the Bondo can contains the same stuff, more or less.

    Although these may all be marketing gimmicks and what I commonly use may be listed as "polyester resin" in it's ingrediants, I'd have to check.
    No, they really are chemically different and if you take a couple of different resins of one kind, they'll probably all be different as well. If you were really professional and building something where details matter (plane, boat), you'd have a good look at all the numbers in the datasheets and decide which one is suited best for your application. You would probably also calculate the amount, placement and direction of your glass fibres. But hobbyists don't do that, and that's why one resin usually feels a lot like all the others.
    Last edited by ventrue; May 20, 2011 at 3:10 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    Warping will be an issue
    There actually isn't much warping if you are careful enough, and as long as you are going to do some sanding or bondo work it won't even be noticeable.

    As cheap as the wood glue is, you should just give it a try and you will be pleased.

  13. #13
    Hickeydog's Avatar
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    Smooth Cast 320. It's a liquid plastic. Fumes aren't as bad as fiberglass resin (but you should still use a respirator), it doesn't cost a whole lot more, and it goes on FAST and smooth. I built the suit in my signature out of Smooth Cast 320.

  14. #14
    stealth's Avatar
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    EpoxAmite - 101 FAST from Smooth-On

    I've used it.
    get that, it's the next best thing to fiberglass Polyester resin and the working time is 7-8 mins and the cure time is a few hours
    It absorbs great into fiberglass cloth or mat.

    you won't be disappointed.

  15. #15

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    What I am mostly worried bout with Vinylester/polyester/expoxy resin is the absorption ratio into 110lb paper for us peppers. (ha, pepper... joy..... can I be a doctor too?)

    Most of us use pepakura method now, and I am trying to make it stronger, faster, safer, etc. I've had issues with bondo (3M) fiberglass resin being too heavy for parts, even when very small amounts are applied. I thought at first it was my paper/glue method but after using more secure glues and structure support it was a Absorption (i think) issue, too much soaking in one place, causing a thick/heavy side, and not equal on the other - then sag/collapse /other deformities occured.

    Now it could still be "large part, not enough support" but I was sick of the smell of bondo brand resin and was hoping for alternatives especially for helmet parts - where the smell can linger for weeks after it's cured fully and been powdered.

    Kinda stirrin the pot o' trouble here, but trying to get a definate answer out of smooth-on and other companies has been "try our trials and find out" answers - basically buy 1 of each (at $25+ a pop) and find what works best. Yes typically I know that's the method, but without a few grand to blow on the 30 different products, I can't really do that.

    Hence going public and coming in asking what I have. Also seeking what NOT to use "Absolutely the worste" methods.

    For instance... Expanding Window Sealant foam - contracts after it expands. DO NOT under ANY circumstance use on a pure paper construct in large doses. even if you fill 1/3 and let it expand the rest - it will contract and PULL the paper inward. Need proof? Check out my Iron Man Fail1 (I'll upload pics if anyone wants to see for real) It looks like Tony got in a fight with the Sinister Garbage Compactinator Man.

    The final reason was trying to find a 'resin' or other solution to make things stronger while being thinly layered. Thus requiring 0 (or at least less) cloth/matting reinforcement.

    Eventually I am scrapping this method and going full blown Vacu-forming, but I gotta builda table first (~$400) Pep will be base, then harden and filled, then molded and vacu-formed for finalized version.
    Last edited by Kissker; May 21, 2011 at 12:05 AM.

  16. #16
    ventrue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    What I am mostly worried bout with Vinylester/polyester/expoxy resin is the absorption ratio into 110lb paper for us peppers.

    [...]

    The final reason was trying to find a 'resin' or other solution to make things stronger while being thinly layered. Thus requiring 0 (or at least less) cloth/matting reinforcement.
    If the resin is too heavy even in small amounts, then the solution is most likely a stronger paper (yes, there is paper stronger than 110 lb!) or applying it in smaller sections.

    I don't think you will find a resin that is strong enough in such thin layers (<1 mm is what you said, right?), especially when you consider that the fibres are supposed to carry most of the weight in reinforced plastics. You can certainly use all these resins without fibres, but it will require more material to get the same strength.

  17. #17

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    Well this brings up a couple of things

    first off the thickness, I figured 1mm or less is "plenty of coat" without messing up details too badly. Some things required 3/8th inch thickness to achieve maximum durability and that simply is not an option - yet - unless you make the suit that % bigger so you CAN make it 3/8th inch thick (going Inside as well as outside to achieve thickness) and still have room for padding.

    the other is technique. When applying hardener how have a lot of you done it? Small patches starting at the bottom and working up? or top working down? or middle and spreading around? how exactly?

    I can easiliy see a physics problem if applied in certain ways, so I am trying to modify (or rather, create) my own technique to use for maximum results.


    And I think I will try the woodglue stuff, just to see potential, and probably use smooth on 320 or = type, the hardness described is pretty amazing.

    A year or so down the line I should be able to use my models as molds and then re-cast using more durable means, such as ABS plastic.

  18. #18
    ventrue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    first off the thickness, I figured 1mm or less is "plenty of coat" without messing up details too badly. Some things required 3/8th inch thickness to achieve maximum durability and that simply is not an option - yet - unless you make the suit that % bigger so you CAN make it 3/8th inch thick (going Inside as well as outside to achieve thickness) and still have room for padding.

    the other is technique. When applying hardener how have a lot of you done it? Small patches starting at the bottom and working up? or top working down? or middle and spreading around? how exactly?

    I can easiliy see a physics problem if applied in certain ways, so I am trying to modify (or rather, create) my own technique to use for maximum results.
    The hardening is happening on the inside. Those few layers of resin on the outside are only there to make sure the model doesn't take damage apart when you're working on the inside.

    I dumped my hardener in and spread it out, but that's of course going to be different for every method out there. If you go the calssic way with fibreglass cloth or mat, there is nothing you can dump in and spread out.

    What kind of physics problems?

  19. #19

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    sorry for delay - got busy in life and hobby.

    Phsyics being gravity and 'still wet' outside parts. I think this MIGHT be technique but maybe just my luck. It's humid here so cure times get effected pretty badly. When prepping the outside , while curing overnight, something happens, I get dents/warps and 'weight damage' I've tried suspending the parts, and pretty much everything but "stuffing them full of scraps' to hold shape.

    For instance, one forearm was designed with a long cut-off tab used to hang it up, and 'drip dry'. Covering was easy enough, hanging was easy enough, but during the curing, the edges of the wrist and part of the inner forearm warped inward, pretty much ruining it. (be a lot of work to get a golf ball sized indent out, easier to re-pep) So I did the same model, same method but I don't think I applied the resin the same way - and that's the 'technique" i keep spouting about - where to start - a good detailed 'how' to prepare the outside - because I think my original way of painting it on is creating this problem. Weight from the resin while it is hardening + curing heat is affecting the glue and seperating tabs - even just slightly or greatly -and causing a mountain fold to basically reverse into a valley fold.

    I THINK it's cure heat + weight effecting the glue used for construction.
    MAYBE I just need a better glue?

    FYI
    Originals were made with Elmers Rubber Cement then some parts reinforced with high temp hot glue. However thinking closely at those 2 elemen't and knowing how hot fiberglass gets while curing (having the unfortunate personal experience of having it cure on my arm with direct skin contact) it could be 'melting' (at least partially) the glue's or at least weakening the bonds enough that the weight of the resin + gravity is causing it to 'fall apart"

    I mostly notice it on "large portions" like chest armor, the bust line where large sections of the armor are convex to start, become concave afterward.
    Last edited by Kissker; Jun 6, 2011 at 5:48 AM.

  20. #20
    ventrue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissker View Post
    It's humid here so cure times get effected pretty badly. When prepping the outside , while curing overnight, something happens, I get dents/warps and 'weight damage' I've tried suspending the parts, and pretty much everything but "stuffing them full of scraps' to hold shape.

    [...]

    FYI
    Originals were made with Elmers Rubber Cement then some parts reinforced with high temp hot glue.
    Resin does not "dry" like watercolour, where the water can't evaporate if it's too humid. The only impact humidity has is a decrease in material strength, but I doubt this is going to be noticeable.

    Try using heavier paper and a different glue to improve the survival rate of your models. If I'm not mistaken, this rubber cement stuff is based on solvents, and maybe the solvent in the resin resolves it. I doubt that the resin gets hot enough to melt the hot glue.

    Using less resin for the first coat also helps. Many resins contain a thixotropic agent, which means even a relatively thick coat will not run down or drop. Use a soft paintbrush (the hairy kind) and brush barely enough on to make it look shiny. If it looks watery and wet it's too much unless you used really heavy paper. You can also try resining it in sections or resining strong edges first.

  21. #21
    Octorock's Avatar
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    If It's any help, I finished making a Kukri of mine, ofcourse toxic materials were beyond my reach so I used Aqua Resin. It's strong, but not to the extent I'd like it, an overly done grip on the handle would crack it.
    It might help If I use more solid and see if it makes it sturdy enought to mimic bondo.

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