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Caped Crusader
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Registered: 09-2004
Location: Midlands, England
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


In one way I suppose. Urethane doesnt shrink so you can sculpt it to fit which makes it easier, you can also get a one piece mold easier for urethane as you simply put silicone over the sculpt instead of doing the silicone/foam filled master/plaster way. I believe (and I may be wrong here though) urethane has a faster curing time.

Thing is latex can be painted, filled, touched up, all things that urethane cannot which is why I want to you use it. If theres a spot without color on a urethane piece its pretty much there to stay.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for the tips and links guys. Ill make sure Im safe when doing this, no point making a cowl only to end up dying and never wearing it! :lol

Last edited by TheKingaSwing, 7/12/2009, 4:56 am


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Dark Knight
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


I've got a couple of questions while we're talking about latex.

What's the recommended time to wait before demolding? And will waiting longer help alleviate distortion in the castings due to shrinkage?

And do any of you recommend laying in a thin "beauty layer" of hand-brushed latex before pouring?
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Caped Crusader
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


Neon, once I'm done pouring, I usually wait at least 12-18 hours before I try to pull a cowl out. If the latex down in the tips of the ears looks good and dry, that's usually a good sign. As far as waiting longer to alleviate distortion, I don't know---never really had any problem with distortion unless I pulled the cowl out before it was dry.

I like to hand-brush a couple of thin layers in before I start pouring---I've had better luck with avoiding air bubbles that way. Some people don't, so I imagine you'll just have to try it both ways to see which works best for you.


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TheKingaSwing Profile
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Caped Crusader
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


Thats some good advice Tom, thanks! If I can add a question too though, how long to you wait until you pour a new cowl? Should mold be left to dry out for a time ?

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efarrell4 Profile
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


I've heard that you should wait a while before pouring a second one but when I got my forst cowl mold (I didn't make my first one, I got it in trade) I was so excited I pulled a cowl a day for like a week and a half. (I probably still have a pic somewhere of 5 or 6 cowls hanging upside down from a pipe in my basement, LOL). I still have that mold. It's a bit deteriorated now but it is like 9 or 10 years old and I've got to have pulled like 60 or more cowls from it. (It's that Beyond cowl mold I made tons of Batgirls from). It "could" still be used but there are quite a few cracks in it soooo.
Now for the leaving it in the mold longet thing? That depends on how smooth the mold is, if it's so smooth that the latex is pulling away from it when it's dry you'll wind up with MORE distortion but if it's just rough enough to grab and hold the latex it will keep everything nice and you can leave it in there a few days. I've had my best results demolding as son as the ears are dry enough that they don't tear off then hang it upside down from a pipe so it won't bang into something for a few days to "post cure". I'll try and find that pic so you see what I'm talking about. If that isn't possible get the thing on a wig stand or a foam ball on a stand right away to dry. Ever see how warped some of the old Morris and Rubies cowls are? That's because they're mass produced, the workers probably demold them and toss them in a pile to dry all screwed up (at least that's what I figure happens anyway.)

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Caped Crusader
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


The Master (aka Uncle Ed) speaks wisely, as usual. emoticon That's a butt-load of cowls to get from one mold, Ed! I figured 20-30 would be a good number, but 60?! Wow.

I don't think I've ever poured more than 3 cowls in a row, and then it was pull a cowl out of the mold in the morning, pour the next that afternoon. So there was a little break in between. Of course, I assume you know the mold needs to be bone dry before you pull your first cowl. Around here, it takes about a week, depending on temp and huimidity.

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Dark Knight
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


For shrinkage it also depends on the type of mold. With latex everyone assumes its a plaster mold, but it doesn't have to be. I use fiberglass and silicone even urethane to cast latex. And shrinkage is much different when you paint it in, in thin layers. If i make a begins cowl from the silicone mold, it stays almost as large as the master, but using a plaster mold it is noticeably smaller.

It is much easier to use plaster molds expecially for a mask, and the results can be great but shrinkage will be an issue you should accomidate with the sculpt size.
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Caped Crusader
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


Had no idea you can use silicone to cast latex. Thanks for the learnings. :wink

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Caped Crusader
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


Theres some great info here. So if you wanted to use silicone to cast latex, do you have to paint many thin layers into the mold? I can imagine it greatly extends the time it takes to make a pull. Also, does the latex reflect the silicone surface? I mean if the bust was made dull like an 89 cowl, does the latex come out dull like urethane does?

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Chiro Profile
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Dark Knight
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Re: Question about latex shrinkage.


Latex will take the surface of the mold, if its glass smooth, it will be very shinny, if texture, then dull. But latex can be painted and there are sealers in gloss and matt to top coat it.

It does take many thin layers to build the thickness and it needs a fan to help dry it. It takes about 6-7 days with the fan on it and careful demolded to let it dry for several days out of the the mold.
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