Friday, December 30, 2011

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 12

I decided to play around with So-Strong to add colors to my urethane resin BJD Reindeer.  I made one with a little brown and another with a little blue.

Above is part of my set-up.  I only mixed a drop or less of brown into the B of the resin prior to mixing A and B together.  I used a toothpick to transfer color.

Here are the parts out of the mold.  The mixed resin looked darker brown then the end cured results.  It looks like diluted milk chocolate with a hint of pink to it.

All the parts came out well, even if one ear had air bubble.  After removing all the flashing I wet sanded all the parts, added magnets, wires, and hooks prior to spraying the first layer of Mr. Super Clear Flat.  The MSC helps protect the surface of the resin while giving the face-up something to grip.

All the pieces ready for spraying MCS.  After it is dry, it is time to do face-ups.  What is it called when the body is painted too?

I used Faber-Castell pastel chalk and Vallejo Game Color paints for the added color.  Several coats of MSC were applied between applications.

Posability is still limited, but I plan to make changes to increase it.  The stringing is getting easier to do now that I know what I am doing more.

I painted the feet and some white on the reindeer's hide quarters.

I messed up the polarity of the magnets in the blue BJD reindeer.  As you can see above, I can change heads for the light brown and white resin castings.

I did notice when I used the So-Strong colors that I only needed very little of it.  I used a toothpick to add color into the B.  When A and B were mixed, the resin before curing actually looked darker than the cured results.  I was a bit scared the color would come out too strong.  I preferred the lighter coloring, which gives a pastel look.

EDIT:  This process was started New Year's eve and was completed New Year's Day.  I was just too lazy to finish posting it all.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 11

I wanted to show how I strung my little reindeer.  I cut one 6" piece of elastic string per doll and cut off the excess once it was tightened.

The dark blue shows the path of the string.  I looped it through the rear legs first, then through the middle torso.  Next came looping through the front legs, through the neck, and up into the neck plate where it was all tied off.

What I can't show is how the wires in the leg joints were angled.  It did matter which way I put the string through.  It was difficult getting the string through the neck and the head plate, but I figured it all out.

This is the little reindeer I kept.  You can see her head wasn't perfect, but was good enough.  I drilled and cut out a spot for the tiny magnets that keep her head together.  There is also a little railing that the head slides onto and the magnets snap it all into place.  The funny thing is when the bell gets on the magnets too...HAHA

Only a total of 5 were made, although I am making one more this week as a late Christmas gift for someone.  Those who did receive a reindeer were very happy with their present.  :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 10

I finally finished casting my doll parts in resin 11pm Christmas Eve. I had to wet sand all the pieces since I didn't have much light to work with outside and I didn't want to dry sand inside the house. After all the parts were sanded I picked the best parts to be made into the 5 dolls I was planning to make.

I put each of my parts into cups to organize the assembly.

Since I already made all the wires and hooks, it was just a matter of drilling holes into the legs and putting the pin and hooks in.

Then came the stringing.  It took me a few tries to find the one style that works well for my doll.  She is strung up with a single loop of elastic string.

They are all put together finally on Christmas morning, so I consider them born Christmas day.  Aren't they cute?  They aren't as posable as I hoped, but they still have some flexibility.

Above is how they looked after they were painted and sealed with Mr. Super Clear spray.  Only one has a red nose.  I thought the red ribbon and bell added a special look.  All but one was wrapped up and ready to go to their new homes.

I consider these reindeers to be beta or version 1.  I see room for improvements and plan to make upgrades to the little girl.

These little reindeer BJDs are my first completed BJD.  I consider that a major milestone.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 9

I am still working on making my tiny reindeer in resin.  So far I have cast her multiple of times, so I can have 4-5 completed dolls made.

I made the wires in quantity instead of doing them per doll each time.  This assembly fashion should make the dolls more uniform and quicker.  I made a mark on my paper and cut wires to that length.  Then I used a jewelry pliers with round tips to bend each wire for the legs.

You can see the leg hooks on the left and on the right are pin wires and neck circles.

Above you can see some of the resin parts I have.  They had their seems cleaned, vents removed, and wet sanded.  Right now they are drying.  Although I have enough heads and rears, I am still short on neck joint, front end, mid joint, and legs.  So I will keep casting resin parts and pick the best for the 4-5 dolls I will be making.  I have less than 12 hours to finish this.  Will I make it on time?

Resin Yellowing Over Time

Urethane resins will yellow with age.  The question is how much and how long?

In early October of this year I placed a piece of Smooth-Cast 300 resin outside on the patio table.  This area is mostly in the shade except for some sun during the morning and evening.  Another piece of SC 300 was placed on my desk where filtered sun hit for no more than an hour a day.  The room wasn't very well light and the sun light was brief.

Today I compared October's resin with the Smooth-Cast 305 resin I just cast today.

Above you can see the two on the left was made in early October and the one on the right was just made less than an hour ago.  The top left was the resin left outside and the bottom left was the resin left on my desk indoors.  You can see a noticeable yellowing of the one left on the patio for under 3 months.  Although it isn't as yellow as the picture my screen shows (yours may differ), in person it is definitely a noticeable change.  The resin piece that was indoors I can't see the difference between it and the new resin piece.  So that is good at least.  Keeping in mind that the October resins were 300 and the new one is 305, but it shouldn't matter too much.

It will be interesting to see how the changes go now.  I will leave a new 305 outside on the patio and place another indoors.  This will help see if there are additional changes over time.

One of the downsides to resin is that it will yellow with time, but how you protect/keep your resin sculpts determines how quickly this yellowing occurs and at what intensity.

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 8

This is how she looks cast in Smooth-Cast 305 urethane resin.  The only part missing is her back head plate which connects her neck to her head.  I am still working that part in carving wax and should be ready to be made into a mold soon.

For now I have been casting her molds in resin using the pressure pot at 50-55 psi.  There are a few bubbles that I had to add vents to the silicone rubber molds.  There is one on her front torso next to her leg (that you can see in the above picture) and 2 on her head.  Otherwise the molds are working out just great.

I learned a lot just working on completing her.  For one the joints and how to wire and string them for the range of motion I desire.  And I also learned that I can use plastruct rods inside her molds when casting resin and the resin won't stick if I use mold release.  I haven't tested using plastruct rods (which help keep certain parts hollow) without the use of mold release though.  Why risk it?

Friday, December 23, 2011

With and Without Pressure Pot

There is such a difference between using a pressure pot and not using one while using the same silicone rubber I had to make this post to sing my praises to the pressure pot.

It is easy to spot the difference when it comes to bubbles.  (Ignore color difference since it depends on exact ratio when A and B is mixed.)  These are cut sections from a junk silicone rubber mold using OOMOO 30, which is supposed to be useable without a pressure pot.  OOMOO 30 molds looks fine on the surface you are molding and works well for casting resin, but what you don't see is the insides.  The one on the right is obviously a cut section from a mold that was put in a pressure pot for 6 hours at 55 psi.

The silicone molds from the pressure pot are denser and take a little more force to cut then one that is full of bubbles.  Even the surface of the mold from the pressure pot seems shinier.

Just fascinating.  I love my pressure pot.

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 7

Okay, the third batch from the pressure pot is ready.  Now I only have the head mold to work on and it won't be easy.

Above you can see the molds.  The left is all the legs.  The middle has the middle ball torso.  I was going to originally make it hollow, but for the sake of time it is mostly solid except where the string passes through.  The 4 right most parts are all the upper and lower torso mold.  Below has more close-ups of that mold since it is the most complex.

Here you can see the 2 plugs made.  I decided to mold both upper and lower torso parts together in one mold to help save space since they are very identical in structure.  The plug on the right has a plastruct rod to help keep the neck hole hollow.

Here you can see the plugs put in place.  These should be real interesting when cast.

So now the head is in the pressure pot.  Hopefully the face plate comes out well.  The neck and back of head is another issue.  I am planning on casting the face plate in resin first then making the neck piece to fit it after.  Hard to explain.

By tonight I should have the first junk cast done.  Crossing my fingers.

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 6

The first batch of silicone molds are out of the pressure pot and the second one went in.  The third batch is in the pressure pot now and all molds are done excluding the head (unless something unfortunate happened).

Above you can see the second batch being prepared for pouring the silicone rubber.  The right side are the molds for the lower, mid, and upper torso of the reindeer.  On the left is the mold of the head.  I am having some complications in figuring out how to cast such a tiny head.  In the future I should probably sculpt such tiny heads in another medium and cut/hollow it prior to making a mold.  If difficulties continue, I may need to make it a solid head...  Not the way I want to go, but time is running out.

Above you can see how the upper and lower torso came out.  Each torso part could have easily become a 3 part mold, making that a total of 6 molds.  Instead I figured a 3 part mold by coming them both would be easier.  The majority is encased in one block, which is cut with an xacto knife to separate.  Then the 2 other parts are the plugs for the hollow parts.  Notice there is a white rod stick out of the upper torso on the top picture.  This is to help keep the neck hollow.  We will see if plastruct sticks to resin when cast.

Above you can see the leg mold ready for its second pouring.  It is shiny because I just applied mold release.  One problem I have is that the wires are not sitting down as well as I would like.  In the future I might use something that is more uniform in shape.  The problem with wires is that it can be bent and if you don't place it back just right it doesn't sit in the space it was in.

So the third batch in the pressure pot right now is:  the leg mold, the torso mold, and the head mold.  If all comes out well, then all the molds will be ready for a junk casting of resin.  But I will still have the head mold to work with.  Only 2 days left to get this all done...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 5

It is finally time to make some silicone rubber molds of my little bjd reindeer. I had recently made my pressure pot, so I get to finally use it.

The inside of the pressure pot is concave, so I placed what seems to be an old pie pan inside the pressure pot.  The inside of the pot is about 9.5" an the pie pan is 9".  Pretty good fit.  The only problem is the bottom space of the pie pan is 7".  So the space is rather limited until I use something else.  I also made sure the bottom was level.  (I did remove the little device after I had it centered.)

The first molds being made are for the head and all the legs.

Here is the head mold.  It is hard to see all the details, but she is facing up.  Her head will require 4 molds.

The back limbs were a little tricky because of the slot on the upper leg.  You can just make out the slots on the front arms with 2 vents to make sure air doesn't get trapped.  I was going to make a 1 piece mold and cut it apart, but I will be using OOMOO 30 which won't be easy to see through.

I did purchase Dragon Skin 30, but now is not the time to test it out.  OOMOO 30 only takes 6 hours to cure and Dragon Skin 30 takes 16 hours.  I don't have 16 hours to leave molds in the pressure pot.  I only have until Christmas morning to finish casting 5-8 resin dolls.

In case anyone is interested, here is my math in calculating how much OOMOO 30 I needed of A and B by weight.  First I figured out the dimensions of the inside of the mold box.  I needed to know also how tall I was going to pour the silicone rubber before I can calculate the cubic inch of space that the silicone rubber will be poured into.  I was able to figure out how much said cubic inches weighed in pounds which was converted to ounces.  I had to then calculate how much of part A and B is required by weight.  (Some of the above information is located on the product sheet and more detailed instruction is located on one of my previous posts.)  The high range number is how much silicone rubber is needed if I was pouring a solid box, which I am not.  There are parts that subtract space from the silicone rubber, so I estimated that portion to be 1 cubic inch.  This helped me calculate a low range and then decide what mid range value I would use.  This will reduce waste but ensure I had enough rubber to fill the molds.

I decided to use a gram scale for the measurement so I had to convert my numbers.  I ended up pouring 56.7 grams of A and 70.9 grams of B.  It was the perfect amount of silicone rubber to fill my molds.

Once I poured, I put the molds into the pressure pot.  I put 55 psi of pressure into the pot and am just letting it sit for 6 hours.  Now I need to make mold boxes for the 3 body sections.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Extra Tiny BJD Project: Part 4

It has been a while since I have posted an update on my little reindeer.  The deadline of having a number of completed bjds done before Christmas is quickly approaching.

So here she is...

Above are all her parts.  The still have to add the slots for all 4 limbs and do a final 1000 grit sanding.  I may also make changes to the mid section.

She is approximately 2" long and 2" high.  I don't have enough time to make joints in her legs like I wanted to.  The scale is just so TINY that it would take time and patience that I don't have.  Below is a picture of the joint test I did do.

With the ruler you can clearly see how tiny the joints would be.  The wire attached to the ball is a 18 gauge copper wire.  I may try a 20 or 22 gauge wire in the future if I make joints and recast her.

I think she is still rather cute without the leg joints I originally wanted to do.  As mentioned above, I just have a little left to do before I do the build up for the mold making.  I hope tomorrow to have the molds completed using OOMOO 30 in a pressure pot.  Then Friday and Saturday I can cast a number of dolls, string them, paint them, and prepare them to be given away as gifts.

So little time...

Monday, December 19, 2011

DIY Pressure Pot: Part 3

Here are my previous posts:
DIY Pressure Pot:  Part 1
DIY Pressure Pot:  Part 2

I have made some changes since part 2, which was to add a regulator.  I also added something to help remove moisture from the air going into the pressure pot.

Here are the updated pictures of my pressure pot.

NOTE:  I had problems with the safety relief valve that came with the pressure pot.  The safety relief valve kept popping out at 40 psi and would also leak air.  I temporarily replaced it with a 1/4" NPT Brass Drain Cock until my 60 psi safety relief valve arrives.  I in no way intend to do without the safety relief valve, but for testing purposes I use something else to plug the leak.  Keep in mind, my pot's maximum pressure is 80 psi with its working pressure range of 30-60 psi according to the specification.  So I am in no way adding more pressure than is specified for this pot.  I do not recommend using a pressure pot past its recommended pressure specification.

Now to list what parts I used for the conversion.

Click the images to zoom in more.  Sorry I did not take pictures with the parts still in the packaging, but I wasn't sure what parts I would be using until I put the pressure pot together.  The packaging themselves should have enough description to know what parts they are.  These two parts were used to add the pressure gauge to the paint pot.  The Central Pneumatic parts were from Harbor Freights and the Kobalt part was from Lowes.  You should be able to find both at Harbor Freights.  I had to go else where for the part because although they had said item in stock according to their computers, they couldn't find it in the store.

Above are the remainder parts for the pressure pot conversion.  The connects go as the following:

1/4" to 1/4" male coupling  --  air compressor regulator  --  1/4" ball valve  --  1/4" male steel industrial plug  (picture below)

As mentioned earlier, all Centra Pneumatic parts were purchased from Harbor Freights.  Their prices were almost half then what Home Depot was charging.

Instead of using the air regulator that came with the paint pot, I bought an air compressor regulator.  It took me a while to get it set, but it does work.  Just make sure if you plan to use a different regulator that you get one that regulates the pressure NOT air flow.  An air flow regulator is more like a ball valve.  It doesn't regulate air pressure.  An air pressure regulator helps regulate the air pressure.  I have mine set at 50 psi for now.  I may up it to 55 psi once I have my 60 psi safety relief valve installed.

Above you can see the parts used.  The gray parts came with the paint pot.

What did the parts cost?

160 psi pressure gauge (J): $5.99
1/4" female x 3/8" male NPT adapter (I): $2.28

1/4" male steel industrial plug (H): $0.99
1/4" full port ball valve (G): $3.99
1/4" air compressor regulator with gauge (N): $ 4.99
1/4" male to 1/4" male coupling (O): $1.29

Cost of Parts: $19.53 +tax

I did buy a few additional parts.  For one thing, I bought a new safety relief valve for $7.98 from ebay.

I also added an inline dessicant dryer/filter for $7.99 from HB and 2 additional connectors.  I needed a 1/4" female steel industrial plug for $0.99 and a 1/4" male steel industrial coupler for $2.99.  Above you can see the picture of the parts put together.  The reason I made it removable is so that I can keep it in a tightly sealed plastic bag when not in use so it does not absorb moisture from the air while not in use.  Below you can see what it looks like attached.

So if you include the additional parts I got, the total now comes to $39.48 + tax (and minus 3 20% coupons used on the more expensive parts from HB).  Still not bad.  I will probably have to replace the inline desiccant dryer later for something better, but for now I wanted something to help remove moisture from the air line.

The air compressor I chose is the Ryobi 3 gallon oil-free air compressor from for $119.00 + tax. Shipping was free.  Overall I like this air compressor, but that opinion is coming from a person who has no clue about these types of things.  The reason I like it is how portable it is, the cost, and the fact it isn't too loud.

I did have one major problem with my set-up I think I should say.  If you notice the bulk of the air regulator (N).  To connect it I had to remove the base T (B) attached to the pot and attach the regulator to the T (N-O-B connection) before putting it back on the pot.  The regulator also had to be angled in such a way that it can pass over the bump sticking out that the handle bar attaches to.  That also means that the handle bar can not be attached and even the pressure gauge (J) in the other opening can not be attached during this process.  What is worse is if you have a leak where the regulator connects around the T because you have to keep taking everything off and back on.  I was lucky that I had to do this soooooo many times.  **end sarcasm**  But I did want to mention this part since it may be tricky for some.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DIY Pressure Pot: Part 2

DIY Pressure Pot: Part 1 was posted last week.  Now it is time to think of what conversion design to use.

First off, let me mention the 3 set-ups I am considering.

1.  With Regulator

2.  Without Regulator Style #1

3.  Without Regulator Style #2

A, B, and C are parts that came with the paint pot.  C is the safety relief valve rated at 60 psi.
D is the regulator with pressure gauge attached that came with the paint pot.
E is an 1/4" female pipe cap.
F helps connect the regulator to the ball valve.  This part is 1/4" female on both ends.
G is the ball valve.  It is 1/4" male and female connectors.  Different brands may open and close in a different direction.  The reason I added a connector instead of connecting directly to the regulator is that I wanted enough room to open and close the valve without obstruction from the regulator.  If you choose to connect the female end of the ball valve to the regulator, make sure that the air hose connector.
H is the air hose connector.  In my illustration I would use a male 1/4" connector.
I is a 3/8" male reduced to a 1/4" female brass fitting.
J is a pressure gauge that is rated minimally the range the paint pot is rated for. It has a 1/4" male connector, which seemed to be the norm.
K and L are parts that came with the paint pot.
M is a brass fitting reducer from 3/8" female to a 1/4" female.  Change the 1/4" size if you plan to have the ball valve in reverse to what I have shown, which also means to make the proper adjustment to the air hose connector.

I have tried to list the parts as accurately as possible.  There are so many ways to go about doing the conversion so it is hard to be 100% accurate.  As mentioned above, using the ball valve in another direction than what I did changes a few of the other parts.  It is easier to just decide where the main parts will be located and figure out what brass fittings you need to connect them.  You will also need to decide if you need to remove parts that came with the paint pot or use them.  Keep It Simple Silly!  That can be hard to do...

So which way do I want to do the conversion?

#1.  Although the regulator will add extra safety in case the air compressor regulator fails, I feel it is a bit redundant for my use.    For me though, I don't plan to keep the air compressor attached to the paint pot and on at all times.  Once the pot is has reached the proper pressure, I plan to shut off the ball valve and remove the air compressor line.  In my illustrations I have added an extra pressure gauge instead of putting a plug.  The reason for this is to not waste a spot.  Another option is to put a ball valve there instead to help vent the air pressure when you need to empty the pot.  Overall I think the added regulator on the pressure pot is heavy, bulky, and not necessary.  This may not be the same for you though, so please think it out before you decide.

#2.  The paint pot I have has a connector on the inside that will allow air entering the tank to not be blown downward.  This is why I made this option since it uses that feature.  Your paint pot may not have the same feature as mine so it may not matter at all.  I am a bit concerned about the safety valve being directly across from where the air is coming in and if that would cause the valve to pop prematurely.  There is one way to find out.  :)

#3.  This is a common conversion style when it comes to excluding the regulator.  The simple design is very appealing.  The only thing bad I have to say is that you may want to add an 'L' or 'T' brass fitting on the inside where the air comes down into the pot to keep the air from blasting over your resin causing a mess.  Or I assume you can be careful at the rate you allow the air to fill the pot so that there is never a sudden burst.  Of course you still want to make sure you have the pressure up before the resin sets.

Of course you can do a mix between all of them.  There is a lot of variety you can do, which can be dependent on the parts you find locally.

So far I am leaning more towards style #2, but I still wish I could use a regulator.

Look above at the #2 illustration for the cost of parts.

160 psi pressure gauge (J) : $5.99
1/4" female x 3/8" male NPT adapter (I): $2.28
1/4" full port ball valve (G):  $3.99
1/4" male air hose connector (H):  $0.00 (came with air compressor so I didn't need to buy one)
Total Cost of Parts: $12.26 +tax

I bought all the parts at the local Harbor Freights excluding the adapter I listed above which I bought at Lowes.  Harbor Freights should have had this part in stock, but for whatever reason they could not locate the item.  Luckily Lowes had it.  I could not find it at Home Depot.  The price of comparable parts at Home Depot were often double the price of what I paid at Harbor Freights.

I am going to go back to Harbor Freights to see if there is a small regulator that I can use with my set-up...

UPDATE (12/19/11):  I have made some changes since this post.  I have added a regulator.  Please see  DIY Pressure Pot: Part 3 for more details.