Tag Archives: resin

Resin casting materials

Definitely easy to get overwhelmed with materials. I assume someone pointed you in the direction of Silicone for your molds? Thats first and most important. You can use a lot of other types of rubber for molds, some at even half the price or less than silicone, but believe me silicone is the best and what you saved in money you end up putting back in time and sweat, especially when you’re just starting out, and Silicone is a lot more forgiving.

To start casting some resins are better for certain things than others. All have their pros and cons; like polyester resin is great if you’re doing fiber glassing, want to make clear(ish) parts or just need to save money, but it can be a bit brittle, it reeks to hell and back, so you need ventilation/respirator, and the chemistry involved can be a bit weird as far as calculating how many drops of catalyst to add to the mix, but mess that up and you end up with a sticky toxic mess that will never cure …

Epoxy resins generally will give you better clarity, and doesn’t ‘feel’ as toxic as polyester (respirator is still a good idea) but generally are thicker (like honey or molasses) so you’ll have trouble with air bubbles trying to cast with it, I tend only to use those for water effects in terrain or like clearcoating tabletop/furniture…

The best resin for miniature casting IMO is Urethane resin. Its (usually)a two part 1:1 mix, pretty forgiving if measurements aren’t dead-on, as in you won’t have that sticky mess if its slightly measured wrong. When hardened its pretty similar to plastic, maybe a tad more brittle. My recommendation would be for Instacast from Smooth-on if you can find a local supplier. I live close to this shop, and the owner is a cool guy so I usually get it here; DOUGLAS and Sturgess

This is my Silicone of choice http://www.douglasandsturgess.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=DAS&Product_Code=MC-1069&Category_Code=POLYURETHANE-POLYRESINS

or something like this; /https://www.smooth-on.com/products/smooth-cast-305/

if you click the smooth-cast section here it breaks down the pot-life vs cure times for their casting resins, you definitely want a few min to get it mixed and poured, (and pressurized if you’re going that route too) but you prolly don’t want to wait overnight for every cast, so 20min-to an hour would be reasonable https://www.smooth-on.com/category/urethane-resin/

The other domestic supplier I’ve had good luck with is Silpak – pretty similar products to Smooth-on and DnS http://www.silpak.com/#

For your first test you should do something simple to get a feel for the process, like bases or a flat.

This icon came from this mold, it was easier to pour a partial cast than try and cut from the panel

For a 3D object like a mini, you’re going to need a box mold, but that gets into planning vents and cutting the mold open, which is another set of challenges

It can be tricky, but once you get the idea it’s not too hard, and I’ll discuss that later

Sculpting shellmen

Set of sixteen cast #resin #shellmen bodies drilled and attached to bases #sculpture #art


Sitting in front of a roaring fire #sculpting #shellmen

Drab Future toy production


Its been a long road, from prototypes to molds/casting/assembly and painting, but I’m proud to announce that the new Drab future toys will be available through the Zerofriends web store this Friday, (Tomorrow!) and I can’t wait to see what everyone does with theirs.

I’d hoped to do a full write-up including tutorial videos for each step of the process, but sadly my phone was stolen before I could unload all the material I’d been recording. Fortunately I did manage to document a lot of the process and am able to share that with you now.

UntitledLetting the second batch of resin toys cure #drabfutureUntitledCast two of each toy as well as parts for 2 gynoid dolls #drabfuture

I created prototypes for each of the seven characters in Drab Future. These began as kit-bashed models based from various toys, won from skee-ball games, purchased from grocery stores and randomly aquired.


For each I sculpted their costumes over top the base model, and built accessories to show all the details.

For John Henry I began with a firefighter toy which was a skeeball prize, won from a local arcade.

needed to completely resculpt the face and mask, and add the straps and elements of his space suit.

I spent hours sourcing the best parts to match the character’s costumes and props.

I looked awhile for the a good way to mimic the texture of Casey Jones’ ghillie suit, who also began as a skee-bll prize firefighter, and eventually I settled on using gauze, treated with wax and liguid sculpy, and resculpted with a soldering iron.


When it was time to make the molds I produced elaborate vent/sprues to direct the flow of resin and prevent air bubbles.



I used around three gallons of silicone for the full set of molds.
Had to go a bit heavy with the filler, almost didn't have enough silicone, but the last three toy molds should be ready to open tonight!

Most of the prototypes did not survive the demolding process.
The witness prototype didn't survive de-molding, but the mold should be good and I can always kitbash his remains #drabfuture

One of the most exciting stages was seeing all the molds set up and preparing to pour resin for the first casts.
30 molds, 4 gallons of resin, gynoid dolls and drab future toys ready to cast

Two gallons of resin later I had an army of raw castings.
Edition of five Drab future toys cast. Finished off 2gallons of resin, now time to clean and paint them up

Next came clean-up, each toy needed a bit of time with the dremel and x-acto to have it’s sprue and flashing removed. I decided to leave the slight imperfections such as air-bubbles as a mark of their creation, a bit of character to each one.

Then primer for basecoats
Primer! Starting with 2 sets of toys to fully paint, #drabfuture

Weathering and washes of powdered pigment

And a bit of hand-painting

The finished set



Zerofriends Store

New work for Zero Friends Group show

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished a new series of sculptures and toys for the upcoming Zero Friends group show! As is the case with the majority of my work these days, all sales will go towards my Drab Future project. Full details about the show are at the bottom, but first I’d like to show off some selections of the new work.
Full gallery of work here

I’ve finished twelve new small annexbots. Each one custom, with sculpted faces and unique details, all hand painted.


These guys are based on one of my older designs for the Annexbot chess set. These characters were designed to be a small collectible platform to customize, and I’ve made many of them now. I’ve been toying with some rules that would use these guys in table-top game, but its still a long way off…


Voltron Guy
I started with one of my Richards and a few annexbot parts, and came up with something unexpected.


This guy is more of a kitbash/toy mod than my usual work. I generally have a rule for myself againsed using existing parts. It feels like cheating to not take something out of context and completely re-imagine it.

So I tried to fight it when I set this Richard bot down in the bits box and he lined up with some Voltron parts I tried to fight it. In the end it was just too cool not to do.


Robot Gynoid
The newest edition to my Gynoid dolls This robot shows his age. I wanted to use many exposed parts, to show it in a state of disassembly.


I dug into some of my jars of parts and gathered watch bateries and hardware, radio tubes and wire and weathered with layers of mixed pigment and rust

The radio tube-head is a slight nod to Christopher De Leon. I picked up one of his scetches from a gallery near my studio. He has got some great work and character designs;( http://truevisuals.tumblr.com/ )

All this work will be on display at Zero friends starting on Friday for the First Friday Art Murmur July 6th, with a special Artist’s reception on Saturdya July 7th.

Zero friends
489 25th St.
Oakland, CA. 94612

Puppet Richard

My first edition of marionette-style figures.

I needed a figure sculpt to start with. I chose my ‘Richard Simmons’ character, sculpted in Super Sculpy since I knew I’d be making a few of these guys for my ‘Crom’ sculpture and wanted a pose-able base to work from.
Oct 15, 2008
Once the figure was blocked out and mostly detailed, but before I cooked the clay I started cutting into it and dividing it up, that way I could plan how it would break down into parts. After I’d scored into the clay I cooked him and finished the cut all the way through the armature.

Disassembled the parts, and started clean up on them. I had to make sure it woulf fit back together and that the joins weren’t too jagged.

South of Market, Oct 18, 2008

Next I sprued the parts to make molds. This is the process of attaching the parts to a board and to each other to allow them to be suspended in silicone for the mold. The thing to keep in mind at this stage was that I needed to pour the parts in a way that would minimize air bubbles, and allow the resin to flow through. This is one of the most tricky and intensive parts and I’ve learned a ton by trial and (expensive) error.

South of Market, Oct 19, 2008

Pouring silicone molds;
Silver Terrace, Oct 21, 2008

Molds cut open and original parts removed;
South of Market, Oct 24, 2008

I cast the parts in urethane resin,
South of Market, Oct 25, 2008

Which gave me plenty to work with;
South of Market, Oct 26, 2008

Each of these needed to be drilled and have string glued in one side at a time;
Uploaded - 10\139-11

I’m particularly fond of the way I set up the rolling/shrugging shoulders, with string that feeds through the torso into the upper arm;
Uploaded - 10\139-16

And here it is fully assembled.

Detail in the hands.

I made a few of these guys;

These were first made available at the Alternative Press Expo in 2008 and are currently sold out.

Full flickr gallery

Gynoid dolls, Have and Have not


My Ball-joint dolls are completed and dropped off for the ‘Have and have not’ group show. I made three new figures total in various stages of weathering and character.


These will be available for purchase through the gallery; Varnish fine art, and the proceeds will go towards helping me to create Drab future


All three are fully pose able/articulated, made of hand-cast resin, and modeled in the style of Asian BJDs, such as Volks, but with my own twist.


Lots more images in my full Gallery on Flickr

If you can make it out to the reception I’d love to meet you all, and I’ve got some other surprises inbound for the show…

The Have and Have Not Group Show
curated by Lee Ballard
April 7 – April 28, 2012

ARTIST RECEPTION: Saturday April 7, 5-8pm

The Have and Have Not Group Show features fine artworks of various media by Jon Wayshak, Rick Berry, Robert Bowen, Kiyoshi Nakazawa, Brad Isdrab, Morning Breath/Doug Cunningham, Scott Cambell, Lucien Shapiro, Barron Storey, Sam Keith, Lee Ballard, Ian Ameling, John Watkiss, and Rogelio Martinez.

Varnish Fine Art
16 Jessie Street, #C120
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 433-4400


previous in-progress entry