Hobbyists who choose to create their own model kits of cars can produce dozens of copies on their own, in resin. They design the model and sculpt it themselves, or hire someone to do it for them. Then, using readily available mixes and tools, they make the models, which they can keep for themselves, give away or sell. Beginners should gain experience by casting solid resin car bodies, which begins with selecting a well-ventilated workspace and making a one-part mould.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Sculpture of car body
- Polyester casting resin mix
- Silicone rubber mould-making mix
- Spray-on mould release
- Non-hardening model clay
- Disposable paintbrushes
- Foam board
- Mixing buckets and cups
- Packing or duct tape
- Stir sticks
- Talcum baby powder
- Rubber bands
- Latex gloves
- Surgical mask
Cut a square of foam board large enough to rest the car body on, with about two inches of open space on all sides.
Glue the sculpture to the foam board, bottom side down. Check for gaps between the bottom of the sculpture and the foam board. If you find any, fill them with modelling clay. Smooth out the clay.
Cut a long strip of foam board, about an inch and a half taller than the car body. Shape the strip into a square large enough to stand around the sculpture, leaving about an inch of space between the car body and the square. Tape the square at the corner, top to bottom, on both sides of the foam board to make the seal solid.
Glue the foam board square to the base around the car body, making sure the sculpture is at the centre. What you end up with is a wall standing around the sculpture on the base, with an open top.
Spray the sculpture and mould wall with mould release according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Put on gloves. Mix mould rubber in a bucket according to the instructions and pour a little over the car. Use the disposable paintbrush to spread the rubber over the car, making sure it gets into all tight spaces. Pour the rest of the rubber over the car.
Allow the rubber to cure, at least overnight. When the rubber feels dry and springy to the touch, it is ready.
Carefully tear off the mould wall. Peel the mould off the foam board base, using fingertips to first loosen and then pry the rubber. The sculpture may remain glued to the base, or it may come off with the mould. If the sculpture remains in the mould, again use fingertips to loosen and pry it out.
Clean clay or any other debris out of the mould.
Sprinkle the interior of the mould with baby powder to create a fine coating. Blow off the excess.
Put on the rubber gloves and surgical mask. Mix the resin according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Pour the resin into the mould. Use a disposable paintbrush to lightly but quickly work the liquid into detail areas and to dislodge air bubbles.
Allow the resin to thoroughly harden, at least 10 minutes and possibly much longer. Instructions will specify times.
Work your fingers around the edge of the casting to pry it loose from the mould, then pull out the casting.
Repeat the casting process as desired. A well-made mould can produce dozens of copies.
Tips and warnings
- Make car body sculptures of clay, epoxy putty, wood, wax or almost any other sculpting material. Be sure the sculpture is dry before moulding it. Seal the porous surface of wooden sculptures with lacquer.
- The mould-making process often destroys sculptures. If this happens, set aside the first resin casting to use as a "mold master" in case you decide to make another mould of the car body.
- This how-to is for beginning resin casters. More advanced casters can explore more complicated, expensive techniques, such as rotocasting, in which a hollow resin casting comes from spinning a special mould while the resin cures.
- Always protect your lungs and skin from the resin mix and work in a well-ventilated area. Even odourless resin creates fumes that can be harmful over time.
- Young children should not cast resin car bodies. Older children should be closely supervised.
- Resin will ruin carpeting and other surfaces, so make sure to select your work area carefully.
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