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Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

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CodeFalcoN
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I read about this stuff called ShapeLock today in MAKEzine:

http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/03/plastic_you_can_mold_in_you...

Was wondering if anyone has ever tried such a thing for modeling pawns or other figurines? Seems like with a simple mold you can churn these things out...

NetWolf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeey! That stuff looks great! I'm going to wait to see if I hear any more from people on the forum before I buy some though. (I specifically want to know if it'll work with molds)

zircher
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

Has anyone had the chance to follow up on this and see if Shapelock can be used in molds? It would be good to know if it can also take to primer and be painted.
--
TAZ

CodeFalcoN
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Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

There was some sort of 'free sample' where you paid like $5 US shipping or something, not a bad price to test it out.

theraje
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

A while back, I worked with Kneadatite (a putty that came in a tube in two colors - blue and yellow). Basically you mix small bits of it together to make it into a green, horribly sticky putty, then shaped it, let it harden for a few hours, and then you had a piece perfect for molding and whatnot.

I have a couple of models I made with the stuff, and the hardened product looks and feels like those little plastic army men you used to play with as a kid. Of course, there are different kinds of molding materials as well as casting compounds that might or might not work depending on how you want your pieces.

I got my Kneadatite from Dick Blick art studio. You'll also need a few tools to shape the putty (stuff just lying around the house also tends to work well), as well as something to lubricate your tools, hands, and the putty (I personally used Chap Stick, though you have to wash everything afterward). If you don't, the stuff will stick to anything and everything!

If you want any tips or anything, be sure to ask.

zircher
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Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

Good point, CodeFalcoN. I did a little research and found out that Shapelock will take acrylic hobby paints. Retail purchases work out to $1.25 an ounce. It might be possible to work a deal and get a bulk rate.

Since I can't sculpt worth a damn, I'll probably pass on making one off items. However, I am fairly skilled with 3D computer graphics. I know that some folks use Rhino 3D for miniature designing (such as the B5W minis.) Does anyone have a clue as to how do they get from 3D data to making a master suitable for making molds from? I suspect that a skilled sculptor takes the design and makes a master since machining a master using CAD/CAM is incredibly expensive.
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TAZ

theraje
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

zircher wrote:
Since I can't sculpt worth a damn, I'll probably pass on making one off items. However, I am fairly skilled with 3D computer graphics. I know that some folks use Rhino 3D for miniature designing (such as the B5W minis.) Does anyone have a clue as to how do they get from 3D data to making a master suitable for making molds from? I suspect that a skilled sculptor takes the design and makes a master since machining a master using CAD/CAM is incredibly expensive.

The places I've seen actually use a special machine that takes 3D model data and uses that to build the mold. I don't know how it actually works, but the reason it costs so much to get a prototype from such a place is because of the cost of the equipment. Some places will make a mold for you if you send them drawings of your figure, but that means it will cost more since they do the 3D modeling to feed to the machine themselves. Of course, that's the method I've seen used. It's possible that if you shop around, you'll find a place that will sculpt your prototype by hand... but I suspect that won't exactly be cheap, either.

CodeFalcoN
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Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

I ordered the free ($4.95 s&h) sample they offered (35g) two nights ago and I got a USPS notification the next morning that it had shipped. I'm excited to give this stuff a once-through w/ some crude plaster molds. Luckily it's only shipping from one state over!

Xaqery
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

Have you guys tried Sculpey?

It is a clay like plastic that is sculpt-able and then you can bake it and it becomes hard like plastic. You can make molds from it and you can machine it once its hard. You also can paint it like pottery.

I don't recommend the "Original" flavor of Sculpey. It is too soft. Maybe I am just not a very good sculptor (I'm not) but each time I touched it when it was almost done I would deform it and then have to fix it. I think Sculpey PRO is better and will try that next.

I learned about useing sculpy fo molds and wanted to try it about the same time I was proto-typing a game so I decided to try and make proto game pieces. I bought some sculpey at Blicks and bought a mold making kit from my local hobby store.

1st I made the pieces I wanted and baked them. Then I made the positive mold. Next I made the negative mold using RTV rubber.

Then I made a bunch of pieces with resin. It was fun.

My sons then helped me paint them.

NetWolf
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Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

How much did the mold kit end up costing?

Xaqery
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

NetWolf wrote:
How much did the mold kit end up costing?

The mold was about $25 maybe $30. Because of my mold design and my inexperince the mold started to crack as the iterations went by. By the end I had several rubberbands on it to hold it together.

The Resin was another $30 but I only used half of it.

its expensive when I could have prototyped the game with cardboard but I wanted to experiment with molding something anyway.

- Dwight

evilupine
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Joined: 09/04/2008
Cheap, DIY plastic figurine modeling?

I have used a similar product called "Friendly Plastic". It looked just like the ShapeLock stuff, sort of like plastic rice. I used it to make vampire fangs for halloween.

The stuff I used would cool and harden fairly quickly, but gave me enough time to get it into the shape I wanted (usually). I only attempted to mold small teeth, so I do not know how it would handle in larger amounts. If it is the same sort of stuff, then it hardens into a semi-opaque off-white color. I think it could be easily painted after being primed. It might be usable in molds, but you would have to work quickly as any thin part would cool/harden rapidly.

It might even be possible to heat it beyond the recommended temperature to create a 'liquid'. I remember that it smelled funny (off-gassing), so you want good ventilation. One issue I encountered was a sort of scaling that could happen while shaping. As it hardens it can form overlapping portions that do not stick together. It does reheat, so if you wanted to get serious (and a bit dangerous), I think you could use steam to reheat/soften it while working with it.

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