Choosing Casting Resins

There are lots of different types of casting resins out there, in this video I cover some of the aspects of the different choices.

17 thoughts on “Choosing Casting Resins”

  1. I wanted to ask how you do multi colors in alumilite. I am new to resins and wanted to try it but am concerned if I add a non stick spray to the mold I have for my first pour will I have trouble attaching another color to the blank. Someone told me i could use a silicone mold and not have to worry about spray for my first pour then when I demold it and add my second color to what I already poured they would stick .
    Any advice.

    Thanks

    1. Hey Frankie, I would probably stay away from mold release if possible and use HDPE or silicone for the mold so it doesn’t stick. The biggest problem with multilayer pours is the surface of the first pour being super smooth. Resins won’t stick to a perfectly smooth surface. I’d recommend scuffing it with 80 grit before pouring the second layer to make sure that you get good adhesion. It’s also best to pour the second one within 24 hours of the first because the resin is still in the curing stage. I have a video that covers multilayered pours on my website also: https://nvwoodwerks.com/casting-multiple-layers-with-alumilite-casting-resin-for-a-sign/ I did us a melamine mold in that video, but I’d just go with a totally non-stick mold if you can. If you have to use melamine, caulk the corners of the mold to make sure the resin doesn’t seep down through any gaps and get stuck to the exposed particle board core in the joints.

  2. Zackery Padgett

    Hi Zac, I am also new into resin turning. I have poly resin that I am currently working with and the pens are coming out “ok”, but I am wanting to try Alumilite. I see that there are different kinds of ‘Alumilite clear’. There is one that is for casting and one for woodturning. Is there a difference between the two? The one for wood turning is to be measured by weight and the one for casting is by volume. I just want to know if there is a difference on how it will perform. Please let me know if you have any experience with this. Thank you!

    1. Hey Zackery, great question!! I use the resin that you measure by weight, “Alumilite Clear”, and I find it to be the best for making blanks with. The other product is an epoxy base resin, called “Amazing Clear Cast”, and it will work slightly different. It has a working time of 20-30 minutes and a demold time of 12-18 hours. Alumilite Clear has two versions, “Regular Set” and “Slow Set”. The Regular Set has a working time of 5-7 minutes and a demold time of approximately 1 hour, while the Slow Set has a working time of approximately 12 minutes and a demold time of 2-4 hours. Technically, you could use the Amazing Clear Cast, and I believe it will produce similar results but you will have to wait longer to see those results. I haven’t actually turned blanks made with Amazing Clear Cast yet, but it just so happens I will be testing some out this weekend. One thing I noticed when pouring the blanks with the Amazing Clear Cast is it is much thicker than Alumilite Clear, which will most likely hinder it’s ability to flow into cracks and crevices when making hybrid blanks with wood or other embedded objects. As of now, my recommendation is to use Alumilite Clear for turning blanks since I know it works excellent for them. I have a link to the specific resins I use (plus tools and other accessories for casting and turning) on my website: https://nvwoodwerks.com/tools/

      1. I know it’s been a little while, but I was just curious to hear about your experience turning “Amazing Clear Cast” . thank you!

      2. Hey Steven, I have found that turning it seems to be pretty similar to Alumilite Clear or other epoxies I’ve cast and turned. I’m not too fond of casting it though, and I find Alumilite Clear to be far nicer to work with overall. Amazing Clear Cast has a long open time (about 45 mins or so), it’s thick like molasses and is tiring to mix, it is much more susceptible to overheating if you pour thick castings, and it has a super long demold time (18-24 hours). I’d choose Alumilite Clear over ACC any day

  3. Roger Starkey

    Hey Zac, thank you for sharing your knowledge, what product would you recommend for gluing different layers of Alumilte together? I’m thinking scuff the surface and brush a layer of Alumilte on the two pieces and clamp together, unless you have a different product to recommend. I will machine and polish the stacked layers.

    1. My pleasure Roger! I usually just go with epoxy when I glue Alumilite pieces together, but I do it the same exact way. I don’t think it would really matter what you use for the adhesive as long as you give it a nice mechanical tooth to bite into on both surfaces. I usually scuff with 80 or 120 grit before glueing it.

      1. Wow! Thanks for the quick reply. Can you recommend an epoxy? Thanks aging for all the advise!

      2. Sure thing! I try to reply to comments and questions as soon as I can. I don’t really think it matters what type of epoxy you use. I typically just grab 5 minute epoxy for glueing things together like that, but you could use any brand or cure time that you have on hand. I’ve used West System, System 3, Loctite, and I’ve heard good things about Mercury Ahesives epoxy but haven’t tried it yet.

        One thing that hadn’t occurred to me is if you were trying to glue dead clear layers together, most of the epoxies out there will cure with a bit of an amber hue to it and could be noticeable in the final piece. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to glue two clear pieces together, so I’m not sure how that would work out. If that’s the case, you might want to use something that cures clear. West System, System 3, and Castin Craft all have clear formulas, or you could even try using CA glue. I still wouldn’t recommend using Alumilite because you could run into curing issues with a thin layer like that, it’s more for casting rather than glueing things together.

  4. Hi Zac
    Well because of watching your videos i have now found another expensive hobby lol, My question is do you have to stabilize the wood that you mix with alumilite?

    1. Hey Russ, glad to hear you’re jumping into casting!! It’s a positive addiction =D It’s not entirely necessary to stabilize wood unless it’s punky or super soft, but you do need to completely dry it out before casting it. There are some advantages to stabilizing wood before casting it though. It reduces the moisture issues for the most part, it usually brings the hardness of the wood closer to that of the resin, it will block dyes in resin from bleeding into the wood, and the wood typically doesn’t float in the resin after stabilizing

  5. Zac, I want to brush on a layer of epoxy while the piece is still on the lathe. Is there a certain type that will set fairly quick so it doesn’t run off. I can keep the lathe turning slow for awhile but not hours. I also will be mixing metallic powders I it.

    1. Hey Tom, You will just need to find a product that has a short working time, there are a few out there. Alumilite Clear is a fast setting resin, the only drawback is it has no UV inhibitors in it, but it does work great for applying thin coats fast. The regular set has a working time of 5-7 minutes, the slow version is around 12 minutes. The working time can vary greatly depending on ambient temperature

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