Week 9: Resin, Latex and Rastering

For some reason I thought that latex would not stick to a silicon mould but it did ( ̄Д ̄)
This week we got the opportunity to play around with resin and latex. Latex (as described on good ole Wiki) is an emulsion of polymer microparticles in water. Latex can be found in nature (usually in flowering plants) as this milky white fluid that is exuded after tissue injury e.g. a cut has been made into the stem of a plant. This natural latex is not be confused with plant sap. Latex can also be created synthetically and both natural and synthetic latex is used in a wide variety of objects such as gloves, balloons, glues and many more.

For this class, I’m not too sure what was the objective of us learning about latex (it was my own fault, I had ran off with Hsin Yee to North Spine to grab a smoothie as a replacement for a birthday cake for Prof. Galina, so I had no idea what we were going to be doing for this class) but I would presume it has something to do with us experiencing how to create moulds of objects using latex? Or to create a latex replica of an object? I think it is more of the former. In any case, we got to experience the panic of mixing liquid latex with hardener before pouring it into our moulds or into our casting containers. The ratio taught to us was that for every 100g of liquid latex, we should add approximately 3g of hardener. Before preparing the latex, we had to prep our moulds with mould release spray. (For some reason, my brain thought that, hey, since the mould that I am using is a silicon one, I probably will not need the release spray right? Well, you thought wrong Louisa. I’ll get to that in a bit) Once the hardener is added, mix to ensure that the liquid latex and hardener is mixed evenly, then quickly pour the mixture into the prepared mould or casting container. This step has to be done really quickly as the latex solidifies pretty quickly. Well, because I did not prep my silicon mould with the mould release spray, the latex is now forever bonded to my silicon mould. Sigh. On to the next portion of the class. 

Resin. Resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin, that is typically convertible into polymers. Resin can be used for a wide variety of things as well. The ones that I am more familiar with is like using resin and moulds to create pendants for jewellery-making. Or using resin to make custom keycaps. This is pretty in-trend now due to the sudden popularity of custom mechanical keyboards (or maybe it has been trending for a while but it was only recently I started observing my friends actually getting their own customized mechanical keyboard and then bringing them around, in addition to their laptops…)

D7 1 Jelly Key Zend Pond Keycaps923
Custom keycap made using resin

In any case, the procedure is quite similar to that for dealing with latex, just with the addition of a mask and a pair of gloves (the smell of resin is really strong). Prep your mould with mould release spray before starting to mix the epoxy resin with the hardener. The same ratio applies, for every 100g of resin, drop in 3g of hardener. Once the hardener has been added, stir to ensure that everything is mixed evenly before pouring into the prepared mould. Leave the mould in a well-ventilated area for about 24 hours to allow it to dry and fully solidify. 

Resin samples
Failed latex outcome

Published by

Louisa Lek

*nervous laughter*

Leave a Reply