Friday, April 19.
After finishing my work week in Theater in Lausanne, I take the train to Geneva and go back to the countryside, home, it is also the workshop of the MacGyver Children because nobody has really offered us an other place for working.
I barely had time to rest that already I have to go again to the station to welcome Julien, a fan of SG Project who comes straight from Amiens in France to help us during this weekend. Julien discovers quickly political and cultural differences and practices between France and Switzerland.
It is around a barbecue that we finf another part of the team: Cyrielle, Thibault, Benjamin – and Alex who support us morally and is excited by the project but can’t help us this time becuse of lack of time. However, he reassures us, as soon as the door is finished, he will be part of the creative team for the life-size role playing around our favorite series.
End of a quiet evening over a beer, we find Clement at the bar, but tonight we will not celebrate, tomorrow we cast of Stargate™!
Saturday, April 20.
Hard awakening for me, Clément and Julien who slept there because I welcome the people who come to work. We didn’t drink too much but spoke together a long time about the project. This is the doorbell (Cyrielle) which roll us out of bed. I arranged indeed to meet everyone at 7am to be ready at 8am at least.
Breakfast, wait, I take the opportunity to create a twitter account for the association (@ EMG_Sg11) just to tell a little about the molding in real time. Unfortunately, because I’m not familiar with twitter and everything went very quickly, I didn’t really have time to use it.
The rest of the team (cited above) joins us a little late, but with croissants. We go up to my room (the workshop on the second floor), Thibault prepars two cameras just to film and take pictures. Lucky that I created a few month ago a little traveling, it’ll at last useful.
In the meantime we bring everything needed for molding, stored below in the garage since it’s arrived by post. We have before us:
- A table on tripods in order to move it.
- The SG Backpanel prepared by us (and surrounded with a plasticine joint, this way the silicone doesn’t flow inward).
- A jar of Vaseline (used as a mold release agent).
- Twenty brushes.
- Masks against harmful gases.
- A whole bunch of other things that will be mentioned below.
Note: Always wear gloves, the products used here can be corrosive and it will also prevent you from spending hours washing your hands. The mask is necessary because, even our silicone doesn’t smell very much, harmfu gases can be given off and in the event of repeated inhalation exposure could make us sick.
The material put in place, I start with a quick briefing of what should happen the molding, based on this little drawing done in the train the day before:
And so it’s time to attack!
First thing to do is to pass the vaseline throughout the table to prevent the mold from sticking, we were told that it was unnecessary on the backpanel itself, as the removing nature of the silicone.
Next operations, in order to make this mold by impression coating techniques, we have in front of us:
- Brushes again.
- Tongue depressor.
- Reusable plastic bowls.
- Two cans of 20Kg Silicone.
- Two bottles of 1Kg catalyst for silicone.
- Three pots of coloring for silicone.
- 1kg (it was too much) thixotropic agent for silicone.
First silicone layer, our 3325 RTV (silicone) is mixed with our 5% catalyst and we spread them over the backpanel while being careful not to damage anything. The plasticine which is above could be easily removed and it would create some holes in future parts. We do turns to help each other to pour the content of the big drum in bowls.
The Backpanel gradually becomes totaly white, all we see is the edges protruding under the layer of 1mm thick.
The silicone is very liquid and so we don’t nedd to mix it with diluent (on the advice of the salesman who told us that it would only make it more fragile). However the amateur brush strokes will make create some traces and bubbles that we’ll later discover on the mold. But it doesn’t matter, the important thing is to do the best according to our abilities.
It is already 12 o’clock. The brushes are left ; we could theoretically wash them with acetone but we dont’ have some, and they cost only € 0.60 each. We try to clean our 10 bowls with harmless products, but it doesn’t work very well. We wait for the “freezing”, which means that the silicone’s still tacky but doesn’t stick to our fingers anymore. That takes a long time, time to rest a bit and talk about the following, we eat a good meal prepared by the hostess (my mum) which supports the project as much morally as financially.
16h: Second layer. This time, the silicone is mixed with catalyst and more thixotropic agent in order to make it more dense. A few drops of coloring too allow to know where we already sread with our second layer. Only a brush tip of Thixo’s enough to harden it, some end up so with a very thick paste, others much less. Difficult to be precise with small amounts, but act otherwise is impossible. We spread something like 4mm tickness everywhere on the mold. We incorporate our registry keys (previous article) too, by dropping them gently, without pressing not to mark the mold. We start to working the few hollow and bumps who could spoil the mold.
We wait again. With Thixo the mold should freeze faster. Time for Thibault to go and buy horse beef tartare for his birthday, which occurs in the evening.
Third layer, Thibault left, Clement’ll do so in the next few hours in order not to miss the birthday’s beginning. We stay four, but with a great desire to tartar, to finish this layer. Same layer as before, but without coloring. The color difference informs us once again on the location and distribution of our silicone. We add a little more Thixo to thicken and apply it with spatulas.
Careful, we must put your keys in this layer, they’ll otherwise not stay up well. The more this layer is smooth, the more the following’ll easier, so we give the mold a coat of silicone without thixotropic to smooth things away.
Last layer of silicon + thixo to fill hollows that remain and we’re done ! Towards Thibault’s birthday Thibault (we could not leave the mold before, even if we would have liked to go with Clement… ). Cyrielle drives and we hope that silicone vapors didn’t go straight to her head.
*party all night, sleep on the sofa, get up at 6am for me and Julien to drive through the town*
Sunday, April 21
This time in the morning, only Cyrielle, Julien and me are expected. Up early, we take time with Julien to start to remove some flaws on the mold, using a knife but being careful not to damage the silicone who would be now irreparable. The aim is to clean it by removing flaws which could bother with the resin thereafter. The wooden edges used as delimitation for the silicone are removed. Cyrielle arrives late, her alarm clock didn’t ring, but she’s just in time to start the following.
This time, we have:
- The eternal brushes / spatulas / bowls.
- One can of 20Kg polyester resin.
- 500g of catalyst.
- A lot of glass mat (= some fiber taken in a diluted resin base, giving an fabric appearance a tissue, easier to work with).
- Metal tubes pre-cut to the needed size.
- Wooden blocks.
First layer, only three people, it’s a bit more complicated to manage everything: pour, spread with a brush, etc.. But fortunately, everything works. We spreads a first resin layer, the smell is very strong, masks are requiered. I think we should have started directly with glass mat, only a first layer with resin wasn’t useful. We get a little lost about where we’ve already spread some resin, because of its transparency.
Sophie joins us during molding. In a few moment she wears a mask, we barely have time to say hello, I have already to brief her.
We end this first layer with brushes though like stone. This time, the resin’ll dry much faster (about 15 minutes) so we can hardly stop.
Yannick, Martin and Maya join us for this second part.
Second layer, this time we’re well more. We have the luxury to ask Martin to take some pictures instead of playing with all the gadgets in my room. The glass mat is cut to cover the entire mold is applied. It’s more difficult this time because with all the nooks and crannies, you must constantly cut in the glass mat while applying it to prevent it from makind folds. I can say now with hindsight that we literally flood the glass mat with resin, which often created large fiber bundles. Next time, we will stamp only, it’ll use less resin, otherwise its just a mess and makes the mold more fragile. But despite that, it “works.”
This layer is completed, we receive a visit from Benjamin and his roommate, they come just to say hello and Benjamin tells me that Clement and Thibault will let us down for the molding end.
The rate is fast, we move on to the third layer, the same as before, and as soon as it starts to dry, I took the opportunity to insert wooden wedges trapped with a little fiberglass, in order to raise the sides who’ll welcome thereafter the tubes.
This layer’s finished, we must place tubes on the piece. It’s rather complicated because it’s not completely flat and there’s the rounding of the registry keys everywhere. While doing this, because it’s already late, everyone takes the time to eat his lunch in turn. That also allows a break and not to breath for a moment the saturated air with vapor resin.
Perpendicular tubes are added. Initially we wanted to force against the mold because it is not flat, as mentioned above, but I was too afraid that it would distort the mold, so I preferred that the tubes are less close to each others rather the mold’s deformed.
Julien and I seem strangely working well with our only three hours of sleep (without siesta). People go one after the other while the mold’s drying. While some rest, others look skits on the internet. Julien leaves towards station,he looks very happy of what he’s done and found with these Swiss who’re still nice people. He’ll sleep all the way back.
We prefer to let the mold stand a day before the removing.
Tuesday, April 23
I take my evening to return to Geneva because according to my father, the mold is dry, we can turn it out.
Once there, I contacted Maya who lives across to get a little help, the mold is so big, it’s better to be 3-4 to deal with it.
We thought we could do it in 30 minutes, but took two hours. So why? The silicone wasn’t completely dry when we spread the resin. I was told that the release agent wasn’t necessary, but in fact it would have helped.
So we try to raise the resin who’s cracking on all sides, we are afraid. So we take the time to unscrew the wooden covers used to “close” the backpanel before molding, the mold comes then off the table. But it’s impossible to detach the silicone from resin. We pull up all around, trying to put some air between the two parts, but nothing works. We return eight-handed the whole mold while the table’s collapsing into the little space that remaind in my room. On the floor, we pull again, nothing. We return it, put on trestles, pull, return. Fiber glass stuck in arms, we say that we will give up. But a corner comes off ! A wedge system is mounted to take off inch ba inch the silicone from the mold, but whitout too much pressure to avoid damaging either the mold or the room. Both molds, silicone and resin’re sticked out. Patienceless, we take a deep breath and slowly release it all, finally!
And then sleep because full of fatigue and very late.
This is a beautiful mold so that we had in front of us, beautiful! I congratulate everyone who participated in this very large cast and I thank the time they have gave to it. For those who’re in the association, they get the active status, for others they can register and will automatically receive it.
Soon the following !
If you want a summary, don’t hesitate to download the report molding with what not to do and what to think about: Moulding report
A small video as example of a similar molding : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKTjqeQMEhU&list=PLE8537A795B7B0531
Since the molding, we took a weekend to test a first draw. This time, the draw is made of resin and glass mat, so it requires the catalyst. However, the first layer of the draw is with Gel Coat. This is a hard resin in which we mixed a black coloring because the base layer of the Stargate™ is actually black.
Extirpated from its mold, the draw is very beautiful despite some defaults, easy to recover and invisible by far.
This was the story. Next Sunday we will make a complete drawing, hopefully everything will be fine !
I hope this article has been interesting. In the meantime feel free to comment, contact us, criticize … we want to hear from you!
And of course good appetite!