1. This is the second casting. As you can see, there are a lot of defects. Theseshould clean up well enough.
1. This is my original test cast done the previous day. This was just to determine ifthe epoxy would even work in this casting material. As you can see the epoxy isrelatively color free so very open to coloring. The line from the tip to the right wasa nail I dropped into the liquid epoxy. (The same nail as the color test on the left.)2. I've included this picture to demonstrate that I did do some testing first. It neverhurts to make many practice runs before the real thing...3. This was my second test. Here I only used a teaspoon of epoxy and hardener. Iwanted to see how well the water based color would work with the resin. It tookmuch longer to harden fully, and it proved that I needed more yellow.
First I needed casting material. I could have used plaster or latex. Plaster would produce a very porous and hard mold and would likely only give me one casting. Liquidlatex would give me a nice, permanent mold but would take way too much time and work by building the casting in layers. Besides, the latex would very much irritate mythumb.What I finally decided on was a product called "instaMOLD" made by Activa Products, Inc. ($10.50US), a water based compound that would firm up in minutes and wouldbe reusable a few times. The problem is, would it work with plastics? What kind of plastic should I use?Searching the plastic compounds at the hobby store proved fruitless. All of them would harden too hard for what I wanted or were way too expensive. Finally it occurredto me that most of them were some form of epoxy. Why not use regular epoxy? Studying the different epoxies that were available I concluded that the longer settingepoxy would produce the more flexible result, so 12 or 30 minute epoxy would probably be my best choices. Besides, I'd want to color the epoxy before pouring it in themold and less that 12 minutes would probably be pushing it. This time, I'm working with the 12 Minute Epoxy ($9.95US).Lastly, I needed color... Flesh is actually kind of easy to mix. Just Pink and Yellow. Having no idea how well they would work I bought 2 bottles of Delta brand Candle &Soap Colors for $13.99US each. Note that because the colors are water-based, they will have an adverse reaction to the epoxy mixture. The epoxy won't firm up quite ashard as it would have, so we must use as little color as will produce the desired result. For my first color experiment, I used 6 drops of pink, 12 drops of yellow and ateaspoon each resin and hardener. The result was still too pink (need more yellow) and was a little too soft (actually eerily close to real skin & muscle!). I've decided that Iwill be using 6 drops of pink and 18 drops of yellow for the full casting (about 3 tablespoons of epoxy mix). We'll see how well it works by the end of this instructable! :)Oh yea! We still need the USB drives don't we? Well, I've currently got two without cases and a few more that can easily become case-less. That should be enough tostart with...Finally, we need a few small dixie cups, stirring sticks and measuring spoons. The dixie cups I used were the perfect size to cast my thumb and mix the epoxy.Disposable containers always make a project like this easier. Less cleanup!