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No0b soft plastic questions


Than

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So far, my lifetime total of shapes molded is ... 2.  Having fun, but I have a few no0b questions:

 

1) Should reheating cold plastic (in a microwave) after dying work?  My youtube-based "education" makes it sound like this is supposed to work, but it seemed like it turned the purple dye to a muddy brown?  (A cool color, btw, but not the intended one!)

2) The stiffness I am getting is much less than I expected.  (Cue the hilarious comments...)  My very first try was with regular plastic, so then I order up this "saltwater" stuff that Barlow's labels as "extra hard."

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But this also produced a floppier-than-expected result.  I can buy hardener, but it seems more likely that I am just doing something wrong.  Could it be that I am not quite getting to the transition temp (350F) during the heating?  Other common causes of floppiness?

3) I feel like I am sucking a lot of air into the injector, and this may be a cause of some large bubbles in the mold.  Anybody have a tip for a newb to do a better job drawing up plastic from the 1 cup Pyrex?  Or is that slurping sound OK and my large bubbles are caused by something else?

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The floppy issue is most likely due to not mixing the plastic well enough before heating. I know you may have shaken the bottle until you got dizzy, but sometimes that's not enough. 

 

I dump my gallons in a bucket and use a paint stirrer on a drill for a solid minute prior to use. That's the only way to get everything properly mixed. Dead on plastic is particularly sensitive to this. Lots of new guys watch a WWF video, grab a gallon of Dead On and get gooey baits. 

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Thanks so much!  This forum community rules.  I'm so glad I asked because I was guessing that I was under-heating, and I don't think I ever would have thought to stir more before heating.

 

Just for fun, here's my safety outfit (no I'm not cooking Meth in my backyard!!) and my sorta-plausible creation that led to the above questions:

image.thumb.jpeg.047a45f2780664b0c0a7ca32333b2e3f.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.5d1f6d2eabcc30825c0b5de71746f59f.jpeg

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  • Super User

I just pulled down a gallon of Calhoun’s medium that had been setting for a year.  It was totally separated.  A few minutes with my wire and drill got it mixed and I shot some baits that turned out good.  Try it.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Super User

Get yourself an oven probe digital thermometer.  One that can read up to 400° F or more.  You can find a cheap one on Amazon or at Walmart or whatever.  I think I spent $10 on mine.  The more expensive IR thermometers only read surface temperatures, so they're not very accurate for this type of work (even though you'll see lots of guys on YT using them).  That way you can know your exact temperature and not overheat or underheat anything.  Don't worry about the plastic sticking to the probe.  After it cools, it'll wipe off easily.  

 

I actually prefer to use a hotplate, as I find it much easier to control and maintain a specific temperature.  But microwaves will still work just as well, so long as you constantly check your temps.

 

And always melt a good bit more than you need.  You can reuse the leftovers so long as you don't burn them.  And having more than you need is essential to eliminating air bubbles, which is what that slurping sound is.  With more than you need, your injector tip is always submerged in the melted plastic while drawing in new plastic. 

 

I also like the hot plate because I can warm the injector while melting the plastic (on the edge of the hot plate), which keeps the plastic from hardening in the injector and causing it to clog and introduce air.  You can't microwave your injector, but it would probably be wise to find some method of keeping it warm. 

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