Sunglasses Holder

This post documents the series of errors, messes, and disasters I created when I tried to make another copy of a thing I already have. This is that thing:

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It's a porcelain nose that holds glasses. Cool, right!? But we only have one, and we want more. So I tried to make another out of plastic.

The Plan

Get some Mold-making Silicone from Amazon (for about $30) and make a copy of the thing out of some Casting Resin (for about $33). I went ahead and got some Mold Release too ($15).

I don't know how much the porcelain nose cost in the first place, but it was likely less than $78. Still, it will be a fun project. Right?

So I built a box out of foam core board and sealed everything up with hot glue.

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First Problem

I made the box too big. So one package of mold-making silicone wasn't enough to submerge the thing. Luckily, the liquid and solid forms bond just fine, so this shouldn't be a problem. I went back to Amazon and got more silicone (new total cost $108).

However, the box I made was so ridiculously oversize that TWO batches of mold-making silicone were not enough.

So I grabbed some shot glasses and used them to displace some silicone at the corners. That raised the level of the mold above the top of the part I was trying to capture. It ended up looking weird, but working fine after I pulled the box walls off. 

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Second Problem

I didn't have a disposable plastic mixing bucket big enough to hold an entire batch of silicone, so I used a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. It worked fine for mixing and pouring, but I learned a hard lesson: silicone sticks to glass. I spent an hour trying to clean it up before I realized they have new cups on Amazon for $12. That also means those shot glasses ($7) are a permanent part of my nose mold, bringing the total cost to $127. But since we don't really do shots anyway, call it $120.

Unmolding

It worked! It's another nose!

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The shape is pretty good. I can see a few bubble defects on the surface, especially near the bottom, and the base has some sharp edges, but it's definitely a nose. I used some 120-grit and 1500-grit sandpaper to clean up the sharp edges and make the bubbles less noticeable.

 Needs a little clean-up with sandpaper

Needs a little clean-up with sandpaper

Technically, I only used $33 worth of consumable material. If I had measured carefully, I could have made two from that supply of resin. If I had cut my mold box more carefully, I definitely could have cast it with one package of silicone.

Sure it was expensive, but all of the messes were cleanable, nobody got hurt, and next time I'll be way better at it.