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What is the shelf life of Alumilite?


ewahl
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I have been wanting to cast a couple of copies of the essentially scratchbuilt helmet used on my 2001 Astronaut figure, so I finally got up the courage to use the Alumilite molding rubber and casting resins I bought some years ago. All of the products were still sealed.

 

I made my mold box and mounted the helmet master in it. When I peeled the seal off the jar of white casting rubber to stir it before adding the catalyst, my stirring stick had to be pushed into the almost-set rubber material. If I could have gotten it loose from the jar, I could have held the entire contents of the jar up in the air like a giant white popsicle. The rubber hardly stuck to the wood. That resulted in my first trip to Hobby Lobby to buy $30 worth of new casting rubber. The new stuff worked very well and it made a nice mold.

 

Now I was ready to try mixing the equal amounts of the A and B liquids. First was the instruction to vigorously shake the B liquid. I could see through the clear wall of the container that the components had separated. I shook the stupid bottle for a good 10 minutes to try to remix the fluids. Unfortunately, what looked blended in the bottle was anything but when poured out. I knew I needed one ounce each of A and B to fill the mold. I poured out my unshaken A into one cup and my shaken B into another. The A looked fine, but the B was still a swirled mixture of unblended components--one very thin fluid and one very thick resin component. I mixed the A and B together and stirred as directed for 30 seconds and poured it into the mold. It was supposed to cure and set in the next 90 seconds or so. All my mix did was send up a gazillion bubbles through the mixture and separate more back into components. After 10 minutes I finally poured off the "juice" from the pouring hole and let the slush remaining cure for the next three days. The photo below shows what came out of the mold next to the original pattern. The material was still soft and had the appearance of lumpy tapioca. I've thrown it all out--$60 into the garbage. Now I need a second trip to Hobby Lobby to purchase new casting resins A and B.

 

2001Astronaut10_zps8c72484b.jpg

 

My only explanation for this result is that all my Alumilite products were too old despite being factory sealed in their original containers. Is six years or more too long? I have Pactra paints that are 30 years old that still work.

 

Thanks for reading this tale of expensive misery.

 

Ed

Edited by ewahl
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