Silicone Mold for Tripod, Part 1.

The pattern for a tripod replacement part.

The pattern for a tripod replacement part.

This was posted as my thing-a-day project for February 8.

Yesterday I made a replacement part for a tripod I bought at a garage sale. The Sculpey clay part probably would work but I can make a stronger part if I cast it in a urethane plastic. I will be making a two part mold to cast the new piece. Today I’m creating the first part of my silicone mold.

Alumilite Casting Kit Materials

Alumilite Casting Kit Materials

I’m starting by cleaning up the surface of the pattern. It would be great if the top surface and bottom surface are parallel to each other. Since the tripod has an adjustment for tilt, I’m more concerned with keeping the top and bottom surface flat. I’m using sandpaper to prepare these surfaces.

Flattening the surfaces.

Flattening the surfaces.

The silicone mold making materials are expensive and I don’t want to waste them by making this part of the mold any larger than necessary. I found a thin cardboard box that held soft drink cans to form the box. I’ve placed the pattern in the center then rolled out some more Sculpey clay. This time I’m not worried about curing the clay. I’m using the new clay to form a ring outside the pattern part. I intend for this ring to be used as a way of fitting the two part mold together with the proper orientation. I’m not being very careful at laying this out in a perfect square because I’m counting on the irregularities to orient the correct position when we create the second part of the mold later.

Positioning the pattern in the box.

Positioning the pattern in the box.

I intended to tape the sides of the box together but the tape had a hiding place of its own, a rubber band came to the rescue.  I folded the box sides up to be held in place by the rubber band instead. With my container built, its now time to start mixing the silicone mold compound.

Measuring the materials.

Measuring the materials.

With the mixture ready, its time to pour the goop over the pattern.

Beginning the pour.

Beginning the pour.

Filling the container so each side is covered by at least a quarter inch of material.

Finishing The Pour.

Finishing The Pour.

All that’s left now is the cleanup and waiting for the silicone to cure. The instructions suggest letting it cure for 24 hours. Until tomorrow – for the second part of my two part mold.

About SomeoneKnows
(c) 2010 Vince Thompson

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