DEGASSING- does it help?

Questions about Making Your Own Lures

DEGASSING- does it help?

Postby Fomen38 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:00 pm

Even though this topic is posed as a question- it's not. I'm here to tell you guys definitively, and emphatically "YES"! For over a year I have struggled with the "Flex" line of casting resins. I tried everything under the sun to get the optimum cure, with about 30% success rate. Casting resins aren't cheap, so I was watching dollars being flushed down the drain. And in conjunction; since the curing and demolding time for the flex product takes hours (and requires patience- an attribute I lack at times), I found my frustration level exacerbated. I had several correspondences with Mike from Alumilite. He emphasized the temperament of the Flex line of resins, and the potential curing issues that could ensue when the product wasn't properly degassed. I did everything in my power to try to get the product to work without going down the route of buying or making a degassing chamber. I warmed the product to decrease it's viscosity so that air bubbles could more easily escape. I would shake the product vigorously and then let it sit in the warm cab of my truck for about 30 minutes to allow the bubbles to rise. Then I would very slowly measure and mix the two components being careful to stir and not whip air into the product. My castings were NEVER consistent. Sometimes it would work great, but more often than not the piece would be crumbly and soft. After a persuasive phone call with Mike, I finally buckled and decided to make one for myself. I know Alumilite sells degassing chambers, but I was able to make one for 1/4 of the cost with a vacuum pump and plumbing fittings from HF Tools, and $6 piece of 1/2" thick acrylic from Ridout Plastics.

The nice thing about using a vacuum chamber is you can mix the crap out of the product and not concern yourself with incorporating air. You're going to pull it all out anyways. So yesterday I mixed up 15 grams of A and B sides of Flex80. I stuck them in my vacuum chamber and degassed them for about 1 minute. That's all it took to get every bubble out of the resin. I poured it into a small measuring cup and let it cure in my toaster over for about 3 hours at 120 degrees. The product came out PERFECT! It's relatively indestructible! I could smash it with a hammer, and it would just bounce off of it.

So- I said all that to say this. If you have been wondering if you should invest in a vacuum chamber to degass you silicone or resins, the answer is YES! The final product absolutely, positively WILL be better than if you hadn't degassed it.

As far as storage, I transfer my resins into mason jars, and I label the jar and the lid with the product, and which component (A or B) is inside. You don't want to mix the lids and cross contaminate. I vacuum out the air after each use to ensure no contamination from moisture. The product will last way longer if you do this.

Mike sells degassing chambers on the Makelure and Alumilite websites. But you can also find numerous instructional videos of how to make your own on YouTube. If you guys are into fabricating lures from goop (like I am), it is worth the investment. After the first time you use it, you will be thankful you have it. Also, if you are into smoking meats (as I am), you can throw wood chinks into your degassing chamber with some water, and turn on the pump. You can saturate your wood chunks throughout in 5 minutes, as apposed to letting them soak overnight or over the course of several days.

Just my $.02.
Fomen38
 
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Re: DEGASSING- does it help?

Postby Mike - Alumilite » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:12 pm

Great post and very informative. Yes, degassing increases your success rate and ultimate physical properties when pouring silicones, clear resins, or our Flex series casting resins.

Just to reiterate, the ideal process is to degas A and B in separate cups prior to measuring/mixing, then once measured and mixed ... degas again to remove the air you just stirred in, then pour. You do not need to degas the silicone base or catalyst prior to mixing ... simply degas after measuring and mixing. We only pre-degas the faster open time resins such as the clears and flexes in order to reduce the amount of time degassing requires after we mix them.

We do sell pumps and chambers but as Formen38 mentions, there are other sources. We simply offer them for people that have a difficult time finding a big enough pump that they know will work for our materials.

I will throw out a word of caution ... be extremely careful if you decide to build your own. The amount of vacuum (negative air pressure) these pumps produce is extreme and if the pot is not rated or can not handle the amount of vacuum, a very serious accident could happen. Please do your research or find someone that makes chambers that are well overrated for the application.

Thanks again Scott for the post.
Mike
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Re: DEGASSING- does it help?

Postby Fomen38 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:52 pm

One of the advantages of living in a large metropolitan area is availability and access to a huge variety of materials. There are 3 Harbor Freight Tools here. I bought the 2 stage, 3 CFM vacuum pump. I used a 20% coupon on it. I bought all the necessary plumbing fittings for about $20. I bought a hand held vacuum pump for bleeding brake lines just to get the vacuum gauge off of it. I also bought some pipe threading paste as it makes a MUCH better seal than Teflon tape does. I also needed to buy a 1/4"-18 NPT tap to thread the acrylic sheet to fit the threads on the plumbing. That cost me $8 at Lowes. The chamber pot I'm using is a stainless steel pot I bought from Chef City (which is a wholesale restaurant supply company). That cost me $20. I work for the phone company, and we have rubber mats we use at power sub ststions where high voltage protection is necessary in the case of a difference in ground potential. I was able to cut out a perfect gasket from the rubber mat. It's very soft, and about 1/8" thick.

My first attempt was a failure as I underestimated the vacuum pressure. I bought a 1/4" thick piece of acrylic as a lid. It took about 5 seconds of vacuuming before the "implosion" occurred. Fortunately it was a dry run, and the only casualty was the acrylic sheet itself. I returned the following day to purchase a thicker sheet (1/2") which works splendidly. I placed a flow valve on both ends of the plumbing so I can lock in the vacuum pressure if I want to turn off my pump.

I'm glad you responded, because I hadn't thought about degassing the components individually before mixing, and then degassing again. I will DEFINITELY do that next time.

I don't think people understand the versatility of a vacuum chamber. Not only for degassing resins and silicone's, but for marinading meats as well. You can take a bowl with meat and marinade in it, place it inside of the vacuum chamber, and in 5 minutes you can get the same results as you would in 24-48 hours of normal marinading- LITERALLY! Especially with a vacuum chamber that has a lot of vacuum pull to it. If you like to make beef jerky and don't want to wait hours for the meat to marinade, then use your vacuum chamber! 5-10 minutes and you're done!
Fomen38
 
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Re: DEGASSING- does it help?

Postby Mike - Alumilite » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:34 pm

Implosion!?!?! That's scary! I've heard of less than 5 in my life and none turned out as good as yours. Its basically a bomb going off. The bigger the chamber, the bigger the implosion. Glad you are alright!

You are absolutely correct, there are a many uses and tons of advantages to having it.
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Re: DEGASSING- does it help?

Postby eatsleepswimbait » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:49 pm

Sweet deal. My question is, will this cut the time for pouring the hard resin into mold, does this mprove hardness for resin with microballoons (as i heard the microballoons decrease the hardness of hard resin), lastly would be willing to fwd a pic via pm to give me an idea of how ur degaaser looks like. Thanks
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Re: DEGASSING- does it help?

Postby eatsleepswimbait » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:29 pm

Because microballoons can affect its strength does degassing help to make it stronger, also does it reduce the time to cure if degassing when mixed
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