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Hi

 

I'm not sure if this is the right section... but here goes

 

I'm interested in making some dental plaster bases for some of my upcoming minis.

 

I will be making some basic patterns (ie cobblestone, dungeon floor, dirt) and then making molds - since my sister is a dentist she will be assisting in making molds (using the mold making stuff from dentures etc), so they will be about 10cm square max.

 

From peoples experience what is the maximum size a plaster base can be before it starts becoming structurally weak?

 

For making slightly more complex bases, what are the limitations of resin? I know plaster will only mold to a certain extent of upraised detail... but I also am aware that resin destroys molds faster...

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Thickness plays a big part in it. I've got a failed attempt at a hedge (too many cavities, not worth fixing) on my painting desk that's about 3/4" square by 9" long that seems more or less indestructible as far as impacts are concerned. As durable as wood, anyway. The Hirst Arts tiles don't seem to be much bigger than 40mm or so, and they seem to be pretty good at what they do. I wouldn't go much bigger than that at standard base thickness (3mm?).

 

8787296527_eedb445fb8_c.jpg
P1000860 by kitchen_wolf, on Flickr

 

Everything but the mousling is made out of Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty. It seems to hold up - I coated the bottoms with a thick layer of Elmer's glue as a moisture barrier as much as anything else. Folks tend to assume it's resin unless told otherwise. Dental stone is probably at least as strong.

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I'm going to put in a pitch for Hirst Arts molds since they're already done, precise and nicely detailed. They're also, well, completed molds.

 

If you're going to make your own there's a wealth of types of silicone to use.

 

Having said all that kitchen_wolf is correct that thickness is a key factor since that's where you're going to have the most problems. As long as you have about 1/4" of constant thickness you're good up to about 2" x 2". A trick to helping the stability is to put a piece of 2mm foam sheet underneath so that you've got even more stability. I do this with assembled pieces.

 

Depending on your plaster it can take a lot of detail. Merlin's Magic is a very strong plaster that a lot of people use for detailed pieces that need structural integrity. I use Hydrostone for the majority of my casting and it turns out pretty good even for bases. Those bases don't have a lot of raised detail.

 

If you take a little extra time when pouring the plaster you can avoid most bubbles even in troublesome cavities. I'll gladly talk with you offline about the various methods and how they've worked for me. I can get pretty good casts consistently using the brute force method.

 

Resin can degrade a mold faster and a number of people set up vacuum chambers to assist with bubble free casting. I haven't done any resin casting but others have.

 

Hirst Arts has a forum that is most helpful and may be able to answer a lot of your questions even if you don't use his molds.

 

Hope this helped.

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Thanks for the responses. The main reason I'm going for making my own rather than using premade molds to start with (Hirst do look VERY pretty) is mostly variety. In order to get the variety I was hoping for I would have to buy at least 4 molds. That would add up to be a bit, including international shipping (29*4 + 24 = $140). Since I'm still in the experimentation stages (can I really be bothered) I don't want to spend too much money.

At this stage I will just be making use of facilities already available (dental lab, mold making stuff etc), paying for the mold making materials and grabbing about 1-2 kgs worth of dental plaster off my sister.

 

I have no idea what the dental plaster I will be getting from my sister is, but its coloured apparently (yellow I think she said) and is the strongest and takes the best details of the stuff she has available.

 

If you don't mind I would love to take you up on that offer to talk what things do and don't work when casting plaster for you Rastl.

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Any time. I've done quite a bit of casting (not as much as Castlebuilder - he's a machine) but a fair amount. I've based minis on them too. The good thing about the molds is that you never run out of bases!

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