Lego moulding system for Artisan keycaps

#1
Some of you may have seen this posted on Reddit, so I thought I would post it over here as well. A guy designed a system for easily aligning and swapping different profile and stem types so that you can get, for instance as he does in the video, an SA keycap with a Kailh Low Profile stem. Super cool stuff! Seems like it will make resin casting a lot easier.

 
#6
I have been looking at getting a vacuum pot instead of a pressure pot.
Its just removing air vs. making bubbles so small that you cannot see them.
Depending on the speed of your curing, and if you plan to vacuum your resins prior to pour or after pour, your results are going to not be necessarily as consistent vs pressure. At approximately 40+ PSI (? or is it Bar, I forget), the size of the air bubbles are generally small enough that clear resins become 'water' clear. If you vacuum post pour into the mould, bubbles escaping can dislodge your mould halves. If you vacuum prior to pour, the pour/inject can still introduce air...
 
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#7
Depending on the speed of your curing, and if you plan to vacuum your resins prior to pour or after pour, your results are going to not be necessarily as consistent vs pressure. At approximately 40+ PSI (? or is it Bar, I forget), the size of the air bubbles are generally small enough that clear resins become 'water' clear. If you vacuum post pour into the mould, bubbles escaping can dislodge your mould halves. If you vacuum prior to pour, the pour/inject can still introduce air...
How many bits and pieces are actually required for a functional casting setup?
  • Pressure pot (like $150-200?)
  • Any reasonable air comp ($150 ish)
  • Resins and crap ($100?)
  • Lego and accessories ($100?)
 
#8
How many bits and pieces are actually required for a functional casting setup?
  • Pressure pot (like $150-200?)
  • Any reasonable air comp ($150 ish)
  • Resins and crap ($100?)
  • Lego and accessories ($100?)
Ali would design some pretty epic keycaps man, and have an impeccably labeled and sorted storage system for them all. :)
 
#9
You can buy pre-fab pots upto $400, or you can cobble a pot around the price you indicated.

Besides that, you'd need a sculpting medium if you're doing sculpted caps and not straight up blanks/copies of blanks.
Things like aepoxie, or CX5, or modelling clay etc, plus tools.

Resins and crap can get very expensive, silicone is expensive since you get low mL to $ due to its higher density.
Colourants/dyes also.
Mould release.
Then depending on how clean your casts are, you'll need things like flush cutters for sprues and flashing, and then various sanding mechanisms/tools (sandpaper/polish paper/files, buffing mediums etc).
 
#10
How many bits and pieces are actually required for a functional casting setup?
  • Pressure pot (like $150-200?)
  • Any reasonable air comp ($150 ish)
  • Resins and crap ($100?)
  • Lego and accessories ($100?)
I looked at this in UK as i'm in the EU.

Vacuum camper + vacuum pump 200 pounds
Silicone around 30 pounds
epoxy around 20 pounds
Lego (Either 8 $ for the L2K and what you have, or used for next to nothing.)

EDIT: Forgot Mould release, that is around 10 Pounds.
Dyes and Vacuum camper/Pressure pots are not required to get started casting.
 
Edited:
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#11
Thanks so much for sharing this Rogue_Jellybean! I'm actually "that guy" and I'm more than happy to answer questions anyone has about L2Ks and/or mold system design =)

As for budget pots, I recommend keeping an eye on this guy. He's made a DIY "pressure tube" and is doing some pretty badass R&D!
 
#12
Thanks so much for sharing this Rogue_Jellybean! I'm actually "that guy" and I'm more than happy to answer questions anyone has about L2Ks and/or mold system design =)

As for budget pots, I recommend keeping an eye on this guy. He's made a DIY "pressure tube" and is doing some pretty badass R&D!
To anyone that is considering creating their own pressure tube, chamber, box, other shape. Please keep in mind that you are creating what is essentially a bomb. If the housing is not strong enough to stand the pressure then the chamber WILL explode. If you decide to DIY a pressure vessel PLEASE take all safety percussion that you can, ware goggles and stay far away from the vessel itself when it is under pressure. (Be in another room when you start your compressor if possible.)

By the way love your product @Theglyph Will purchase one and test our after i get back from vacation.
Why do you recommend Pressure champers instead of Vacuum champers? Not hating or anything, but i have seen commercial vacuum champers cheaper that pressure champers.
 
#13
I also second the care required when making pressure devices. As I have an engineering background, I have personally seen the hazards of catastrophic pressure vessel failures. Statements like MehAdviceGuy and mine, are not meant to scare, but to educate.

Just make sure that you know the safe working pressure of your equipment, and ensure all care to not exceed it. Test your safety mechanisms regularly (relief valves), and also consider a containment device if you are unsure.

I don't have a video link to it, but one woodworking video who had a pressure setup for casting resin blanks to make pens built a double 2x4 thick chamber with drop in-lid (with a hole for the hose), which if the pot blew up, it would contain the pieces of the pot, and not burst sending timber everywhere. Seems like overkill to some, but I would certainly appreciate the extra space taken for the extra layer of safety.

As for the actual casting device, much kudos. I'd love to get a set to try and review. The cost isn't the issue in the grand scheme of things, but just my limited ability to cast at the moment due to small children and environment at home!
 
#14
By the way love your product @Theglyph Why do you recommend Pressure champers instead of Vacuum champers? Not hating or anything, but i have seen commercial vacuum champers cheaper that pressure champers.
I don't personally have a vacuum as all the polymers I like to use are low enough viscosity it's not necessary. My understanding is vacuum chambers don't help very much with bubble issues when casting resin which is my primary concern. I haven't heard of anyone consistently getting "production quality" resin with just a vacuum, but if can figure it out that would definitely save on equipment!
 
#15
Vacuum is more if you're doing large pour mouldings from what I can tell where due to the volume of mould you are mixing, its possible for the mould to cure with bubbles in it, causing collapsing when the casting material is poured. So you'd be vacuuming out your silicone , and not the resin/plaster etc.
 

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