When it comes to different resins, epoxies tend to be stronger and less brittle. And as a result, epoxies have great flexural strength. However, epoxy resins don't come readily mixed but in two parts.
These parts are mixed with ratios of resin to hardener but with the weight in mind. Epoxy resin's beauty is that it has a very long pot life, giving you more working time. You won't have to worry about your mixture gelling fast.
In addition to a longer working time, the epoxy. takes a shorter time to demold, roughly eight hours, and can be sanded after 12 to 18 hours. When measured and mixed right, the epoxy resin might take five to seven days to cure fully.
So, you must concentrate on correctly mixing and measuring epoxy resin for the best results. But what are the things to consider before this important step? Discussed below are some great tips that are guaranteed to boost your outcome. Let's get mixing!
1. Choose The Right Type Of Resin
There are three classes of epoxy to choose from: pure epoxy, polyester resins, and epoxy acrylates. These types of epoxy differ in terms of properties and performance. If you aren't sure which type of epoxy you want, consider visiting an epoxy resin supply store and consulting professionals.
Pure epoxy consists of resin and hardener. When these are mixed right, it offers less shrinkage and high strength performance but cures slowly. The remaining two types have a faster curing time and can be made under low temperatures. So, go through all the features that each class offers and settle on an option that works well for you.
2. Find The Correct Mixing Ratio
The mixing ratios of resin mostly vary depending on the manufacturer. The general mixture ratio is usually 1:1 or 2:1, depending on your desired amount. However, some manufacturers tend to include more complicated instructions. And as a result, you must carefully read the manufacturer's instructions.
Alternatively, you might opt to measure the weight for the perfect outcomes. For weight, read the instructions from the manufacturer and follow accordingly. So, for your resin to work as desired, ensure that you determine the optimum mixing ratio and follow instructions.
3. Use Compatible And High-Quality Resins And Colorants
You need to settle for high-quality resins and colorants like buying any good. It might be considered more expensive than other products, but it's worth investing in. Great quality resin is guaranteed to remain clear during the curing process.
Cheap resins tend to have a yellowish discoloration or don't cure fast, which ruins the end products. So, to avoid spending more on cheap products, save time and save up for quality products.
4. Get The Right Mixing Tool
For resin to work well, it must be thoroughly mixed and free of too much air. So, for optimal mixing, choose a tool that has straight sides. This tool will allow you to mix the resin and hardener that sticks to the bottom and sides of the container.
When mixing smaller quantities, a flat spatula will be perfect. If you can't find a tool with straight sides, consider buying special resin mixing sticks that are reusable.
5. Maintain The Right Temperature
Resin is a heat-sensitive material that requires great attention when being cast. If you opt for temperatures below 20 degrees Celcius (°C), the curing process will be much slower. It's also laborious as a waxy layer can form on the surface and must be removed before further processing.
You should note that the resin may begin to crystallize if the temperature drops below 20°C. However, if you cure your resin at temperatures above 20°C, the reaction time will increase.
So, you might have to opt for longer processing if you choose this temperature level. Curing epoxy resin outside might take longer, especially if the temperature drops.
6. Find The Right Size Mixing Container
When mixing epoxy resin, heat tends to be generated from chemical reactions due to exothermic reactions. The intensity of the reaction depends on the amount mixed and the space in the mixing container.
First, look over the manufacturer's instructions to determine how much resin you mix. This will help you avoid problems. Go for a wider mixing container to avoid losing heat. For low reactive casting, go for larger mixing containers that also take larger quantities.
The mixing process of epoxy resin is more than just mixing two components. And with it being quite costly, you may not want to waste it unnecessarily by careless handling. So, don't add water to your mixture to achieve a perfect result, as you'll have a negative effect. Finally, when coloring epoxy resin, find compatible color pastes, coloring agents, and pigments.