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Beardie

Acrylic resin help/info required (not model related)

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Hello everybody, just wondering if anyone amongst our illustrious members has ever done any work with acrylic resin. The reason that I ask is that I recently had a new set of bagpipes made with mounts (those bits that are usually creamy white real or imitation ivory on bagpipes) turned from a purple and emerald green acrylic resin that the maker had to import from the US for me. Because of the size of available resin blanks (usually used to turn fancy pens on lathes apparently) I had to have relatively small diameter mounts compared to the usual style. In the case of the pipes in question it worked out really well I think (that's them in the picture) but I am in talks with the maker to create another really unusual and individual set at some point in the future and I am wondering if it's possible to make your own acrylic resin and what sort of techniques and equipment would be needed. I am thinking that the ideal would be cylindrical billets of around two inches diameter and as far as 'visuals' I would be looking to create sort of a marbled finish. Each piece needn't be more than a few inches long though. All help and advice greatly appreciated. 

 

BonnieGoblins1

 

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If you have some pattern pieces, it would be very easy to make RTV rubber molds and copy them.

Blank pieces that you turn yourself ought to be even easier. Fill a bit of tubing with your resin and turn it down.

Drill it out or embed a bit of brass tubing into your casting?

 

A clear resin with some colour swirled through would give you the marbelized effect in any colour you like.

 

Polyurethane would probably be a good choice. (Whatever you call it over there...)

Edited by Tzulscha

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22 hours ago, Beardie said:

I am wondering if it's possible to make your own acrylic resin and what sort of techniques and equipment

 

Not per se, no. Not unless you have access to a chemical plant somewhere

It is possible to use acrylic resin and add colorant to produce your own custom color/patterned resin.  However for the quality you want you wouldn't be able to do it at home without some investment.  The density of the resin is important in order for it to withstand the stresses encountered during normal use. Any air/voids would weaken the structure.

I'm not 100% certain but I think the blanks you used would have been extrusion molded, or perhaps compression molded.

Some new molding presses have the ability to mold colored 'swirls' in plastic as per your connectors (very nice by the way)... but the cost of a mold and initial volumes would probably be prohibitive.

 

do you use Canmore bags by any chance ?  (I used to be involved with those, many years ago.)

 

another question... are those connector sizes "standard" on all pipes ?  Do you think there is a market for those? 

Edited by hendie

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My apologies @hendie , I didn't mean actually creating acrylic resin but rather buying some kind of liquid acrylic resin kit and trying to create suitable cylindrical blanks. The material of the mounts on the pipes pictured came in square cross section turning blanks of around six inches long. The mounts aren't actually connectors of any description but, rather they are threaded (on good pipes anyway) onto the African blackwood and their purpose is to be both decorative and try and prevent splitting of the wood due to moisture from playing. 

 

In reply to your question about a market for them @hendie . That is one that is a bit 'hit and miss' could be popular but could flop badly. The piping world tends to be very conventional in the main with only the occasional nutter like myself. I did float the idea of making a mounting system for pipes with one of the big name bagpipe makers in Scotland but they didn't bite. My idea was that a threaded metal sleeve of a standard size could be permanently mounted where the mounts would be and you would get sets of mounts that would simply screw onto the sleeves. The pipe maker in question said that, while they liked the idea the nature of how pipes are made with final turning to blend the ends of the mounts onto individual sets meant it wouldn't work. 

 

I certainly think there might be a market for cylindrical billets suitable for turning, particularly ones that simulate natural materials like horn and ivory.

 

I do Indeed use canmore bags @hendie The latest variety with a zipper on the side for access and a leather outer cover to simulate a traditional bag. I have used nothing but canmore for twenty years. Interested to know what part you played in them.

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Hi Beardie,

Coloured resin is very popular in the wood turning community. Plenty of shops - such as Turner's Retreat - stock resin, metallic and coloured pigments (including fluorescent).

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Thanks @bhouse I will check it out. The problem I and my pipe maker found was that while there are many ready made billets around they are generally designed for making pens or for Knife scales and so aren't large enough in cross section to make standard sized bagpipe mounts. Also I do like the idea of having a couple of very eye-catching and unique sets of mounts made. The biggest problem I can foresee at the moment is avoiding bubbles in the resin. I think that a vacuum chamber might be required and I don't have one. 

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Beardie,

I worked for the company way over a decade ago when they were still made in Livingston (and I was back in the UK).   My involvement in Canmore was only peripheral - the design was long established when I joined but I did some work on the seam sealing equipment and the welding equipment.  I remember we did some other designs but nothing ever came of them.  At one point there was also an idea for a pipers cape (ideal for Scotland weather) but again, nothing ever came of that either. 

 

Have you considered stabilized wood ?   You can get those in sizes larger than pen blanks - and the effects can be amazing

 

il_794xN.1997093091_10gk.jpg

 

il_794xN.1997074237_qzbr.jpg

 

To do acrylic casting you would need to:

Fully mix a batch of resin with accelerant and add required color (or leave transparent)

Fully mix another batch with accelerant and with alternate color

Those  colors would have to be completely mixed in on order to cure properly, then

Mix those two batches together - but not fully mix if you are trying to achieve the swirly pattern

Leave to cure.

 

I've seen people have issues with vacuum chambers - if there's any bubbles inside the part, those bubbles can enlarge and propagate under vacuum and destroy the part. (Unless you have a very effective vacuum)

A pressure vessel may be a better option - increasing pressure so any bubbles/voids inside the part are minimized.

 

 

you could maybe try approaching some of the stabilized wood suppliers (Etsy ?) and see if they can do custom sizes for you  (assuming the stabilized wood will work for the intended purpose)

Even if you can't get a single blank large enough - wood can easily be glued and obtain an almost invisible join when clamped.

 

 

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Hi @hendie You never know I might have played a bag sealed with equipment you worked on 😀 I certainly bought a bag or two back in the 00's. 

 

I have been casting around and the equipment required in terms of vacuum chambers etc. looks like it could become very expensive very quickly with no guarantee of success let alone of the project paying for itself. From what you detail about it could be very tricky trying to produce a dual coloured let alone multi-coloured material.

I had been contemplating trying to simulate agate and malachite in particular and these would take at least two colours in a variety of shades and, in regard of agate I would be trying to achieve roughly concentric circles. The main aim of this project is just to produce one more bespoke set of pipes. Besides anything else my pipe maker, a fellow called Charles McGoldrick from Enniskillen is no youngster and he has told me that, apart from, hopefully, making one more special set of pipes for me has decided to retire from making bagpipes. A real shame as the fellow is very talented. 

 

I had contemplated the stabilised wood as some of it looks incredible but I have always wondered just how much strength and integrity the material has. Having seen a few sets of old bagpipes where expanding wood in the joints of an instrument has split ivory and even thin silver mounts I would be looking for something that would be pretty tough.

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17 hours ago, Beardie said:

I think that a vacuum chamber might be required and I don't have one.

Lots of YouTube info on how to make one that may or may not work. To my mind a proper pressure vessel and pump are well worth while. They cost from about £40 upwards (depending on size and quality) and are readily available online. Search for 'degassing kit'.

 

Edited to add:

I've always used vacuum for degassing and have never had any problems. However, the are many who insist that using high pressure to compress the bubbles is more effective. I plan to stay with what's worked for me.

 

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8 hours ago, Beardie said:

I have always wondered just how much strength and integrity the material has

Resin stabilised wood is much more... stable than the natural material.

Brian

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Oh I agree with that assessment but, at the same time would it be as strong as a solid resin? I have had experience with pipes in the past where the mounts were made of wood and unfortunately as wood is wont to do they often split along the grain as there is no way to use wood that avoids these weak spots.

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I've turned pieces from resin-impregnated wood in which a split has occurred - always, of my memory serves, in a part of the wood that had not been saturated with resin. With experience, you can spot pieces that are likely to be problematic and avoid them.

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Ah so you have direct hands-on experience of the material. Good to know. I don't think my pipe maker friend has ever worked with anything other than solid wood, ivory, horn and silver prior to me appearing to make his life more difficult with brass and plastic and all things weird and wonderful.  I would love to have a shot at turning wood myself but I don't have the space or the money for a lathe and wood supplies. I am informed that the African Blackwood for one set of pipes is several hundred pounds. Not stuff for a cack-handed fellow like me to be let loose on. 

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If you're curious but not ready to invest in a lathe and some tools, you could try a one or two day introduction course. Here's a website that lets you search for courses by your location. I can;t guarantee there'll be one in the next village but you never know...

 

The introductory courses are usually run by very experienced turners and if you tell them of your interests before the course I'm sure they'll do all they can to tailor it to your interests.

 

Ádh mór! ( is that right for your flavour of Gaelic?)

 

Brian

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I do believe there is a turner or two in my little village but I don't know who or where they are. I might make some enquiries. 

 

In Scottish Gaelic it would be Sealbh Ort or Sealbh Oirbh for the formal version although there are also a number of other ways of saying the same thing. It's funny we have Mi-Adhmhor for misfortune but we don't or at least I haven't come across Adh Mor being used for good luck.

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14 minutes ago, Beardie said:

I haven't come across Adh Mor being used for good luck.

That'll be my Irish roots showing ;)

 

It would be a good idea to seek out some local turners, Turners are usually very happy to talk to anyone who's interested - especially those such as you with an insight into what's involved and what may be achieved. Good turners, by the way, are quite adept at hand cutting internal and external threads. My lack of ability in that department tells you all you need to know about my skills!

(off topic - I mainly produce work for others these days but you may be interested to know that I'm just starting work on a lap steel for myself  - early stages...)

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A lap steel... Interesting. I have never played one although I have always found myself rather taken with the sounds a good country steel player can produce. If I could I would have one of every musical instrument in existence and just spend all my days making noise 😀 Well that and playing with making things on lathes and milling machines etc. or painting pictures or building models. I guess that, one way or another, I just like making things.

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