11.17.2006

My First Foam Latex Run

I still can't believe it actually happened :D

It didnt rain......the foam didnt gel in the bowl....the toaster oven didnt fizzle out....objects weren't ruined by flying foamy spray...it all went well......some might say, too well :)

The day started perfectly, beautiful weather, sunny but cool.....I got out of bed and first thing, signed online and checked the humidity and temp in my zip code.....actually, no, that's wrong....the FIRST thing I did was watch Regis & Kelly, to see a few holiday puppets in action, armatured by buddy Sven Bonnichsen at the Scarlet Letters, you can watch the clip here...THEN I checked the weather online....perfect conditions.....I hadn't gotten a chance to set up, so I cleaned my area of the kitchen by the slidey glass doors, got all my supplies ready, set up the fan & scale & mixer & foamcore splash guard, and headed outside to set up the toaster oven....unfortunately for me, during the summer months, wasps had nested in the frame of the door all along the track at the top....no problem, I fetched my bottle of Raid and went to war.....but you know what really sucks?......when your bottle of Raid runs out halfway through extermination of a colony of wasps...they don't like being exterminated, it turns out...........I ran......went to the store for a new can and then showed them who's boss :P then I had to hose down and scrub the door to get rid of the poison, and knock down the nests.....after my wife got home from work, we had dinner and Smallville, and THEN I got to work....The day started at 54* with 54% humidity.....almost ideal.....but by the time I got to mixing, it was 49* with 74% humidity......from these numbers, I ultimately decided to go with the exact measurements laid out by GM.....normally you would offset the cold temp by adding more gelling agent, and you would offset the high humidity by using less gelling agent, so I figured they would balance out....

Single Batch = 150g latex base, 30g foaming agent, 15g curing agent, & 14g gelling agent

Mixed in a Sunbeam Mixmaster, small bowl (I had virtually no splatter!!), following the guidelines for a 'normal temperature' room (68-74*)...again, I did a little averaging with the temp as well.....the thermostat in my house was set at 75*, but the table/splashguard/fan was set up in the back doorway with the door open, so I figured the actual temp would be a little cooler....

Here's my schedule:
9:33pm, speed 1, 1 minute--I constantly scraped the side of the bowl with my rubber spatula, throughout the entire mixing process
9:34pm, speed 6, 6 minutes--here you'll start to notice the foam fluffing up
9:40pm, speed 4, 3 minutes
9:43pm, speed 1, 3 minutes
9:46pm, speed 1, 1.5 minutes, added gelling agent slowly, drizzling around the edge of the bowl

Then I quickly brushed the foam latex batter into the mold halves (which had already been coated with mold release) and poured enough into each half to fill it.....these minutes were extremely tense, I was expecting gelled foam at any second but it didn't happen....I smooshed the halves of the mold together, spewing foam out the sides and everywhere, making a mess....I put way too much foam in there :)

I had to wire the halves together because I forgot to get me some mold-straps, then I let it sit to gel, which happened almost immediatley.....I'm telling you, if I had dallied for another 30 seconds somewhere, it would've been a failure....I let it sit for about 10 minutes anyway, peeled off the excess that had dripped around the mold, and waited until the foam left in the bowl was completely gelled....uncured (uncooked) gelled foam has a strange consistency, foam without the springiness....dents stay pushed in....
I went outside and turned on the toaster oven, set to 200*....recommended temp is around 185* but since the oven was outside in 50* weather, I turned it up a little and cooked it a little longer.....Tree Monster went into the oven at 10:00 and cooked until 1:00 am....

More coming soon, I'm eager to go seam :)

3 comments:

Darkstrider said...

Wow... all that gooey stuff on your hands is so scary Gumby had to hide his eyes!

herself said...

He's a foam maker, damit!

Darkstrider said...

Hmmm... foam maker - home maker. Yes, I see it.

The apron, the gloves.....