(NOTE: The following was written and submitted by Tom Banwell, "the Master of Lumicast Resin Casting".... Mann Gallery does not sell this product and it is not available through the gallery, only through Tom Banwell. It is highly recommended.)
Casting resins are synthetic materials that are used to replicate three dimensional objects with great accuracy. Two liquid components are mixed together (along with fillers and coloring agents), poured into a flexible rubber mold, and allowed to set up hard through a chemical reaction.
The services that we offer include making the silicone rubber molds, casting parts in either urethane or polyester resin, and teaching others how to work with resin through seminars and the video The Art of Resin Dollmaking.
We can cast small runs of resin parts for you in whichever resin best suits your needs. The castings can be of figurines, doll parts, plaques, jewelry, sculptures, giftware, or prototypes for industry. Resin can be made to look like wood for woodcarvers, bronze for sculptors, Cernit or porcelain for dollmakers, ivory for scrimshanders, marble, granite, clay, etc.
The resin parts can be painted, or they can be cast already colored. They can be made heavy or light, opaque or translucent, shiny or matte. Call or e-mail us with your specific needs and we will advise you on which material will work best.
The material that we use for the rubber molds is RTV silicone rubber, which although relatively expensive, is the preferred material for flexible molds because of its strength, elasticity, durability, and ability to hold fine detail. Even fingerprints inadvertently left on the original sculpture are transferred clearly to the resin castings. The flexibility of RTV silicone allows for deep undercuts unimaginable in rigid molds.
Sculpt your original out of a hard material that can be sealed--Super Sculpey, Cernit, wood, porcelain, paperclay, plaster, etc. It is best if you can send your original sculpture in order to give you a quote. If you prefer, you can send us two photographs showing different views along with the dimensions of each piece--width, length, and height--and we will give you an estimate on casting your parts, or just the cost of making the mold if you wish to do your own casting. You will need to prepay for the molds, and we will bill your credit card for castings as they are shipped. We accept Visa and Mastercard.
Urethane resins range from a "fast cast" version which is opaque and sets up hard in five minutes, to a water-clear version which is used for translucent castings and requires six hours before it can be demolded. The characteristics that they hold in common are that they capture every little surface detail in the mold, and that they are simple to work with. Their disadvantage is that they are more expensive than polyesters, and that most of them yellow with age.
Most of the resins used by dollmakers--other than Lumicast™--are urethanes. They include Porcelite, Alumilite, Por-A-Kast, and Polytek's resins.
A translucent resin used by award-winning doll artists.....
Cover of Contemporary Doll Collector showing Ann Timmerman's doll made of Lumicast™< resin.
Lumicast™ is a translucent polyester based resin designed for original doll artists who wish to reproduce their one-of-a-kind Cernit or Fimo dolls without having to resculpt every one. It has a smooth, matte surface which is very beautiful with no checking.
We cast the parts under pressure so that any air bubbles are eliminated. The translucency of the resin can be varied to suit the artist's needs. By making the mix more opaque, Lumicast™ can be made to look like Super Sculpey or porcelain. The head can be cast with a cavity in the back extending to the eye sockets so that glass or acrylic eyes can be set in as they are done with porcelain dolls.
Lumicast™ can be made in virtually any color. Blush and eyeshadow can be applied using artists oil paints. Alkyd paints can be brushed on for an opaque look, ie. for teeth, fingernails, or painted eyes. While Lumicast™ is a tough material, it is not unbreakable and should be handled with care. It is quite a bit more durable than the polymer clays it is intended to resemble, and doesn't suffer from any of the problems associated with improper baking.
Dolls made of Lumicast™ lend themselves to limited editions because, unlike vinyl dolls which are mass-produced through injection molding, they are cast by hand, one doll at a time. Slight variations in individual dolls can be expected from this time-consuming process, which adds to the value of these highly collectible pieces.
Preparing the Original
If you are going to inset eyes, don't make the eyelids too thin on the original sculpture. Use round--not eye-shaped--eyes, with little or no paperweight. Send a duplicate eye to the ones in your sculpt so that we may bevel the eyes to fit. Your original doll parts are likely to be destroyed during the moldmaking process. If your original is in porcelain, set the eyes as you regularly would.
Treating the Lumicast™
You will need to clean and buff the Lumicast™ parts before they are ready to paint. We suggest that you start with a Dremel or other rotary tool to even out the parting line as needed, then use a succession of sandpaper and Scotchbrite pads to smooth everything out. Lastly, it is recommended that you brush the parts in the solvent styrene to even out the sheen. Acetone has a similar effect, but doesn't work nearly as well. It is advisable, though not necessary, to spray the parts with a clear sealer after you've done your painting. Darker ethnic colors may have white in the cracks left over from the chemical cleaning, and spraying over these areas will make the white disappear. Keep your resin dolls away from direct sunlight, as UV rays are damaging. Use a clear epoxy gel to cement the eyes and the resin pate in place.
Prices & Delivery
Silicone rubber molds will deteriorate and we can't guarantee that they will last longer than one year. We will guarantee you 50 Lumicast™ casting from each mold. An 18" doll with inset eyes and a head, shoulder plate, arms and legs will typically cost $700 for the molds and $45 to cast each doll. We can usually ship off a sample head of a new doll to you in two to three weeks. We require that you order a minimum of five cast sets for each new doll, with no minimum on reorders. Delivery is ususally three to four weeks. If you are in a hurry, we can usually "rush" your order for a 15% surcharge
Air dry Clays
Fimo and Cernit
One Artists View
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