Resin Experiments Part 3: Smooth-On resin and ResinObsession resin

20150730_203000Because I love finding new things, once my original resins were used up, I ordered from a couple of companies I haven’t tried yet.

Resin Obsession

First up was Super Clear Resin from the website Resin Obsession, a site where I learned tons about working with resin. While I was at it, I got a flower mold and a pack of toobies (and such great little things they turned out to be!).

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toobies! for all your tubing needs

I’ve been happily crafting ever since. All the stuff I got works really well.

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Resin Obsession Super Clear Resin

The proprietary Resin Obsession resin is marketed as low-odor and low-bubbling, and it really, really is. You will not really notice the smell, and it’s perfectly okay to use in the room where you sleep (which is where I’m crafting).

It’s a bit weird to mix because part B is noticeably more liquid than part A (a bit like trying to mix water and liquid soap), but that’s not a big deal, and with a slow steady mixing, you will get it to a uniform consistency.

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Everything here was made using the Resin Obsession brand resin

It is NOT a doming resin, which is something I didn’t realize when I bought it- but it’s great for all the other applications. If you’re making castings, flat pendants, encasing dried flowers, stiffening fabric or paper, etc., etc., this will work great for you.

One more slight con against it- if you mix too much at once, or add part B too quickly, it might heat up and start to give off a little smoke. This means the chemical reaction is proceeding way too fast, and the whole thing will harden in a couple of minutes.

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This happened when I was making the red bracelet pictured here. I finished it anyway by mixing up a fresh batch and pouring it on top and around the prematurely hardened resin.

It’s not dangerous and nothing to be afraid of, but it’s something to watch out for, and it happened to me one time. I think I lost a bracelet-full of resin that way, and that was wasteful and annoying.

They mention this flaw in the description, and the way to avoid it is to mix slower and not go for a huge double-dose, like I did.

Overall, I would give this resin an A-. It’s definitely good, despite some quirks!

Smooth-On EpoxAcast 690

Next I tried EpoxaAcast 690, one of the many, many products manufactured by Smooth-On. This is a product that’s great for jewelry, but marketed for broader applications, such as model making, electronics, and prototyping.

It’s sold in larger quantities and is very, VERY price-friendly (and we all need that). I was hesitant to try it at first, thinking that if it’s not a jewelry-specific resin, it might not work for me, but the price really sold me.

The "trial" size: still huge

The “trial” size: still huge

It comes in two sizes on their website- the gallon size, or the trial size (which is still really big). I went with the trial size, which by my guesstimate was about 3 times cheaper per ounce than the Resin Obsession brand (watch out- they do get you on the shipping though).

At this point I was trying to source large-volume quality resin, because I’m trying to cast bracelets, and that gets expensive.

You guys, I was NOT disappointed.

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I made all of these with ExpoxAcast resin

I do have some comments, though:

First of all, I think what makes it different from a resin specifically marketed as a “jewelry” resin, is that it’s a 100:30 mix ratio by weight. This means you need to have a scale to weigh it out, and you have to be somewhat comfortable figuring out proportions if you’re going to change the amount you will make.

(Like, you should know enough math to mix it correctly if you need half a portion, a quarter of the portion, etc. if you’re working on something small).

Here I am using my chemistry minor, y’all!

The instructions are pretty specific about measuring by weight, and not by volume, so OF COURSE the first thing I did was experiment with mixing it by volume, because.

And I discovered that it works, or at any rate, it worked well that one time. I think I measured out 20ml and 6ml, preserving the 100:30 proportion. The stuff solidified just fine. So even if you don’t have an accurate scale, you can probably try using it with your mixing cups. But do so at your own risk, and not because I told you so. And get a cheap food scale eventually- they’re sold at most kitchenware stores.

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This is what my setup looks like- I’m using a kitchen scale I already had, and a plastic cup. Works great.

The other quality is that, just like the Resin Obsession brand, its two parts are of different consistency, which might put off some less-experienced crafters. It’s nothing to worry about, though. You just mix with a stir stick until you don’t see streaks, and you’ll be good.

I can’t really tell if it’s a doming resin, and because it’s so liquid-y, I wouldn’t want to use it for serious doming projects. It gives a nice smooth, slightly raised surface, though.

The pros:

  • Of the 5 resin brands I have tried so far, I have to say that the EpoxAcast 690 is the least bubble-prone. Hands down. I mean, I hardly have bubble issues anymore. It is also super-liquid-y and VERY free-flowing. I love that, because it makes it so easy to fill molds, even the complex flower mold. Not quite the consistency of water, but close to the consistency of olive oil.
  • It cures very clear and strong.

The cons:
– The slightly awkward 100:30 mixing proportion

  • When I was mixing according to instructions and was just a little off with the proportion- accidentally pouring just a SLIGHTLY wrong amount of either part- the results often came out sticky and did not cure properly. That’s true for all resins, but this brand seems particularly sensitive.

Not sure what gives (why mixing by volume is okey-dokey even though they expressly say not to, but over-pouring either part A or B by JUST ONE GRAM keeps it from curing right), but there we are.

Bottom line: For small projects, Resin Obsession is great, and if you’re buying 33oz or less, I would go with that. For larger projects (like casting a lot of heavy bracelets), you’ll be better off with EpoxAcast 690. Wouldn’t use either of those for doming projects.

More pictures of bracelets! Because I can!

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4 comments

  1. Thank you so much for your post. I’ve been playing around with different resins, and with making my own molds with Clearcast 37 from Smoothon… was getting ready to order more and thought maybe I’d check out their resin, your results look great so I’m going to give it a go! Thanks!

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