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Monday, March 03, 2014

Moment of Truth

Pouring the Resin Around the Lighting and Overhead Support Armature. And Hopefully End Up With A Reasonable Looking Streetlamp!

Here it is! From a virtual model and crazy idea to something I can actually hold in my hand! The freakin' thing actually turned out right.

Here is how it went:

Last post I had just finished building the support armature.

First the rubber mold needs a couple coats of mold release and allowed to dry. Then the armature is placed into the rubber mold into its precise position. That means bending and wiggling as needed to get it just right. (Note: I took this photo before I added the lamp globes).

Now its ready for the resin pour. I used Smooth-Cast resin from Smooth-on from the kit as described in this post. Just like the silicon rubber used for the mold, its mixing equal parts of resin and catalyst.

The top part of the mold (left) was poured first and allowed to set a bit while the resin was poured carefully around the armature in the bottom half of the mold (right). I'm not too concerned about using too much resin as I want to be sure it gets everywhere.

The resin in the top half has set enough (2 or 3 minutes) where I can flip the mold over. The two mold parts are keyed so that they almost lock together for perfect registration. I clicked the top parts of the molds together and then squished them together from top to bottom so that the excess resin is forced out the bottom (where the puddle is). 
The resin only takes about an hour to set fully. The thicker parts set first and the thinner parts take a little longer (the thicker part has more heat from the catalyst than the thinner sections would and so sets first). I knew it was ready to handle when the thin parts of the puddle had solidified.

The mold release allowed the mold to be pulled apart with no problem. And this is my first look at the lamp. And it looks like it worked!
The lamp peeled out of the mold with no problem. Most of the flash snapped right off. The rest required a little filing to get looking just right. Now the question is: Will it light?

It works! It actually works! I think this project is going to work out as intended! I mean some questions remain. How will it hold up to long term use as a linepole? How will the resin casting hold up with a brass armature inside of it over the long term? How long are those bulbs going to light for (I can't change burnt out ones!)? How is paint going to take to it? What am I going to use for power supply? 
But as it stands now, this crazy project is actually working out. I don't why I'm so surprised. But I am just giddy that this worked out. And its just a streetlamp. Not an Electroliner or something fancy like that. Just a streetlamp. But there it is all the same. A one of a kind model streetlamp.

Well then, one down and 11 to go. Yes sir! 1 down and 11 to go!