I have a couple of little things to report on today. First up, I am doing some more test with urethene. I found a product called VytaFlex from Smooth-On that I'm told cures pretty opaque, milky white. That is good! I'm also told it takes pigments well. So I pulled out my 2 pound kit and got to work.
Here you can see the mold, with a little bit of pigmented VytaFlex poured in. This is only a test, so I didn't fill the entire mold. What I want to find out is how well the pigment takes to the urethene, and how it feels when it comes out. I want to make sure it's the right hardness.
So far I'm not overwhelmed by the opacity of the VytaFlex, but I will see if it changes once it cures. I don't expect it to, as that is not the normal behavior of this type of stuff, but this is a product I am unfamiliar with, so who knows. I also didn't really go in too hard with the pigments, so maybe some more, with some mixed in colors would help.
The belt at the top of the picture is my previous attempt. While the color is a BIT off, the opacity is really great.
Also in interesting news, I've been doing some thinking about the cape. I have to say, I'm not overly pleased with the latex. There are a number of problems that have cropped up lately. First of all, there are all kinds of little knobbies in the latex. These are probably the result of chunks that dried in the brush, and were then transferred to the surface of the cape. I picked up a pair of cuticle trimmers from Target, and I'm using those to pick them off one by one.
It's a time consuming process that is not really all that much fun, and is pretty problematic. I would say one out of ten times, I snip too deep, and end up cutting out a tiny hole in the cape. I then have to patch that, let it dry, etc. So big pain in the rear.
The other thing is that the latex is getting foggy! It's acquired what looks like a white, dusty coating to it. Not sure if this is the result of the latex aging, or if it's something in the air, or moisture, or some other thing. Either way, it is not cool. So far, I can only confirm that it is effecting the inner surface. But if it turns out that the OUTER surface will also acquire that dusty finish over a couple of months, then I am back to square one on the cape.
The reason I bring this up is because I think I may have found another solution. When I was pouring up my belt, I noticed that VytaFlex pours VERY smooth, and does NOT pull up from rubber. My previous experiments with urethene against rubber were not good, as it tended to pull up from it. Not good. So what I'm thinking is that there is a chance that VytaFlex could solve a lot of my problems. IF it cures opaque, and IF it's going to behave well with the mold, I may end up doing the cape in Urethene instead of Latex rubber. It would save A LOT of labor, as getting the latex into the cape is pretty difficult, and takes a number of coats.
I guess I'm pretty encouraged right now. Even if VytaFlex does NOT cure opaque, I'm thinking I could probably find a pigment out there that would work with it. The yellow stuff I used on previous belts is VERY opaque, and I'm sure I can round something similar up.
That's the report for now. The urethene cures in 24 hours. I will have a report on the details tomorrow.