My name is Tom Barron and I've been actively casting pen blanks, call blanks and knife scales for ten years. I've sold my products over the years under the name Maneater Blanks. Now with the addition of molds, casting resin and custom creations I've decided to change my business name to Maneater Crafts!
I started production casting with homemade silicone molds and continued using them for several years. I quickly discovered that silicone mold bodies didn't last very long. They warped, cracked and on occasion would even tear. So like most people I struggled to find ways to prolong the life of my silicone molds because they were such a pain to make, not to mention the recurring expense. Seriously, who wants to replace their molds every few months??
Two plus years ago I decided enough was enough and committed to finding an alternative to silicone. Like many other casters I've also used HDPE cutting boards, cut into pieces and screwed together. I wasn't happy with those because of leakage and the constant hassle of having to break them down in order to demold.
I wanted a better solution, something rugged that could quickly be returned to use. I wanted something that would last a long time and yet not break the bank. That's when my plan to mill solid body HDPE molds was formulated. After two years of using milled molds I decided it was time to share my creation with others. However, it needed to be something unique that would serve most pen blank casting needs. It had to be a BEAST!
And so, the Gator Mold - Combo Pen Blank Casting System was born.
What makes it so unique?
First, the bodies are milled on a CNC from solid blocks of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). They are super rugged and intended to last. HDPE is a very stable plastic that won't warp, crack or break down with normal usage. Sounds like the exact opposite of silicone molds, right? Full body pen blanks can be cast when the inserts are not in use. I've run the full gamut of resins thru these molds, including Alumilite, polyester resin and Liquid Diamonds epoxy resin. All have provided successful casts!
In order to demold full body blanks, simply turn the mold upside down, remove the relief plugs and gently rap the backside with a rubberized dead blow hammer until the blanks fall out. Replace the plugs, apply a mold release and you are ready for another cast. The mold chambers are milled with a very slight taper to the side walls, not really seen with the naked eye but enough to allow the blanks to drop with little effort.
Second, I'm including silicone inserts for casting tubed blanks! The inserts have built-in stoppers with pressure relief holes. There are two different stopper sizes to work with most any pen kit on the market. Demolding is a breeze. Simply remove the inserts and lift the blanks straight out of the chambers.
The inserts are designed to pressure fit into the mold chambers and when used properly there is virtually zero leakage. A mold release should only be applied to the mold chambers and the face of the inserts since those are the areas exposed to the resin. Since the inserts are made from silicone they will eventually wear out, however you should expect a large number of casts before that becomes a concern. Additional sets will be available for purchase from Maneater Crafts at a nominal price.
Mold and Silicone Insert Specifications:
Mold Body - 6.5" long x 4.5" wide x 1.5" tall.
Mold Chambers - There are three, each measuring 5.25" long x .85" wide x 1" deep.
Silicone Inserts - Overall depth including stoppers - 1.25". Height - 1.25".
Below is an image of some mold bodies, silicone inserts, custom milled HDPE casting rack and custom milled HDPE pressure pot base catching some late afternoon rays. The pressure pot base is a perfect fit for standard 2.5 gal pots btw! Add two 24 oz kits of Liquid Diamonds and 12 more silicone inserts and you have the contents of the "Super Deluxe Package"!!
For reference, here is an image of a 24 oz kit of Liquid Diamonds casting resin. It's included in both the "Deluxe" and "Super Deluxe" packages!
Risks and challenges
This is a fully realized system that has undergone hundreds of hours of combined software design and hardware testing. In practice, it's a very simple system that delivers fantastic results!
I honestly don't know if there is a life expectancy for the mold bodies. I've run hundreds of casts through each of my molds over the past few years and they still work wonderfully. The inserts may need to be replaced on occasion but you should expect at least 100-200 casts per set when a quality mold release is used.
I will personally mill mold bodies and pour inserts over the course of the campaign. I expect to start shipping rewards immediately after the 30 days are over.
After the campaign I will make the casting system, additional inserts and even relief plugs available for sale on my website. I stand behind my system and am proud to make it available to fellow casters like you. I'm certain you will find it as innovative as I have! These true beasts are designed to DEVOUR THE COMPETITION!
Thank you for your support!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)