DIY solution for clear soles for MAG shoes

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by cavx, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I have actively been following all threads on the MAG shoes and whist there have been a few radical breakthroughs, they are not something for the DIY or home hobbyist. The main challenge has been finding a product for casting the clear sole inserts of the shoe. All the products I have seen threads on far are toxic and require specialized equipment (vacuum chamber for degassing) which is fine if you intend to go into production, but not viable for a one off.

    So today, in between tasks, I found a place (local to me) that might just have the product we all need and have been looking for.

    The product is made my ERA and is part of their "optically clear" range. It is supposedly a non toxic, "cold cast poly urethane elastoma". After making contact with the business owner we both agreed that I should come in and inspect the samples, so off I went.

    The samples I saw were of varying "shore (spelling?) hardness from OC20A (which is very soft) to OC80C (very hard - like acrylic hard, but did not seem brittle). In the middle of the A range was OC45A and OC60A. I am no materials expert, but from the feel in my hands (and because the parts we want to make are for an outer sole), I would be leaning towards the OC60A. The OC45A might be a bit soft and wear down faster. The OC20A would be awesome for the mid sole if anyone wanted to do that part as well.

    The product can be tinted in a variety of colours and I was specific about the slight blue tint which he said is best as too much tint can affect the product.

    Price is based on weight and 2.1KG (just under 1 pound) is about $190AUD with an 8KG can at just under $500. He showed me the size of the 2.1KG can and it would make allot of soles given they are only about 3mm (1/8") thick.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  2. airair

    airair Sr Member

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    good stuff.

    would this be easy to simply cut out shapes from?

    for the soles, i think you could cut out 3 shapes. the top circle part, the main sole part. and then a seperate cut for the side part of sole for el light (that is if the material can't be curved easily or is very hard to flex).

    if its easy to curve, then it should be even better, just cut out the shape and glue it down.

    has anybody ripped out the rubber from their k mag soles yet? i wonder how thick it is? it looks fairly strongly glued down.

    if this clear material is easy to cut, it could be a great solution. all we do is rip out the rubber from k mag sole, and just cut out the clear rubber and glue on.
     
  3. Fair Play

    Fair Play Member

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    I think cavx is referring to a material that can be poured in moulds. As far as I understand it's not something hard that can be shaped by a cutter or something else, but a liquid that hardens into an elastic state. Like the stuff used to make rubber molds only in clear and a bit harder. That's why he mentioned the different shores, meaning different types of durability and hardness. You need to have a mold, though.
     
  4. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It is actually a 2 part liquid mix. If you wanted sheets of the stuff to pattern cut, you would simply fill a shallow baking tray or similar container.

    The samples I saw today had three different thicknesses - 3mm, 6mm and 12mm. Even the harder compounds had flex on the thinner sections. from what I understand is that the issue with gong to hard (whilst it might seem to be longer lasting) is tearing if it bends to much.

    From what I saw today, I can't see why you could pour a flat section and bend and glue this stuff inn place. I also found a plastic floor covering today that has an almost perfect reversed shape for the 'waffle' effect as well. maybe it is possible to attach this stuff to the base of the container first, then pour the liquid over the top.

    Unless there is someone in the US or UK that want to source some and give this a go, I might as well be the guinea pig.

    Exactly, it is 2 part kit that you mix (I believe in equal amounts) part A and Part B. The guy said that this does not need degassing so long as you don't intentionally mix air into it. We briefly discussed mixing techniques to have no bubbles today as well. The guy was a bit aloof on the phone, but more than helpful to answer any questions when I met him face to face.
     
  5. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    PS, I think this stuff might also be useful in making a better heel cap as well. I have an idea to cast that part, so stay tuned. The really hard stuff (OC80C) would be ideal for the strap buckle, but you would need a proper mold to do this.
     
  6. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    removed
     
  7. airair

    airair Sr Member

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    what do you think would be the easiest way to create the heel cup mold and the back strap piece holder?
     
  8. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am no expert here, but I think that if I mask up the shoes really tight, I should be able to take a print of the heel cap in plaster. Because the shoe cap is flexible, it should release fairly easily. From there, pour a solid rubber version to sculpt (I'd like to add a textured NIKE). Then off to make a proper mold in RTV.

    Like the heel cap, the ankle buckle needs a proper master (I've made a start on this using 100mm PVC as a base) before any molds can be made.

    The guy I was hoping to help me with this seems a bit stand offish right now. I sent him a 3D drawing of this part, and he has not been his usual enthusiastic self wanting to "make stuff" like he usually is.
     
  9. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    UPDATE: Last week I found a flooring material that I think would make a close to match uniform pattern for the clear cold cast elastomer. I am planing a flat pour at this stage due to lack of casting experience and wanting to keep costs to a minimum. And I think a slight blue tint is in order as well.

    Some Images

    [​IMG]
    So this is a sample piece I got this morning.

    [​IMG]

    A closer looks shows the size of the pyramids. They appear to be about 5.5mm with 0.5mm gap. The square blocks on my size 10 K-MAGs are 4mm with a 1mm gap between each. On the Size 8 pair, the squares are 3mm with about 0.5mm gap.

    The only other stuff I found that I though might be OK is a screen door mesh called "Pet Mesh" which is about 1.5mm squares and just under 1mm gaps. I thought this was too small for this project.

    Of course, based on the simplistic pour method, the actual elastomer sole will be a reverse to what we see here so should look closer to the 'waffle' on the screen shoes than the small extended squares we have.
     
  10. Risu

    Risu Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The flat grid part looks a little skinnier than perfect, but this will look great. Did they say how tall those pyramid points are?
     
  11. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah, on my size 10s, the gaps should be 1mm and these are less than that at just over 0.5mm. Should still look good though.

    I don't have a set of calipers on hand, but measuring my sample on a part where their cut goes through the apex of a few of the pyramids on the edge, the material thickness is just 2mm in total and 1.5mm for the actual pyramids.
     
  12. Risu

    Risu Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In that case you may have to go with a 4mm thickness so the material doesn't tear at the points of the pyramids. If you do a small test pour you can do some abuse tests on it before pouring a whole plate.
     
  13. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    And why I had initially thought 3mm. A test pour would be well worth the time I think. I do want to see what this stuff can take. I've got some nasty stuff in mind including 40 grit sand paper :love
     
  14. lukebrynycz

    lukebrynycz Well-Known Member

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    That looks very accurate for the undersole of the official Mags, well played :thumbsup Do you have a prototype at all, or a date in mind to offer me a set on a VIP list ;)
     
  15. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This project kind of got put on the back burner because it is a time/money thing. I need to have both at the same time :rolleyes

    To make just 1 set of soles is going to cost the same as probably 4 (or more) pairs, so when I find some spare ca$h, I'll hook right in and get this sorted. I am prepared to offer any one that wants to share this load at cost + postage for their slab of rubber.
     
  16. lukebrynycz

    lukebrynycz Well-Known Member

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    Drop me a pm with rough costs and i'll see what I can do. I've just got a puppy and we're hopefully starting a family soon so have to see how much we're talking :lol
     
  17. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    PM sent :)
     
  18. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Haven't really done anything on this for a while, but tonight decided to look at the Sketch Up drawing I started on the clear sole.

    [​IMG]

    Pouring the actual shape is still route I would like to take, but given the trouble I found in pattern making so far, the "slab pour" is going to be the safest for now.
     
  19. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    OK after much discussion, deliberation and even some procrastination, I am ready to go ahead with this.

    My concerns appear to have been addressed. I'll list them here just in case some one out there is a materials expert and wants to chime in. Because this is going to be used as the clear soles on the MAGs, I needed to know the following:

    1. Abrasion - I've decided to with OC80A after taking another look at the samples. The choice of OC45A and OC60A were just a touch too soft IMO.
    2. Adheshion - I was told that you can't glue this stuff, but after speaking to the expert today, I am relieved to know why I was told that this stuff won't stick. Apparently when you cast this stuff and use a release agent, a very small amount of the release agent impregnates the surface and prevents other things sticking. In my case, I will pour into a shallow mold, so the side that needs to be stuck to the shoe later on will only be exposed to air. The rep told me it should bond really well.
    3. Degassing - I don't have a vacuum chamber anymore (kind of wish I had kept that now) and I have been able to mix and pour casting resin bubble free, so I feel confident that I can do a shallow pour without issue.
    4. Heat forming - Because this will be cast at about 3mm think, it will be flexible and will not need to be heat formed. The rep I spoke to said that I should be able to just glue this in place without issue.

    So I have ordered the cold cast clear elastomer (1.8KG?, I thought it was 2.1KG)) and so I need to re-calculate my mold size and I should have product on Friday ready to pour. I'll be doing one pour (I think) and it will be all tinted a very light blue.
     
  20. MitasTouch

    MitasTouch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is just a guess, and results would just be for show, but wouldn't taking that pyramid mat, putting translucent rubber over it, and using a heat gun to form it to the mats work? The movie soles aren't completely clear, so that's why I went with translucent. Plus the cost would be way less than this.
     
  21. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The elastomer has already been ordered, so we are past the PNR on this project. This stuff is actually made for applications like shoe soles according to the manufacture and one reason I continued down this path - because there was cheaper options. I am sure the "rubber bath mat" approach will work, but will it last?

    The pyramid mat is just to form a part of the mold for the elastomer to be poured into. I intend to peel that away as soon as the stuff has cured. What I am concerned about is temperature. We are approaching winter here and the temps have been way lower than the recommended 25 degrees C which will affect the curing time.
     
  22. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Today I picked up the clear cold cast elastomer. I'll update with pictures soon.
     
  23. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thank you :)

    Had a play with the size of the mat I will use in the mold. At this time, mostly because of the expense of the CCCE, I might just pour 1 pair first then see about doing a larger mat.

    [​IMG]

    I made a quick template up using this clear plastic that I had taped in place to the shoe. This one seems to look and fit better than my previous attempt. One thing I will probably do however is turn this 90 degrees and make the oval part out of the remainder of each half as I want to ensure that I get the pattern aligned for both pieces even though the front part won't actually be visible whilst I am wearing them.

    So the plan is to mount this mat into a large, shallow flat bottomed plastic box (that has a lid to keep dust off) and seal the edges with the hot glue gun.

    Anyone know how to work out the volume for this? Mold is going to be 450mm x 270mm x 5mm. I get 0.006 ltr and I don't think that is correct.
     
  24. Caloss

    Caloss Active Member

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    love to see the results keep up the good work .. almost done with my mag project just finishing off some improvements in charge time and making a flux capasiter charger will show pics in a few days custom mag clear soles with bttf images in bottom soles/ if anybody is looking for a full prof kit of greatness for the nike mag please pm me or feel free to ask questions will post finished pics of wearable flashy hybrid version of the bt4f mags bt4f stands for (back for the future)Im here now ......... D.O.C
     
  25. Miro

    Miro New Member

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    Hey!

    That's what I got too. But I guess you could just pour water into the mold and measure that?

    Miro
     
  26. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey thanks Miro. The next challenge is converting that to grams, except this stuff is heavier than water...

    OK today was the first pour of the clear soles using cold cast clear elastomer.

    The kit I bought is a 2 part kit (3 if you count the pigment) consisting of Part A and Part B where where Part B (the hardener) is 80% volume of A.

    Originally I was going to use a large plastic box with the lid for the mold. On close inspection, I noticed the centre was convex and this meant that the centre would be thinner than the edges. I had to re-think is.

    [​IMG]

    So I used the bench top with some off cuts of 10mm Persex and hot glue to provide the seal.

    Onto the mixing...

    [​IMG]

    I really didn't have a clue how much of this I needed, so decided to mix 100 gram of Part A and 80 gram of Part B. I added the pigment prior to measuring out the parts and believe me, this stuff is strong and I only needed the smallest amount on the end of a plastic fork. The larger can you can see in this shot is a product loan just for the purposes of experimenting with the pigment. I turned my first bit solid blue, but am happy with the colour of the my product.
    You pour this like any resin letting it run itself out.

    [​IMG]

    I did this in two lots. On the left is my first mix of 180 grams and as you can see, it is not quite enough to fill the mold. You can see that I added a line or wall of hot glue prior to my first pour.

    I made the second batch at about 210 grams and that seems to be good. Even though this stuff is supposed to set within 30min, I was advised not to delaminate for at least 24 hours, so we will all have to wait until tomorrow night to see the results of this.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  27. Jedifyfe

    Jedifyfe Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I would be in for a set of clear soles for sure!
     
  28. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well let me de-mold this set and pour some more and if they all work out, I will start a thread in the junk yard.
     
  29. airair

    airair Sr Member

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    yeah, me too.

    would you make them as sheets or as already moulded pieces?

    since some people have different size shoes like kmags, i think markpoons are all same size so thats probably easier.
     
  30. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    At this stage, sheets. If this all works out, I might look at laser cut molds that will allow me to make more soles out of the same amount of CCCE. At this stage, I should 8 pairs for the $200 outlay as you get waste from the current method. My size 10s soles require about 3/4 of an A4 sheet per shoe. If I can actually make the molds (over-sized so you can trim it down for your shoes) I might be able to extend the volume to maybe 15 pairs.

    OK, so after 30 hours, I checked on the pour. The surface was still sticky and they guy that sells the stuff said that due to the cooler time of year here, the higher humidity (it rained a bit today) that all 2 part resin mixes will be sticky. He suggested placing it in the sun tomorrow.

    I was able to peel a section off the mold but the rest seemed to be sticking to the mold. It didn't appear to want to tear but I wasn't prepared to force it either. So I will see how this turns out after I bake it in the sun for a few hours.

    I think I will need to add more pigment as the blue was not really visible in the section I could get out of the mold today. I will re-evaluate this tomorrow as well as I would rather clear soles than blue soles if I add too much.

    I also re-worked my table this afternoon for more precise leveling. It is now 3 point thread adjustable.

    So anyway, probably enough for 7 more goes.

    Sorry no images at this time.
     
  31. Risu

    Risu Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I learned a long time ago to never, ever cast anything if it's raining or just rained. I've had parts swell up on me Akira style days after casting them because of moisture trapped in the resin.
     
  32. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I don't even know where this rain came from. It has been cold for the last few nights and then this morning, it was much warmer and by later this afternoon, rain.

    It make sense as these products are hydro-scopic (spelling?).
     
  33. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So far I have made about 400 grams [180 + 220].

    Now back to the math: [450 x 270 x 3] / 1000 = 364.5 and that seems about right based on what I have mixed and poured so far.
     
  34. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    And more rain today, so this project gets shelved again until we get some sun.
     
  35. MitasTouch

    MitasTouch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    where did you get those mats and what are they called?
     
  36. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It is not actually a mat, rather it comes off a roll. It is a type of PVC flooring. I bought mine from Bunnings Warehouse which I guess is the Australian equivalent of Home Depot.
     
  37. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    OK frustration lead me to contact the manufacture and soon I will have the state rep calling around to see that I am actually using the product properly. He say (on the phone) that weather is a non issue. So I have made a new mold and have it all leveled for when he comes around. I'll update this soon.
     
  38. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    UPDATE: OK just finished getting a 1 on 1 how to with this product and learned allot from the rep today.

    The results of the first pour were not good simply from bad mixing practices. When you mix this stuff, you do have about a 20 min pot life and there should be an exothermic reaction - ie the stuff gets warm. He explained that I didn't mix it long enough and as a result I got moisture entrapped in the mix and why parts look the way they do. Something else he NOT TO DO was scrape the pot when you pour to get that last bit out. He suggested that it is best to mix a small bit more and leave it go off in the pot.

    To aid the exo and further reduce bubbles, he used a hot air gun and poured through the air flow. It was interesting to watch as the bubble on surface started popping instantly. There are still tiny bubbles trapped in the mix and the only way to rid this is to use a vacuum chamber which I don't have anymore. I am not concerned about this as no one will be able to see these once the product cures. They are very small. Also, because these are soles, no ones is getting that close anyway.

    He also applied a silicone release agent to the mold, so this will make removal much easier. Based on the results of the first pour, I still think the product will release anyway as the part that set did just peeled away. It is the parts that didn't set that have stuck. The release agent is expensive and you don't need much, but it was good to know this stuff will work with fibre glass and other such products as well - so 1KG should last a very long time and many product pours.

    Something else I didn't even think about is gluing the mat to the table. Because the exo-reaction, the air under the mat heats and expands and it actually has caused one end of the mat to lift a slight bit. A workable solution is to simply drill a small hole in the centre of the board and the heated air will be able to escape.

    He also suggested using the micro wave for about 10 seconds to heat the mix on a cold day like it is today (about 20 degrees C right now) and I also have the product under a heating lamp right now to aid the curing.

    I'll give this a few hour and then post a picture. Given the fact that it started raining again, I will most likely leave this until tomorrow before attempting to de-laminate.
     
  39. Miro

    Miro New Member

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    How much are you planning to ask from these?
    Have you thought about doing a proper mold so you get the sharp angle that the real shoes have? I think the real mags sole even gets a little wider at the bottom. Or then it is just the inner sole which gets wider. On a second thought, all the shapes could be due to the inner sole. I don't know. :D
     
  40. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Won't know until I see how many pairs I get for my $200 outlay.

    One pair is write off.
     
  41. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Monday the 4th of June 2012 and my clear sole project has set as hoped it would. Heat is the key here.

    [​IMG]
    The de-laminated mat. The release agent worked a treat. It just peeled away like removing a sticker from the backing. Easy and smooth :)

    [​IMG]
    A nice uniform pattern, but heaps of bubbles.

    [​IMG]
    A close up of the bubbles. I am not worried about the bubbles because these are soles and only the ants are going to know :)

    [​IMG]
    For anyone not wanting to wear these shoes, had you considered coasting melted hot glue sticks? The hot glue not only takes the shape really well, it is bubble free and peels away without release agent! It would be perfect if it had a decent shore hardness and would be the answer we are all looking for. It can't be that simple, can it?

    [​IMG]

    Just for giggles, I think I will buy a whole pack ($2.00) of the large 8.2mm sticks and melt them in a pot and make a pour.
     

    Attached Files:

  42. airair

    airair Sr Member

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    looks fantastic:thumbsup

    if you were to do some sheets of these which would cover a pair of soles, how much would you want?

    maybe sell them in small sheets, enough to make a pair of soles or smaller sheets to make a single shoe.

    then people can cut out their sole shapes themselves depending on what they have, kmags, mpoons or any other.
     
  43. TheNickFox

    TheNickFox Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I had initially considered it for my build, considering there are VERY high temp glues that have a softening point above the highest recorded sidewalk temperature...but decided to go with a urethane rubber.

    So, how hard is it to resist swapping your sole inserts with these sheets? I'd be tearing my shoes apart right now if I was you.

    Looks great so far, can't wait to see them in place on your shoes.

    -Nick
     
  44. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I ended up only getting three pours out of this, and one sheet is a write off, so not cheap about $100 per sheet.

    This stuff could be called a urethane rubber, I suppose as it cured like a rubber sheet.

    I've poured the last of this stuff today, so when it cures, I'll have enough for 2 pairs (I hope).
     
  45. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So it looks like pour 3 is a win as well :) I might just place it in the sun for a few hours today to ensure it is all cured before de-laminating. Heating the mix in the micro wave was one sure way of getting heat into the mix to kick off the exo therm and the results seem to have paid off.
     
  46. Fluxcapacitor

    Fluxcapacitor Well-Known Member

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    To get the stuff bubble free you need to degauss it. Using a vacuum chamber will pull all the air out of it first and when you pour will greatly reduce your bubbles as long as you also pour from high up. if you made molds that were the size of the actual part or slightly bigger you would make your material go farther and prob save you some production time. If you can make a few to start as you have, you then need to make a silicone mold of all those pieces together as an open mold. Then, you would only need to mix the amount you need for those parts already cut to size, and make your material go farther and knock out many many more at a time. just my two cents :)
     
  47. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Greatly appreciated :) I had a vacuum chamber back in 2006. At this stage, this was more of an experiment to see if the product is actually good for the application. I am out of it now having made my third pour last night. And it looks like I spoke too soon. Pour 3 which was looking really good this morning blistered for some reason leaving me with just one sheet left to make my soles. I am not even sure I want to use it now. I can get bits out of the 3rd pour's sheet, but basically the whole centre is soft.
     
  48. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So given that the cold cast clear elastomer requires specialist gear and skill, I decided not to continue down that path, rather choose a new one.

    Shoe Goo!

    [​IMG]

    I am hearing nothing but good reports about this stuff, so for the price, it worth a shot. I'll run a test first to see if this stuff sticks to the textured mat that I want to use for the tread impressions. If it peels away, this might be exactly the simple DIY solution.

    An alternative to lighting.

    [​IMG]

    Also, whilst I want lights, I have been thinking more and more about not adding them. The MAGs will just not look right without something, so I am getting a quote on some small pieces of 3M reflective light blue tape. Because it is adhesive, it could be stuck to the black part of the sole first, then the layered over with the Shoe Goo.
     
  49. Miro

    Miro New Member

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    Now this is something that could work. I just hope it is durable enough to withstand everyday.
    How much would be needed for both shoes? Maybe 2-3 tubes?
    I wonder if it can be lightly dyed with some paint.

    Let us know how it turns out!
     
  50. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I just checked the progress of the test pour I did this morning. This stuff should work, but it does need up to 72 hours to fully cure. It seems to be an excellent adhesive and seems to be mold-able, however, it will need a release agent to mold so or this stuff will just stick the mat I'll be using to form the tread.

    So I also think I need to plan my jig. I just need to use the shoe as a template to make sure I get the angle right on the inside part. The mat will also need a split on the inside to allow the different angles plus I need to allow some space to ensure I get a decent amount of rubber on the shoe.

    Something to work on over the weekend.
     

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