Dr. Who - Key to Time - Clear resin cast

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Dalex, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Hello all,

    New guy here! I've recently decided that I'd like to make an accurate replica of the Key To Time prop from Doctor Who. For those unfamiliar with the Key to Time, it is a 6" cube made of solid crystal-clear plastic, subdivided into six segments to form a 3D puzzle:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    As far as I can tell, no one has yet been able to make one that truly looks like the on-screen prop. The attempts I've found online are either not to scale, or are rough around the edges and heavily tinted yellow.

    I have absolutely no experience in prop making, but I have a strong desire to learn. I am going to share my experience from start to finish with everyone here. Along the way I am sure I'll have lots of questions and hopefully I'll get lots of advice from other members. Hopefully I won't embarrass myself too much! :lol I'll only be working on this in my spare time so I don't know how fast this project will progress, but I promise not to abandon this thread.

    After talking to the extremely helpful and knowledgeable staff at Sculpture Supply Canada here in Toronto, I've decided to try carving the individual pieces out of plaster, rather than wood. This way I should be able to shape all the pieces by hand with just a coping saw and sandpaper. And plaster is cheap, which is good because I know I'll make lots of mistakes! If this ultimately doesn't produce satisfactory results, I'll switch to wood.

    I have yet to decide what to cast this in. Smooth-On Crystal Clear looks like the best candidate, but I'm worried it may be too expensive. I'll probably do some small test casts using different products to see what gives the best results. I know I still have a big learning curve ahead of me. :rolleyes

    I've done some research on the Key to Time prop, including discussions on other forums about other people's attempts at making this prop. I'll post a summary of what I've found, in case anyone's interested.

    Alex
     
  2. Rassilon

    Rassilon Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with your key to time build, will be following your progress.
     
  3. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

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    I have a lot of experience with smooth-on crystal clear.

    A few things I do that allows me to get perfect castings:

    If you want it clear, the surface of the master has to be perfectly polished when you make your mold. This will be a consideration on your master material. You can go through a step process, plaster master, mold, cast a resin piece, polish that, mold it again. You can also paint your master and polish that painted surface. Your goal is to make it a perfect surface. Completely smooth. IE, garbage in, garbage out.

    You will need to degass your rubber.

    Don't use any mold release.

    You will need to post-cure your silicone in the oven for several hours.

    You will need to pre-heat your mold before pouring.

    Don't use any release.

    You will need to pressure cast it.

    If all that comes together, your castings should be great, clear inside and on the surface. (inside is easy, surface is hard to get clear)

    If that fails, you can sand and polish the material to a perfect glass-like surface. Something you'll need to do on the part sprue anyway...
     
  4. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    Hydin and his crystal team would be able to make one in real crystal..
     
  5. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the responses so far! Before we go much further I just wanted to post what I've found so far through googling. It's a bit long and boring, but I figured it might be useful to have all these links in one post, just in case anyone is interested.

    So here goes...

    At least two castings were done of the original Key to Time segments. Some of the original pieces still exist today and are in private collector's hands. Here is one segment (scroll down midway):

    Doctor Who Props

    That website also has a useful description of how the prop was made. Basically, the segments were constructed in wood and then moulded in silicon rubber. The extreme heat generated by the catalyst for the resin required that each segment be cast in a number of layers (which are visible in the original) but I'm hoping that things have changed since the 70s and that will no longer be required today.

    Another good view of an original Key to Time segment:

    The Doctor Who Collection of Derek Rushton

    Not much info on that site, but the photo is the best example of what one of the segments looks like today.

    Next we have some screen captures of the various segments, taken from DVD:

    Doctor Who: The Key To Time

    I find those photos give the best idea of what the Key to Time segments should ultimately look like. It's worth pointing out here that the production team also created a rather cheap-looking perspex box version of the Key to Time, seen at the bottom of that page. Obviously the prop I'll be making will not be that!

    Another very useful resource is a paper cut-out of the Key to Time that someone did back in the 90s:

    Bjellis Blog » Blog Archive » The Key to Time

    It has subsequently been determined that this is not an accurate representation of the pieces. Fortunately it was not too hard to modify the original postscript so that the segments would match their on-screen counterparts.

    Now let's move on the various attempts to re-create this prop. By far the biggest discussion can be found on the Tardis Builders website, in a thread from 2008:

    the Key to Time?

    That thread shows the reasoning people went through to figure out the size and shapes of the pieces, so I highly recommend taking a look at it. Among other things it contains corrections to the paper cut-out, and the deduction that the same segment was used on-air for both the 2nd and 4th segments, meaning there's a "mystery" segment that was clearly part of the original prop but never used on-screen.

    Throughout the thread, "Darksyde" led the discussion and actively worked on recreating one of the pieces. One of the most useful things he did was create a Google SketchUp model of the Key to Time, which you can find here:

    Key to Time 5 inch by Darksyde - Google 3D Warehouse

    I found that model extremely useful in Google SketchUp, as you can rotate it and see any of the segments from any angle.

    Getting back to the Tardis Builders discussion, the thread above dies however a new thread is created by Darksyde where he showcases the creation of one of the segments:

    My Key to Time

    His piece was cut out of foam and cast in acrylic. The result is encouraging, but falls short of recreating the on-air prop. The edges are rough and the plastic too yellow. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell Darksyde never gets back to this project, and the thread basically dies at this point.

    There is another thread on Tardis Builders where someone creates a scaled-down version of the Key to Time with a rapid prototype machine, and mentions casting it in resin, but I don't think they ever do. There's not that much useful info there, but here's the link anyway:

    The Key to Time

    There's also been some discussion here on the Replica Prop Forum, but nothing too useful:

    http://www.therpf.com/f9/key-time-dr-who-armageddon-factor-83227/
    http://www.therpf.com/f9/dr-who-key-time-locater-115948/

    There are other people who have tried to recreate the Key to Time prop but without much background information about how they did it. For example, this guy:

    Doctor Who Cosplay and Costuming - 1st segment of the Key To Time
    Doctor Who Cosplay and Costuming - Improved First Segment Of The Key To Time

    Again, an impressive attempt but still short of looking like the original crystal-clear prop.

    There's also a miniature version that someone did and was offering for sale:

    dr who KEY TO TIME REPLICA by ~Hordriss on deviantART
    dr who key to time II by ~Hordriss on deviantART

    Looks really nice, but not being to scale is a big no for me. Plus the comments indicate that the "idea needs to be developed a bit".

    One final interesting thing I found was a comment on this page, where someone was showing their paper cut-out:

    The Key To Time

    An anonymous poster claims: "I've made a full set of primary blocks for casting the pieces. There are 6 in total. And they fit together nicely." This was written January 2012, but unfortunately there has been no follow up and I can find no other info on this guy.

    And that's pretty much it!

    Alex
     
  6. Dave Ward

    Dave Ward Sr Member

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    Any plans for a run of these in the future?
     
  7. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Yep, I'm definitely going to try my best to have a perfectly polished master. I think I'll take the route of "paint your master and polish that painted surface". I was thinking of spraying the finished plaster pieces in several coats of acrylic. Do you think that would result in a smooth enough surface? In any case, I plan on trying a bunch of different methods on practice pieces of plaster, until I find what works best.

    Would a small kiln work for this? I don't have one yet, but my wife's been hinting she would like one for doing pottery, so this may be a good excuse to buy one! :)

    Excellent advice, thank you. And yeah, I'm curious to see how hard it would be to sand and polish the finished cast. I'll definitely be doing a lot of small test casts to practice on.
     
  8. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Yeah, I saw the Superman crystals, they look amazing!

    How is that done? I tried looking through some of the earlier posts, but didn't find the exact details. I guess I should contact Hydin and ask him about it.
     
  9. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    If it's something I'm able to do, then sure. I'm still new to all this, so I'd be a bit afraid of the responsibility. But I would be more than happy to do whatever I can to share this with others -- if what I do is ultimately successful. :)
     
  10. zsherman

    zsherman Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am SO IN if this goes to a run!!!
     
  11. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    Heheh. I actually am in the process of finishing up a key to time set. I agree that the 3d darksyde model is correct, though we used a 6 inch width. I did actually send Hydin the 3d model for the pieces to possibly cast in crystal, but he never got back to me with an estimate (hi hydin!). We went with wood sculpts done by a woodworker in mdf. I'm hopeful to have the first casts in the next couple weeks (done by another person, not myself). If the casts come out nicely, we will be offering sets.

    Your comments about the paper design and the corrections are correct. You're also correct about the 2nd and 4th pieces aired being the same piece.

    I'm still hoping that someone can make a quality tracer. We haven't started tackling that part yet. We do have the buttons (from newark electronics, honeywell style switches) though.

    Cool to see you tackle it too! The whole prop community benefits from multiple people trying to solve this.
     
  12. MattMunson

    MattMunson Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I would love to see this happen, and it's REALLY great to see all the awesome technical and process information being shared here. This thread is a wealth of knowledge, as casting in clear/transparent/translucent resins is often a topic of conversation.

    Though it's already been said, I feel it's worth repeating: You seek Hydin! He is THE crystal expert here on the RPF, and has all the right contacts and pipeline in place. I would definitely recommend reaching out to him again and prodding, especially if you've already got a 3d drawing available. Sounds like a slam dunk.
     
  13. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    Shrug. I sent them to him and the company had trouble reading the files. I also pursued CNC options. We'll see how these casts come out. What's nice is that the wood method is the way they used originally, so it should be closer to "true." CNC and crystals would be more "perfect" but likely less screen accurate.
     
  14. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Doh, if only I knew this before I started! :rolleyes A large part of my motivation has been looking at previous attempts and thinking "Surely I can do better..."

    You obviously have a lot more experience than I (well, pretty much everyone on this forum has more experience than me!) and you're much further ahead -- So if your prop turns our well, I'll probably just get in on the run.

    In the meantime I'll still play around with trying to do a plaster version of the first segment, just to see how it turns out. I already have an idea of how to do it and I've already bought the necessary supplies, so I may as well put them to use! :)
     
  15. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    It's good practice at any rate. It's not that I have any experience in professional looking props, but that I've been hunting down the right people for over a year now :)
     
  16. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    What are you casting in? Smooth-On Crystal Clear looks like the obvious choice to use for something like this, but I hadn't yet decided what I would use.
     
  17. Birdie

    Birdie Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Alex,

    As Phil pointed out in his excellent post on clear casting, you will need a vacuum chamber to degass the silicone and a pressure pot to cast the clear resin.

    These are very expensive pieces of equipment, so I'm guessing that you would actually need to find someone else to cast the master for you to get the results you are looking for.
     
  18. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    So I got in contact with Hydin about the Key to Time and we discussed the feasibility of doing something like this in crystal. (Very nice and helpful guy!) It's certainly possible, since the design of the segments lends itself nicely to the process the factory uses. But there are a few considerations to worry about:


    • Crystal is susceptible to scratching and denting if you bang pieces of it against one another. Given that the Key to Time is essentially a 3D puzzle, I can see that being a big problem.


    • It's heavy. A small 9cm cube that Hydin did recently weighed about 5 lbs. So a full Key to Time would be about 25 lbs!


    • It's expensive. Particularly if there's drilling involved, which there would be for the tracer holes. So we'd definitely need to get a run of these to bring the price down.

    Despite all that, I am still quite intrigued by the idea of doing part or all the Key to Time in crystal. In may not be technically accurate to what was used on-screen, but you could certainly argue that its appearance is what the production team would ideally have envisioned the Key to Time to really look like.

    Another possibility is to simply cast one segment in crystal (presumably the most interesting looking one, which IMHO is the 1st). That could look pretty cool on its own sitting on a shelf.

    In any case, I'm going to wait and see how Kestre's project turns out before doing anything crystal related.

    In the meantime I'll continue on with my plaster model, as I'm curious to see how that turns out, even if it's just for my own fun.
     
  19. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    Another possibility is having a single set made in crystal then molding and casting from there. No idea what the numbers would need to be to offset the cost.

    I'll let everyone know if we get a good pull. Our guy has the wood pieces in hand now. I assume resin weighs less than crystal but I actually don't know how much the cube would weigh in resin. Any guesses, folks? And sorry Dalex, I don't know what resin he's planning to use.
     
  20. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Yeah I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do once I get to that stage. I figured it's not something I need to worry about yet. Right now I'm just going to concentrate on making a nice master with surfaces as smooth as possible.

    Speaking of which, I still need to determine the best way to do that. Assuming I've sanded down the plaster to be as smooth as I can get it, would a few coats with an acrylic varnish spray be suitable for getting a near-glass-like surface? Or is there a better way? :confused
     
  21. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Figured it was time for an update...

    One of the first things I needed to do was determine the size of the Key To Time. The consensus seemed to be that it was a 6" cube, although there was some opinions that it could be larger.

    So I made two cardboard boxes, one 6" and one 7", and took photographs of myself to compare to screen captures:

    [​IMG]

    Seems pretty clear to me that the cube size is 6".

    A quick paper mock-up of one of the segments just to be sure:

    [​IMG]

    Looks right to me! Now, on to the actual molding...

    I spent some time thinking about how to do this in plaster. One of my concerns was how to accurately cut and sand the inner sides of a segment. For example, in the image above you can see the top of the segment has an acute angle, which is going to be difficult to cut and even more difficult to sand and polish.

    I realized that all the Key to Time segments could be further subdivided into pieces with no acute angles. In other words, each of these sub-pieces would be a geometric shape in which each side could be polished against a large flat surface without fear of damaging the adjacent sides. These piece could then be glued together (and adjoining sides sanded) so that they appear as one solid piece.

    I took the original paper cut-out plans for Segment #1, and modified it to make the necessary sub-pieces. I also figured I'd throw in the lengths of the sides and angles while I was at it:

    [​IMG]

    It may be hard to tell, but those three pieces actually fit together to form the first segment. (FYI, if anyone's interested I can provide the PDF for this.)

    The next step is coming up with a mold for my plaster...
     
  22. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    I realized that every segment was no larger than one-half cube. So it seemed pretty clear that I should make a box capable of holding at least 6" by 6" by 3". Furthermore, most of the sub-pieces would be best carved from a brick half that size, so I added a plexiglass divider that could optionally be slid down the middle:

    [​IMG]

    The box is actually larger than 6" x 6" x 3". This is so that I can roughly cut out the pieces with a coping saw, and then further refine my cuts and sanding to get exactly the right dimensions and angles.

    Anyway, on to pouring the plaster...

    [​IMG]

    Wait a while for it to harden, and voila, two bricks ready to go:

    [​IMG]

    I knew from earlier experimentation that the bricks would still be wet inside for a while. So I had to let them sit for a few days in front of a heating duct in order to dry them completely.

    Finally it was time to get my coping saw and get it work. I did a rough cut of one block:

    [​IMG]

    Each of these pieces are a little larger than the final size, so I have some working room to sand things down.

    And that's where I'm at now. Hopefully this week I can find some time to start refining these pieces. We'll see how that goes...!
     
  23. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Here's one of the pieces sculpted and sanded:

    [​IMG]

    Now on the others...
     
  24. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    Very nice work.
     
  25. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

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    Really nice. The corners look like perfection.
     
  26. Siebigteroth3

    Siebigteroth3 New Member

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    Very nice, I look forward to seeing the final product.
     
  27. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement guys! :)

    One of the nice things about working in plaster is that if I make a mistake, I can repair it with spackling. Helps to fix gouges or re-create a chipped edge, and with a bit of sanding it blends right in.

    Still need to figure out how to give the final model a smooth glass-like surface when I'm done. I'm hoping I can just spray it with a few coats of an acrylic varnish or something, but I don't know if that'll work. I guess I'll have to do some experiments.
     
  28. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Thought it was time to post another update.

    I finished carving all three pieces that make up the first Key to Time segment:

    [​IMG]

    Glued together, you can see it taking shape:

    [​IMG]

    A little bit of spackling and sanding to cover up the seams, and voila:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You'll notice I didn't bother fixing the convergence of the corners in the center. It's because it won't matter as that part will be drilled out in the next step, which is to drill along where the three axes of the cube would be. If I was doing the entire Key to Time, I'd wait until I had all six segments assembled in a cube before doing this part. But since I'm just concentrating on making one segment, I figured now is the time to do it.

    I don't have a drill press, but I have an idea of how to put something together that should allow me to drill in a straight line. I'll hopefully get to that later this weekend...
     
  29. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Well, my improvised solution for drilling the holes -- which involved mounting a drill on a table and making a sliding tray that would glide the model in a straight line toward it -- didn't work so well. Or more precisely I wasn't as careful as I should have been while doing it.

    The main hole (that runs from the front of the segment to the back) ended up being a bit more skewed than I would have liked. It's not horrible, but it's off by about a quarter inch towards the back, so I think it needs to be re-done.

    I'm going to try to fix it by filling the hole in with some new plaster, letting it harden, and then trying again. I'm a bit worried that the drilling won't go smoothly since the new plaster won't be tightly bonded to the original, but we'll see what happens.....
     
  30. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    A shame you don't know someone with a drill press you can borrow.

    I'm still waiting for my mold/cast guy to have some free time to work with the pieces. He thinks mid-April.
     
  31. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Yeah, if I decide to end up doing the entire Key to Time, there's no question I'd use a drill press. (And I'd redo this first segment properly.) But I figured that for just a single segment I could get away with approximating the holes.

    Chances are though I'm just going to get in on your run. :)

    I can't wait to see it! Have you asked what he's casting in? I'm dying to know...!
     
  32. Cut Snake

    Cut Snake Active Member

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    My thought on your hole issue.

    What if you could secure it so that you know the hole will be aligned correctly, then drill a hole larger than you need. You could then refill the hole with plaster, with a rod or some such thing of the correct size in the centre to act as your new hole until it's dried.

    Love the project, can't wait to see more progress.


    :edited to make sense. :)
     
  33. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    I haven't asked him his casting material. All I know is he says it doesn't need to be degassed.
     
  34. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Hmm, that's an interesting idea! I'd have to find a way of making sure that the plaster didn't adhere to the rod. Last thing I'd want is to have that rod permanently embedded in the middle of a solid chunk of plaster! :) Maybe a silicon rod would work OK, especially if it was given a coat of vaseline first.

    Alas this idea will have to wait, as I've already poured the plaster in the crevice left by the misaligned hole. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will work, as when I did this yesterday there was a bit that splattered onto one of the sides, and this evening when I tried to remove it I found it had fused quite tightly to the original plaster. So maybe I'll be OK.

    And if this doesn't work, I'll try the embedded rod idea!
     
  35. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Hey guys,

    Sorry for the delay in posting an update. But stuff was in a rough shape after I filled the misaligned hole and re-drilled a new hole. Plus a bunch of edges got chipped in the process:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It took a while, but I was able to finally get things into shape again:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This time the holes are aligned perfectly. (The hole looks a bit wide and off-center in the picture above, but it's just the camera angle making it look wide, and the position is actually correct as it is not meant to be centered over the ridge.)

    I apologize for the poor lighting in the pics. I'll take some more during daytime after the next step, which is to spray it with an acrylic glaze. I'm using Krylon's Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze, which promises to leave a "bright, glass-like coating". In fact I tried it on a few practice pieces of plaster and it seems to work really well (although it requires several coats), so I think along with some sanding and polishing it'll be just the thing I need to get that perfect finish for casting.
     
  36. Straker

    Straker Well-Known Member

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    Nice! I'm totally interested if you make a run. Just watching your progress alone is wonderful though.
     
  37. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement! :)

    So as promised, here are a few more pictures after spraying the model in acrylic and doing some polishing. I find that high grit sandpaper followed by some buffing with Novus #2 polish seems to work quite well.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I still have some tweaking to do. There are some chipped parts that need to be repaired, and the finish is not perfectly smooth in some parts. There's also some blemishes caused by dirty fingers, etc, but I'm not too worried about that as long as the surface is smooth.

    The edges and corners got a little more worn than I would have liked, but since this is just a practice piece I'm not too worried. If I go ahead with doing all six segments, I'll definitely be re-doing this piece and being more careful about keeping the edges crisp.

    I'll be heading over to Sculpture Supply Canada this weekend to pick up whatever I need for molding and casting. And here's where I'd like to ask for some advice...

    I would love to use Smooth-On Crystal Clear, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to get access to a vacuum chamber or pressure pot. (Unless someone knows where you can rent these in Toronto??) So with that in mind, is Smooth-On Crystal Clear still my best bet? Or is there something that would work better for my particular situation? :confused

    Thanks in advance for any advice...
     
  38. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

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    I'd suggest you block sand the flat spaces to level the high spots. It looks glossy, but not glass flat.

    It's a work of art with plaster though. I'd never have guessed you could do such nice work with it.
     
  39. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Heh, thanks! And yep, I hear you! :) I definitely want to get all the surfaces as glass-like as possible. Right now there's still a bit of an orange-peel texture to them, plus a few uneven parts. I'll do the best I can!

    So you've had a lot of experience with Smooth-On Crystal Clear. How bad would it be to not degas the silicon rubber first, and to not use a pressure pot for casting? Keeping in mind that this is just a test piece -- I'd like it to look good, but it doesn't have to be flawless.

    Ultimately I still want to see what Kestre comes up with before deciding whether to do all six pieces.
     
  40. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

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    When you mix the clear it will have bubbles in it so I don't think there's any chance of them all disappearing without pressure and when you pressure, you'll have pimples on the casting from the mold if the rubber wasn't degassed.

    While I'm not sure how feasible it would be, the plastic can be polished just like acrylic with micromesh, then buffing wheels.
     
  41. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    So, just a quick update...

    I still haven't picked up the materials to do the casting. I'm pretty sure I'm still going to be casting this in resin, but in the last while I've been thinking more and more about a better approach to the Key to Time...

    I've started making some inquiries into having the Key to Time professionally produced out of crystal or Lucite. (Lucite is what they use for doing those glass-like awards, and is similar to crystal but lighter and more durable.)

    I've got Hydin getting a quote from his source. And I've found a place here in Toronto that looks like they'd be able create all six segments out of Lucite. (And as a bonus, the two people I've spoken to are big Dr. Who fans, so they're eager to see this happen!)

    There's one huge catch though -- It's expensive. Like, really expensive. But I'm going to get some official quotes before I dismiss the idea entirely. Just doing a google image search on Lucite and imagining a Key to Time made out of it has me salivating....
     
  42. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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    Cool. I'd love to hear how those options turn out. My guy has done one piece properly in resin, and it's good but not 100% perfect yet. We're waiting for him to really get them all done and be ready to do a run before releasing photos.
     
  43. Dalex

    Dalex Member

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    Hey, that's good news! I can't wait to see how it turns out!

    I'm definitely still interested in getting the Key to Time done in resin, whether by me or by you.

    In fact, what would be really ideal is having both. I can imagine having the expensive crystal pieces on display in a case. Then the resin pieces can be actually handled and played with. So if a friend comes over and comments on the Key to Time, you can hand them the resin pieces and see if they can put it together!
     
  44. Dalex

    Dalex Member

    Trophy Points:
    191
    Time for another update. It's kind of a "good news/bad news" post...

    First the bad news: So the more I think about it, the more I think there's no point in me casting my model in resin, at least not at this point in time. Kestre seems pretty close to having all six segments ready to go, and they're being done with a lot more experience than I have, so there just doesn't seem any point in me doing it too, especially since I have neither the right equipment nor experience. The motivation I had when I first started this project was fueled by the fact that no one had ever successfully re-created the Key to Time, but now that I know someone else is doing it, I'll be just as happy to just get in on their run. It'd be a lot less work too! So to everyone following this thread and waiting to see the final result, I apologize that it may never happen.

    Now the good news: Over the last few weeks I've switched gears and have been working with a local company to potentially have the Key to Time done in Lucite. Individual pieces would be very expensive (several hundred dollars each) but if we can get at least 10 people in the price for the complete set of six segments would drop to under a thousand. I know that's still well out of range of most people's budget, but I'm hoping there might be at least *some* people on this planet besides myself who'd be willing to get in on it.

    And now the best part: I'll be meeting with them later this week, and if all goes well I'm going to cough up the cash to have them produce one of the segments as a prototype. This will give us a good idea of what the final Key to Time would look like. :)

    Of course all this is still very preliminary, nothing decided for sure. But I'll keep you all up to date with what's happening, and post any progress reports I can.

    Cheers,
     
  45. Kestre

    Kestre Member

    Trophy Points:
    181
    Well you may decide to do it for the experience of learning molding and casting techniques. Though this is a tough type of piece to try (3 dimensional, clear, moderate size).

    My update is that my guy is up to testing 3 of the pieces in his new curing method. I guess the cure time is several days long so it's quite a turnaround time for now.
     
  46. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,535
    3 days? What is he casting with?
     
  47. Kestre

    Kestre Member

    Trophy Points:
    181
    Reading closer it looks like he was (not sure if he's still using this exact method) doing 3 layers of 24 hr cure with epoxycast. Interesting because I've read that the originals were also created in layers.
     
  48. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

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    1,535
    Haven't heard of doing that before. That's a long time for a casting.
     
  49. Dalex

    Dalex Member

    Trophy Points:
    191
    Oh trust me, I hear you on this! I was actually really looking forward to doing it -- and in fact I still might end up doing it! Part of the problem is the cost. I still have to get the silicone rubber, the Smooth-On Crystal Clear (enough for several attempts, since I'm sure to botch the first couple of tries), and various other supplies. And on top of that, I know I'm going to have subpar results due to a lack of vacuum chamber and pressure pot. So I'd rather save up for the Lucite version and/or your version.

    Having said that... If the Lucite doesn't work out for whatever reason, I will likely go ahead with casting my model. Because you're right -- After putting this much effort into it, I want to see the finished result!! :)
     
  50. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    4,196
    I hope you get a glass or hard plastic version made. Maybe contact a manufacture in China. The companies that make award trophies can pretty much make any shape and they would be a fraction of the cost for a one off than getting it done locally. If they ask what it is, say it is a prototype and you want to product 100s if it works and they will do what they do best.

    Your master looks sensational and I was keen to see how you might cast this. Not to rain on your parade, I cast prisms out of resin a few years ago and did not have 100% success even when I learned how to pour without bubbles.

    The key reason for my failures was that the casting resin was exothermic and because the prism tapered, it had different rates in which it set and cooled. The results were often cracking at the thin end. I experimented with heat lamps and various other techniques. In the end, I went glass and my first glass shipments came from a Chinese trophy manufacture.

    Later I moved onto proper optical manufactures, but that is another story.
     

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