Help: Life Casting... body parts

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Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So a while back, I posted a question about doing a leg cast. http://www.therpf.com/f9/life-casting-leg-foot-knee-132988/

That's still on the list to do, but in the mean time, we also needed to do an arm, torso, chest (with bra) and eventually a face.

I am a complete novice to lifecasting and I am finding the process to be very interesting. I have done hands, faces and the occasional head before, but always with assistance. This was my first solo life casting project.

We started with the arm, just cause it was the easiest. Because I already had a tube, we decided to go the easy route with alginate and plaster.

In this case, we used ultracal for the casting.

I also added a 1" pipe to it while the plaster set so I could attach the arm later to a board.

We chose to have Abby make a fist, so we could sink the arm as deep into the tube as possible. We really only needed the forearm and the back of the hand for the costume projects ahead.

Started by measuring out water and alginate. Generally you want the water pretty cold to slow down the setting time of the alginate, but in this case we wanted it to go a little faster so I used warmer water.



I filled the tube about half way. Into the tube her arm went and I topped off the rest with the alginate.



Once the alginate set she wigged her arm out and I mixed up the ultracal and filled the mold. I inserted the tube into the plaster about 5"

Unfortunately, I didn't take pics of it setting.

This is the finished arm.



I made two bases, one for upright and one for working on the arm while horizontal



Next time we dive into the chest cast
 
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Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Life Casting... body parts

The chest cast itself was all new to me. I thought about using alginate for this, but ultimately it was about keeping the cost down, so I decided to just use plaster bandages.

Because this chest cast will be used to sculpt a bra on, we wanted to simulate the look of where things would be with a bra on so the costume top would fit properly.

We started with a lot of Vaseline applied to the bra and a thin layer on the skin.

Unfortunately I couldn't do this and take too many process pics. Maybe next time.

I will say, if you are offended by a woman in bandages, or a cast of the female chest, please do not read on.

I started the process by cutting all of my bandages ahead of time. Also set up a turkey pan (thanks to Matt Munson for the tip) with luke warm water.

 

Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Life Casting... body parts

Before I post more pics, I have a question for you pros...

I have done a torso cast and am trying to figure out the best option for making the final casting? We want to be able to sculpt on it and yet have it be light weight, so I am thinking fiberglass.

I know nothing about fiberglass or the process.

Matt Munson suggested that I use an Epoxy Resin and hardener from West System. He says it has only a mild odor and no shrinkage.

While all of that sounds great, it's about $200 worth of supplies not including pumps.

So what else is out there? I would like similar quality and attributes, just a better price point.

Are there any good tutorials out there? I have searched the web, but either the tutorials are out dates, have dead links to their photos or the pics are too small.

Also, what's the best thing to use to make sure that I can get the fiberglass to release? Would this same stuff be used for plaster against plaster?
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
Re: Life Casting... body parts

First I'm glad the bra wasn't for you. I was trying to think of what possible costume that could be. :lol

I don't want to volunteer anyone, but doesn't Eaglewood do chest sculpts of bodybuilders? He might be the person to ask.
 

Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks, I am sure there are a bunch of folks who have used fiberglass with plaster bandages. I think I just need to get their attention. But I might reach out to Eaglewood if I don't hear back soon. :)
 

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Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Moving on with the chest cast pics...

So after the Vaseline, I started to apply the plaster bandages, trying to make sure I got out as many air bubbles as I could. This was just a simple chest cast, so it went pretty fast.

 

Zaxmon

Well-Known Member
I have that exact same workbench hehe. But mine is much messier from spills and random junk.
I think you're doing an excellent job. I always used the duct tape mannequin for busts, but I'll have to try the method you are doing and see how it works for me.
 

EricHart

Member
Yes, it's the cost of the resin that makes fiberglass so pricey. Even water-based alternatives to epoxy resin still put you in the same price point. I wonder if Wonderflex or a similar thermoplastic might help here. Some colleagues of mine used it pretty successfully last summer at the NY Shakespeare Festival to make breastplates in plaster molds which were cast from sculpts done over lifecasts. Here's a picture of one of them: http://papermachemonkey.homestead.com/psds/2_Breast_Plate_2_copy.jpg

And here's there website where they have some more examples: Paper Mache Monkey Art and Design Studio
 

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Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have that exact same workbench hehe. But mine is much messier from spills and random junk.
I think you're doing an excellent job. I always used the duct tape mannequin for busts, but I'll have to try the method you are doing and see how it works for me.
We have used duct tape mannequins in the past, but I think because this one is being used to make a bra, we wanted it to be as acurate as possible. We don't want the bra snapping under a load and smacking some poor fanboy in the eye :confused


Yes, it's the cost of the resin that makes fiberglass so pricey. Even water-based alternatives to epoxy resin still put you in the same price point. I wonder if Wonderflex or a similar thermoplastic might help here. Some colleagues of mine used it pretty successfully last summer at the NY Shakespeare Festival to make breastplates in plaster molds which were cast from sculpts done over lifecasts. Here's a picture of one of them: http://papermachemonkey.homestead.com/psds/2_Breast_Plate_2_copy.jpg

And here's there website where they have some more examples: Paper Mache Monkey Art and Design Studio
Oh I see. Hmmm, well I wonder if there is a good in between option. I think I am going to hit up the local TAP plastics or my casting and mold making supply to see what they have.
 

Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So once the bandages were dry we removed the cast. So far so good



For plaster bandages, the detail was actually pretty decent. Despite trying to keep the air bubbles to a minimum, we still ended up with them



 
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Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
After about a day or two, the mold was pretty dry and I started the process of brushing in the casting material.

In this case, it was suggested that I use FGR-95 as a plaster base and backing it with fiberglass.

Because this would be a plaster mold with another hard substance, I would need a really good mold release.

I ended up using a soap/alcohol based product that I could brush in and let dry. After a couple of applications of that, I thought I was ready to brush in the plaster. (key word, "thought")

Here is a shot of me brushing in the plaster



I think I am ready to start adding the fiberglass strips
 

Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
After I added some fiberglass strips and additional FGR-95 I let it dry. Once everything was dry it was time to de-mold.

This part didn't go as planned. In fact, it was pretty stuck and not coming out anytime soon.

So after a lot of wrestling, dremeling, cursing, cracking :unsure , I finally got it free, but not without some damage.

 

Eaglewood

Sr Member
Give me a shout-- I will be glad to offer some advice-- First is NEVER put plaster directly on the body!!! I know some people do it, but trust me-- dont do it.
 

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Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Give me a shout-- I will be glad to offer some advice-- First is NEVER put plaster directly on the body!!! I know some people do it, but trust me-- dont do it.
Hey Eaglewood, thanks. I would love to learn more.

So curious though. Read a lot, and watched a lot of videos, plaster bandages seem to be used a lot and suggested. What would be the problem?
 

Lord Magneto

Well-Known Member
Looks great to me so far.

I wish I could convince my wife to do something like this. I'd love to get her involved in my little hobby.
 

T2SF

Well-Known Member
I'm not certain but it sounds like you used plaster for the first coat and then fiberglass material for the positive mold, I don't know if they will adhere to each other that well. And then if you only need the boobage area you can probably not use material that far up on the chest/neck, waist area. And then lastly really layer the plaster/plastic (whatever you choose but not booth) so it has a good solid base and aim for .25" thick with the gauze/plaster strips.
 

Koda Vonnor

Well-Known Member
Great work! But I only have one question.

What is Robert Downey Jr. doing in your workshop? :eek (points up 6 posts)
 

Zendragon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm not certain but it sounds like you used plaster for the first coat and then fiberglass material for the positive mold, I don't know if they will adhere to each other that well. And then if you only need the boobage area you can probably not use material that far up on the chest/neck, waist area. And then lastly really layer the plaster/plastic (whatever you choose but not booth) so it has a good solid base and aim for .25" thick with the gauze/plaster strips.
According to the folks who run the casting and moldmaking place that I go to, they suggested a plaster product called FGR-95. It's similar to the stuff they used for the sides of buildings I guess. It works will with fiberglass layed into the plaster while wet. Makes for light and theoretically strong positive.

I think the cracking occurred while prying the plaster mold off. I was wrestling with it.
 

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