Help: Life Casting... body parts

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by Zendragon, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    Next time we dive into the chest cast
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  2. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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?
     
  4. Sluis Van Shipyards

    Sluis Van Shipyards Master Member

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    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.
     
  5. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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. :)
     
  6. Qui-Gonzalez

    Qui-Gonzalez Master Member

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    Yep, send a PM to Eaglewood. He makes casts of bodybuilders, both male and female.
     
  7. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks, will do...
     
  8. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Zaxmon

    Zaxmon Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. EricHart

    EricHart Member

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    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
     
  11. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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


    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.
     
  12. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So once the bandages were dry we removed the cast. So far so good

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  13. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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

    [​IMG]

    I think I am ready to start adding the fiberglass strips
     
  14. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Eaglewood

    Eaglewood Sr Member

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    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.
     
  16. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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?
     
  17. Lord Magneto

    Lord Magneto Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  18. T2SF

    T2SF Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  19. Koda Vonnor

    Koda Vonnor Well-Known Member

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    Great work! But I only have one question.

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

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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.
     
  21. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So I wanted to repair the semi broken pull. Glue, additional plaster and fiberglass and some sanding, and this is what I finished with. I hope that it will make it to the UK in one piece.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Qui-Gonzalez

    Qui-Gonzalez Master Member

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    Can we play "Guess that costume!!"?
     
  23. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You could... but some of them are on the back wall :lol
     
  24. Qui-Gonzalez

    Qui-Gonzalez Master Member

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    I'm gonna say based on the forearm and chest...Wonder Woman.
     
  25. King Ranger

    King Ranger Sr Member

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    So that would mean Poison Ivy?
     
  26. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Actually, Abby will be using it for Ivy, Mistress Chief and one of the Hutt Guild Dancers from SW:TOR

    After that, who knows what else
     
  27. Looch

    Looch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    From my experiences, plaster bandage is fine, but just plain plaster is a problem because of the various chemicals in it which can cause a pretty bad burn or reaction. You can actually feel it heating up as it sets!
     
  28. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yes... this is very true. I try to use medical grade bandages... which reminds me to upload some more pics.
     
  29. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So the last chest cast got shipped off to a friend to work on an armored bra for one of Abby's costumes.

    It turns out, she wanted a chest cast to sculpt some poison Ivy leave cups. We weren't sure if we wanted to use a bra or not for this. Ultimately we plan to have two options.... but we ended up making another, this time without one.

    I had a mix of brands of bandages, some Gypsona brand and the others were something else. As it turns out, the medical grade Gypsona are way better. You can see it in the next photo, there is a real big difference in the quality level.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  30. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    With this one, I decided to use Epoxy Resin and Fiberglass, rather than the process that I used before.

    This product was suggested as a one step release and wax

    [​IMG]

    I used some clay to fill in a few of the spots that had airbubbles

    [​IMG]

    Got my Epoxy Resin

    I found this product to be almost odor free and they claim minimal shrinkage.

    [​IMG]
     
  31. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    All ready to go

    [​IMG]

    Brushed in the first gel coat, I tinted it brown just to experiment with color options. Down the road I want to do a cold cast bronze chest casting... they suggest you use a brown gel coat over the cold cast layer.

    [​IMG]

    And fast forward through another gel coat and drying, I then laid in the fiberglass strips

    [​IMG]
     
  32. AbbyDarkStar

    AbbyDarkStar Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thems my BOOBIES!
     
  33. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sunday night it was time to demold. I should mention that I had already tested the release on a smaller item and found that it seems to work rather well, so I was hopeful that removing the casting would be easier than last time.

    I was wrong. Ok, it was easier than last time. Sort of. The areas where it had the crappy quality it just did not want to release.

    So needless to say, I am still working on this... but all and all, I think it came out pretty well. Needs some clean up, some sanding and then I think it will be good.

    What we ended up with is a super strong and super lightweight casting.

    All of these experiments will make working with these products so much easier in the future.

    [​IMG]
     
  34. Eopie Herder

    Eopie Herder Sr Member

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    It is an issue of burns, plaster setting is a chemical reaction. And, the temp of the water you use can effect it too. It's always best to use dental alginate or a lifecasting silicone, whether it's a lifecast or casting body parts. Alginate is cheap and easy to obtain, play it safe and you won't regret it.
     
  35. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thank you for your feedback and opinion on this.

    Everything I have read about plaster bandages is that there isn't enough plaster on them to really cause burns. This is the third time now that we have used them without issue.

    Alginate is decent to work work, but not always the best option for some stuff due to cost or ease of use.

    I am sure that there are cases of people getting chemical burns from bandages, but in the life casting world, it seems to be the go to choice over alginate for a lot of artist.

    I am not sure why this is though...
     
  36. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

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    this is the most legendary post in this thread :D
     
  37. rensole

    rensole Active Member

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    I'm gonna watch this thread :D was thinking about doing something like this this summer te create multiple armors and other stuff ^^ keep at it :D:D
     
  38. Alric

    Alric Well-Known Member

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    It looks like you got a good cast from the mold to work on and its very tastfully displayed :)
     
  39. CelticRuins

    CelticRuins Sr Member

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    LOL! Seconded. But this thread is really informative and this is definitely something I've been meaning to learn for the longest time.
     
  40. Zendragon

    Zendragon Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Agreed!

    I think having at the least a face cast is so useful. A torso though is awesome for all sorts of stuff.

    It's a family place and Abby DarkStar is modest :)

    Hahaha yea... it was pretty legendary
     
  41. HiResProps

    HiResProps New Member

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    Do you have these posted somewhere else> i am doing a body cast now and your pictures and walkthrough are super helpful.
     
  42. Doh2

    Doh2 Sr Member

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