Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cactus Canyon repro guns and mountain

Something else I'm working on since a few weeks: learning to make my own molds in silicone and make reproductions from objects.
More specific, I'm trying to repro the Cactus Canyon mine mountain plastic and the gun handles.

A full article will appear on my site in the future when I'm finished and learned enough.

Cactus Canyon mountain plastics were unobtainable for the last years. Suddenly a few have appeared on ebay but they are much too expensive for me.
My mountain isn't really bad but not mint either.

Many years ago I looked a bit into casting parts in resin (Leon of then also did and he sells Scared Stiff boney flippers he casts himself).
Since then I never needed anything.. until now.
Now buying a NOS cactus canyon mountain plastic is no option for me, it was time to pick up this project and try to make one myself to improve my pinball machine.

And I've seen pictures of someone who has customised his Cactus Canyon pinball machine by painting the gun handles and it looked great !

But I prefer to have original parts on my machine - therefor I also started to make a mold for the gun handles. It was easy to do as they're small and flat.
Now I can keep my original parts - in case I ever decide to sell my game and the buyer prefers to have everything original. But I can make replacement parts to paint and customize it like I want, and not be afraid of messing up a part that's not replaceable.

2 weeks ago I made a mold for the gun handles. Poured epoxy in it, worked fine.
First test was a success, I learned to make a mold and cast resin.
The mold for the gun handles is good. Details are nice and sharp. Compared side by side with an original you may see some very small differences, but installed in the machine you wouldn't know it was a reproduction piece.

Last week then I made a big mold for the lost mine mountain plastic.
Gave it enough time to cure, and this week I tried to cast my first plastics.

First didn't work well, I had used too much material. It was too thick and heavy.
The mountain is hollow, so unlike the gun handles, you can't just fill it completely with resin. Making a cast of this requires a special technique.
It was a good test for my mold to see if the shape was correct. Only where I had closed the hole it's not perfectly smooth.

In the picture below you see my next trials. Middle right is my original lost mine plastic. At top left is my second attempt. The shape is fine, but it's a little bit too thin. I used about 60 gram of epoxy in that one. It also shows the natural color of the poly-urethane resin. I get better practice getting an even layer of resin all around, to cast a hollow object.

Top right is my third try of casting a cactus canyon mountain plastic.
I added brown pigment to it, trying to simulate the original color. Looks like I've added too much, the color is too dark. Also used a bit too much epoxy, about 80 grams in total. The mountain plastic is strong but the edges were difficult to cut. So next time I'll try 65 to 70 gram of epoxy and less brown pigment..

I'd like to get the resin in the correct color so I only have to paint additional color to have it match the original color scheme. If I don't succeed in matching the color I'll just take that unpainted one and give it two layers of paint so it matches. But too many layers of paint may block the light from the flasher lamp that's underneath in the game..

On the bottom in the picture are the gun handles. Bottom right is an original one.
The other three I've casted.
One painted completely silver, and the other two I haven't painted the lizard yet. Will paint this green (or maybe another color, I'm not sure yet).

I haven't made a mold yet for the rest of the gun, I'm considering doing this also.
Original they're black, but I think they'll look much better in chrome/silver, like real guns do. But as they're two large plastics, a lot of silicone will go into them.
Don't know yet if I want to spend that much on material just to cast one pair of guns for myself..

Update: article is ready about casting your own 3D pieces using a silicone mold.

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