How To Use
ProCast Max has been designed to be as easy-to-use and reliable as possible. It does not require degassing or any other special equipment and in fact will thoroughly degas itself during cure, resulting in a perfectly clear, bubble-free casting.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
It is important for users to familiarise themselves with the following information and ensure that instructions are followed correctly, particularly those points relating to working temperatures, weighing and mixing. Unsatisfactory results are almost always caused by unsuitable ambient temperatures or improper weighing or mixing. It is very important to read the Safety and Technical Datasheets before starting a project with ProCast Max.
Like most epoxy resins, the way that ProCast Max will cure is very dependent upon the ambient temperature. Temperature and humidity during the preparation, application and hardening of epoxy compositions have a great influence on the quality and properties of the coating. The optimal operating conditions is the temperature of 20C (not lower than 15C) and the relative humidity of 65%. Higher humidity on the hardened coating may result in turbidities, quartering and stickness. Particularly critical for the appearance and quality of the substrate is lowering the substrate temperature while hardening below the dew point temperature. Condensate droplets formed on the substrate significantly lower the decorative qualities of the coating.
In much the same way that ProCast Max can be adversely affected whilst curing by moisture in the air, it will also be affected by any moisture in the surface onto which it is poured. Whatever surface you are pouring onto, it is important to ensure that the surface is as dry and stable as possible. This is particularly relevant when working with natural materials like wood and cork or concrete where moisture levels within the substrate can be high. When working with wood that is either freshly sawn or reclaimed/salvaged from a damp environment it will be necessary to dry the wood thoroughly - which could take days or weeks indoors - before use. Failure to ensure that wood is properly dried and stabilised can result in a surface reaction with the resin as well as ‘bowing’ or distortion if the wood starts to dry after the resin layer has been cast.
Moisture in Wood
ProCast Max has excellent tolerance to modest levels of moisture but can still be adversely effected by higher moisture content in wood and other subtrates. Wood with a high moisture content is also liable to move (shrink) as it dries out which can cause 'bowing' or distortion of the piece if the wood starts to dry after the resin layer has been cast. Ensure wood is properly seasoned and dried before use.
Sealing Coat - Required for All Porous Surfaces
When working with porous substrates such as wood, chipboard, concrete or ceramics it is highly recommended to first seal the substrate with a thin application of ProCast Max. Doing so will seal and stabilise the surface, greatly improving the flatness of the final pour. The sealing coat must be allowed to fully cure and then ‘keyed’ before proceeding. The sealing coat can be applied with a disposable brush.
Just as with the surface preparation, it is important to ensure that any materials that are going to be embedded within the resin, such as pennies, crushed glass, bottle tops, corks, leaves etc. are thoroughly dry. Any embedments may also require being glued/fastened down to stop them floating in the resin once it is poured.
Depending on the ambient temperature, ProCast Max will take around 48hrs to become touch-dry. During this initial 48hrs it is essential to keep all dust and dirt away from the uncured pour. Once the surface is ‘touch-dry’ it is much less susceptible to contamination from dust but it will still be quite soft and easy to mark and so you should avoid touching or using the surface for as long as possible. The time it takes for the resin to cure fully will depend very much on the ambient temperature; at 20°C you should allow at least 72hrs before demoulding (if casting into a mould) or attempting to do any work on the resin (such as sanding or polishing). ProCast Max will take around 7 days to reach full hardness.
Trapped Air - Heat Gun or Blow Torch Required?
ProCast Max includes advanced technology to help it to expel air that has been entrapped by the mixing and pouring process and so in many cases the resin will fully release any trapped air to leave a beautiful bubble-free finish. After pouring, it usually takes the resin around 5-10 minutes to expel trapped air. Factors such as ambient temperature, mixing action, pouring thickness and the substrate you’re pouring onto can all influence the appearance of trapped air (bubbles) within the resin. After around 10 mins, if you find that you can still see trapped air bubbles with this resin then lightly passing over the surface of the resin with a heat gun or blow torch on a low setting will help to dispel any bubbles. In both cases only ever use a light pass and wait for any heat in the surface to dissipate before repeating.
Work in a well ventilated area. Whenever weighing, mixing, pouring or checking the state of the cure of the resin, you should be wearing suitable protective gloves and eye protection as a minimum precaution. Always wear gloves when you are ‘testing’ to see if the surface has cured. Do not touch or handle the surface without gloves until you are sure that it is fully cured.
How Much Resin?
The very nature of a "live-edge" on a piece on wood makes it difficult to calculate exactly how much resin you will need for the project. There are some practical methods that can be used to actually measure the exact volume an irregular shaped cavity - such as pouring rice or sand into the gap and then measuring the volume - but in most cases it is probably more a case of estimating the volume of the gap and then allowing a little extra. Areas that are to be filled with resin (for example the gap between the two live-edge planks on a river table) should be measured approximately in length, with and depth to find the cuboid volume, as follows:
Length (in m) x Width (in m) x Depth (in mm). The resulting number will be the volume of this shape in litres. For example:1.5m (Length) x 0.15m (width) x 30mm (depth) = 6.75lIn simple terms, 6.75 litres of resin can be approximated as 6.75 kilograms of resin.
We would always suggest slightly overestimating the amount of resin you think you will need as it is likely that the wood will absorb some of the resin and it’s always better to have mixed too much rather than too little - especially when colouring the resin, to ensure a consistent colour.
How to Measure and Mix
What You’ll Need
Set of digital scales,
Two clean mixing cups,
Two clean mixing sticks,
Nitrile gloves/safety glasses,
Material or tape to create barriers like Resin Release Tape / Polypropelene,
Optional: Heat gun or blow torch
ProCast Max is a two-part epoxy resin system. As soon as the two parts are mixed together they will begin to cure.It is essential to mix the resin and hardener exactly at the correct mix ratio. Failure to do so will result in a poor or only partial cure of the resin. Under no circumstances add ‘extra hardener’ in an attempt to speed up the cure time; epoxies do not work in this way.
Mixing by Weight 100%:30%
Use digital scales to accurately weigh the correct amount of resin into a cup, re-zero the scales and then weigh in the correct amount of hardener. Try to be as accurate to within 1 -2 grams, particularly on smaller mixes. The tables below can be used to look up some common mix sizes.
Mix Ratio Examples:
Weigh the exact ratio of resin and hardener into a straight sided container. Using a suitable mixing stick begin to mix the resin and hardener together to combine them completely. Spend 3 minutes mixing the resin and hardener together, paying particular attention to the sides and base of the container. Remember: Any resin that has not been thoroughly combined with hardener will not cure.Once you have finished mixing in one container, it is good practice to transfer the mixed resin into a second, clean mixing container and undertake further mixing for another 3 minutes using a new mixing stick. Doing so will eliminate the risk of accidentally using unmixed resin from the bottom or sides of the original container.
This data is not to be used for specifications. Values listed are for typical properties and should not be considered minimum or maximum. Our technical advice, whether verbal or in writing, is given in good faith but Epideco Ltd gives no warranty; express or implied and all products are sold upon condition that purchasers will make their own tests to determine the quality and suitability of the product for their particular application and circumstances. Epideco Ltd shall be in no way responsible for the proper use and service of the product, nor for the safeguarding of personnel or property, all of which is the duty of the user. Any information or suggestions are without warranty of any kind and purchasers are solely responsible for any loss arising from the use of such information or suggestions. No information or suggestions given by us shall be deemed to be a recommendation to use any product in conflict with any existing patent rights. Before using any of our products, users should familiarise themselves with the relevant technical and safety datasheets provided by Epideco Ltd.