A liquid hardening wax material?

  • Thread starter kolleamm
  • Start date
347
32
Summary
A liquid wax material that hardens
I need a wax like material I can buy that I can paint onto a surface and then have it harden on it's own. I want to create fine details on a plastic model, so I would coat the model in wax with a brush, have the wax dry, and then sculpt out the details later.

My ideas so far are wax for waxing off hair, though I wanted to see if you guys have any better ideas.

Thanks!
 

jrmichler

Science Advisor
758
637
You could try dissolving wax in a fast evaporating solvent, then painting it on. But fast evaporating solvents are generally something that are not good to breathe.

I have coated things with wax by melting the wax, then painting it on with a brush. It worked very well for bonding to the surface and for building up thickness. Not so well for getting a smooth surface, but you could do a smoothing operation after the building up operation.
 
347
32
Thanks for your suggestion! I'm still unsure if wax is the way to go though, but I suppose it's worth a try.
 

Tom.G

Science Advisor
2,615
1,450
An alternative to wax may be one of the epoxies. It seems that the needed characteristics are:
  • somewhat viscous liquid to apply
  • rather high surface tension for self-leveling and smooth surface
  • moderately short time to solidify
  • workable with hand tools after hardening
Generally speaking, the faster an epoxy sets, the softer it is. The over-the-counter 5-minute epoxies would be a place to start the experiment. The setting time can be modified with temperature, they take longer to set at lower temperatures because chemical activity roughly halves for every 10°C drop.

The drawback is there is no second chance without using some rather nasty solvent.

(2nd thought, how about some White Glue... like Elmers?)

Cheers,
Tom
 
depending on the plastic, avoid any overly fast setting epoxies - they generate a lot of heat, and can melt plastic. Typically if you mix it in a plastic cup, as what's left in the cup cures, it crinkles down due to the heat.

paraffin wax has a low melting point and might serve for what you need. It depends if you want the final result to be sturdy, or just to make a mould of the model. Bear in mind that a soft wax will remain soft - if you make a mould, the wax will likely distort as you remove the model from it. you'll get one mould, but will have to make subsequent ones from a casting rather than the original master.
 

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