Resin casting - the view from here


Tom Madden
 

I’m feeling particularly reflective and aware of my own mortality after Sunday’s bittersweet celebration of life for my late wife, and want to set down my thoughts on the history of resin casting in the hobby from my viewpoint as a long-time resin caster. I apologize for the length and beg your indulgence, and hope this will add to the record rather than confuse it.

 

Tom Madden

 

In my Bell Labs career (1960-1994) I was fortunate enough to be awarded a number of patents. Each was the result of my perceiving a need, solving a problem, or seizing an opportunity. I'm proud of those patents, but the reality is, the needs, problems and opportunities were there for anybody, and if it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else. Most likely sooner rather than later. It's important to separate the true innovators from those whose contributions are founded on the work of others, or who just happen to come along at the right time. ("When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.")

Bill Clouser was certainly an innovator, but for me it's because of his articles on using Strathmore papers for modeling. (The Strathmore Story, MR, February & March 1959. Later that same year another innovator, Al Armitage, had his landmark articles on styrene modeling appear in MR.) By the mid-'60s a number of us were, as Dennis mentioned, using tooling resin (epoxy) to cast parts in silicone rubber molds for personal use. Bill's casting was the ultimate expression of that technology, and his work was superb. Problem was, epoxy is a very aggressive casting medium and you'd be lucky to get 6 or 8 good parts from a mold. I was making some very nice HOn3 parts using Ren and Ciba-Geigy epoxies, but cost wise I couldn't compete with brass parts, let alone with Grandt Line plastic parts when they came along. All credit to Bill Clouser for seeing the bigger picture and being the first to offer commercial cast resin parts, but he wasn't the only one using the technology at the time.

The true innovator for resin casting in the hobby was, at least for me, Jack Work, with his March 1961 MR article on cold detail casting in rubber molds. He used Devcon Liquid Steel, a thick, solvent-based putty-like material available in both tubes and cans. You'd squeegee it into an open faced mold, smooth the back, let the solvent evaporate, and 10 or 15 minutes later (for small parts) pop the now-hardened part out of the mold. About the time Jack's article came out a rep for either GE or Dow visited my lab to show some new semiconductor potting compounds. One was a liquid rubber material which didn't need heat to vulcanize, you just mixed two components together and it self-cured. They called it "Ready to Vulcanize" or "RTV" for short. The rep left a pint sample with us, a coworker glued a nickel to a glass plate and with cut-up tongue depressors made a little box around it. We mixed up some of the new material and filled the box with it, came in the next morning and melted some Woods Metal (a low melting point alloy like CerroBend) and poured it into the mold cavity. A half hour later, using a mere $5 worth of Woods Metal, we had a dozen single-sided cast metal nickels to play with. (In retrospect, the economics of that were about the same as for my later cast epoxy parts.)

We eventually threw the cast coins back in the melt pot, but that weekend I went to the hardware store and bought a can of Liquid Steel. The HOn3 market was served with brass parts by Kemtron, Balboa (under the Slim Princess label), and an outfit in Texas called Slim Gems. I was building a bunch of D&RGW HOn3 box cars, passenger cars and cabooses using Clouser's layered Strathmore construction technique and needed lots of detail parts. Availability was the problem, not affordability, so I proceeded to duplicate everything from coupler pockets to truck side frames with Liquid Steel following Jack's article. Even made some two sided "squash molds" for doing side frames so I could incorporate the bearing holes. (Liquid Steel had a component which made it self-lubricating so the bearing holes didn't wear.)

The cold-cast Liquid Steel parts were hard and looked good, but they had hardened by drying, not by curing, and lacked cohesive strength. Great for surface details, not good for structural parts. This didn't become an issue until 1964, when in the course of re-detailing one of my two PFM HOn3 K-27 locos my pliers slipped when I was attempting to remove the number board and I gouged a smiley face into the smoke box front. I was horrified and terrified - we hadn't started a family so Gail was still working, but I thought I had destroyed a model that had cost over 10% of my monthly pre-tax income! It took a week or two before I could consider the problem rationally, but I ended up completely unsoldering all the parts of the other K-27's smoke box front, making an RTV mold of it, and casting duplicates - not from Liquid Steel, but from Ciba's Araldite potting compound. Araldite was a clear epoxy so you could see any entrapped bubbles. Slightly heating the mix reduced the viscosity enough for the bubbles to float out before it "kicked". Much to my relief the replacement smoke box front was a perfect reproduction. So much so that I also duplicated the headlight, headlight bracket, number board and marker lights in Araldite.

So my casting experience started in 1961, and my resin casting in 1964 in a clear case of necessity being the mother of invention. I gave up on epoxy casting before we moved to Colorado in 1970, and never did any casting for the rest of my HOn3 days, which lasted into 1986. It was all personal so I make no claim for being a contributor, let alone an innovator. But it did give me a considerable advantage in experience and insight when urethane resins came along in the 1980's.

I'm not exactly sure of the timing, but it was after I'd abandoned HOn3 modeling, after I'd discovered the articles by Dennis, Richard and Al that continue to inspire so many of us, and clearly after the introduction of Al's and Dennis' kits. At a printed circuit manufacturing trade show in Anaheim I found a company, Conap, offering a new resin that claimed many advantages over epoxy - not as an adhesive, but as a casting and encapsulating material. It was, of course, urethane resin. I gave them my card ("Advanced Printed Circuit Laboratory Supervisor" - a title much more grand than the position, considering I supervised only six people) and asked if they could possibly send me a sample. I must confess to ulterior motives - I had no use for the resin in my lab, but I knew, as Dennis discovered several years prior, that this was the casting material I had been waiting for. A week later a package arrived containing two one-gallon containers - one each of part A and part B to be mixed 1:1 by weight - and a spray can of mold release.

 

Imagine my delight, after those early epoxy casting days, of being able to get 30 or more parts from a mold. Those two gallons of material lasted several years, during the course of which I began an extensive correspondence with Richard Hendrickson and, instead of building his WestRail PFE R-40-23 kit, made all the mods and converted it into a set of patterns for flat casting. In May 1994, two months after I retired, I drove out to the UPHS convention in Ontario, CA, bringing with me a multi-panel display of the R-40-23 showing all the steps from pattern making to finished model. The last panel read: “Gnash teeth in frustration when InterMountain announces injection molded plastic model of the same prototype”.

 

A year later I literally fell into the opportunity of a lifetime when a former neighbor, seeing my hobby casting setup, insisted I join his newly-formed rapid prototyping company. I stayed for 21 years. Experience in that field, now known as 3D printing, exposed me to industrial resin casting in all its glory – multi-part molds, vacuum assisted mold filling, pressure curing, heat treatments, rigid and flex resins and all that. I couldn’t wait to bring it to the hobby. With more enthusiasm than it deserved, I brought it to the attention of Al and Martin, then later to Jon Cagle, two potential resin casters for Ted, Gene Fusco and Aaron Gjermundsen. Al, Jon, Gene and Aaron were success stories, the two for Ted not so much. And Martin, while declining to add closed mold casting and one piece bodies to his personal skill set, was successful in conning convincing me to cast some 1500 tank car shell sets for Sunshine.

 

Am I an innovator? I don’t think so – more of a facilitator. I’m certainly pleased with the contributions I’ve been able to make, but as with the patent example back in the first paragraph, if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. I’ve also been in the right place at the right time, a number of times, and am not unaware of the role luck has played in what I’ve been able to do and experience. It’s been a helluva ride.


gary laakso
 

All resonators owe you and the other leaders a large debt of gratitude for pushing us forward from the primordial past of early Atheran, Tyco and Train Miniature products.  Thank you very much.

 

Gary Laakso

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tom Madden via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 12:19 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Resin casting - the view from here

 

I’m feeling particularly reflective and aware of my own mortality after Sunday’s bittersweet celebration of life for my late wife, and want to set down my thoughts on the history of resin casting in the hobby from my viewpoint as a long-time resin caster. I apologize for the length and beg your indulgence, and hope this will add to the record rather than confuse it.

 

Tom Madden

 

In my Bell Labs career (1960-1994) I was fortunate enough to be awarded a number of patents. Each was the result of my perceiving a need, solving a problem, or seizing an opportunity. I'm proud of those patents, but the reality is, the needs, problems and opportunities were there for anybody, and if it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else. Most likely sooner rather than later. It's important to separate the true innovators from those whose contributions are founded on the work of others, or who just happen to come along at the right time. ("When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.")

Bill Clouser was certainly an innovator, but for me it's because of his articles on using Strathmore papers for modeling. (The Strathmore Story, MR, February & March 1959. Later that same year another innovator, Al Armitage, had his landmark articles on styrene modeling appear in MR.) By the mid-'60s a number of us were, as Dennis mentioned, using tooling resin (epoxy) to cast parts in silicone rubber molds for personal use. Bill's casting was the ultimate expression of that technology, and his work was superb. Problem was, epoxy is a very aggressive casting medium and you'd be lucky to get 6 or 8 good parts from a mold. I was making some very nice HOn3 parts using Ren and Ciba-Geigy epoxies, but cost wise I couldn't compete with brass parts, let alone with Grandt Line plastic parts when they came along. All credit to Bill Clouser for seeing the bigger picture and being the first to offer commercial cast resin parts, but he wasn't the only one using the technology at the time.

The true innovator for resin casting in the hobby was, at least for me, Jack Work, with his March 1961 MR article on cold detail casting in rubber molds. He used Devcon Liquid Steel, a thick, solvent-based putty-like material available in both tubes and cans. You'd squeegee it into an open faced mold, smooth the back, let the solvent evaporate, and 10 or 15 minutes later (for small parts) pop the now-hardened part out of the mold. About the time Jack's article came out a rep for either GE or Dow visited my lab to show some new semiconductor potting compounds. One was a liquid rubber material which didn't need heat to vulcanize, you just mixed two components together and it self-cured. They called it "Ready to Vulcanize" or "RTV" for short. The rep left a pint sample with us, a coworker glued a nickel to a glass plate and with cut-up tongue depressors made a little box around it. We mixed up some of the new material and filled the box with it, came in the next morning and melted some Woods Metal (a low melting point alloy like CerroBend) and poured it into the mold cavity. A half hour later, using a mere $5 worth of Woods Metal, we had a dozen single-sided cast metal nickels to play with. (In retrospect, the economics of that were about the same as for my later cast epoxy parts.)

We eventually threw the cast coins back in the melt pot, but that weekend I went to the hardware store and bought a can of Liquid Steel. The HOn3 market was served with brass parts by Kemtron, Balboa (under the Slim Princess label), and an outfit in Texas called Slim Gems. I was building a bunch of D&RGW HOn3 box cars, passenger cars and cabooses using Clouser's layered Strathmore construction technique and needed lots of detail parts. Availability was the problem, not affordability, so I proceeded to duplicate everything from coupler pockets to truck side frames with Liquid Steel following Jack's article. Even made some two sided "squash molds" for doing side frames so I could incorporate the bearing holes. (Liquid Steel had a component which made it self-lubricating so the bearing holes didn't wear.)

The cold-cast Liquid Steel parts were hard and looked good, but they had hardened by drying, not by curing, and lacked cohesive strength. Great for surface details, not good for structural parts. This didn't become an issue until 1964, when in the course of re-detailing one of my two PFM HOn3 K-27 locos my pliers slipped when I was attempting to remove the number board and I gouged a smiley face into the smoke box front. I was horrified and terrified - we hadn't started a family so Gail was still working, but I thought I had destroyed a model that had cost over 10% of my monthly pre-tax income! It took a week or two before I could consider the problem rationally, but I ended up completely unsoldering all the parts of the other K-27's smoke box front, making an RTV mold of it, and casting duplicates - not from Liquid Steel, but from Ciba's Araldite potting compound. Araldite was a clear epoxy so you could see any entrapped bubbles. Slightly heating the mix reduced the viscosity enough for the bubbles to float out before it "kicked". Much to my relief the replacement smoke box front was a perfect reproduction. So much so that I also duplicated the headlight, headlight bracket, number board and marker lights in Araldite.

So my casting experience started in 1961, and my resin casting in 1964 in a clear case of necessity being the mother of invention. I gave up on epoxy casting before we moved to Colorado in 1970, and never did any casting for the rest of my HOn3 days, which lasted into 1986. It was all personal so I make no claim for being a contributor, let alone an innovator. But it did give me a considerable advantage in experience and insight when urethane resins came along in the 1980's.

I'm not exactly sure of the timing, but it was after I'd abandoned HOn3 modeling, after I'd discovered the articles by Dennis, Richard and Al that continue to inspire so many of us, and clearly after the introduction of Al's and Dennis' kits. At a printed circuit manufacturing trade show in Anaheim I found a company, Conap, offering a new resin that claimed many advantages over epoxy - not as an adhesive, but as a casting and encapsulating material. It was, of course, urethane resin. I gave them my card ("Advanced Printed Circuit Laboratory Supervisor" - a title much more grand than the position, considering I supervised only six people) and asked if they could possibly send me a sample. I must confess to ulterior motives - I had no use for the resin in my lab, but I knew, as Dennis discovered several years prior, that this was the casting material I had been waiting for. A week later a package arrived containing two one-gallon containers - one each of part A and part B to be mixed 1:1 by weight - and a spray can of mold release.

 

Imagine my delight, after those early epoxy casting days, of being able to get 30 or more parts from a mold. Those two gallons of material lasted several years, during the course of which I began an extensive correspondence with Richard Hendrickson and, instead of building his WestRail PFE R-40-23 kit, made all the mods and converted it into a set of patterns for flat casting. In May 1994, two months after I retired, I drove out to the UPHS convention in Ontario, CA, bringing with me a multi-panel display of the R-40-23 showing all the steps from pattern making to finished model. The last panel read: “Gnash teeth in frustration when InterMountain announces injection molded plastic model of the same prototype”.

 

A year later I literally fell into the opportunity of a lifetime when a former neighbor, seeing my hobby casting setup, insisted I join his newly-formed rapid prototyping company. I stayed for 21 years. Experience in that field, now known as 3D printing, exposed me to industrial resin casting in all its glory – multi-part molds, vacuum assisted mold filling, pressure curing, heat treatments, rigid and flex resins and all that. I couldn’t wait to bring it to the hobby. With more enthusiasm than it deserved, I brought it to the attention of Al and Martin, then later to Jon Cagle, two potential resin casters for Ted, Gene Fusco and Aaron Gjermundsen. Al, Jon, Gene and Aaron were success stories, the two for Ted not so much. And Martin, while declining to add closed mold casting and one piece bodies to his personal skill set, was successful in conning convincing me to cast some 1500 tank car shell sets for Sunshine.

 

Am I an innovator? I don’t think so – more of a facilitator. I’m certainly pleased with the contributions I’ve been able to make, but as with the patent example back in the first paragraph, if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. I’ve also been in the right place at the right time, a number of times, and am not unaware of the role luck has played in what I’ve been able to do and experience. It’s been a helluva ride.


Dennis Storzek
 

On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 12:18 AM, Tom Madden wrote:
Am I an innovator? I don’t think so – more of a facilitator. I’m certainly pleased with the contributions I’ve been able to make, but as with the patent example back in the first paragraph, if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. I’ve also been in the right place at the right time, a number of times, and am not unaware of the role luck has played in what I’ve been able to do and experience. It’s been a helluva ride.
Don't beat yourself up, Tom. Just as there were automobiles before Henry Ford, and light bulbs before Thomas Edison, there were likely hundreds of guys who tried casting nickels out of Woods metal, and none of them was able to sell the technology to the US Mint either. While the geniuses who invent new forms of basic technology are obviously important, few of those people work in the model railroad supply field. More important to us are those who can grasp novel technology and adapt it to our needs, while creating an economically viable business model so the product becomes self sustaining. THOSE are the people who move the "leading edge" forward.

Your comment about the title on your business card brought back memories. Back in the seventies the author of one of the resin casting articles was a proponent of a particular GE silicone rubber. Problem was, GE would only sell it in ten gallon lots at an astronomical price... but the author pointed out that GE would send out free one pound evaluation samples. Out came the Chartpak dry transfers (this was long before desktop publishing or even personal computers) and I soon had letterhead for MCB Models, and eventually my sample kit.

Allow me to belatedly express condolences on the loss of your wife.

Dennis Storzek


Peter Ness
 

Hi Tom,

 

Thanks for sharing and raising memories.  I will plead mea culpa now since I have not become innovator, guiding light or even two-bit contributor to resin casting at the commercial level.

 

When you mentioned the Dow or GE rep it reminded me that decades ago I worked at the corporate labs of the now defunct GTE Sylvania. At that time I  did not even have a business card since I was a Technician.  However, part of my job was to prepare test specimens for thermal shock and tensile testing. The test material happened to be epoxy for encapsulation of large power transformers to replace the use of hazardous material coolants.  I cast the test samples in Dow Corning 3110 RTV.

 

Back in the day, distributors would take orders from regular folks so I ordered a kit that included a 1lb can and a tube of curing agent. For my first attempt I used a cast metal flat car end as a master, then the end of an Alco RS-11 hood for the number board detail. I made my own master of a Lionel caboose running board so I could repair a car I bought at estate auction.  For a couple of years I used it to make a variety of small parts using any 2-part epoxy compound I could buy at the hardware store.  No investment in experimentation there, and it showed sometimes!

 

I was having moderate success and envisioned larger projects so ordered a carton – eight 1lb cans IIRC.  It was a large cash investment for a young married guy with a bunch of kids, wife and mortgage. Then life overtook any hobby activities for quite some time and about three years ago, after a couple of moves I finally opened the carton (after building some masters) only to find it had sufficient time to self-vulcanize over the intervening years…so much for my casting career.  Now I am not able to locate any distributors except for commercial sales and they want a Purchase Order to boot.  I am sure there are also much more suitable molding materials today, but I really liked that Dow 3110 RTV!

 

Anyway, thanks for the memories!

 

Peter Ness


Denny Anspach <danspachmd@...>
 

Tom Madden’s post was and is a class act of achievement on multiple levels, and as Dennis Storzek (no slouch there!) comments, the real innovation comes when a discovery is turned into something lasting and useful.

Tom’s mention of the work that Bill Clouser did with layered Strathmore papers prior to his landmark work with resin certainly was revolutionary for me at the time (I wore out the relevant MR issues!) I was utterly dumbstruck at the time by what this man could and did do with …..this dense fine grained all-rag-content paper. This then was my go-to for fine kit building for decades, and there is rarely a kit -wood-styrene-resin- that I tackle that does not contain within or without some parts fabricated from this paper (a fine historic kit (c. 1939-43) being putting together right now for a fellow RPM modeler -"using best modeling practices, parts, and materials of the time-). I will surely be making use of this medium. When by serendipity I discovered that Strathmore board was vital to aspects of my daily work (the grain is so small, even, and dense, it casts no inherent shadow to transmitted light), I made certain that a lifetime supply went into retirement with me (instead of landfill).

That Tom would post this most interesting, gentle, and informative narrative to us while he is still in the shadow of Mrs. Madden’s memorial service brought a catch to my throat, because I too have been there, and recognize how this healing process -serving others- can do such good work.

Denny


Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento, CA 95864


Steve SANDIFER
 

Thank you Tom. May the ride continue for a long time.

If not you, maybe someone else would have come along with the same idea – but it was you, and we appreciate it. The world is full of people who say, “I could do that,” but they didn’t. I thank you for all that you have done for the unseen masses of rivet counters like me.

Also accept our condolences for your loss. Life will be different, but never the same. May God bless you as you discover your new normal.

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Tom Madden via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 2:19 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Resin casting - the view from here

 

I’m feeling particularly reflective and aware of my own mortality after Sunday’s bittersweet celebration of life for my late wife, and want to set down my thoughts on the history of resin casting in the hobby from my viewpoint as a long-time resin caster. I apologize for the length and beg your indulgence, and hope this will add to the record rather than confuse it.

 

Tom Madden

 

In my Bell Labs career (1960-1994) I was fortunate enough to be awarded a number of patents. Each was the result of my perceiving a need, solving a problem, or seizing an opportunity. I'm proud of those patents, but the reality is, the needs, problems and opportunities were there for anybody, and if it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else. Most likely sooner rather than later. It's important to separate the true innovators from those whose contributions are founded on the work of others, or who just happen to come along at the right time. ("When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.")

Bill Clouser was certainly an innovator, but for me it's because of his articles on using Strathmore papers for modeling. (The Strathmore Story, MR, February & March 1959. Later that same year another innovator, Al Armitage, had his landmark articles on styrene modeling appear in MR.) By the mid-'60s a number of us were, as Dennis mentioned, using tooling resin (epoxy) to cast parts in silicone rubber molds for personal use. Bill's casting was the ultimate expression of that technology, and his work was superb. Problem was, epoxy is a very aggressive casting medium and you'd be lucky to get 6 or 8 good parts from a mold. I was making some very nice HOn3 parts using Ren and Ciba-Geigy epoxies, but cost wise I couldn't compete with brass parts, let alone with Grandt Line plastic parts when they came along. All credit to Bill Clouser for seeing the bigger picture and being the first to offer commercial cast resin parts, but he wasn't the only one using the technology at the time.

The true innovator for resin casting in the hobby was, at least for me, Jack Work, with his March 1961 MR article on cold detail casting in rubber molds. He used Devcon Liquid Steel, a thick, solvent-based putty-like material available in both tubes and cans. You'd squeegee it into an open faced mold, smooth the back, let the solvent evaporate, and 10 or 15 minutes later (for small parts) pop the now-hardened part out of the mold. About the time Jack's article came out a rep for either GE or Dow visited my lab to show some new semiconductor potting compounds. One was a liquid rubber material which didn't need heat to vulcanize, you just mixed two components together and it self-cured. They called it "Ready to Vulcanize" or "RTV" for short. The rep left a pint sample with us, a coworker glued a nickel to a glass plate and with cut-up tongue depressors made a little box around it. We mixed up some of the new material and filled the box with it, came in the next morning and melted some Woods Metal (a low melting point alloy like CerroBend) and poured it into the mold cavity. A half hour later, using a mere $5 worth of Woods Metal, we had a dozen single-sided cast metal nickels to play with. (In retrospect, the economics of that were about the same as for my later cast epoxy parts.)

We eventually threw the cast coins back in the melt pot, but that weekend I went to the hardware store and bought a can of Liquid Steel. The HOn3 market was served with brass parts by Kemtron, Balboa (under the Slim Princess label), and an outfit in Texas called Slim Gems. I was building a bunch of D&RGW HOn3 box cars, passenger cars and cabooses using Clouser's layered Strathmore construction technique and needed lots of detail parts. Availability was the problem, not affordability, so I proceeded to duplicate everything from coupler pockets to truck side frames with Liquid Steel following Jack's article. Even made some two sided "squash molds" for doing side frames so I could incorporate the bearing holes. (Liquid Steel had a component which made it self-lubricating so the bearing holes didn't wear.)

The cold-cast Liquid Steel parts were hard and looked good, but they had hardened by drying, not by curing, and lacked cohesive strength. Great for surface details, not good for structural parts. This didn't become an issue until 1964, when in the course of re-detailing one of my two PFM HOn3 K-27 locos my pliers slipped when I was attempting to remove the number board and I gouged a smiley face into the smoke box front. I was horrified and terrified - we hadn't started a family so Gail was still working, but I thought I had destroyed a model that had cost over 10% of my monthly pre-tax income! It took a week or two before I could consider the problem rationally, but I ended up completely unsoldering all the parts of the other K-27's smoke box front, making an RTV mold of it, and casting duplicates - not from Liquid Steel, but from Ciba's Araldite potting compound. Araldite was a clear epoxy so you could see any entrapped bubbles. Slightly heating the mix reduced the viscosity enough for the bubbles to float out before it "kicked". Much to my relief the replacement smoke box front was a perfect reproduction. So much so that I also duplicated the headlight, headlight bracket, number board and marker lights in Araldite.

So my casting experience started in 1961, and my resin casting in 1964 in a clear case of necessity being the mother of invention. I gave up on epoxy casting before we moved to Colorado in 1970, and never did any casting for the rest of my HOn3 days, which lasted into 1986. It was all personal so I make no claim for being a contributor, let alone an innovator. But it did give me a considerable advantage in experience and insight when urethane resins came along in the 1980's.

I'm not exactly sure of the timing, but it was after I'd abandoned HOn3 modeling, after I'd discovered the articles by Dennis, Richard and Al that continue to inspire so many of us, and clearly after the introduction of Al's and Dennis' kits. At a printed circuit manufacturing trade show in Anaheim I found a company, Conap, offering a new resin that claimed many advantages over epoxy - not as an adhesive, but as a casting and encapsulating material. It was, of course, urethane resin. I gave them my card ("Advanced Printed Circuit Laboratory Supervisor" - a title much more grand than the position, considering I supervised only six people) and asked if they could possibly send me a sample. I must confess to ulterior motives - I had no use for the resin in my lab, but I knew, as Dennis discovered several years prior, that this was the casting material I had been waiting for. A week later a package arrived containing two one-gallon containers - one each of part A and part B to be mixed 1:1 by weight - and a spray can of mold release.

 

Imagine my delight, after those early epoxy casting days, of being able to get 30 or more parts from a mold. Those two gallons of material lasted several years, during the course of which I began an extensive correspondence with Richard Hendrickson and, instead of building his WestRail PFE R-40-23 kit, made all the mods and converted it into a set of patterns for flat casting. In May 1994, two months after I retired, I drove out to the UPHS convention in Ontario, CA, bringing with me a multi-panel display of the R-40-23 showing all the steps from pattern making to finished model. The last panel read: “Gnash teeth in frustration when InterMountain announces injection molded plastic model of the same prototype”.

 

A year later I literally fell into the opportunity of a lifetime when a former neighbor, seeing my hobby casting setup, insisted I join his newly-formed rapid prototyping company. I stayed for 21 years. Experience in that field, now known as 3D printing, exposed me to industrial resin casting in all its glory – multi-part molds, vacuum assisted mold filling, pressure curing, heat treatments, rigid and flex resins and all that. I couldn’t wait to bring it to the hobby. With more enthusiasm than it deserved, I brought it to the attention of Al and Martin, then later to Jon Cagle, two potential resin casters for Ted, Gene Fusco and Aaron Gjermundsen. Al, Jon, Gene and Aaron were success stories, the two for Ted not so much. And Martin, while declining to add closed mold casting and one piece bodies to his personal skill set, was successful in conning convincing me to cast some 1500 tank car shell sets for Sunshine.

 

Am I an innovator? I don’t think so – more of a facilitator. I’m certainly pleased with the contributions I’ve been able to make, but as with the patent example back in the first paragraph, if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. I’ve also been in the right place at the right time, a number of times, and am not unaware of the role luck has played in what I’ve been able to do and experience. It’s been a helluva ride.


Brian Termunde
 

Mr. Madden,
While I have only a passing interest in resin kits (although I love to see the exquisite results from others), I found your post very interesting and informative! Thank you VERY much for taking the time to share it with us. I have saved a copy of this for future reference.

Also, may I please extend my sincere condolences on your loss. I lost a very good friend this morning, and while I know losing your wife is a lot harder, losing Todd reminds me, once again, that no loss is easy, and no one can fill the gap left behind. Again, I am SO sorry for you. 

Best Wishes.

Respectfully,
 
Brian R. Termunde
Midvale, Utah


maynard stowe
 

Peter,

One ready source of smaller quantities of casting supplies is metal casting pattern making suppliers. Freeman is one such but there are others. You can also look for design bureaus and ask them who they use. Even in this day of 3 D every thing that are still many around, and most can help you find what you are looking for.
Maynard Stowe

On Oct 23, 2018, at 12:27 PM, Peter Ness <prness@...> wrote:

Hi Tom,
 
Thanks for sharing and raising memories.  I will plead mea culpa now since I have not become innovator, guiding light or even two-bit contributor to resin casting at the commercial level.
 
When you mentioned the Dow or GE rep it reminded me that decades ago I worked at the corporate labs of the now defunct GTE Sylvania. At that time I  did not even have a business card since I was a Technician.  However, part of my job was to prepare test specimens for thermal shock and tensile testing. The test material happened to be epoxy for encapsulation of large power transformers to replace the use of hazardous material coolants.  I cast the test samples in Dow Corning 3110 RTV.
 
Back in the day, distributors would take orders from regular folks so I ordered a kit that included a 1lb can and a tube of curing agent. For my first attempt I used a cast metal flat car end as a master, then the end of an Alco RS-11 hood for the number board detail. I made my own master of a Lionel caboose running board so I could repair a car I bought at estate auction.  For a couple of years I used it to make a variety of small parts using any 2-part epoxy compound I could buy at the hardware store.  No investment in experimentation there, and it showed sometimes!
 
I was having moderate success and envisioned larger projects so ordered a carton – eight 1lb cans IIRC.  It was a large cash investment for a young married guy with a bunch of kids, wife and mortgage. Then life overtook any hobby activities for quite some time and about three years ago, after a couple of moves I finally opened the carton (after building some masters) only to find it had sufficient time to self-vulcanize over the intervening years…so much for my casting career.  Now I am not able to locate any distributors except for commercial sales and they want a Purchase Order to boot.  I am sure there are also much more suitable molding materials today, but I really liked that Dow 3110 RTV!
 
Anyway, thanks for the memories!
 
Peter Ness


bigfourroad
 

Tom
Everyone innovates in their own way and I regard you as an innovator -- last night I affixed an S scale version of your dirt collector valve to the K style brake system on 3rd Fowler boxcar in a mini-run of four. On the C&NW Fowlers these distinctive valves hung down quite noticeably from below the K brake cylinder.  There would be a void there but for your innovation in producing an HO version of that valve in 3D print form and providing the STL to me for up-scaling to S.  I must confess I don't know how you can see and work with them in HO but that's another matter.
Please accept my condolences on the loss of Mrs. Madden and my wishes that you may have many additional years of innovation ahead of you.
Chris Rooney