Introduction: Iron Man! How I Made My Own Metallic Piece

Picture of Iron Man! How I Made My Own Metallic Piece

I know someone who used to love Iron Man as a young lad so I thought I would make them their very own grown up Iron Man gift!

Luckily I've got access to silicone rubber and casting resin, so I borrowed my son's Iron Man action figure and set to work.

I've broken the process down into a step by step guide of how I made a metallic effect Iron Man piece using aluminium powder by:

  • Creating a splash mould
  • Casting a splash part and making some modifications
  • Creating a final mould
  • Casting an aluminium powder and resin piece and finishing the piece by bringing out the metallic effect.

This technique is often referred to as Cold Casting and you can achieve different effects with different metals - there are some photos showing a Copper version too!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Materials:

Silicone Rubber and Catalyst - I used Easy Composites CS25

Fast Casting Polyurethane Resin - I used Xencast® P2

Metal Powders

Mixing Pots and Sticks

Gloves

Something to make a container - I used Signboard

Cutting Board, Craft Knife, Ruler, Pen, Screwdriver, small tube

Glue Gun and Tape

Scales

Black Spray Paint

Steel Wool, Abrasive Paper, Sanding Block and a spoon

Prepare the work area - cover work surface and wear protective clothing.

Step 2: Prepare Original

Picture of Prepare Original
  1. First I decided which part of the toy I wanted to replicate - I wanted to create a bust type piece that would look good on a shelf, so just concentrated on the head and shoulders area.
  2. To make life easier for creating a silicone mould I removed the arms of the toy and then I turned his head to the side to make it look a bit different.
  3. Then I used filleting wax (because it came in the casting kit - or you could use modelling clay) to seal under the chin to stop the silicone getting in and to make a continuous surface, then I smoothed it off.
  4. Next I measured the part of the original I wanted to replicate (height, width, depth) and created a container from signboard (also in my kit).
  5. Because I'd removed the arms I was able to suspend the toy from the top of the box with the tube and glue it into place.

Step 3: Creating a Splash Mould

Picture of Creating a Splash Mould
  1. Next I weighed out the correct amount of silicone and catalyst and mixed them together until it was a consistent colour - mixing steadily to minimise air bubbles
  2. Then I poured it over the original by approximately 5mm and left it to cure (as per the manufacturers instructions).
  3. When it had cured I removed the container and made a zigzag cut to the mould to remove the toy from the splash mould.
  4. Then I taped up the mould ready for the first casting - the splash part.

Step 4: Creating a Splash Part and Making Modifications

Picture of Creating a Splash Part and Making Modifications
  1. I weighed and mixed together equal amounts of Parts A & B Xencast® P2 fast cast resin and poured it into the mould.
  2. I always tip, roll and tap the mould to make sure the resin gets into all the detail and helps to push out air bubbles.
  3. Then I left it to cure - this resin is so fast working - it starts to cure in 2-3 minutes and is ready to demould in less that 30 minutes!
  4. Then I demoulded the piece and made some modifications like trimming the shoulders and levelling the base ready to make the final mould.

Step 5: Creating a Final Mould

Picture of Creating a Final Mould
  1. At this point I used some more wax to make a good base for the piece - this also stuck the part down to the base of the container and I built up a snug container.
  2. Then I mixed up some more silicone and poured the final mould.
  3. When it was cured I removed the container and the part and taped up the mould ready to cold cast the metallic piece.

Step 6: Casting a Metallic Part

Picture of Casting a Metallic Part
  1. I measured out a new batch of resin and added aluminium powder to Part A and mixed it thoroughly, before adding Part B and mixing.
  2. I experimented quite a lot for the best effect and found that matching the powder to the resin by volume rather than by weight gives a much better result.
  3. I repeated the resin process from before ,working quickly to fill the mould and left it to cure.

Step 7: Finishing My Metallic Part

Picture of Finishing My Metallic Part
  1. When it was cured I demoulded the part and set to work making it look metallic - when it comes out it doesn't look metallic at all because a thin layer of resin forms over the metal particles so it just looks grey.
  2. Then I used a sanding block,abrasive paper and steel wool to bring out the effects.
  3. I also used a spoon to burnish the surface - this brought out really bright highlights.
  4. Then I sprayed black paint all over the piece and when it was dry I used the steel wool again to bring out the detail, contrast and highlights - or you could just leave it plain.

Step 8: Iron Man - Cold Cast With Aluminium Powder!

Picture of Iron Man - Cold Cast With Aluminium Powder!

I'm really pleased with the end result and can't wait to give the gift!

I also cast using copper powder and it would be interesting to try some effects on different powders at some point like rusting and replicating patina's.

This process could be used on any toy or figurine and if you were doing an exact replica you would only need to take one mould which would reduce your working time.

Timescale: Once I had created the final mould (2nd) - Iron Man took me about an hour to create, including the finishing effects!

Links:

Resin Casting Starter Kit (on Easy Composites)

Metal Powders (on Easy Composites)

Fine Steel Wool (on B&Q)

Black Spray Paint (on Halfords)

Comments

jcarter35 (author)2017-12-07

Awesome project! I think I wouldn't be able to get past step 1: tear Iron Man limb from limb. I'm not The Hulk.

seamster (author)2017-11-29

This is really good info! I especially like the idea of burnishing with a spoon.. that's brilliant!! :)

deluges (author)seamster2017-11-30

"Spoon burnishing" sounds like one of those timeless skills passed on through generations of metalworkers

Tricks of the trade ;)

beckstar29 (author)deluges2017-11-30

I know - someone else told me about burnishing and it really works! I've always got a spoon in my craft box now!

not_a_droid (author)beckstar292017-11-30

If you do a lot of it get a burnisher, they are simply a piece if hard material that is polished smooth, often steel but you can get stone & other materials.

e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Curved-Burnisher-Bezel-Setting-Stone/dp/B000RAYBMG

Jewellers/ metalsmiths use them to polish hard to reach areas & create effects.

beckstar29 (author)not_a_droid2017-12-04

Thanks, I'll look out for one!

beckstar29 (author)seamster2017-11-30

Thank you - I know, can't wait to cast some more metal so I can do it again :-)

revitalm (author)2017-11-30

That's really COOL!

beckstar29 (author)revitalm2017-12-04

Thank you!

Waleadeyemi (author)2017-12-01

Nyc work

beckstar29 (author)Waleadeyemi2017-12-04

Thank you!

Eucherplayer (author)2017-12-04

All I can do is echo what many others have said, AWESOME!!! (both the pieces and the Instructable). My mind is reeling at what I can do with this combination! A Billion Thanks!!

beckstar29 (author)Eucherplayer2017-12-04

Thanks for your comments :-)

TypeNameHere (author)2017-12-01

Thats awesome how smooth that finish is. Do you know if a part made with this process would be conductive enough to electroplate? I have to try your paint technique soon for shadowing/ageing.

beckstar29 (author)TypeNameHere2017-12-04

Thanks, I asked around on this subject too and couldn't find out much about it but I was given the following info: the resin is an insulator (poor conductor) and the metal powder on their own have high resistance (due to the oxide layer over the particles) so together there would not be an improved conductivity. Having no knowledge on electroplating maybe someone else could offer some advice? :-)

jrldaddy (author)2017-12-02

I rarely comment on here because people tend to go over the top but for once I think it’s true. Not only did you create an amazing piece but your instructable was so well done that it is almost as amazing as the craftsmanship you displayed in making the piece. Thanks for showing us how a instructable should be. Keep it up and thank you so much I learned a lot (spoon burnishing!?! just wow) and now I feel inspired to try it myself.

beckstar29 (author)jrldaddy2017-12-04

Thanks for your great comments - hope you get making!

clark5113 (author)2017-12-02

Anyone know about the structural integrity/longevity/UV resistance of this material? Specifically, would it hold up for years in a hot car if you drilled it out and put a threaded bushing in it for a shift knob?

beckstar29 (author)clark51132017-12-04

I asked around on this question and the general consensus was that resin should not degrade but the metal powder may tarnish over time. One comment was to bond a threaded insert into the knob as tapping it directly in could create weakness. Hope that helps :-)

spystealth1 (author)2017-11-30

Great instructable. The finish looks amazing.

Two questions:

1. Why didn't you simply create the silicone mold with the original toy (why initially use a resin cast)?

2. Does it feel as heavy as metal?

beckstar29 (author)spystealth12017-12-04

Thanks!

I used the 2 part process because I wanted to modify the shape so I could cast multiple pieces from the final mould more easily - otherwise I would have had lots of finishing each time I cast in the first mould, like reshaping the shoulders and it wouldn't have had the same chunnky base.

And, yes it does feel heavy and cool to the touch as metal does :-)

misterxp (author)2017-11-30

Forgot to say thanks for sharing!

beckstar29 (author)misterxp2017-12-01

You’re welcome, thanks for your comments!

misterxp (author)2017-11-30

This is a great idea! Be good to be able to make 3D printed models of a person / friend and then use this technique to make a bronze looking bust as a present. I have seen it is possible to scan objects with a phone or digital camera and then convert them, with an app, to 3D image for printing. Perhaps I will get the chance to try one day!

beckstar29 (author)misterxp2017-12-01

Sounds great, would be interested to see the results if you do it :-)

ColtrinF (author)2017-11-30

Do you think it would be achievable to use this technique to make something like a mask. This would look awesome as a costume.

beckstar29 (author)ColtrinF2017-11-30

It may be better doing a 2 part mould but the same metal and resin ratio and finishing :-)

ColtrinF (author)beckstar292017-11-30

thanks

Antvenom25 (author)ColtrinF2017-11-30

You would need a bunch of the silicone for the mould and it usually only comes in quite small packs, so casting a mask may cost a metric tonne and I think there may be issues with the strength of the mask but it's certainly possible.

KendallA1 (author)2017-11-30

Outstanding, one of my new favorite instructables!

KendallA1 (author)KendallA12017-11-30

I need to add the copper one is soooo bada$$$$. I've got a friend who would kill (some one who deserves it at least) for one of those.

You are an instructable super hero!!

wait that is a little over the top.... but it is very very nice work... i bet you coud sell those on Etsy for a nice chunk of change. Will the moulds hold up to multiple uses?

not_a_droid (author)KendallA12017-11-30

I don't think anyone here has the rights to make copies & sell them on Etsy.

Making clones of toys for a gift is questionable at best but probably not going to provoke legal repercussions. Selling duplicates of Marvel's IP on the internet may bring in their lawyers, especially as it is literally moulded from their design, which is probably copyrighted/ trademarked/ registered etc. Look for the small print on the toy.

Making things because you can is fun but consider the legality of reproducing other peoples work for profit.

beckstar29 (author)KendallA12017-11-30

Thanks so much, that's really kind!

The Copper one is great isn't it and yes the moulds will work for multiple uses - at least 30 but possibly a lot more, I just haven't tried that many :-)

BobH160 (author)2017-11-30

If you want to make cheap silicone moulds you can do so by taking cheap silicone caulking and mixing it with lighter fluid (Naptha) in a 2 fluid to one silicone, mix to make a pourable silicone. Be aware of safety though, do it outside as the lighter fluid is highly flammable.
Once it is set the fluid has evaporated off so it is much safer then.

FlorinJ (author)2017-11-30

I have absolutely no clue about casting resin, so I have to ask: why two moulds and the intermediate cast?

beckstar29 (author)FlorinJ2017-11-30

I wanted to make some modifications to my part by cutting it off at the shoulder detail and making the base chunkier it was easier to make the 2nd mould so I could cast multiple parts from one mould - but if you were copying something like for like you could just do one! :-)

onsolar (author)2017-11-30

Hi. Your link for the resin casting starter kit seems to be '404' - can you add the correct link again please?

beckstar29 (author)onsolar2017-11-30

Hi,I've just re-saved it and tried it and it worked - so fingers crossed :-)

jashart (author)2017-11-30

Excellent tutorial, the photos make it even clearer. I'd like to try this with some 3D-printed originals.

beckstar29 (author)jashart2017-11-30

Thanks, that's a great idea - I'd love to see how you get on :-)

morphman001 (author)2017-11-30

That looks amazing, looks so real!

beckstar29 (author)morphman0012017-11-30

Thanks and it feels real too :-)

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2017-11-30

This is brilliant, great work

beckstar29 (author)Jedi_zombie852017-11-30

Thank you, I really enjoyed it!

adamhe (author)2017-11-30

That's really cool. I'm inspired to try some cold casting myself. Thanks.

beckstar29 (author)adamhe2017-11-30

Thanks, yes go for it - it's brilliant when you reveal the effects and feel the weight and coolness :-)

inconceivable1 (author)2017-11-29

that is defidently amazing

Thanks so much!

Swansong (author)2017-11-29

That came out perfectly! You did a great job on the mould. :)

beckstar29 (author)Swansong2017-11-30

Thank you - It came out really well, the only downside being that because I modified it and had to take a make two moulds :-)

About This Instructable

26,875views

372favorites

Bio: I love making and creating things - and I'm lucky enough to do it for my job and as a hobby!
More by beckstar29:Alien Army - Fast Casting Using Tinting PigmentsIron Man! How I Made My Own Metallic PieceApple of Eden! Create Your Own Assassin's Creed Artefact
Add instructable to: