The town of Indian Shores Florida is creating 5 monument signs and we’ve been contracted to create the fiberglass resin Indian and wave forms for the signs. This involves creating 6 models, 6 molds, and 14 casts. The following images will show the construction process through this journey.
Stage 1 – Construct 3 Indian figures and 3 wave forms
Step 1 – Cut figures and forms on CNC out of HDU foam and laminate into blocks.
Step 2 – Draw and carve foam
Stage 2 – Make the molds –
3 Indian and 3 wave molds
Step 1 – Prime the foam models and spray lacquer to seal the foam and make a surface easy to release from.
Step 2 – Brush on 4 layers of silicone as a flexible mold.
Step 3 – Define ridge lines where the mother mold (hard shell) will separate. We cut bubble sheets into strips and used push pins and tape to hold them in place and brushed silicone on the bottom edge of the strips.
Next, brush paste wax over the bubble strips and around the base of the mold so that the mother mold doesn’t stick to these surfaces. Nothing sticks to silicone.
Step 4 – Creating the hard shell mother mold
The product we used for this is called Plastipaste and it’s a trowelable plastic that dries rigid and light. We put two coats of this on as well as a well defined ridgeline over the bubbles.
Once the shell is dry, then we drilled holes through the ridgelines and installed bolts. Next, we attached wood support frames to help the shell stay in shape.
Then, the fun part is demolding, removing the model to see how the mold turned out!
Stage 3 – Make the fiberglass epoxy resin casts. 7 Indian casts and 7 wave casts
Step 1 – Spray mold release onto the silicone to ensure the epoxy releases well.
Next, we painted 2 coats of grey epoxy gel coat onto the silicone mold. This gives a thick, smooth epoxy surface to the cast.
Next, the gel coat needs some support layers, so we lay in 2 layers of 10 0z. fiberglass cloth and dissolve it with West System epoxy. Then finish it off with a final layer of epoxy thickened with west system 403 thickner.
This video shows some footage of making the casts…
This video shows the demolding process revealing a finished cast…
Stage 4 – Combining the 7 Indian casts with the 7 wave casts
Here we used a template made from the CNC to properly align the two casts and tell us where to cut off the legs to make the joint. We used a combination of epoxy clay, fiberglass resin and aluminum support rods to join them together.
Stage 5 – Embed the mounting studs
Each cast called for 13 threaded stainless steel 3/8″ rods. This meant we would be mounting 91 studs! We used the CNC to cut out 4″ thick foam templates to hold the rods in place so they are all consistent in spacing and direction for easy install. We used a combination of epoxy clay, fiberglass resin and aluminum rod to join them.
Packed and ready to ship to Tampa Florida where they will be painted and installed by the fine crew at Signstar. Here are the pics of what Signstar did with the casts.
After their amazing airbrush job, they installed…
This was a wonderful collaboration with Danny Powell from Signstar in Tampa, Florida. Thank you Town of Indian Shores for trusting us with your new monument signs!
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