How to Use FlowCast: A Checklist and User Guide
FlowCast is a new casting epoxy made by EcoPoxy. It was developed for woodworkers and is the epoxy resin of choice for river tables and any projects requiring a deep layer of resin.
Directions, advice, list of supplies and details to help you successfully complete your epoxy resin project. The following information is helpful when using FlowCast casting epoxy. This epoxy is made for pouring deep layers 0.5 - 1.5 inches deep. If this describes your project. this is for you. For clear coating projects, use UV Poxy.
FlowCast is safe to use indoors without a respirator or special ventilation. Personal SAFETY: Always wear proper attire, shoes, nitrile gloves and eye protection. (See product labels for warnings)
SUPPLIES: (for mixing and pouring epoxy)
- FlowCast casting epoxy (2 parts A + 1 Part B)
- Plastic sheeting
- Spray bottle
- 91% Isopropyl alcohol or Denatured
- Lint free Paper towels
- Microfiber Cloths
- Nitrile gloves (lots)
- Plastic measuring/ mixing cups
- Clean plastic buckets for large pours
- Mixing sticks (and drill mixer attachment if needed)
- Ruler / Tape Measure to measure the depth of pour (1.5 inches or less)
- Heat gun and/or Torch
- Safety glasses
- Fire Extinguisher
- Paint brushes or high-density foam rollers (solvent safe)
- Trash cans
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS: (not a complete list, depending on your project)
- Well constructed, water-tight mold or form (melamine, silicone, polypropylene or NON STICK materials only)
- CLEAR silicone caulking (must be 100% dry before pouring epoxy)
- Moisture meter (for wood)
- Sheathing Tape
- Clamps and wood blocks to hold your wood in place inside your mold
- Resin Pigment
- Mica Powder pigment
- Spreader or notched trowel
- SuperStir spatula
- Bloxygen preserver
TIPS and ADVICE:
- ⦁ When using tape: Sheathing tape is best (3M, IPG, Tuck, Tyvek) Burnish the tape to create a watertight seal.
- ⦁ When adding color: Use only pigment, dye or color approved for epoxy resin (acrylic paint and inks are okay)
- ⦁ NEVER add more than 10% color! 5% is often more than enough. Add a drop or 2 to Part A to test the transparency or opacity prior to adding Part B. You can always add more color, but you can't go back.
- ⦁ Stick with resin pigments, mica powders, resin tints and dyes. These are MADE to be mixed with EPOXY RESIN ONLY! Most brands are suitable to be used with any epoxy, but when in doubt, check w/ the manufacturer or don't use it!
- ⦁ If you add color and the resin becomes thick...STOP! This color has a high water content and can NOT be used!
- ⦁ Your color will be more opaque than you think because of the depth of resin layer.
- Mark the lids of the epoxy containers with 'A' or 'B'. Reversing the caps is a nightmare!
Practice using epoxy on small projects first. Several is recommended. Practice mixing your color too.
For new epoxy users,(and not-so-new) the most common problems can be EASILY AVOIDED.
These important facts are often overlooked and result in the biggest issues:
- ⦁ Temperature, temperature, TEMPERATURE! Like Goldilocks & the 3 Bears...you don't want it too hot or too cold. You want the temperature to be just right! (and consistent). (The ideal working temp is a constant 70° -76°F under 50% humidity)
- ⦁ Humidity (moisture) should be under 60%. I use a dehumidifier in my workshop.⦁ Moisture is the enemy of epoxy resin. If epoxy was Superman, water would be Kryptonite!
- ⦁ There are several types of resin and several kinds of epoxy resin All quite different!
- ⦁ choosing the right epoxy resin for your project. There's no ONE SIZE FITS ALL epoxy
- ⦁ reading and following the manufacturers directions. Limits of depth of pour and total volume vary greatly
- ⦁ Calculate the correct amount of epoxy needed. L x W x D = cubic inches (You will need 1 liter of epoxy (mixed) for every 60 cubic inches + 5% - 10% extra to ensure you don't run short)
FOR WOOD PROJECTS: (I assume we are talking about river tables, right?)
1. WOOD MUST BE COMPLETELY DRY (KILN DRIED IS BEST) I recommend kiln dried wood for epoxy resin because it will not re-absorb moisture. *Also, wood must 'breathe' so do not fully encase the wood. Leave the underside exposed. Or at least a small area without epoxy to prevent a disaster somewhere down the road. If not, a change in temperature will force the epoxy to crack when the moisture trapped inside the natural wood fiber expands and contracts. OR, if any moisture is trapped, the epoxy will bubble up to release this moisture, leaving a crack, hole and breaking the bond between the wood and epoxy.
(*this is one reason not to use epoxy on outdoor wood furniture)
2. PREP WOOD SURFACES (Strip, mill, cut, plane, sand, etc.. to fully prepare the wood for the table before you apply epoxy. It's much easier than attempting these steps after adding the epoxy. You will still have plenty of work to do after adding the resin before your project is complete!)
3. CONSTRUCT A MOLD OR FORM (This step needs its own blog post! REALLY!) If this is your first attempt using a casting resin, do yourself a favor and research this step extensively)
4. SECURE EVERYTHING IN PLACE (you can use clear silicone caulking or your seal coat to glue objects in place. Remember everything will float if not secured!)
5. SEAL COAT--- This step is essential for success. Add a thin, brush-on coat (or roll on) of epoxy resin to all areas that will be exposed to the flood coat of epoxy. Also, seal all objects to be embedded and coat the inside of your form or mold to seal any leaks (and save yourself from potential disaster). There are 4 more reasons to complete this seal coat, all equally important. Allow this coat to cure before pouring the flood coat. Using FlowCast approx 24 hrs. There is no need to sand between these coats, but I suggest cleaning with isopropyl alcohol.
6. FLOOD COAT-- up to 1.5 inches deep using up to 20 liters total volume. Reduce depth with larger pour). Pour multiple layers if needed. Wait until epoxy is hard to touch (min. 24 hrs) before adding the next flood coat. Follow measuring and mixing instructions, for each and every layer, exactly!
7. CURE-- Allow at least 72 hours before de-molding and finishing your table. Wait 7 days before moving table out of temperature controlled area. Extreme temp changes are not recommended. Wait 10-15 days for epoxy to reach it's full hardness and durability.before you package, crate, ship or install river tables for normal use and do not put objects on top of the epoxy, they could leave a mark in your resin
FLOWCAST DETAILED USER INSTRUCTIONS: (EcoPoxy has provided instructions inside the smaller size kits and on the labels of the larger sizes. My instructions may vary slightly)
- Work indoors in a climate controlled area. 70° - 80° F . Maintain a constant temperature during the curing process! (preferably a room that can be closed off while your resin project is curing.)
- Acclimate the epoxy resin containers (and other materials, including wood, to room temperature (70° -78°F) Make sure your work surface is 100% LEVEL, dust-free and dry. (Less than 60% humidity)
- Use a spray bottle filled w/ 91% isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol to clean surface before pouring and in between coats.
- Spray and wipe surface dry with a lint free paper towel or cloth
- Cover floors, tables and all surfaces with plastic sheeting. (NOT paper, cloth or any absorbent material)
- Choose a plastic mixing container that has marked measurements. It should be at least 25% larger than the total volume of liquid epoxy. (i.e. mixing 3 liters use a 4 liter cup. mixing 2 gallons, use a 3 gallon bucket)
- Measure Part A resin. (2 parts resin) BY VOLUME
- Then measure and/or add Part B (1 part hardener) BY VOLUME If you are using a 5 gallon bucket, measure in another marked container and pour into the bucket
- Mix for at least 5 minutes. MIX THOROUGHLY!! (not vigorously). Put your stir stick against the bottom of the cup and stir thoroughly. Do not whip. Scrape the entire sides, bottom and corners w/ your mixing stick, multiple times during the mixing process. (TIP: scrape all contents into a 2nd container and mix additional 2 minutes)
- If you elect to use an electric mixer (drill attachment) Mix 7-10 minutes using this method. Move the mixer in a figure eight motion, as well as, up and down to properly mix ALL of the epoxy. AND use a long wooden paint stir stick to scrape the sides and bottom multiple times during the mixing process.
- Let the mixing container sit for 2 minutes. If you have any air bubbles, they will rise to the top. Use your heat gun (on low) keeping it 6 inches above, use quick, sweeping motions over the top of the cup to pop bubbles.
- Slowly and carefully pour the epoxy resin mixture into a SEALED area to be filled, up to 1.5 inches deep. (your project should be properly molded. taped, caulked and sealed before mixing your resin)
- Use a heat gun to remove any bubbles that form. Repeat if needed after 30 minutes (if properly sealed, you should not have many bubbles and they will dissipate on their own)
- Once you have completed your resin pour, check room temperature and close off the room to let it cure
- Wait 24 -48 hours. Resin should be hard to the touch. **Now is the time to add another layer if needed.
- Epoxy resin is hard, but not fully cured, do not remove from mold yet. Let it cure for at least 48- 72 hrs longer.
**Casting resins cure slowly and will not reach its full cure for 15- 30 days. For best and long lasting results avoid extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, heavy objects or other actions that could compromise your project during this time.
FlowCast is a better product which is used/applied the same way as Liquid Plastic 2:1 ratio. Improvements in several categories (like clarity, viscosity, air-release) make FlowCast a more user friendly epoxy with outstanding final results (increased strength and durability). But the greatest improvements are its resistance to crystallization and the increased bio-content!