Epoxy Experiments

I know, I have not actually built anything in a while, but it is not for a lack of trying. I have had a very busy spring and early summer doing projects around the house, and watching the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. I hope to be building again soon.

I have a few things in the works, with most of my time going towards a delay pedal with companding, tails, modulation, and an effects loop (wet only, once through or infinity) in a Hammond 1590TRPC.

I do have some cool stuff to report, though. I was surfing around one day, and stumbled upon this topic, which chronicles the building of a sparkle green Telecaster. That got me thinking, and I have been doing some experiments.

I started my experiment by taking a piece of aluminum stock, painting some square areas on it, and etching it with HCl+H2O2. The plan was to put some glitter in the etched areas, and clear coat it. It was not to be, however, and two failed etch attempts later let me looking for a new plan.

The new plan was this: take the same aluminum stock, sand it flat, and drill some holes. Put some parchment paper (silicone impregnated paper) over the holes on the bottom, secured with blue tape. Then, place a drop of super glue from the top, apply glitter, and epoxy over that. Here is what resulted:

As you can see, there is some potential, and some problems. The main problem is that the epoxy I used– Permatex Crystal Clear 5-Minute Epoxy– set way too fast. I had no time to attempt to remove air bubbles. In fact, you can see that some of the epoxy is kind of just piled on there. Not pretty.

The potential is there, though. I am going to switch to 30-minute epoxy to see if I can get rid of the bubbles. If I can get a more even glitter coat, and be more accurate with the epoxy, I could make something really cool.

Experiment two. Since the epoxy in the first experiment didn’t look good, I decided to see what would happen if I smoothed it. I started with sandpaper, which didn’t make a dent, and quickly progressed to a file. Once I got near the metal, I switched back to sandpaper. As you can see, one row of holes has a beveled edge, and the other has a straight edge. Sanding flush to the metal gives a nice, finished effect.

Experiment three. Since I had better success with the filing-and-flattening, I decided to try another one. This time, I drilled four different sized holes in the aluminum, and skipped the parchment paper and super glue. All I did was drill some holes, cover the bottom in blue tape, add glitter from the top, and drip on epoxy. After it cured, I filed it down, and then used a razor blade to scrape it flush with the metal.

I think it looks really good, especially considering I only scraped it. No sanding, no polish.

The next step is to incorporate this into a pedal. I decided to build a simple little silicon fuzz in a 1590a enclosure. I chose a fuzz not only because I have all the parts, but becauseĀ  I will be able to file the word “FUZZ” into the top of the pedal, and fill it with glitter and epoxy. I will then most likely drill a bunch of random holes, and glitter/epoxy them as well. It should be pretty cool.

More to come!

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