This is just a small write up of most of the tools I use for resin casting that is meant to be used for a personal suggestion to help others getting into the trade. These are by no means the only tools to use and may not even be the best tools to use. However in my experience from trial and error these are the tools that have ended up working well for me. Everyone will have their own personal preference on tools to use.
There are 3 types/sizes of cups I typically use, 10oz., 5.5oz. and 1oz.
The larger (10oz.) cups have measurements on them and I use them to mix silicone in. After pouring the silicone to make my molds, any excess silicone left in the cup easily pulls out after it’s cured. I tend to save this cured excess silicone as it can be re-used as filler and help you save on silicone. You can cut the excess up into whichever size you need, sometimes a meat grinder is handy for chopping it up really fine. Then add the bits into your newly mixed silicone. Usually it’s best to add these into the silicone after you’ve poured it into the form to which you’re making a mold, make sure that they are fully submerged.
I also use one of these cups to rest a plastic pipette in that is used to grab Part B of the resin I use (326). Part B of the 320 Series resin does not dry out or crystalize and is not moisture sensitive like Part A.
The mid sized (5.5oz) cups serve a few uses for me. I use these to measure out and mix resin into when doing larger or several casts that require more resin than the 1oz. cups will hold. These also come with lids which is nice for keeping powders, liquids etc. in while being enclosed. I also keep one of these on my casting table with some acetone in it for quick access for cleaning up resin and dyes/pigments from spills or off tools.
The smallest size (1oz.) cups I use mostly for mixing resin into. Since keycap making does not require a lot of resin, these work perfect for me. These have measurements in different units on them as well which is very handy. Another great aspect of these is that they are made from Polypropylene which resin does not stick to. So you can re-use these if you’d like. Squeezing the cup in your hand lightly while rolling it around, will loosen up the cured resin and it can easily be pulled out. Oftentimes I will leave the excess resin that I am not using in them and toss those into the pressure pot along with my molds, specially while doing smaller detailed multi-shots. This will keep the inside surface nice and flat, free of bubbles. So I can add new resin on top and it’s easy to stir because of the flat surface. Another advantage to doing it this way is having a color reference left in the cup if you are mixing up the same color again.
Many times for small details I only mix up 1ml of resin (Part A and B combined) and use a couple cotton swabs to prop the cup on it’s side to create a tilt. This keeps the small amount of resin on one side of the cup in a small pool and is a lot easier to mix.
Occasionally I will use these to store smaller amounts of custom mixed pigments in as well. I just use a small piece of plastic wrap and a rubber band to seal off the top.
Plastic stir sticks are great for stirring resin, I re-use these a lot and a single one can last me several months. After use, I just wipe it down with a paper towel.
Wide mouth mason jars are really handy if you’re buying larger amounts of resin or silicone. Part A of the Polyurethane resin I use (326) is very sensitive to moisture, so I like to open the main large container it comes in as little as possible to keep the shelf life as long as possible. I fill up a 32oz. wide mouth amber mason jar about half ways for both parts of resin. The amber glass blocks ultraviolet light which the resin is sensitive to. Since part A is sensitive, I keep a plastic pipette in the jar to use as a stir stick and also as a means to grab out measured small amounts of resin. For the part B side I just set the pipette in a separate cup since it’s not as sensitive and can be left out.
I also use 32oz. wide mouth mason jars to store both parts of the silicone I use (20T). Since the larger sizes of this silicone come in a bucket with a lid that is a pain to open. So dividing it all up into mason jars makes access and use a lot easier.
Tooth picks are great for applying small amounts of pigments to your resin as well as allow you to use for applying resin into your molds for smaller details. Sometimes you can run into issues with static electricity with these in your silicone molds which is a pain and flings all over the place.
Wood craft sticks I use pretty much only to mix silicone with. I will get 2 uses out of them before I toss them, one use per side.
Pipettes I have pretty much explained how I use them already above. Occasionally I will use these to suck up some powder and puff the powders into my mold for a specific effect. Such as metal powders, mica powders and powdered pigments.
Old paint brushes can be useful for certain effects in applying powders as well as resin into molds.
Cotton swabs I don’t really use much, but can be handy for cleaning up small amounts of resin inside a mold where I made a mistake. They can also be used as powder or resin applicators for a specific effect.
Syringes are very handy. I typically use two different sizes, 1ml and 30ml. I use these to suck up resin to apply into molds and they can also allow you to inject the resin into a closed mold through a sprue hole, this is very handy for preventing bubbles getting trapped in your mold. I can get about 5 to 10 uses out of these for this application, depending on how well I clean them. After use I will suck up some acetone from a cup and squirt it back into the cup and repeat this a few times, then disassemble the syringe to dry them out. I also keep four 1ml syringes on my casting desk with different sized blunt tip needles on them. These work better than tooth picks for applying small details of resin and are great for resin writing. I just wipe them off with a paper towel after use. Resin build up on the tips can be scraped off as well, so these can last a really long time for this application.
Nitrile gloves are pretty much a must have as this is a fairly messy hobby/trade. Resin can be an irritant on your skin also, so it’s good to protect yourself. It’s important to get Nitrile and not Latex as Latex creates a dangerous chemical reaction with resins. I found some that fit my hand very nicely, they are pretty tight around my fingers which makes working with them a lot easier than some that are too large.
Vortex mixers are pretty handy for mixing pigments since they usually need to be mixed up pretty frequently, preferably before each use as the pigments can settle at the bottom of their containers. Some people use plastic bottles with a ball bearing inside to help mix up the contents.
Color guides. If you plan on doing any color matching to key sets or anything that utilizes color codes such as the Pantone Color Matching system or RAL, it’s pretty important to have the color guides on hand as trying to match colors on your monitor will not be accurate. I use the Pantone Formula Guide because it contains the formulas of which colors are used to create the colors and this can be very helpful to know when mixing up colors to match. They are not cheap but are very helpful.
A pair of fine tipped tweezers can come in handy for a few things. I keep a pair on my casting table to pluck up pet hairs and dust from molds and also to remove any small pieces of cured resin from molds that I do not want.
Angle holders are a great little tool that can be downloaded and 3D printed. This tool is very helpful for holding molds at a certain angle when doing multi shots of resin. You can find the files on the Zappy Github.