I'll do what I can to help! :)
I'm not sure what it is you're doing here, are you incorporating metal
backed photopolymer material into rubber molds? If that's the case, try
switching to RTV .
I have been using the metal backed photopolymers with some success. The
main problems I am experiencing is the polymer seems to breakdown the mold
cavities rubbermold surface. I can only get about 100 injections before the
mold is deteriorated.
I'd forego the toothbrush and either use running hot water and an airjet
(hold the plate BEHIND the running water and spray the air through the
water onto the plate surface, it works great) or dip the piece in an
ultrasonic using just water, this will give a nice background patten,
but you'll have to keep moving it around or it might etch unevenly. The
hair dryer does tighten thing up nicely.
I also have trouble getting extremely detailed design. I use water, a
toothbrush, and a hair dryer, any suggestions would be appreciated.
Why bother paying for acid etched molds, just use your metal backed
photopolymers, it's a standard practice. Ain't CorelDraw great? :)
The greater the reduction, the more difficult it is to move the arm
around. I think 4:1 is just fine if it turns out the way you want it to.
Is your grinder accurate? What sizes are you tipping off your cutters
at? Using high speep steel or carbide? Gee, I'd love to have an old
Gorton, 2-d OR 3-d! Does it use following cams? I'm unfamiliar with that
model. Is it a 3-d machine? Must be with that 3 in the name... I've
worked on P2-1 P3-1 P3-2, but it's been a few years and I might have
mixed up the numbers... :) If I remember correctly the Gorton P3-1 goes
to 16:1. I'll put you in touch with a true master of the Gorton 3-d
machine. His name is Les Williams, His business is Moulinet Ltd. and his
8405 N. Williams
5 Plaza Sq. #200
Oaklahoma City OK 73132
He has a web page I think,, but you'll have to call him for the URL. He
definitely has email capability.
At this time I am setting up to learn to make metal molds, to replace the
need for these types of rubber molds. I have acquired an industrial
pantograph engraving machine (an old Gorton 3U) and a small Preis cutter
grinder. I use Corel Draw 3 and am planning to use acid etched masters for
tracing. I assume you have experience with this type of equipment, if so
what reduction is necessary for small molds and dies. I have been planning
to work 6 to 1, but would like to know if 4 to 1 would be adequate.
I use a Roland Camm-3 3 axis desktop mill. I use Cadkey and Cutting Edge
for software, I have no cutter grinder so I send my cutter aways about
20 at a time. The top speed on the CAMM-3 is 8000 and it works for me,
but I'm going to have a new pully set made to double the speed, which is
about all the spindle could handle.
Earlier this year I did research into CAD/CAM (spelled inexpensive). So far
it appears outta site for the small shop (for me anyway). The problem I see
with the small inexpensive mill setups is the low spindle speeds (2000
rpm). As I understand it small cutters need speeds up to 20,000 rpm. What
kind of setup do you use.
I only know Les, it's good to know someone else! Between Les and me
we'll get you up and running in jig time.
Jeffrey if you do not mind sharing your knowledge about die and mold work
I'm sure I have several hundred more questions. I am not aware of any books
on the subject and am trying to learn about it from experimentation and
just asking questions. Here in Central Kentucky I do not know anyone doing
this type of work for jewelry.
No I don't, and I'm glad I don't! :) just kidding, but I would prefer
using EDM if I had one!
Also do you have any experience making blanking dies the old fashioned way
with a die filer.
Handmade 18K and platinum gemstone jewelry. Fine die
and mold engraving. Diamond setting. Class rings/pins.
25 years experience in the jewelry trade. 515-472-9830