Moulding and Casting
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CASTING TECHNIQUES
OPUS STUDIO
Materials and techniques used in our production methods. This section of our site explains in more detail some of the materials and techniques used to produce our work. Resins and composite materials have become some of the most versatile media in the world of art and design, as well as being extremely important in a huge range of other industries.  We use a multitude of composite materials, including specialist resins, aggregates and various fine metal powders.  Surfaces can be treated with various patinating fluids, paints, stains and lacquers to achieve a dazzling array of effects.
We make all our moulds in house, and their design is individually tailored to suit the type of work, and the customer's requirements. We use a number of different silicone rubbers, both addition and condensation cure and we can advise which type of silicone is most suited to the application.  We can also provide information on expected mould life and give professional advice on any other queries the customer may have. We are also able to build quality GRP or composite moulds, particularly suited to smooth, geometric shapes.
Site Design by Fingertips
Moulded from a stone surface. Cast using copper, iron and crushed terracotta, then oxidised.
Casting of a hare in copper effect resin
Hare, created in copper resin.
Dramatic sculpture cast in Iron resin then oxidised, patinated and partially polished. (click to see more)
Applied Sandstone
Standard Resin Casting
Our castings are generally made with filled polyester resin. Various types of filler powders are used depending on the finish required. These are mixed with the resin in accurate proportions and the mixture is then poured into the mould under vacuum. This process removes the air trapped inside the mould and mixture to produce perfect castings. Metal finishes including Bronze, Aluminium, Copper and Iron are achieved by mixing metal powders with the resin. This is known as "cold casting". A convincing, quality finish is achieved by ensuring the highest possible ratio of metal to resin. As a result the surface of the casting is in effect a real metal surface. It will age in time, and react to conditions, in the same way as solid metal. (and usually at a fraction of the price). As with traditional metal casting, surfaces can be treated to achieve different finishes. These vary from highly polished surfaces, to a heavily oxidised, or patinated finish. Finishes can also of course be partially or completely post-applied.  We work with a wide range of paints, stains, waxes, and gilding materials to create any kind of effect that is required by the customer. See our own bespoke curtain pole range for many examples of painted and stained items.
Clear Resin Casting
We have done exhaustive research into using clear resins and, as anyone with similar experience will tell you, it is something of a dark art! We have mastered several techniques for using clear resins successfully and have drawn on this knowledge extensively for our own range of Contemporary Tiles. Depending on the application we use either clear polyester, polyurethane or epoxy resin. There are different ways of treating the surfaces of these castings, which will achieve different finishes. Varying from highly polished crystal clear glass, to an ocean eroded appearance. We can also change the levels of translucency and colour.
Cast in clear resin and multicoloured lacquers, this sculpture reflects and transforms the ambient lighting. This shoe last is produced in clear polyester resin.
Clear casting of a shoe last used in window displays.
Cast in clear resin and finished in multicoloured lacquers.
Composites
Cast resin has limited physical strength. Therefore larger and more delicately shaped objects need to be reinforced. This can normally be achieved using chopped strand glass with polyester resin (GRP). We are also able to produce more high-tech composites. Using epoxy resin and woven fabrics including glass fibre, carbon fibre and Kevlar. These types of composites can be engineered to very specific parameters of weight and strength, as necessary. This technology has been developed in the world of racing yachts and Formula One. These are very much design-orientated sports, and a little of this designer feel has helped to increase the appeal of such materials in other areas.
Carbon fibre is used to provide reinforcement within a sculpture.
Carbon Fibre reinforcement can be incorporated inside the finished piece for high structural strength.
High-tech performance resins using Kevlar and other composites and used for demanding applications including Polar expeditions.
Composite resins used to manufacture sledges for polar expeditions.
Foam Carving and Skinning:
This technique is ideal for achieving large, structurally strong shapes, relatively quickly. The shape is carved in polystyrene foam, and then "skinned" using epoxy resin and woven glass fabric. Most finishes can then be applied. Shapes made in this way are suitable either as a one-off saleable piece, or may be used as a master for moulding.
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Mould Making Step by Step Sculpture Gallery
Vacuum chamber for removal of trapped air bubbles in casts.
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