Hello fellow addicts!
This thread is an open topic, as there are various resins that we are aware are used in our little cosmos and so not all rules will apply to each type.
In the main though, this thread is specifically placed to ensure that anyone using any materials or chemicals for the purposes of construction, casting or retro- sculpting (taking away material to leave the form desired) uses them in the safest possible manner.
The Board (Mangozac, Warhound, Paulson and Seb) would like to proclaim that we can accept no responsibilities for harm caused to users by using their favourite chemicals and materials, but would like to offer the following advice from our own experiences and hopefully prevent our patrons from hideous conditions like Emphysema or thumb loss.
Cutting/ scraping/ Carving
Typically, a scalpel or knife is used for these activities and most gamers/ modellers will use a knife at least daily- think of it like the bottle holding the beer- without it, there is no fix
Please ensure that your blades are changed once a month to ensure that they are as sharp as possible. I would recommend the brand or style of knife such as Xacto: http://www.xacto.com/ProductDetail.asp?id=165
It has a cross hatch chuck which when tightened means that the blade has no risk of pushing back into the hand holding it. Please bare in mind that if the blade is bending when you are cutting, it will be safer and easier to cut through the piece with a saw or Dremel. A snapping blade is very sharp and lethal at speed. The Xacto is safer than 'surgical scalpels' which I have always found comparatively flimsy. The blades are typically thicker also, giving them more strength. A pack of 5 blades cost in the region of £1.50 and come in a safe slide case. There are a variety of blade types available also, which I use for a variety of tasks (P196) http://www.squirestools.com/10-13.pdf
Other than refraining from using too much pressure, always cut away from you onto a craft matt. The only exception I would say to this is when 'back scraping' mould lines on plastic kits, I find that drawing the blade back towards the thumb actually gives a tighter degree of control, but this should be done with caution. When scoring or cutting plasticard or resin, always do this on a rubber matt. On the note of cutting/ carving resin, be mindful that the 'set rigidity' of each resin type varies, and so some resins are more prone to shattering, while other are more 'soapy' and therefore more resistant to knife blades cutting them- this can cause the blade to stick and jump in your hand. Always try cutting a small vent piece to get acquainted with medium. If you feel uncertain, then use a saw blade or dremel.
Resin and Dremel machines.
Resins of any type are powerful chemicals that in pure form cant really enter the biology of humans unless ingested, but if they were to do so, would be quite toxic and would need treatment at your local hospital. Thankfully, unless you have a reeeally bad habit, you are unlikely to bite into a chunk and swallow. However, when introduced to another much loved friend, the Dremel, the state of the material will change quite drastically and so other risk factors become apparent.
Depending on the resin type and the tools/ pressure used, could introduce certain dangers which I would like to point out now.
Sanding disk/ routers/ grinders: These will eat through resin like the perverbial hot knife through butter, but the result is messy and quite unpleasant! Imagine fine dust clouds of white/ cream microscopic sawdust that drift in all directions. Imagine the cloying dust entering your mouth and nose clogging the passages up..... not pleasant! ALWAYS work in a well ventilated area, preferably with a mask, and if not then a damp cloth/ bandana across the mouth area, and goggles/ glasses where possible. It stinks, will hurt you and by god will make a mess. Get a "Dirtdevil" too!
Circular saw blades: Harking back to a point that I made earlier, each type of resin (indeed even mixes of resin and hardener) will create a different state of resin. Some are hard, some are 'soapy'. On the rare occasion that I am brave enough to use a circular saw moving at 3000rpm on this material, I always employ the following measures:
Where possible, hold the piece to be cut in a vice- GW do sell a superb one!
If this is not possible, then wash our hands to degrease them before hand to ensure grip and hold the dremel and item in a similar pose to painting- wrists locked, resting on a table or your knee for stability. Use light touches and make many passes- DO NOT try and cut 'in a oner'! The chances are that the blade will jam in the item, rip it from your grip and you loose control of the Dremel and drop it onto something fleshy. I have done this twice and it is not pleasant- once through my thumb, and once through my knee!! ALSO, if the item is ripped from your grip or drops for whatever reason- DO NOT PANIC!
Let the item come to a rest wherever it is, switch off the Dremel and then reclaim it. I know that your first instinct is to think " I must save my prescious blah", but better you loose that, then create a fountain of blood!
Finally do not try and rush using a Dremel- it likes a calm breathing pattern and sensitivity. Would a Lion reacte well to you running into its enclosure waving your arms frantically and screaming? No.
Achieve a Zen like state and all should go well.
I/ we will cover Glues, accelerators, sprays and misc at another point, but for the time being, I hope that this has been of use?