I do a lot of projects, but try to only do one or two at a time. It’s how I manage things and time doing them best and I don’t get confused. Sometimes though, my parts from various shops take more time than usual to arrive and I get stuck at a position where I don’t have anything to do.
That’s how this project was done in a short while between other projects that are on hold.
Anyway, first time I had such an idea was when someone brought in random electronic component mixture in a box. There were A LOT of them. Some are old Russian components, some are modern, some I never saw before. And sorting them would be just not worth the time and painful.
First thing I did was buy some clear resin from silikon.lt. I bought the smallest quantity I could – 1.2kg (900gr resin and 300gr catalyst) and the one that allows pouring a 5cm layer at a time.
Then I went ahead to select the components that I would use. I didn’t actually select any by some criteria – all I did was take a big chunk from the box and that was it. Then I noticed that because of their long legs you can’t really see anything, so I had to snip them off.
Bought a sheet of acrylic glass and made a box mould from it then poured 1cm to make the first layer. So that all my components are lifted a bit from the bottom. Waited a few days for it to harden, dumped all the components, shook the box a bit to randomly arrange and equalize everything and then poured resin over the components.
And then getting the bubbles out was the hardest part. I made a stand for this and blew hot air to the bottom. This made the resin a bit thinner and so the bubbles could rise to the surface more easily. Though some get trapped against the walls and components, so I used a needle to push components aside for air bubbles to get out. And using a hot air blower to remove tiny bubbles that rise to the surface was the best thing. Later I was told that adding a little bit less catalyst makes the hardening process slower and that helps to remove bubbles.
For all mixing ratio calculations I used an online tool: https://resin-expert.com/en/guide/epoxy-resin-calculator
After it hardened, removing this block from the mould was surprisingly easy – the walls simply peeled off and I didn’t have to use any special measures.
Also since I haven’t done this before, I wasn’t sure about anything I’ve been doing, but somehow everything turned out just fine. Even the first layer line is nearly invisible.
Looks pretty darn cool. Now I needed to sand it a little, mainly corners, edges and the top.
For that I used sandpaper with grits 400, 800, 1200, 1500 and 2500 and then polished it at the end.
Okay, but a block like that, even though looks pretty cool, is kinda missing something, doesn’t it? I thought I could make the whole thing better by making a stand and adding some lights, so it looks even cooler in the dark :)
I went ahead to OnShape – my favorite 3D modeling program and made a model which I later laser-cut.
I didn’t do anything fancy once I cut it out – only sanded it down and applied clear lacquer.
And then installed the warm white LED lights. They need 12v to shine, so I used 4 AA batteries (6v) and a boost converter to double that voltage.
All in all, I think it looks pretty damn cool :)