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View Full Version : Looking for epoxy in small amounts



dmede
02-23-2004, 01:38 PM
I often find that I have a small epoxy job on the boat that needs a few dabs or more but not enough to warrant mixing up a one pump batch from my West epoxy cans. The single pump puts out too much epoxy for most small glueing and filing jobs. I know I could open up the lid and mix my own small batch but I'd rather not and I'd rather not toss the left over, too expensive.

What do you guys use when you want to work with epoxy but in very small amounts?

Dave

John Bell
02-23-2004, 01:45 PM
Syringes work well for making tiny batches of epoxy. I usually work with a 10mL syringe for resin and a 5 mL syringe for hardener.

NormMessinger
02-23-2004, 01:48 PM
Wellll....

System Three pumps I've had are identical except one has a sleeve on the plunger which allows it to go down half way.

WEST once made very small pumps which if restricted would give you very very small squirts.

System Three also sells itty bitty plastic cups, one oz I think, graduated in cc's.

MAS sells large syringes so one can measure out cc amounts.

(I speak in present tense but it has been a while since I bought any of the above.)

Bob Perkins
02-23-2004, 01:51 PM
With West System it's a little tough, because of 5-1

However with MAS and Sys3, Just squirt a ball of resin on some scrap, then another ball of harder visually 1/2 the first or so - mix.

It's even easier with 5 minute epoxy - they are 1-1 ratio. Two same size glops and mix.

Sometimes I do a half pump - look at the column on your pump (part that pushes in..), visually pick the center and push to that point. Same for other and your done.

I don't do anything more complicated than that - but you can - digital kitchen scale for the truly neurotic (which includes me - I check brand new pumps to be sure they are right) If they are good - then I don't bother with the scale beyond that...

Bob

Paul Scheuer
02-23-2004, 01:51 PM
I hope I don't find out that I'm using the wrong stuff, but I keep a supply of Pettit Epoxy on hand. It comes in two tubes about the size of toothpaste tubes, mixes 1:1, and I can mix a small amount by eye on a pallet. Perfect to small jobs and model making. It's getting harder to find in the stores. I had to send away for the last batch.

DavesFlatsBoat
02-23-2004, 01:52 PM
Syringes - one each for the hardener & the resin - no need to clean - just keep in seperate dust free baggies. You can do as little as 1 cc if you get them small enough and the mixture is very accurate.

Dave...too

dmede
02-23-2004, 02:07 PM
What about those epoxy glues that you find at the hardware store and come in a side by side tube? you just push on the plunger and out comes the correct amount of hardner and resin, mix and use.

if i used syringes can i just keep them full and use them as i need to? does the resin or hardner spoil if exposed to too much light?

Dan McCosh
02-23-2004, 02:14 PM
A trick someone showed me once is to count drops. Five resin to one catalyst.

Mike Vogdes
02-23-2004, 02:38 PM
WEST sells those little ketchup packs in a repair kit thing, and I usually keep one on my boat. But I have been known to take the lids off and eyeball a mix. Usually a hot load...

Stiletto
02-23-2004, 05:01 PM
Dmede, I was going to suggest those double syringes as an easy use option. Araldite is one brand we get here. The caps for the syringes are different sizes to avoid solid mistakes.

Bob Smalser
02-23-2004, 05:32 PM
I keep a commercial 1:1 gel epoxy around for small jobs where I don't need the whole quarter cup from the West Syatem pumps.

I use Acraglass Gel from Brownells.com because I have years of experience using the product, but there are other good ones out there.

http://pic3.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/3302194/40505572.jpg

Jim H
02-23-2004, 05:53 PM
Norm, aren't you the one that told us about System Three's T-88 epoxy?

Dan Lindberg
02-23-2004, 06:07 PM
Syringes - I use 10 ml syringes I get from my parents, I have often mixed up batches of 2 drops to 1 drop and it cured OK as best I could tell, ie, it got hard.

I usually keep a few "loaded" and refill as needed and toss them when they get stiff/dirty.

Dan

AngWood
02-23-2004, 07:02 PM
Cheap metal measuring spoons.

George Roberts
02-23-2004, 07:49 PM
dmede ---

I use a scale.

But 1 squirt of each is only $1 or so. Not enough to worry about.

Bruce Hooke
02-23-2004, 08:07 PM
I like the scale approach but it helps that I already have a scale that measures to 0.1 grams. A scale is also useful for things like checking the pumps to make sure they are putting out the right amount as well as for checking oven-dried wood samples to figure out the moisture content. The other side of this coin is that a scale of sufficient precision does cost something. There are lots of scales on eBay so that's one good place to look for one.

Just make sure that you have thought through how precise a scale you need. Epoxy batches are not too demanding because it's pretty dense stuff. If you also want to be able to weight wood samples then a more precise scale is called for.

Nicholas Carey
02-23-2004, 08:43 PM
Originally posted by Bruce Hooke:
I like the scale approach but it helps that I already have a scale that measures to 0.1 grams. A scale is also useful for things like checking the pumps to make sure they are putting out the right amount as well as for checking oven-dried wood samples to figure out the moisture content. The other side of this coin is that a scale of sufficient precision does cost something. There are lots of scales on eBay so that's one good place to look for one.You can also make your own balance:

http://members.aol.com/ricnakk/scale.html

http://www.wecreate4u.net/dwilliams/scale/scale.html

Build the balance with an assymetric beam, with one leg appropriately longer than the other (depending on you choice of epoxy), and you won't even need a set of mass weights: just measure resin in one pan and hardener in the other until the beam is in balance and you should be good to go.

Or a simple $30 digital kitchen scale would work. My digital kitchen scale (Cuisinart) runs for a couple years on AA batteries. It has a 5kg (11 lb) capacity and it measures in 5g or 1/4 increments. It's accurate enough. Press the tare button zeroes the scale so, additive weighing is easy.

This electronic kitchen scale (http://app.infopia.com/Shop/Control/Product/fp/vpid/583691/vpcsid/0/SFV/27578) is a bit more expensive, but is made from stainless, so scraping the goo off should be easier :D

[ 02-23-2004, 08:46 PM: Message edited by: Nicholas Carey ]

Steve Lansdowne
02-23-2004, 09:46 PM
I like those small cups such as System 3 sells and which are actually made for administering cough medicine and the like. System 3's cost was more than I wanted to pay, however, and some internet searching under "medicine cups," I think it was, yielded 100 of them for something like 65 cents! The postage was a buck or so, but still the overall cost was MUCH less than System 3 wanted.

dmede
02-24-2004, 12:15 PM
George,

I know it seems like a small amount for just one pumps worth but when all your doing is glueing the ends of a couple canoe spreaders there's a lot left over. I had been trying to stack up glueing jobs so if I needed to do one thing I would find something else that needed glueing or filling, like the laps. Problem is I end up rushing around trying to use all of that epoxy up and no single job gets alll of my attention and I just end up dripping the stuff all over the shop floor.

The cups and the syringes sound like they would both work well.

Thanks again guys,
This really shouldn't be free ;)

Bruce Hooke
02-24-2004, 12:46 PM
Originally posted by Nicholas Carey:
Or a simple $30 digital kitchen scale would work. My digital kitchen scale (Cuisinart) runs for a couple years on AA batteries. It has a 5kg (11 lb) capacity and it measures in 5g or 1/4 increments. It's accurate enough. Press the tare button zeroes the scale so, additive weighing is easy.I don't mean to be argumentative but I don't think I would trust a scale that can only measure down to 5 grams or 1/4 ounce for mixing up small batches of epoxy, at least where the mix ratio is 5:1. Off-hand, I think you would want an keep the error in the hardener weight to less than 10%. To get that with such a scale would, if I've done my math right, mean a minimum total batch weight of 150 grams or 1/2 pound, which is not what I would call a small batch. For 2:1 epoxies you could get down to a 75 grams or 1/4 pound, which is still not that small a batch.

Bob Smalser
02-24-2004, 02:54 PM
This is all way too hard for this farm boy.

Use the 1:1 epoxy gels and a spatula like in my pic above....merely dip out equal-sized dollops.

In my pic above notice the stain is off to the side of the "pallet"....it gets blended in only after the epoxy is thoroughly mixed.

Works for me.

[ 02-24-2004, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

Lulworth
02-24-2004, 04:36 PM
I dip into the household recycling and use the plastic screw-on caps off any plastic drink container. Bottled water is good (my family generates an absurd number of these), cut the top off the bottle and you have a great mixing container and use the cap (MAS; 2 caps of resin, 1 cap of hardener) to measure the goo. You can also eyeball the midpoint on the cap threads for even smaller amounts. I use popsicle sticks (a box of hundreds stolen from my kids) to scrape the cap to get all the goo out. Throw out the cap when done (there are plenty more to use). Also, remove the soft plastic gasket from the top. I'll return to lurking now.

David.

Nicholas Carey
02-24-2004, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by Bruce Hooke:
…I don't think I would trust a scale that can only measure down to 5 grams or 1/4 ounce for mixing up small batches of epoxy, at least where the mix ratio is 5:1. Off-hand, I think you would want an keep the error in the hardener weight to less than 10%.

To get that with such a scale would, if I've done my math right, mean a minimum total batch weight of 150 grams or 1/2 pound, which is not what I would call a small batch. For 2:1 epoxies you could get down to a 75 grams or 1/4 pound, which is still not that small a batch.Err…I don't mean to be argumentative :D , but 150 grams is only 5-1/4 oz (http://www.google.com/search?q=150+grams+in+ounces) and 75 grams is 2-5/8 oz. (http://www.google.com/search?q=75+grams+in+ounces).

But, point taken.

Newer kitchen scales (mine dates from about 10 years ago) tend to measure in 1 or 2 gram increments, some even less, so your margin of error is much smaller. See this web site (http://www.saveonscales.com/medium.html) for examples. Or check out this scale (http://www.cyberscale.net/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=96) at $29 with a precision of 0.1g and a 250g capacity.

I just looked at the System 3 catalog and they offer something they call the "Accumeasure Kit": It's a pair of modified syringes and caps modified to work on system 3 bottles. Hmmm…

Mike DeHart
02-24-2004, 05:13 PM
I use two methods. The first is an old postage scale I got at a yard sale for 50 cents. It is graduated by the 1/2 ounce. It is also graduated in postal rates, but they don't count anymore. Put a cup on, adjust the reading to the nearest line, then pour 5 lines resin and 1 line hardener. If I need a really, really small amount, I have two plastic dropper tip bottles. I can mix by counting drops. Also, many things are available in bottles with squeeze bulb droppers, like pediatric medicines and vitamins. Six drops of mixed epoxy will fix very little things.

Chris31415
09-17-2005, 08:18 PM
I have tried mixing small amounts(about 1cc) of 5:1 epoxy using a dropper and/or a syringe but they are too innaccurate give a substandard glue or filler.
I use the 5:1 epoxy as that is what I would use on a full size boat and I need the experience.
I have gone to combining the dropper with a scale that measures down to 0.1 gm with a much better result.
The cost of the scale is offset by the agravation of having to remove sticky unset epoxy from a model using a heat gun.

hoz
09-17-2005, 08:23 PM
I use plastic condiment cups. Almost like the liquid medicine measureing cups but w/out the graduations. I have to measure and make my own lines.

I luicked out a coupleof years ago and bought 200 for fifty cents! Cubs was going out of business in my area and they had a fire sale.

JimConlin
09-17-2005, 09:54 PM
By my calculations, a one-squirt batch of WEST 105/205 costs about $.25 . I'm not gonna lose much sleep about whether a fraction of that is wasted.

George Roberts
09-18-2005, 12:34 AM
Nicholas Carey ---

"Or check out this scale (http://http://www.cyberscale.net/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=96) at $29 with a precision of 0.1g and a 250g capacity."

I have one of those. It works well - more as a check that the pumps are working well.

RodB
09-18-2005, 10:46 AM
The measuring cups are quite easy and practiacal. . Just mark the levels you want with a sharpie pen and use the pumps to fill to the marked levels. If I want to mix less than say 1/2 ounce... then use syringes.

I use system III.

Thad Van Gilder
09-18-2005, 03:05 PM
Every time I go cruising, I bring a bunch of west system epoxy envelopes, or whatever they call them. They come in packages of something like a dozen envelopes for 15 bucks, and they make about a 1/2 oz of mixed epoxy. It's the same thing that they have in their repair kits.

-Thad

John Turpin
09-18-2005, 03:44 PM
Dixie batroom cups. My wife gave me a big stack of them. I just take a pencil and make a line somewhere near the bottom. My epoxy is 2:1, so I fill the little cup up to the pencil mark with resin and dump it. Fill it again with resin and dump it. Fill it to the line again with hardener. You can make just about any size batch this way if you're working with 2:1 epoxy. 5:1 would be tough.

alienzdive
09-18-2005, 03:46 PM
Do not want to tell anyone here to suck on eggs, so I am not going to pin point any answers as being correct or incorrect, however.

When mixing epoxies it is absolutely critical that the resin and hardener are mixed absolutely correctly with no room what so ever for error.

Measusring by eye, through rough guessing or dropping and estimating is definately not recomended at all as being how to mix epoxies.

Also using a utensil to dish or spoon out a mix is also incorrrect as there is going to be left over product on any utensil prior to mixing which will greatly reduce mixing ratios.

The only correct way is to use exact increments, where the product can be accurately poured and measured with no waste or excess product prior to a mix, or specifically designed pumps or syringes where exact quantities can be controlled.

Anyone who guesses or innacurately mixes through rough guessing, good luck to you, you will need it.

Chris31415
09-19-2005, 07:04 AM
Amen to alienzdive.

Andrew
09-19-2005, 11:07 AM
Yeah, but if we're talking about ten drops of epoxy, I doubt it involves a structural application. Just guestimate a go for it.

tidmarsh
09-20-2005, 05:34 PM
Last time I needed a little bit of epoxy, I took a clear plastic film canister and and made marks at .5 cm and 1.5 cm (for 2-1 epoxy) with a sharpie and used that to measure & mix, with a cut-off popsicle stick to mix.

What little was left over popped out after curing (I left the stick in as a handle), so I can re-use the same canister.

Jim Budde
09-20-2005, 06:56 PM
I'm with the "dixie cup gang". Been using epoxy since the 60's (polyester then). Pumps, syringes .. you name it and I have used em' .. and small amounts most surely can be guesstimated with a cup and pencil. Back to the pumps .. if pumps are so scientificaly accurate, why is it sometimes I wind up with more resin and less epoxy or vice versa?

Do what you need to do and get the darned boat on the water .. amen

RodB
09-20-2005, 07:43 PM
I've gone through over 20 gallons of System III mixing with their snow cone type of pumps...using the one ounce med cups for calibration. I have never had any problems... I mix the epoxy in the West one pint plastic containers with right angle corners and stir with tongue depressors with one end cut square. I use the clear plastic pint containers over and over, breaking out the cured epoxy for reuse. The medicine one ounce cups work great to mix small amounts...never had any problems yet and System III says in their book that mixing by volume is fine. I think its easier than using syringes to just mark fractions of ounces in a med cup and then fill to the marks with the normal pump.

RB

[ 09-20-2005, 08:51 PM: Message edited by: RodB ]