Jul 17, 2020

I receive frequent emails about my platinum cure silicone posts (part 1, part 2). People all around the world want clarification of my process, so I’m happy to provide it.

I’ve been casting platinum cure silicone in SLA printed masters for over a year now for my keycap business, Cherry Festival, and have successfully done it hundreds of times with perfect accuracy in the finished mold. I’ve settled on a very strict but easy process to ensure it works every time.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Wash all excess resin from your part

    It’s important to have a completely dry, clean part for this process. I wash my parts under a heavy stream of water, then place them into an ultrasonic bath of isopropyl alcohol, but you can use any method. Just make sure all uncured resin is cleaned off.
     
  2. Heat your part at 300F/150C for 2-3 minutes

    This is half the secret. You’re looking for wisps of smoke. I use a toaster oven for this, but any heated chamber where smoke can escape will work. The moment I see wisps of smoke coming out of the door, I open it. As cold air rushes in, the part will smoke heavily. This is good! If you let it heat for too long, the part will develop cosmetic fractures. The perfect heating is right before these fractures would appear. Also, don’t breathe the smoke.
     
  3. UV cure your part normally

    Don’t go overboard, just do it how you would normally do it. Extended UV curing does not make this process work any better.
     
  4. Tumble your part in Inhibit X for 5 minutes

    I like to place the parts in a jar of Inhibit X inside a rock tumbler, but this probably works fine just swishing them around every few minutes by hand. You just want the Inhibit X to touch every surface and have enough time to get those surfaces fully reacted.
     
  5. Let your part dry

    This happens pretty fast. Once the parts are dry, they’re ready for platinum cure silicone.
     

So long as your silicone is mixed well, the quality of the mold will be the same as any other non-SLA part. No gumminess, no lost detail.

I’d love to see what you make with this process! And please feel free to keep emailing–I’m always happy to answer any questions about this.

Jun 12, 2020

My cat Lenora is constantly blocking my screen. I swear it’s a game to her. She’s exceptionally skilled at moving in front of whichever monitor I’m trying to look at, even if I move windows to different monitors.

To get around this I use a couple of very simple bash scripts I’ve linked to keyboard shortcuts. One rolls the active window up to a narrow band on my monitor that’s higher up than she can block, and the other rolls it back down again once she gives up.

cat blocking the screen

If you have Linux and cats in your life, you can do the same! I’ll gloss over the Ubuntu way here, but it’s almost the same with any distro.

The Scripts

First, install wmctrl with sudo apt install wmctrl, then create the following scripts somewhere. Edit HEIGHT to equal the approximate pixels between the top of your monitor and the top of your cat.

#!/bin/bash
HEIGHT=500

# remove active window's vertical maximization property
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert
# resize active window, ignoring everything but height
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 0,-1,-1,-1,$HEIGHT
#!/bin/bash

# restore active window's vertical maximization
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b add,maximized_vert

Next, with those scripts saved, make them each executable with chmod +x <path to script>.

Last, add two custom keyboard shortcuts under your operating system’s settings. Name them anything and point them at the scripts you saved as their action. For the shortcuts themselves, I like to use Alt+Page Up and Alt+Page Down, but you can use anything.

keyboard shortcuts dialog window

Now if only there could be a Bash script to make my headset look less like a chew toy.

Lenora chewing on a microphone
Mar 26, 2020

Welcome home! Pretty cool, isn’t it? Who would have known that your job could be done just as effectively through the internet? COVID-19 is out there, but you’re in here, and now you’ve got a home office to organize! You’ve heard about going stir-crazy in isolation before, but honestly, how bad could it be? 🎉   Life-changingly […]

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Sep 12, 2019

Three months ago, after many good years of service, my SteelSeries Apex keyboard started to give out. Presses would intermittently register multiple times or not at all. It wasn’t all that surprising–it had lasted longer than any keyboard I’d owned and I’d worn many of the letters off the keycaps years ago. I knew it […]

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