Maybe you are thinking of giving your child’s desk a nice high gloss waterproof finish or creating some fashionable jewellery for yourself. No matter what you have in mind, remember that Epoxy Resin is an ideal and fun way to make your DIY project spectacular. There is no end to the possibilities that it offers you. Bear in mind that if this is the first time you are going to use Epoxy Resin, it could be a little tricky. So, you will need to give more attention as to how long the resin takes to dry and cure. In this article, we will be taking you step by step through all the basic principles of Epoxy, which guarantees you a perfect finish for your project even if it is your first attempt.
Information regarding the Drying Time of Epoxy
When using Epoxy Resin on a project, you will discover that the drying time varies depending on what type of resin you are using. This information should be given to you by the manufactures upon purchase. On average, the epoxy usually takes about 72 hours to cure properly. No matter how long the epoxy takes to dry you must allow it to fully cure before you attempt to sand or move it. If you do not adhere to this procedure and the epoxy is not fully cured, your project will suffer from surface contamination. This will result in an uneven surface, fisheyes (dimpling) and smudging.
Is there a Way to get the Resin to cure faster?
When using Epoxy Resin on your projects, you might question if there is not a way to avoid all the lost time when it comes to waiting for the epoxy to cure. Depending on the way you use the epoxy resin, the drying time will vary. Here are a few good tips on ways to speed up the drying time of the epoxy.
- Look for a resin with a faster curing time: Buying a resin with a faster-curing time will speed up the epoxy drying time. These fast-curing resins contain, in their ratio, a quick fast-acting curing agent which will start curing minutes after you pour it. However, this technique is not recommended if you are using epoxy resins for the first time, as the curing or drying time is greatly reduced. This does not permit you much time working with the resin and you can easily make mistakes and spoil your project.
- Heat your materials: This is another way to speed up the epoxy drying time, just warm the materials you are going to work with before you use them. Simply let the bottles of resin stand in a container of warm water for about 5 or 10 minutes before you use them. Another method is to heat the epoxy after you have poured it by using a hairdryer or heat gun. Ensure when using this method that you apply the heat uniformly and try to avoid any cracking or bubbles.
- Adjust room temperature: Just by increasing the temperature of the room by only a few degrees will have a marked impact on the time your epoxy takes to cure. The same result can be achieved by using a heat lamp.
- UV Resin: The fastest method you can use to cure epoxy, is by using UV resin and a UV Lamp. This method will ensure that your resin is cured within 2 minutes of pouring. Take note that this method produces a specialised product that does not allow you to cast thick layers.
Things you should avoid when trying to speed up your Epoxy Resin Curing Time
As we have seen above, there are many ways you can use to speed up the drying or curing rate of Epoxy Resin. On the other hand, there are also some things that you should avoid doing.
- Check the amount of curing agent added: It is not a particularly good idea to add too much curing agent, other than that which is recommended. By doing this you automatically decrease the “Pot Time” or the time you have available to work with your resin before it hardens. You could find your resin beginning to harden while you are still pouring it.
- Be careful how many colors you use: Using more than 7% of your color compared to the amount of resin and hardener could result in a spoilt project.
- Don’t mix your materials: If you are going to use a different type of curing agent other than what is recommended for your Epoxy, could result in a spoilt project. The product materials may not be compatible with each other. By using a curing agent that is not compatible with your Epoxy, could result in your mixture not curing at all.
- Follow mixture recommendations: What the manufactures recommend as a maximum for mixing each component, should be adhered to. Not following instructions could result in the curing agent overheating causing your mixture to begin hardening too soon.
More Considerations to taking into Account for faster Curing Times
Here are some more factors to consider if you attempt to speed up your drying time. These are only a few points, which could change how your resin dries and cures without you even being aware of it.
- Temperature: As discussed before, your temperature plays a vital part when it comes to the drying time of your epoxy. If you are working in a room in the winter where the air is cold, this will affect your drying time. This will result in your resin curing at a much slower rate.
- Making use of other Hardening Agents: When using other hardening agents, those that are recommended by the manufactures could result in your resin drying time speeding up. However, it could also leave your project with a yellowish or cloudy finish. So, make sure you stick to the proper ratio of your resin and curing agent. Also, ensure your room temperature is properly controlled, then you are guaranteed an accurate drying time for your project.
Some Guidelines to help you
- If your mixture is too hot for you to handle at the end of the ‘Pot Time,’ be careful to keep an eye on the clock to avoid being burnt.
- When you mix your epoxy resin, make sure all the materials are at the same temperature. If you fail to do this, it could result in your resin not curing evenly.
- For drying as well as curing times, it is vital to mix your resin thoroughly. Ensure that your ratio is properly mixed.
- Lastly, you can be greatly inspired using epoxy resin for many of your DIY projects. So, remember to have fun while creating your masterpiece.