Casting the ear detail pieces


Active Hunter
Hi there everyone,

As perhaps some of you know, I have a scratch build Fett helmet in progress, and I've only just now come to the point of wondering how the ear detail pieces had best be reproduced, since I had never really seen what the typical process was for those. Since I imagined they would be casted, I was wondering if anyone had any insight to share on that topic, as to the simplest way to get the most detail, especially as regards areas such as the hole areas in the top of the bottom right ear, the deep groove in the left ear, and especially the reproduction of a hollow piece like the rangefinder cap (I'm just calling it that, the big black piece for those who are confused). Thanks very much for any input you might have!


Active Hunter
Here you are. I left out pictures earlier because I assumed the people who would be able to answer my question would understand my terminology, confusing though it may be. If there is any other clarification needed I can provide it (I hope).

Rangefinder 'cap' (in black):

Left ear:

Right ear pieces:


Active Hunter
Assuming you're talking about the usual silicone and urethane casting process, both these materials are capable of getting into those nooks and crannies and casting in near perfect fingerprint-level detail, so you shouldn't have any major problems.

The only real risk would be trapped air pockets in the left ear's gap and the right's holes, but there's a few ways to make sure this won't be an issue. Probably the most important is to use a very low-viscosity silicone that has a higher chance of flowing into these areas, you can buy silicone thinners to even further reduce the viscosity. Another thing that you'll have to do is to have these areas facing directly upwards in the mold, so the air has a clear escape path. And finally you can manually pre-apply some silicone into them before adding the rest, and also preform some standard anti-bubble practices like lightly blowing into them with an airgun to escape the bubbles (seems counter-productive to use air to get ride of air, but it works), though maybe just poking and stiring a bit into them with a toothpick or something might be better for holes these small.

The hardest piece I would think is the right ear, as the holes are perpendicular to the logical way you would make a mold (piece laying flat), I would definitely use the pre-application method there, but even if they get messed up anyway it shouldn't be too big an issue as it's a simple re-drilling to fix them.

As for the rangefinder, this is something I've been pondering over too. With a soft enough silicone it seems possible to still escape the piece with a well made two-part mold, but I'm still not too big a fan of the idea as it creates for a pretty delicate mold that's prone to a lot of warping. I've more settled on the idea of actually just casting the entire thing, both the viewfinder and the perspex block, as one single piece in the clear resin, and then just painting the viewfinder part black. The problem with this though is that it makes adding any electrical bits quite a bit more difficult as you'll have to drill and repair-over lots of parts, also the piece will be much heavier. Both approaches sort of have their advantages and disadvantages I guess, maybe someone else can chime in with a better approach.
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