Reducit

 

The Garden

2008 “The Garden” by Mark Prent

 

Developed by Pink House Studios, Reducit and Reducit II are unique positive casting materials which will shrink uniformly, resulting in scale replicas from most molds.  In a single stage of reduction, a Reducit or Reducit II cast will shrink to approximately half of its original volume, or 2/3 its original size in linear dimensions. Further reductions can be achieved by taking a molds from the reduced cast and repeating the casting and drying process. (see image right: “The Garden,” made using elements cast in Pink House Studios’ Reducit II and Expandit.)

Pouring the Reducit Cast:

By volume, combine two-parts of water with 1-part Reducit. Add the Reducit to the water and blend the mixture with a Jiffy Mixer. The drill with the Jiffy Mixer will rotate in a clockwise direction, so from time to time, move the whole tool in a counter-clockwise direction, scraping the sides as the Reducit mixture blends. We very strongly recommend the use of a Jiffy Mixer (see our product sheet on Jiffy Mixer ) for this operation, since it is critical to the success of the reducing process that the Reducit and water are mixed until absolutely smooth. Mix for a minimum of one minute. The appearance of the mixture may be deceptively smooth, until you look more closely and discover that there are still many lumps of unblended material. If any of these lumps are allowed to remain unblended in the mixture, they will result in tiny raised points on the surface of the cast as it dries. The lumps will not be visible at first, when the cast is removed from the mold; they will only emerge later during the drying process, indicating that the Reducit was not thoroughly mixed. The consistency of the Reducit will be somewhat thick, but still fluid enough to be poured or brushed into your molds. It should be similar to the consistency of molasses, thicker than honey. You will want to work quickly, pouring all of the Reducit into the mold as you move it against the surface of the mold with your fingers or a brush, to ensure that you make good contact with your mold and avoid trapping air bubbles in the fine details. If you are filling a two-piece mold that includes lots of small details such as fingers and toes, you may coat each half of the mold separately, then join them and fill to the top; or, first close your mold and reach into it with a brush to coat the surface. For a hand mold, use a small brush with a long handle and push it into the finger tips. You have about ten-minutes of working time from the moment you dump your Reducit into the water, until it is no longer workable. For large or small pieces, wait at least one hour before unmolding.

Place your cast in a food dehydrator to dry. We have modified ours at Pink House Studios with a cylinder of Simplaflex that fits down inside the dehydrator and lines-up with the lid. This adaptation allows the dehydrator to accept forms as large as (or larger than) a life-size head. The dehydrator has a fixed diameter of 12-inches, but the height can be adapted to accommodate almost any piece up to 27-inches high (or slightly higher). The dehydrator is a convenient option for drying that speeds the process considerably without the adverse affects of drying in too intense heat. In the dehydrator, a life-size human head will reach its ideal shrunken proportions in about 3 1/2 days (84 hours) as opposed to anywhere from two weeks to a month, if allowed to air-dry. The speed of air drying depends upon the relative humidity of the environment.
In highly humid environments, mold may grow on the cast as it slowly air-dries. Pink House Studios does offer a mold-retarding product to prevent this, should you choose to air-dry your cast rather than place it in our dehydrator. If you have the time, air-drying works best; if you haven’t, the dehydrator provides a fast , controlled way to shrink our Reducit castings. It is important to remember that the use of excessive heat to speed drying will cause distortion of the Reducit cast. For this reason, the use of an oven or microwave should not even be considered. Besides the distortion factor, there is the safety and energy waste to consider.

Always position your Reducit casting upright in the dehydrator. If necessary, you can lay small wedges of wood under the sides to stabilize it. Once it is is in the dehydrator, you will have to monitor it carefully since it will dry quite rapidly. If a casting of a human head is allowed to over-dry, this can result in some minor distortion in the form of a slightly “sucked-in” appearance to the sides of the head. You really have to watch for this when you use a dehydrator, since the whole process speeds up so. It really is a judgment call. On a head, the ears, nose etc. will shrink first because they have less mass than the rest, and the water will evaporate most quickly from those areas; but the rest will eventually catch-up if you are patient. This is where your judgment comes in; when the entire head appears to have once again assumed fairly accurate proportions, it is time to remove the head from the dehydrator and make your mold of it. Of course, the Reducit dries so gradually at room temperature, that once it is removed from the dehydrator, there is no great rush to get the mold made immediately; eight hours outside of the chamber should not make any appreciable difference (unless the room environment is very hot and dry). So if you are about to call it a day and, upon inspecting your head in the dehydrator, you think it looks like it is about “there”, remove it from the chamber and just leave it overnight; do not leave it in the dehydrator any longer. In the dehydrator, eight hours can mean the difference between a good reduction and one that has the “sucked-in” distortion of over-drying. Once removed from the dehydrator, you can just watch it at room temperature until it reaches the proper proportions, then make your mold; or, you can always put it back into the dehydrator the next morning for a couple of hours, watching it closely.

With some objects, it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether or not they are allowed to dry-out completely. For instance, hands can be allowed to become bone dry, with very little distortion. The fingers and extremities still dry-out first, but then everything will catch-up. You can tell when the cast of a hand has reached a fully-dried state by the pale, uniform tint. The issue of “sucking-in” distortion really varies tremendously, depending upon the shape of the form being dried.

Thin medallion-type forms will generally warp as they dry. One of the things you can do to avoid the warpage is to build a wall around the edge of your mold, a couple of inches high, so that when you pour the Reducit into the mold, you will have added two inches of thickness to your cast. This will prevent warpage, but the casting will naturally take longer to dry-out and reduce. Another method is to pour beyond the edge of the mold in order to create a “lip” of excess material (about 1/2-inch thick). After removing the casting from the mold, this “lip” may be weighted-down to restrain the casting from warping while it dries.

If you are casting a small figure (animal or human) that has thin arms and legs, you may want to remove only one section of your mold once the cast is “set”, exposing a portion of the Reducit cast to the air. The casting should stay cradled in rest of the mold so that it is fully supported until it partially dries-out and becomes more rigid. Then the mold can be completely removed and the casting allowed to finish shrinking.

The Simplaflex material that is available from Pink House Studios can be cut to form a cylinder of whatever height you require (up to 27″) to contain any particular form in the dehydrator; but the object must always stand upright in the chamber. Since Reducit is somewhat flexibly soft, a tall casting should be supported in the upright position in the chamber. It will become more stable as it dries.

PLEASE NOTE: Always pour Reducit into a non-porous mold such as rubber (urethane, silicone or latex). If you must use a porous mold such as one of dried plaster or wood, it must be sealed before casting so that the Reducit will not stick to the surface of the mold.

Approximately 2-lbs. of Reducit is needed to fill a mold of a life-size human head.  

1.25-lbs.  Reducit makes up into approx. one-and-one-half quarts of material.

1.25-lbs…………………………………………………$16.00

11-lbs………………………………………………….$102.00

22-lbs………………………………………………….$189.00

Vancide 51 Mold Retardent 4-oz. bottle…… $3.50

If you are in no particular rush, air drying your Reducit cast is ideal since it does not require that one so closely monitor the progress of shrinkage as does the use of the Dehydrator. If you are air-drying a Reducit cast in a humid environment, you will want to add someVancide mold-retardant to the water before your blend in the Reducit ; 4-teaspoonsful are sufficient for the volume of a life-size head.

Plasto 8-oz. tin…………………………………$35.00
A “little miracle” paste wax that will stick firmly in place on virtually any surface; yet cleans away easily from your cast or mold. Ideal for filling tiny air-bubbles and making small corrections of your form prior to mold-making. Try it!


REDUCIT II


REDUCIT II
is an entirely different material from our original REDUCIT, which is still available. They are similar in that they both yield castings that shrink to about half of the volume of the master, which actually represents about a 30% reduction by linear dimensions. REDUCIT II has the advantage of maintaining fine surface detail better in its fully shrunken state. Original REDUCIT castings have a rough, “sandpaper” quality to the surface when fully reduced. Also, there is no risk of distortion with REDUCIT II. We explain in our literature how to avoid these problems with original REDUCIT; but it isn’t a concern with REDUCIT II.

Original REDUCIT dries to a hard material (almost like plaster, so it can be sanded and filled etc.) REDUCIT II is a urethane-like material, and always remains a firm rubbery substance, throughout the reducing process, regardless of what stage it is at; so you cannot sand or fill. It is extremely fragile when first cast, but as it dries and reduces, it reaches a very tough, rubber-like state.

The only disadvantage REDUCIT II has when compared with original REDUCIT, is that it takes a very long time to fully reduce. It can take several weeks to fully reduce a life-size head that has been poured solid. On the positive side, it yields a more accurate reproduction of all detail. With REDUCIT II, warpage that may occur in a flat, shallow casting during the reduction process, corrects itself before the piece is fully reduced in size.

Since REDUCIT II is a urethane-base product, if you have a silicone mold, no release is necessary. If you are using a urethane mold, you must first apply a release to it, such as wax or silicone spray; otherwise your REDUCIT II cast will stick to the mold. Plaster molds must be sealed and a release should be applied before casting into them with REDUCIT II, because urethane will stick to shellac. For instance, you can use shellac to seal the plaster, and then apply a paste-wax or spray-wax separator over that.

If you are pouring a life-size head, you should proceed as follows: turn the head mold on its side, make-up  a small batch of REDUCITII and pour that into that ear.  Once it gels (about 15-20 minutes), you can make-up a second little batch to do the other ear.  After another 15-20 minutes, once that batch has gelled, you can mix and pour the big batch that will fill the head.

 If you do not do the ears separately, the material may not fill the ears properly, and you will trap air bubbles in there.  This is just basic good molding and casting technique.  It does not really have anything in particular to do with REDUCIT II.  Keep in mind that the separate batches of REDUCIT II may not adhere to one another if more than forty minutes elapses between adjacent pours; so you will want to pre-measure your material so that you can move relatively quickly form the two separate ear pours to the full head.

Alternately, if you are pouring a life-size head: to make sure that the material fills the ears properly, (wearing protective gloves) reach into the head cavity through the neck and push with your fingers into the ear crevices, expecially the ear lobe (which will be facing up toward you). This will ensure that no air has been trapped in those crevices during your pour.

Both original REDUCIT and REDCUIT II can be poured into ALGIFORM molds and maintain all of their detail. No separator or release is necessary.

 

Mixing Instructions:

Important new note –
.Part “B” has now been replaced with ordinary water.  Use two-parts water to one-part “A.”

.Part A  is  your REDUCIT II.  It has a very limited shelf-life. The more air in the container, the shorter its useable life-span. Always store Part A in a cool place to prevent crystallization. If you use 20% or more of the material, it is always best if you transfer the remainder into a smaller container so that there is less air between the lid and the top of Part A; otherwise, it will tend to gel or crystallize in a matter of just a week or two. If your containers are well-sealed, with very little air between Part A and the lid of the container, it could last longer. You really should use it within two weeks.

We have reformulated Part A so that it now can simply be mixed with plain water.

.You have about 20 minutes of working time.

.DO NOT use a mixer attached to a drill unless you are mixing a very large batch. Just mix with a spatula, pour into a second container, and mix again.

.All castings must be poured solid.

.You can de-mold after three hours.

.MIX RATIO: 1 Part “A” to 2 Parts  water, by volume
.1-pint = 1-lb. 1-quart (2-pints) = 2-lbs.

If you want or need a stronger casting, you can use a ratio of 1.5 parts water to 1-part A


Important: REDUCIT II is a urethane product. Skin contact with the raw material should be avoided. Please wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

1 -pint REDUCIT II……….$25. (combined with water makes 1.5-quarts material)

1 -quart  REDUCIT II ……….$40. (combined with water makes 3-quarts material)

1/2-gallon REDUCIT II ……..$75. (combined with water makes 1.5-gallons material)

1-gallon REDUCIT II …..$140. (combined with water makes 3-gallons material)