Anyway I've been working on a little project that involved flocking a vinyl toy. I was painting with acrylic paint to get the right base color, and then flocking over it. I now believe I had been using rayon flocking instead of nylon flocking, but I'm not sure what parts of the failure are due to the flocking vs the adhesive.
I used the electric flyswatter technique to make an electrostatic applicator. It runs on two D batteries. First I used white glue, but the flocking lied flat. Then I used acrylic medium and there were bald patches. I attribute this to drying too quickly. There are acrylic mediums that have a much slower drying time, and I thought about mixing the two for the right drying time. But then I noticed it was not sticking, which was unusual since the toy was already painted. It would not stick to the paint.
So, I assume I would have to use epoxy, but I don't know how. I have some, but it can't brush it on, it is thick and doesn't water down. I noticed references to a particular epoxy from nyatex, but the website does not have a list of products or an online store. Are there any similar products that could be bought at a store or online? And would epoxy react to acrylics, or not stick to a painted surface.
Post by Ray (Flock Man) on Nov 11, 2014 19:35:59 GMT -5
The issues I see that could be causing the problems are- adhesive skinning over too soon and possibly not enough grounding. A handheld unit would rely on grounding more than say, a cabinet or tray type flocker. From personal real world experience I have found that acrylic adhesives give me nothing but trouble. This is why after looking at the flocking in my truck I went to Nyatex since they deal with the auto industry. I know everyone wants a over the counter glue that they can just brush on and it works, but I have yet to find one that compares to the Nyatex epoxy. Trust me I have 2 full drawers of store bought adhesives that haven't worked. I've also tried mixing various adhesives together (sometimes with crazy results). It's just better to call them up (nyatex) and order the epoxy that they state is used for fishing rod coating on their website. If not you will be spending more and more money at the hardware store buying stuff that doesn't work at all or works good one time, but doesn't the next. I've done it and still do at times following tips given to me so I can pass the info along here.
Other tips I can add is prep. Finding the right preparation steps for your application is the most important. My average prep time per batch of 20 or less heads is around an hour more time if I have to strip the old flock fibers off. After that the reflocking can begin. It's just the way it works out.
Hell I would love to have one easy product that strips off the old flock in under a minute and then have a glue in a bottle that works as easy as white glue and gives consistent reliable results every time, but it's just now out yet- or at least it's not out under $60. Of course they have UV cure adhesives etc that work awesome, but these require equipment and a learning curve. All of which I wouldn't mind, but the cost is a factor. If I were to charge $30 per reflock- it would justify thousands of dollars for equipment, but in the real world the hobby cannot support those kinds of processes. The GIjOE hobby can barely keep the reflocking wheels rolling at the current rate- and I'm a 3rd of the price of what others charge. If this wasn't part of my own Joe hobby, I wouldn't be able to continue. The wheels keep rolling because of continued support by the GIjOE community and the fact that my family gives me supplies as gifts at Fathers Day, Christmas, and Birthdays. On fathers day I get gifts like rubbing alcohol, toothpick, paper towel, brushes, flock fibers, epoxy, M.E.K., plastic cups, and etc.
In the end it all works out (so far) and a lot of formerly useless heads get new hair and a new life in someone's collection. Overall get the right stuff and plug away until you come up with a system that works for you, which may be completely different than what I do. Don't take what I say as law. It's only what works for me and the way I do things. This is why I leave all the old stuff here on the site. I want people to be able to read older posts that may contradict newer one's. Since the beginning of this project there are many things I believed to be fact which later proved wrong through trial and error. Heck, when I started I used acrylic flocking adhesive which was billed as water proof. Later through real world applications I found it wasn't.
Interesting. So when using this epoxy, how long do you have after mixing before it starts to dry? How thin does it brush on (I'm using 1mm flock) and can you keep it sealed in a bottle and use it later?
Also, do you know if it dries clear, or if it will react with acrylic paint? The underpainting is acrylic, and I don't think anything else will work too well.
And as far as prep, does acetone not work? I'm doing this project with sylvanian families (these little animal toys that are flocked) and the flock wipes off very easy with acetone. But it could be a different adhesive for joe heads. I would assume it must be stronger to keep longer flock on a softer vinyl.
And thank you for the advice. I definitely understand using the knowledge gained by others, I was just trying to make sure it will all work with my specific project.
Post by Ray (Flock Man) on Nov 17, 2014 5:51:24 GMT -5
You should have 3 or so hours of work time and I leave them for a day to dry after flocking. It's shorter in the summer months. Depending on the head I will use either alcohol or PVC cleaner (clear) for prep. Vintage paints will run with PVC cleaner, but not with alcohol. Many model type paints and marker or pen inks will run or bleed with both, so a mild soap for those.
the epoxy mixes 1 to 1 ( a tad more part B if you need a little more flexibility) so I mix in batches as to what I need. Once mixed the clock starts. No you can not store the mixed epoxy, but I do take the epoxy parts (A/B) out of their pint cans and put them (separate) in glass peanut butter type jars with metal caps, so they are easy to open and use. Plastic jars will not work. The solvent in the epoxy will soften the plastic jars.
I use metal measuring spoons to get the parts equal and later clean all brushes with either alcohol or vinegar. Vinegar will neutralize the epoxy. Good to know if you get any on your person. I wear nitrile gloves and work in a ventilated area.
The epoxy should bite into the paint if the paint is cleaned and not greasy. Some put a half a drop of solvent paint into the amber epoxy so they can see misses because most times a miss that is touched up will be noticed especially when working with .5 or 1 mm fibers.
A little practice and working out your system to be seamless from the first step to the last will let you maintain consistency. In time it'll become second nature just as if you slapped on some white glue from a bottle.
Funny back when I started I based my pricing on the use of acrylic glue which was easy to use and apply, but because of it's lack of water resistance I had to switch to epoxy. This added quite a bit of time to the process as a whole, a very bad mistake on my part over the long hall in trying to keep the whole reflocking project going. When running the numbers now after years of unchanged pricing I see that $10.99 to $12.99 would have been a better choice than $8.49 for a single head reflocking to break even. This would still be $5 or so less than the other guys reflocking and with my bulk pricing the savings can be considerable.
I only add this part in because I received a wonderful email asking me how I could possible be so low on pricing verses everyone else and still offer reflocking second to none for GIjOE. This meant a lot to me because there still are a few in the hobby that feel the pricing should be even lower. In numbers you can see the drastic difference- 20 heads done by me comes in at $109.99 with free return shipping and the same heads done by the others would run from $235 to $300 plus shipping.
On the positive side the others do not have to chance to work on the sheer volume I work on weekly and this is because of the low cost and high quality collectors get.
As I have said before to many of you I am sure that no other reflocker has received payment and then a matching donation to the project after working on 20 heads from a collector as I have received. This quite a validation and motivates me to continue year after year. Thank you
It definitely seems that you have a service going that is second to none, even from the perspective of an outsider to the hobby. People are still going to want something for nothing, or very very little, but there are still those who respect a job well done and will pay for quality work. Not to mention the wealth of information you have here for anyone who wants to do flocking projects, so we don't have to all reinvent the wheel ourselves.
Anyway, enough gushing, I have still more questions.
I got the nylon flock and the nyatex adhesive, and everything worked well! It did not affect the paint, and it bit in nicely and is durable, all the expected things. But it seems that the strength of the field is lacking, because the fibers aren't as dense, do not stand straight as they should. Would grounding the clip on a tube of aluminum inside the object (hollow vinyl pieces, probably somewhat thicker than a joe head) create a stronger field? I don't want to build a whole cabinet, since the quality seems almost there, but is there some way to improve my technique?
Post by Ray (Flock Man) on Jan 9, 2015 20:29:58 GMT -5
I've found (from working on some large 1/6th scale horses etc.) that better results came from placing a sheet of aluminum behind them and in some cases I would put a clip from this sheet to a spot on the leg. See commercial units compensate for this (and humidity issues- either too much or not enough in the air) by kicking out 50kV or more. For instance a huge cabinet flocker in a coat hanger factory would spit out 70+ kV and many time also have some air assist to it. I do have to add though, by now I've used some pretty powerful equipment and have found (depending on the size of the item being flocked) that a DYI unit hangs in pretty good with the big boys and there has been others on this forum who have bit the bullet and purchased high end commercial units and found issues with using them. So in short I would think some metal inside (even tin foil) or even very close behind would be a benefit. Also do not discount the effects of relative humidity. I say this because at this time of the year in the NE USA with the heat on the RH in my shop can get as low as 20% and the fibers are already charged a little and stick to the ground plate in my cabinet. At this point in the season I run a humidifier non stop while working. When I used to do this in the house I would end up boiling a pot on the stove and run a steamy shower to get more moisture in the air. Of course too much isn't good either, but I've worked pretty smooth up 80%RH. These days I keep a few meters around to keep track. It seems to come down to tailoring process to the item you intend to flock. Again, with the horses- I used a totally different system than what I use for a GIjOE head. It was much more time consuming and eventually I had to stop doing them. Instead I point collectors of animals and such to a fellow artist flocker who works with them all the time.
I do see as you advance into your project- you are developing the flocking bug for sure. My buddy and I would be in my garage for hours, night after night trying this and that. Taking turns on the phone talking to the guy that showed us, but we used DYI machines and he only ever used commercial, which meant he knew about flocking GIjOE, but not much about the machine other than turning it on and that the rule as he knew it was temp 60 F and RH 60.
Hey I got through a post without jumping on the soap box and going off topic...lol!
Oh yes, and thank you for your donation to this project. Every bit keeps the wheels spinning!!!
From what I see in the diagram in the listing. They say the yellow would be for ground. So by looking at that diagram you would have to attach a 110volt cord to the red+ and black- which would be (on the cord) the black wire+ hot and the white wire neutral-/ then the green wire can hook to the yellow with another wire off this to your grounding clip. This wiring hast to be capped and sealed up good because 110 AC volts can kill you. After the unit will produce 7500 volts but little or no amps so it doesn't kill you if you get a zap. It's tricky to understand and people ask why can the 110 volts kill and the 7500 volts doesn't, but it all comes down to current/amps. you can run a lamp on 110 volts, but not on a 7500 volt electrostatic charge. I mean, maybe the light will flicker for a second and blow out, but it won't run. On the same token, if you put a multi tester on the 110 side it'll read 110, but if you put it on the output side the 7.5kV will fry the tester.
I tend to worry about new people using the 110 volt input units because there is no room for error. If you screw up with 12 volts chances are that you'll get a slight zap and it'll scare you, but a screw up with 110/ 120/ or 240 volts will kill. At one point I had made a unit with a computer monitor flyback unit and turn the garage into a small lighting storm (without the rain). I think the humidity in the air reacted with the 30kV output and went crazy. So overall I would search oatly.com for a 12volt unit and have it shipped in from Australia.
Yeah, I had been reading up on AC wiring, and I agree that it would be better for me to start with the 12v DC type. Oatley was out, so I found one on eBay. I also found an article in a model railroad magazine for making an applicator with the DC generator, so I'm using that method.
An interesting thing, the DC output is 15kV, while the AC output is 7.5 kV. Does that mean the DC model will create a stronger electric field, or does the input have an effect as well? The model railroad article made an AC and DC one, but they didn't say which one made the grass stand up better (then again, static grass goes on well with a flyswatter or puffer bottle), just compared them using the physics 'gold leaf' demonstration.
Post by Ray (Flock Man) on Oct 24, 2015 13:10:25 GMT -5
4 kV may work well enough for practice and some light hobby work, but you're going to need a little more power depending on how heavy the fibers are. I was just looking at some from electronic gold mined and some nice parts at amazing power.