Resin and hardener are two components that are used to create art, craft, jewelry, furniture and other projects with epoxy resin. Epoxy resin is a plastic material that is hardened by mixing the resin with the hardener in the proper ratio according to the manufacturer's instructions. The mixing of the resin and hardener generates a chemical reaction that causes the mixture to transform from a liquid to a solid, creating a shiny, clear, tough surface.
What happens if I mix the resin and hardener wrong?
Mixing resin and hardener wrong can have several negative effects on your project, depending on the type of mistake you made. The most common mistakes are:
1. Mixing the wrong ratio of resin to hardener: Each brand of epoxy resin has a specific ratio of resin to hardener that you must follow for the chemical reaction to occur correctly. For example, some resins require a 1:1 ratio, that is, equal amounts of resin and hardener, while others may require a 2:1, 3:1 or different ratio. If you do not respect the ratio indicated by the manufacturer, you can upset the balance of the reaction and cause the mixture to not harden properly, to be sticky, soft, brittle or to have air bubbles. Therefore, it is very important that you use accurate measuring tools, such as a digital scale or pipette, to measure the exact amounts of resin and hardener you need for your project. You can also use measuring cups with graduated markings, but make sure they are clear and easy to read.
2. Mixing for too short or too long a time: Another factor that influences the quality of the mix is the time you spend mixing the resin and hardener. If you mix for too short a time, you can leave parts of the mix uncombined, which can result in soft or poorly cured areas. If you mix for too long, you can introduce too much air into the mix, which can create bubbles that affect the finish of your part. Also, if you mix too long, you can reduce the working time of the mix, i.e., the time you have to pour and handle it before it begins to harden. It is generally recommended to mix the resin and hardener for about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the amount and temperature of the mixture. You should mix slowly and carefully, scraping the bottom and edges of the mixing container, to make sure the mixture is homogeneous and free of lumps.
3. Using the wrong mixing container or tool: The container and tool you use to mix the resin and hardener can also affect the outcome of your project. It is important that you use a sturdy plastic container that will not warp or melt in the heat of the reaction. The container should be large enough to hold the amount of mixture you need, without spilling or overfilling. It should also be transparent or light-colored, so that you can see the mixture well and detect possible lumps or bubbles. The mixing tool should be made of plastic or wood, never metal, as metal can react with the resin or hardener and alter the mixture. The mixing tool should be clean and dry, with no traces of other substances that may contaminate the mixture. You can use a stick, spatula or stirring stick, but avoid using objects with hairs or fibers, such as brushes or sponges, as they can release lint or particles into the mixture.
How can I avoid or solve the problem of mismixing resin and hardener?
To avoid or solve the problem of mismixing resin and hardener, you can follow these tips:
1. Read the manufacturer's instructions: Before you start working with the epoxy resin, carefully read the manufacturer's instructions, which come on the package or on the brand's website. There you will find information on mixing ratio, mixing time, working time, curing time, ideal temperature, safety precautions and other important information for your project. Follow the instructions to the letter and do not improvise or change quantities or times. If you have any doubts, consult the brand's customer service or look for opinions from other users on the Internet.
2. Do a pre-test: Before applying the epoxy resin on your part, do a pre-test with a small amount of mixture to check that everything is working properly. This way you will be able to verify that the proportion, time and way of mixing are correct, and that the mixture hardens correctly, without being sticky, soft, brittle or with bubbles. You will also be able to see how the color and gloss of the mixture looks, and if you need to add any pigments or additives. If the test comes out well, you can proceed to apply the mixture to your piece. If the test comes out wrong, you can correct the mistake and do another test, until you are satisfied with the result.
3. Discard the faulty mixture: If you realize that you have mixed the resin and hardener wrong, and that the mixture will not harden properly, it is best to discard it and make a new mixture. Do not try to fix the faulty mix by adding more resin or more hardener, as that can make the problem worse. Also, do not try to apply the defective mix to your part, as it may ruin it or make it more difficult to repair. To discard the defective mixture, let it harden as much as possible in the mixing container, then dispose of it in a suitable container for chemical waste. Do not pour the liquid mixture down the drain or mix it with other organic or recyclable waste.
4. Repair the damaged part: If you have applied the defective mixture on your part, and you find that it has not hardened properly, you can still try to repair it, depending on the degree of damage. If the mix is too soft or sticky, you can try to remove it with a spatula or a knife, being careful not to damage the surface of your part. You can then wipe off any remaining mixture with alcohol or acetone, and let the piece dry. If the mixture is hard but brittle or bubbly, you can try sanding it with fine sandpaper or a file to smooth the surface and remove imperfections. Then, you can wipe off the dust with a damp cloth, and let the piece dry. After repairing the piece, you can apply a new coat of the correct mixture, following the manufacturer's instructions.
If you mix the resin and hardener incorrectly, you can ruin your project or have to repair it. Therefore, we recommend that you test beforehand, discard the faulty mixture and repair the damaged part, if possible.