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 Post subject: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:12 pm 
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This came up in another thread and I don't want it to be derailed. Here is most of what I posted:

Tony Fisher wrote:
As a puzzle maker I have had huge problems with bubbles. I now have to leave new puzzles several months before I risk adding stickers. Even then sometimes everything seems ok for a number of weeks or months but gradually they appear. Bizarrely on some occasions such as my 4x4x4 ball they hardly appeared at all. With such huge time scales involved it can be very difficult to make tests regarding bubbling and sort out the problem once and for all.
I will have to second Tony on this issue. I wait months as well and still worry. I have heard many suggested solutions but have yet to see one actually work 100%. I think with many builders they try something new (sanding, baking, different plastic) and if they put some stickers on and see no bubbles assume all is well. Over time I have seen them form though, so claims of success with any method are only as rigorous as the length of time the puzzle is observed after the stickers are applied.

On my original Pillowed 2x2x2 I still have some bubbles on one piece even though I recently re-stickered it. I suppose the balance or mix of A/B plastic was different on that one.

I don't really know. I have enquired with Alumilite but they just said they would ask a tech and never got back to me. Perhaps it is a reaction between the plastic and the adhesive of the stickers.

Aleh uses CubeSmith tiles to avoid this problem. No silly outgassing can bubble those.

Some paint their puzzle. The time I tried it I couldn't get as smooth a finish as I would have liked. It wasn't bad and I have seen other painted puzzles with the same surface, but I prefer the original plastic. Perhaps I should try again, Taylor did a great job of painting on a puzzle traded to me.

Let's use this thread as a way to share information about this issue.

Note: Don't speculate. Talk about what you have tried and what you have seen to make a difference, or what has made no difference where you might have expect it would. We want information that can help solve this problem not the same set of guesses with no real way to know if they work.

To summarize here is what I know on the topic:

1.) Time, but lots of it. I think we can all say that you get more bubbling when first applied vs. a week later, vs. two weeks later vs. two months later. What we don't know is when it will stop.

2.) Painting. I don't know if anyone has seen bubbling on a painted puzzle.

3.) Tiles. Tiles are too thick and strong for bubbles to distort them.

4.) Baking. Drewseph mentioned long ago he used to let his puzzles sit in his furnace room (100F+) after casting. I need more info on temperature, duration and if it made any difference. I tried baking a few pieces in an oven at 200F for various times: 0 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes. Sadly I found no difference at all because none of them bubbled. This was a very thin piece so I will write this test off as not useful. But I (or someone else) should do a rigorous study with differing temperatures, durations and then a long term observation as to bubbling (say, over a month or so after baking).

5.) Sanding. I believe Drewseph said that stickers applied to surfaces sanded with 200 grit didn't bubble. I haven't been able to replicate this success :(

6.) Products: I had heard Alumilite black bubbled more than Smoothcast but I see identical results.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:21 pm 
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I'm going to be watching this thread closely as I'm going to start my casting in the next few days (probably at the weekend). I thought that I might use tiles to avoid bubbling but that would cost 4 times as much as stickers! :shock: My plan at the moment is just to wait, but I'm not sure how long. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:23 pm 
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APJ wrote:
I'm going to be watching this thread closely as I'm going to start my casting in the next few days (probably at the weekend). I thought that I might use tiles to avoid bubbling but that would cost 4 times as much as stickers! :shock: My plan at the moment is just to wait, but I'm not sure how long. :?
For a custom cast puzzle the cost of the stickers vs. tiles should be a small percentage. It is the work to cut them that is the pain. You can't use a sticker cutter :(

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:06 pm 
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Rentlix wrote:
Have you ever tried putting a gloss finish on a puzzle?
I am not sure what you mean. I polish the faces of my puzzles with sand paper then plain paper for a shine but that does not change bubbling. Do you mean a gloss clear coat? I would categorize that as painting.
Rentlix wrote:
Or using sheets to cover ever face instead of just open ones? Then you wouldn't have to worry about bubbles because they won't be seen or felt.
I am not sure what you mean by this. Sheets of what? Ever face, open ones? Can you restate your question?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:21 am 
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If I ever get casting materials, I'll definitely be casting a HUGE set of 1x1x1s and trying things out. Baking (for various times and temps) waiting, sanding, whatever.

I'll post whenever I get them (if I do) and ask for suggestions on what to try then.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:41 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
APJ wrote:
I'm going to be watching this thread closely as I'm going to start my casting in the next few days (probably at the weekend). I thought that I might use tiles to avoid bubbling but that would cost 4 times as much as stickers! :shock: My plan at the moment is just to wait, but I'm not sure how long. :?
For a custom cast puzzle the cost of the stickers vs. tiles should be a small percentage. It is the work to cut them that is the pain. You can't use a sticker cutter :(

Dave



yes you can! :D
I have done it with mine.

sorry i dont have anything to show you now..
i think i have one tile sheet left.
if i can find it ill post pictures here

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:45 pm 
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TomZ has tried to cut tiles (out of Cubesmith tile sheets) with a laser cutter for me. (It was not for one of his puzzles, because his stickers sit perfect on the Shapeways WSF material). He was not really satisfied with the result and I have them not back yet. I would very much like tiles for some of my casted puzzles.
I've put Cubesmith tiles on all my V-Cubes (3 complete sets) and they look just perfect.
None of those annoying lines on the surface of the cubies are visible any more!
I could cut the tiles myself, but I would not get the nicely rounded corners.

I would appreciate if puzzle builders find a way cutting perfect Cubesmith tiles.

Some people do not like tiles, but they should look really careful to the thin (.010" thick) lexan tiles from Cubesmith.

Those are the 14 colours currently available at Cubesmith:
White , Yellow , Red, Orange , Blue , Green,
Black , Purple , Fluorescent Orange , Light Orange , Light Blue , Light Green ,
Light Purple , Pink

I have tried 8 colours, so far. The limited number may cause an additional problem for some puzzles.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:39 pm 
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Clay n Eva Creations wrote:
DLitwin wrote:
You can't use a sticker cutter :(
yes you can! :D
I have done it with mine.
That must be really tough on the blade, and I can't imagine you could get any small detail shapes. But definitely post about it with pictures!

konsassen wrote:
TomZ has tried to cut tiles (out of Cubesmith tile sheets) with a laser cutter for me
TomZ: I didn't think you could cut lexan on a laser. Can you give more info?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:00 pm 
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I recently tried painting a puzzle made from smooth cast onyx and the stickers still bubbled. Although I am still a fan of painting it gives a nice shiny finish that you could usually only get if your smaz.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:30 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
...
konsassen wrote:
TomZ has tried to cut tiles (out of Cubesmith tile sheets) with a laser cutter for me
TomZ: I didn't think you could cut lexan on a laser. Can you give more info?

Dave
PM from TomZ to konsassen wrote:
Unfortunately, lexan and laser cutters don't work well together. It cut straight trough the material but also left plenty of burn marks. I'll send you what I have but it isn't very pretty. I think that most of the burn marks can be wiped away (laser cutting often creates some kind of gunk) but the tiles definitely won't be perfect.
I'll show pictures when I've got them back.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:49 pm 
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I don't have practical experience myself, but it's interesting that there's still no solution to bubbling stickers. I would have thought that this was a matter of sealing the part, like you would seal wood. The sealant is the one that penetrates the material and seals the pores, not just sticks to the surface. I would imagine something similar could have been done to plastics - with the right sealant. Maybe this is the direction we should look in.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Aleksey wrote:
I don't have practical experience myself, but it's interesting that there's still no solution to bubbling stickers. I would have thought that this was a matter of sealing the part, like you would seal wood. The sealant is the one that penetrates the material and seals the pores, not just sticks to the surface. I would imagine something similar could have been done to plastics - with the right sealant. Maybe this is the direction we should look in.
I thought that is what painting did. But Kuhrik seems to indicate perhaps this is not always effective. The one time I tried it there was no bubbling but I confess I didn't observe it long enough to really know (a few days). The puzzle was one of my few black hand made Kilominxes. Perhaps nutan72, if he is reading, can comment on if it bubbled or not.

I know Tony and Drewseph have painted their puzzles and io painted the Petaminx. Perhaps owners of these puzzles can comment on their experience? It would be great if we can consider Kuhrik's experience an exception, and perhaps figure out if the type of paint matters.

I used Krylon Fusion black.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:52 pm 
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I used Nu-Life color spray (615 Black) to paint my puzzles. However, there are two more factors to consider. First, is the fact that I am using smooth cast Onyx which is known to bubble and I let the pieces sit for 4 months before stickering. Second, I did not let the paint dry for too long which may be my problem. I will post pictures as soon as I get my camera.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:20 pm 
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I know you have asked alumalite about this problem, but what about smooth cast.What I'm hoping for is that a chemist joins the forum.


Actually that just reminded me I read in one of the casting articles said that nitrogen will stop some resins from hardening, maybe it will stop bubble too :?:


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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:15 am 
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konsassen wrote:
...I'll show pictures when I've got them back.
Thanks Tom, the tiles have arrived.
As Tom had written, they show some burn marks. I'll put them on my puzzle anyway(guess what it is! :) )

Image

The shape and the material would look perfect to me.
I'll try some careful chemical cleaning when the stickers are in place.
But first I'll wait for some months!

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:35 am 
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Haha, Konrad, you carefully picked the nicest looking tiles to take a picture of.

No, N2 won't do anything about the outgassing.
Unused casting resin can react with water. If you open a container and don't use it for a while, it can react with the moisture in the air that got in when you opened it. A can of compressed N2 is used to expel any air and moisture and keep the resin fresh for a longer while but you might just as well use any other inert gas.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:18 pm 
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Taylor wrote:
With the way rapid prototyping is evolving, mold/casting is becoming almost impractical, as it is: expensive, potentially dangerous to your health, messy, and more prone to error.
I would be interested if anyone can develope a reliable solution to fix this issue.


I have to agree with this. Especially with Shapeways offering such excellent deals, and the allowing people to make hollow parts so economically.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:26 pm 
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Garrett wrote:
Taylor wrote:
With the way rapid prototyping is evolving, mold/casting is becoming almost impractical, as it is: expensive, potentially dangerous to your health, messy, and more prone to error.
I would be interested if anyone can develope a reliable solution to fix this issue.


I have to agree with this. Especially with Shapeways offering such excellent deals, and the allowing people to make hollow parts so economically.


Unfortunately, personally I really dislike the feel of WSF material to want puzzles made with it. I am just fine with cast puzzles.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:56 am 
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Taylor wrote:
I've never been able to eliminate bubbles from under stickers.
....
Isn't that a call to find a way making individual tiles?
I believe that most people like the touch and feel of Cubesmith tiles (not the thick tiles used earlier by Meffert's)and Tom's experiment (see above) wasn't so far off.
I like casted puzzles too, but what you really feel under your fingers and what you see are the stickers - and the bubbles :) No bubbles on WSF!!!!!! All my WSF puzzles turn extremely well and look perfect after many solves.
Without any hesitation, I would pay 10 - 20 USD more for getting tiles for my precious casted puzzles.

BTW, there are big individual differences as bubbling is concerned. I've heard from another collector that the puzzles from one (famous) builder develop never bubbles, while those of another (famous) builder start them immediately. His opinion was, that time given to outgasing makes the difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:29 am 
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As for an alternative to tiles, I've seen people use polypropylene foil with the laser with good results. It has a slight texture and comes in nice and bright colours. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the adhesive coating.
The shop I found offers .8mm thick foil in orange, red, pink, blue, yellow, green, white and black. They also offer .5mm foil but it is transparent.

I think it could be very suitable for custom tiles but unfortunately, the only supplier I know of sells it by the square meter. I think I could call them after my holiday to see if they will sell me some A4-sized pieces.

Regarding WSF: it is far from ideal. The pricing is nice (though the hollowing out is absolutely ridiculous - both to us and Shapeways), the printing is sufficiently detailed and the material is smooth enough for a good turning puzzle but it doesn't look that nice and the excess powder is very annoying.
I visited Shapeways on Monday and I showed them some solvent smoothed FDM puzzles. They liked them very much but of course, solvent FDM isn't practical. They're looking in to SLA though which might give us that nice, glossy black.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:42 am 
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I have never had problems with polyester resin. Due to shrinkage though it is unsuitable for mechanisms plus it is much harder to work with. Many of my earlier puzzles were made using it including my Golden Cube. To avoid gaps I simply made the parts fractionally bigger.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:17 pm 
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Here is a picture of the puzzles stickers after two weeks. This puzzle was cast in smooth cast onyx, then sanded with 220, 500, 600, 1000, 1200, paper, and finally painted with Nu-Life color spray (615 Black)


Attachments:
HPIM2138.JPG
HPIM2138.JPG [ 1.6 MiB | Viewed 5451 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:22 pm 
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Did you paint the puzzle right after sanding it?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Apollo wrote:
Did you paint the puzzle right after sanding it?

Yes I did, which I am guessing is a problem?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:12 pm 
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Good to know, I just did some casting with Smooth Cast Onyx about 3 weeks ago and did the same sanding process (same grit as you) but with no painting. I am going to put on a few stickers and see how much bubbling I get over the next week or two.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:02 am 
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Little bump, but I view this topic as somehow unresolved.

Here I want to share my experience with Cubesmith tiles for a Master Skewb – as you might guess looking at the pictures, it is from Andrew Cormier.
It had arrived back in May in perfect condition, fully assembled and stickered.

Image
It started developing bubbles immediately and even having got a spare sticker set from Andrew, I felt that I should try a permanent solution.
I knew that I could cut tiles for it, but the rounded corners are an open problem to me.
So, I asked TomZ to help me and he promised to support this experiment by his access to a laser cutting machine.
The resulting tiles had nicely rounded corners but the laser produced some burn marks (shown in a post above).
After almost three month the aesthetics of the puzzle had suffered substantially due to the bubbles. :(
With an Exacto knife and various types of sandpaper I could remove the burn marks, pretty well.
The results show, that laser cutting Lexan tiles is a viable way. The overall work for me (removing the burn marks) is certainly less than cutting 78 little tiles by hand. :)

Image

Image

Image

Thanks Andrew, thanks Tom!!!

As a fan of Cubesmith tiles (e.g. I have restickered three complete sets of V-Cubes with them and they are looking perfect), I find the result of the experiment very satisfying. :D :D
I prefer matte colours compared with glossy stickers, anyway. I know, this is a matter of taste - others describe the same colours as "dull". An advantage in this case is the fact that the Lexan is coloured through and through, so sanding is no problem.
A careful watcher of the pictures, will recognize a little problem with the size of the square and rectangular pieces :( :
I should have sent a template to Tom fitting exactly to my cube, but he has used a template he had got directly from Andrew. Probably, it was for a different version of the Skewb?

Anyway, in the context of this thread I would say that the experiment was successful and that others should experiment with laser cutting Cubesmith tile sheets for casted puzzles.
I like them much, much, much better than bubbling stickers!!! :D
(I know of a fellow member, who has cut tiles for his Master Skewb as well. And the overall result was really good. If he reads this, maybe he wants to share some pictures here, as well?)

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Last edited by Konrad on Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:28 am 
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Very interesting replies so far. Anyway, what has worked for me (unintentionally), is when I put pieces for a puzzle casted in regular white SmoothCast 300Q in a plastic bag in a drawer for about a month or so. After yummyyummypbj and dfgged finally convinced me to finish it (I was getting pretty frustrated with it so I took a break), I finished all of the sanding and assembling, and cut stickers from my vinyl cutter to fit. I have had this puzzle for probably over half a year now, and there have been absolutely no bubbles whatsoever.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:25 am 
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After I had made the post above, I have checked my other casted puzzles and made two interesting observations:
- The black puzzles are worse than the white ones, by far
(3 black - including the Master Skewb and built by two different builders - , 5 white from 4 different builders - two of them built by the very same builder as of the two "Non-Master Skewb" blacks) .
- On one black puzzle the faces are quite different: That means that on one physical piece one face is perfect, while another face is pretty bad. The size of the stickers seems to be irrelevant. Stickers of the same size and shape, may have or have not bubbles. I would assume too, that all pieces were handled identically by the builder.)
This could lead to the weird theory that dark purple stickers will develop bubbles while pink stay clear. (Roxanne will probably like this theory :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Hi guys, I could add some other interesting observations about bubbling.
I do not cast puzzles, but I use plasticard sheets, actually polistyrene. Stickers do not bubble on virgin material.
After sanding and polishing (sanding paste), bubbles occur in less than 24 hours, but only on some piece.
That's the oddest part! Same treatment, same sanding and polishing.
I tryed to oven them, wash them with different soaps or alchool. Nothing changed.
Some pieces cover with bubbles, others don't.
I tried different stickers from different sellers, machine cut or hand cut by me. No difference.

The different reaction of stickers applied to virgin material or treated one, let me think sanding plays a role.
Maybe the temperature increse caused by sanding could start some chemical reaction or degradation of plastic material, resulting in gases release. That could also explain why bubbles occur only on some piece and not to all. Different pressure, force, time or speed could explain this odd behaviour.
This teory could eventually apply also to casted puzzles in place of the partial reaction theory.

I'll let you know if something would coem out of my experiments.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:31 pm 
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rikiriki2bis wrote:
Hi guys, I could add some other interesting observations about bubbling.
I do not cast puzzles, but I use plasticard sheets, actually polistyrene. Stickers do not bubble on virgin material.
After sanding and polishing (sanding paste), bubbles occur in less than 24 hours, but only on some piece.
That's the oddest part! Same treatment, same sanding and polishing.
Very interesting (and a good example of an exception to the bump rule).

I had just assumed thermoplastics would never cause bubbling. Perhaps there is something in the polishing paste? But if you washed it well (certainly sounds like you did...) then perhaps not.

Good additional data to have, thanks for sharing!

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:28 pm 
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slight bump here~

I too had problems with bubbling stickers but not any more. What i do is after polishing, i will apply a thin coat of superglue on the pieces and polish again. I will do it say, maybe 2 times and so far it had turned out well for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:28 am 
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RyanZ wrote:
slight bump here~

I too had problems with bubbling stickers but not any more. What i do is after polishing, i will apply a thin coat of superglue on the pieces and polish again. I will do it say, maybe 2 times and so far it had turned out well for me.
How long have you waited after stickering to check for bubbles? I have had them show up months later. If you haven't waited that long it is unclear if you have reduced or eliminated the problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:59 am 
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This is a topic of never ending interest to me! So, here is another bump.
First an update on my tiled Master Skewb shown above:
The tiles are sitting on it as on the first day. I'm completely convinced that Cubesmith tiles are a very good solution for this problem. I would even consider laser cutting them, as TomZ has done it for me (see my posts above, but I do not have access to a laser cutter).
Despite the wrong template Tom had got (neither his fault nor the fault of the tile process), the puzzle looks now really nice and will be in this state forever (almost, forever is a long time :) )

Second a question:
Back in August I took the stickers off one my black casted puzzles (it had looked just terrible at that time).
It sits unstickered around since then. The surface of the pieces is not as smooth as it could be.
The question is, should I polish or sand it or put new stickers on it as it is right now?
I had intended sanding, but do not want to create new gas attacks :lol:
Any suggestions based on proven experience?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:40 am 
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konsassen wrote:
I'm completely convinced that Cubesmith tiles are a very good solution for this problem.
Aleh certainly was long ago which is why his puzzles are always tiled :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:34 am 
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Konrad, to answer your second question: Andrew Cormier roughs the surfaces of his puzzles on purpose using 100 grit sandpaper so that bubbles don't form as easily. So it probably isn't a good idea to smooth your puzzle.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:15 am 
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TomZ wrote:
Konrad, to answer your second question: Andrew Cormier roughs the surfaces of his puzzles on purpose using 100 grit sandpaper so that bubbles don't form as easily. So it probably isn't a good idea to smooth your puzzle.
Thanks for the comment Tom, but I have only one puzzle from Andrew. On his Master Skewb I have nice tiles from you (and all his sanding could not help avoiding bubbles! I have got a PM comment from a fellow TP member, that Andrew's puzzles bubble more than other custom puzzles. So much about Andrew's technique. :) ).
This one is one with 14 colours.
I would have just enough Cubesmith tile sheets colours for it.
First, I will try spare vinyl stickers. It had looked pretty nice with the original stickers, but not for a long time :(
Without further hints, I'll skip the sanding.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:43 am 
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Bump, but if I just had updated my last post, nobody would recognize,right? :)

Yesterday, I have applied new stickers on the mentioned puzzle.
Here it is with my other casted puzzles:
Image
It is the Cuboctahedron in the middle. The Master Skewb has got tiles (as I have described above).
All others have still the original stickers on them. The white ones are ok, the remaining black 3x3x3 Dodecahedron is not so bad, but the bubbles are clearly recognizable.

Here are closeups of the Cuboctahedron. It looks pretty nice again :D :D :
Image

No bubbles, but some recognizable marks, because the surface of some pieces is not completely smooth (I've refrained from any sanding, just peeled off the stickers last August and applied a spare set yesterday.)
I'll report, if and when the bubbles come back.

I would really appreciate it, if somebody invents a method for cutting tiles on custom puzzles!!!! :roll: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:24 am 
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konsassen wrote:

I would really appreciate it, if somebody invents a method for cutting tiles on custom puzzles!!!! :roll: :)


[sighs at Tony Fisher's username] :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:52 pm 
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I have been given permission to bump this thread. The issue is still unsolved and the passing of time is relevant to the subject.
So, after more than two years I'd like to ask the people who posted here previously (and any others) if they have any updates on their stickers. Are those that never bubbled still smooth and have anyone found new methods to prevent bubbling?
My own situation (based on using Biresin G26 pdf) is little changed but I have listed some things that I have discovered.
1. Painting does not help. In fact I have only ever found one paint that I can use on urethane and that makes little difference.
2. Varnishing or sealing does not help. Once again the urethane doesn't seem to like it any way and areas often remain sticky or become "wet" later.
3. Leaving a puzzle one year before stickering helps but does not totally stop bubbling.
4. Not all parts behave the same. Some parts seem bubble free whereas others bubble a lot. Bizarrely on my Golden Cube I found one particular area of one piece (on more than one cube) more prone than others. This suggests either the mould has an effect or the shape of the piece does.
5. As far as I can recall not one of my 15 or so 4x4x4 Balls suffered from bubbling. This involved super gluing Mefferts style stickers onto a curved surface. The same technique repeated on my mini 5x5x5 Ball resulted in bubbles.
6. I have never experienced sticker bubbling with polyester resin, plastic sheet or Milliput surfaces.
7. Making stickers thicker helps a little. This can be done by doubling up thick vinyl and / or using double sided tape as well. This might be tricky on small stickers.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:07 pm 
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My update (after almost 3 years): Nothing has changed. My casted puzzles have not developed new bubbles.
I have changed stickers on a few, those 3 years ago. No new bubbles, !
My Master Skewb from Drewseph is the best (Cubesmith tiles :wink: ; Sorry Tony, I know that you don't like them.)

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:31 pm 
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Is the gas release something that can be accelerated with heat? What's the maximum temperature that the dried casting material can support? Has anyone tried putting parts in an oven for several hours just below the temperature that would damage the parts? I see mention of baking in the OP but no additional information. That'd be the first thing I'd try.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:04 pm 
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bmenrigh wrote:
Is the gas release something that can be accelerated with heat? What's the maximum temperature that the dried casting material can support? Has anyone tried putting parts in an oven for several hours just below the temperature that would damage the parts? I see mention of baking in the OP but no additional information. That'd be the first thing I'd try.

Someone from several years ago used to do that, possibly Lee Tutt. They would bake the parts for several hours at a very high heat. I don't recall how successful it was. The main issue is how happy someone would be experimenting in an oven used for food.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
Someone from several years ago used to do that, possibly Lee Tutt. They would bake the parts for several hours at a very high heat. I don't recall how successful it was. The main issue is how happy someone would be experimenting in an oven used for food.

Yeah I can understand the concern with mixing things used for food with chemicals and puzzle stuff. I have to have two sets of pots because of this. I have a bunch of 12-inch square aluminum and coper plates that I make an oven with in conjunction with a hair blow drier. Kitchen ovens are actually not very good for a lot of things because they mostly work via infrared radiation rather than convection. It's also much harder to control the temperature accurately with an oven.

I just put metal plates over the top of my sink and put a hair blow drier under there not blowing directly on the part I'm baking. By controlling the air gap between the plates and the sink it's easy to reach any temperature you want and maintain that temp (I use a laser thermometer). Because this is a convection oven, it is much faster at heating parts and much better at removing moisture. I bet you could do it with aluminum foil or maybe even a big inverted pot over the puzzle if you propped up the pot on one side so there was a big air gap.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:07 pm 
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I got to thinking about other options besides using an oven and realized a vacuum chamber may work too. After doing some searching it seems this is actually a common application for them.

Amazon sells one:
http://www.amazon.com/Chamber-Urethanes ... _sim_hi_39

The description includes:
  • 3 Gallon BestValueVacs Professional Grade Vacuum Chamber used to degass silicones, epoxies, burlwood, BHO and urethanes only to name a few common applications.

Try searching Google for "resin degas vacuum chamber" and you'll get a ton of hits. Try replacing "resin" with "epoxy" for additional info.

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Last edited by Brandon Enright on Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:31 pm 
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I've got one that I have used to degass resin and silicone. It's done when the materials are still unset. My intuition is that if a vacuum chamber was used for this, you'd have to hold the vacuum for days. I could be wrong...

Someone should carefully fill a syringe with gas from the a hundred sticker bubbles and get it tested to find out what it really is. :) Hopefully not dioxins!

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:46 pm 
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bmenrigh wrote:
I got to thinking about other options besides using an oven and realized a vacuum chamber may work too. After doing some searching it seems this is actually a common application for them.

Amazon sells one:
http://www.amazon.com/Chamber-Urethanes ... _sim_hi_39

The description includes:
  • 3 Gallon BestValueVacs Professional Grade Vacuum Chamber used to degass silicones, epoxies, burlwood, BHO and urethanes only to name a few common applications.

Try searching Google for "resin degas vacuum chamber" and you'll get a ton of hits. Try replaying "resin" with "epoxy" for additional info.

This is interesting and I'll do some research. I must say I am a little confused and figured this kind of thing was used to remove bubbles from mixed uncured resin. When it talks about holding the vacuum for days though it's obviously not the case. As a matter of interest what are they actually for? I mean, who cares about degassing apart from puzzle stickerers?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
As a matter of interest what are they actually for? I mean, who cares about degassing apart from puzzle stickerers?

I'm pretty sure they are often used to remove moisture/create a dry environment, such as for storing highly hygroscopic chemicals, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:02 am 
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Yeah, they are generally used to degass uncured resin or silicone. Degassed silicone is very nice, and prevents air bubbles more easily.

Some pros pressure case urethane, and in those cases you don't want any bubbles even in the mold interior.

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:44 pm 
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Here is a response from the company that makes the stuff I use-

"I discussed it with my college from the R&D department.
He means this is a normal effect from fast cast resins. If you cover the surface with a sticker the material has no possibility to degassing.
The effect are the bubbles.
There is one opportunity to minimise the bubbles, you can put the finished parts into the oven and do a postcuring at 60°C or use permeable to gas stickers."

The heat thing isn't new of course but it's good to get some temperatures and times. Doing some more research I found this-

"Heat Curing – can be used to accelerate the cure of polyurethane rubbers and plastics, platinum silicone rubbers, epoxy resins and other materials. For example, subjecting a urethane mold rubber mold to mild heat (150 F / 60 C) will reduce the cure time from 16 hours to around 4 hours. Consult product technical bulletin for more information.
Do not use your kitchen oven.

Heat Lamps – can be used but often do not provide even heating. Position as many heat lamps as necessary around the mold or casting to provide even heating. Warning: heat lamps can scorch or burn if not properly used. Use with caution.

Tip: a 100 watt light bulb in a cardboard box may be all that you need to generate enough heat to do the job.

Tip: If you live in a warm climate, you can use the sun to your advantage. Position a broom handle between two chairs and place the mold under the broom handle. Use a colored plastic sheet and make a “tent” over the mold. Area under tent can reach 150 F / 60 C, depending on climate. Caution; use a tarp or covering that does not allow light to pass through to protect your mold against harmful ultra violet (UV) light.
Urethane Plastics - Post curing any urethane plastic will enhance the physical and performance properties of the plastic.

Procedure; flat castings and simple shapes can be post cured outside of mold if placed on a flat surface. 3-d or complicated shapes should be post cured in the rubber mold to prevent distortion.

Following the normal cure cycle for the plastic (consult product technical bulletin), casting can be exposed to mild heat 150°F / 60°C for 2 - 4 hrs. Allow to cool to room temperature before demolding..

Increased Heat Resistance - To give the casting higher heat resistance, cure for two hours at 150°F / 60°C, followed by two hours at 212°F / 100°C. Allow to cool to room temperature before demolding".


And lastly, does anyone know about permeable to gas stickers as mentioned in the email?

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 Post subject: Re: Bubbling stickers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:59 pm 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
And lastly, does anyone know about permeable to gas stickers as mentioned in the email?
I did some searching and it seems this is very common for automotive applications where you need to prevent bubbling.
All of the ones I could find are woven carbon fiber + vinyl and designed for automotive use. I can't find anything similar to a standard vinyl sheet or anything that looks like it could be used in a sticker plotter. I'm not sure a carbon fiber + vinyl sheet would cut cleanly like what you'd need for puzzle stickers.

I found a paper out of MIT about adding alcohol to the PVC creation process to make tiny pores to allow permeability. I'm not seeing any mainstream or hobbyist products that offer this feature though.

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