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Silicone robotic dinosaur skin help needed

I used to run a dino rebuild shop, and 95% of the robots I worked on nationwide were old Dinamation.  Very seldom Kokoro.  I've been out of the game for over 10 years due to an injury, but a local museum needs help BIG TIME.
My issue?  They bought these pieces of junk from China, and have silicone skin. 

I never could do the silicone repairs, my partner did them.  But tech has changed in 10 years.  I'm try to figure out if this is a project I can take on.  Some just need surface repairs, some need to be opened up to the frame etc.

HOW do I re-glue up the silicone (once foam rubber is reglued) and THEN make it so it doesn't bust open with the robots movement (with monourethene we used a 2 way stretch cloth) and then sculpt and paint to blend in????


Thank you!

Comments

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    That's a tricky one!

    Fabric reinforcing with a two way stretch cloth like a "power mesh" would be ideal, and then you can encapsulate that with silicone.  

    Silicone does not like to bond to anything other than silicone, so getting your repairs to adhere to the old skin will be tricky.

    I would run some small tests to see what works best, but you may be able to use GE silicone caulking as your patching material.  Otherwise you could mix up a two part RTV silicone, either platinum or silicone based.  If you can find out from the manufacturer what type of silicone they used that would help.

    It may also be possible to wet the old silicone with a solvent like Naphthalene, lighter fluid, or Smooth-On's NOVOCs, to soften/clean the surface and promote a bond.

    If you are working with platinum silicone try and avoid contact with latex (like latex gloves) as that will inhibit curing.

    You can paint it to blend by making your own silicone paint from the solvents listed above mixed with GE silicone caulking and oil paints.

    I've never had to do repairs on older silicone pieces, let alone something large that has to move repeatedly for years in a display setting, so I can't provide too much help!

    You may be able to reach out to a company like Smooth-On via email and see if they have any suggestions for repairing older silicone.  I'm sure it's something they've run into.

    Pleas let me know how this goes, as I'm curious to learn about this as well.  And if you could share any photos of your repair process that would be amazing.

    /Chris
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