Wiggy How-To and Restoration Guides #3: Casting Parts

Title-bannerSo, you wanna cast your own parts?  I’ve had a ton of requests for this FAQ.  So, after a LONG hiatus, here is the latest wiggy How-To.

Materials list (some items aren’t pictured):1

•  wooden mixing sticks

• Measuring cups/spoons

• mixing cups

• silicone spatulas

• foam core board/plywood/sheet plastic (plexi, styrene, etc.)

• rubber bands

• box cutter/Xacto knife

• paper towels

• isopropyl alcohol

• hot glue gun

• syringes (optional, but EXTREMELY helpful for casting small parts)

• toothpicks

• rubber/latex/nitrile/whatever gloves (this shit is messy and sticky, you’ll want these)

• mold making silicone (http://www.dickblick.com/products/easy-mold-11-rtv-silicone-rubber/?clickTracking=true)

• casting resin (http://www.dickblick.com/products/castincraft-easycast-clear-casting-epoxy/)

• mold release (http://www.dickblick.com/products/castincraft-mold-release-and-conditioner/?clickTracking=true)

• colored dyes (http://www.dickblick.com/products/castincraft-transparent-dyes/?clickTracking=true)

First figure out what you want to cast.  I’ll use various portable buttons as an example.  Here are a slew of GBA buttons that I want to use in order to make a family/gang mold (single mold that produces many like parts)

7These will require a 2-part mold.  I will first attach these all to a piece of foam core board with some hot melt glue like so.

6Next I need to build walls around the board so that I may pour in the silicone which is used to make the first half of the mold.

8Now that I’ve done that I will mix the silicone and pour it into the chamber.  Follow the directions regarding setup time for the silicone that you’re using and then pull the walls from the cured silicone and flip it over once it’s cured.

10This part isn’t necessary, but it will help keep your mold together when you start casting, not to mention helping you align it.  Cut some wedges into the sides as shown.

12You’ll see why later.  Now, with the mold facing up, build walls around it one more time.

9We are now going to pour the 2nd half of the mold.  Prep the first half with mold release/conditioner.  This will help you pull the two halves apart when the 2nd half is done curing (this step is important, otherwise yo may not be able to pull the halves apart without destroying them).  Mix and pour the 2nd batch of silicone on top of the first half.

13If you have very small cavities that need to be filled (as I did in the buttons you see in this mold), then you may want to carefully coax some silicone into those cavities with a toothpick or syringe before pouring, otherwise silicone may not enter those cavities and you’ll end up with a mold that makes parts which are incomplete and possibly useless.

You’re set to start casting once the mold has completely cured.  Carefully pull the halves apart and pry your original part(s) from the mold.  Mix you resin as per the instructions and add whatever dyes or materials such as glitter that you want to the mixture.  Let the resin settle so that the air bubbles are all but gone.  Again, filling small cavities is important.  Use a syringe and/or toothpick to coax the resin into the small areas so you don’t end up with incomplete parts.


Fill the rest of the cavities with the resin.  You will want to run a toothpick around the inside of the cavities once the resin has been poured.  Air bubbles like to form at corners/edges inside the mold, and you can easily work them out by running the toothpick around the corners and edges.

18Make sure all the little nooks and crannies are filled in both halves of the mold.  When you’re sure that you’ve got both halves ready to go, then quickly place them together and align the tabs that we made in order to secure the mold halves together.  Err on the side of too much resin versus too little.  Any excess will be squeezed from the mold.  Once you’ve go it together you’ll want to secure them with something a little more substantial.  Do NOT press the halves firmly together with your hands.  Doing so will squeeze some resin from the mold and when you release, the mold mwill decompress and draw air back in, creating bubbles and imperfections in your part(s).  Gently place the halves together, then secure them with some plywood or plastic and some rubber bands.  This will ensure the the mold is secure that you’ll have the least amount of excess resin left in the mold when all is said and done.

The resin that I provided links to requires at least 24 hours to set.  Don’t be impatient and DO wait at least that long.   Remove the rubber bands and gently pry the mold apart with your hands (don’t use any sort of hard tool as you may tear/rip the mold).   Now all you need to do is pull the casting(s) from the mold and trim the excess resin with your knife.


Presto!  You have replica parts :)


Bigger parts can be made and there are many different casting materials that you can use.  But that’s for another FAQ 😉

23Hope this helps you ladies and gents out!

Comments (23)

  1. BN says:

    That an awesome tutorial! I have been curious about this kind of process for so long! Thank for posting it, Wiggy!

  2. Olivier says:

    I was not one of the many people that requested this tutorial. In fact I’ll probably never have the need to cast any parts. I read the tutorial only for entertainment. But if I ever have the need to, I’m pretty sure I would be able to cast parts using your tutorial. Great job wiggy.

  3. Leonardo / @public-pervert. says:

    Man, this is pretty nice! So much useful! Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge!

  4. The guy without the glasses says:

    What do the resin buttons feel like compared to the originals?

    1. wiggy says:

      Pretty much the same.

  5. Eduardo Garcia says:

    Hey, I’ve been checking your stuff out and I’ve always been interested in making my own game boy color cases. I have all the tools needed as I have done some molding before but I can’t wrap my mind about How to get a decent mold of the casing. Could you possibly post a tutorial sometime in the near future or Maybe email me with some info on the subject? It’s like non existant online and it would be nice to gain that knowledge from someone who obviously has it down right.

    1. wiggy says:

      I actually have a casting How-To up on the site.

      How-Tos and FAQs

      As an FYI, I don’t cast any of my shells. They’re really difficult parts to cast. I personally wouldn’t bother casting something so complex. The likelihood of getting a good set of parts from a casting mold with so many screw bosses, standoffs, etc is REALLY slim.

  6. Rolando Caldera Solis says:

    Will this work to cast, say, Super NES or N64 cartridges?

    1. adizzles says:

      Yes it can be done, although not very easily and you would have to use a different type of resin.

      1. Rolando Caldera Solis says:

        Thanks for the response! What type of resin would you say will work for that?

        1. wiggy says:

          I wouldn’t use a resin, but rather a reproduction plastic designed for casting.

  7. MaTTaX says:

    I was thinking of doing something like this for a long time now.
    I had plans to make some replacement parts for the N64 Controller’s Analogstick.
    The main problem with the N64 Controller is that the Axisparts will always wear down. By having replacementparts, controllers could be fixed and be good as new again. What do you think?

    1. wiggy says:

      Which parts specifically? One issue that you may run into is that many materials used for casting won’t have the strength and rigidity that the original ABS parts have. There are materials that can handle the abuse, but they don’t come cheap :/

  8. Zetamancer says:

    About the prior comment of casting SNES (cartridge) cases; You recommended using a reproduction plastic designed for casting. The only thing I can find on google is injection molding. Is making replica game cartridge shells not possible with this method? If it is can you recommend any plastics to use?

    1. wiggy says:

      It’s very possible. We’re casting shells right now for the new Zelda sets :) Google “casting materials” and you’ll find a good amount of info regarding urethane, epoxy, and other casting materials. Harder urethanes will work best for stuff like cart shells.

  9. Tony says:

    I was curious what resin you ended up using for your Zelda Shells. I’ve tested a few cheaper resin’s in an attempt to make a translucent shell but haven’t found one that is good enough yet. I don’t want to “shell” out the money on more expensive materials yet just to have them fail.

    1. wiggy says:

      We ended up using a couple of different resins and settled with a “rigid polyurethane elastomer”.

  10. relo999 says:

    How would you go make console shells? (ive lately started with a translucent craze)

    1. wiggy says:

      The same way as any other mold, it would just take a lot more time and an understanding of how to make a more complex mold. For something like that you will need vent pipes, possibly a 3 or more part mold, etc.

  11. Ezra says:

    I’m getting ready to try a few molds out myself thanks to this tutorial. I had a question about one of the steps though. You glue your pieces to the foam board with your hot glue gun. In your pictures you can see the glue pile outside of the buttons.

    Does create any difficulty removing the foam? Also, it seems like the glue would dry in place and affect the shape of the mold. Is this not the case?

    1. wiggy says:

      I really don’t do that with the buttons anymore. I just use 2-sided tape instead. For some larger parts I do still use got glue. The glue definitely defines part of the mold. But since it’s removed before the 2nd half is poured, it doesn’t matter. The glue comes off of some parts really easily, but it really sticks to others. Depends on the material.

      1. Ezra says:

        I appreciate the response! I have a larger series of questions I’m going to shoot you an e-mail question about. It’s basically a continuation of this, but might serve to expand on this.

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