3 Steps of Epoxy Curing 3 Steps of Epoxy Curing
Epoxy curing is the process through which an epoxy resin and curing agent, or hardener, are mixed together to form a powerful polymer used for repairs in marine, automotive and other types of projects. Epoxy curing varies in time based upon a number of things, such as brand of epoxy, amount of curing agent and accelerators.
Step 1 - Mix the Epoxy
Make sure your project is ready to be bonded before you begin to mix the epoxy. Epoxy usually has a quick initial cure time, so you'll need to apply it to the surfaces right after you mix it for the best results. Get a flat and non-porous surface for mixing, such as an old piece of glass, plastic or plywood.
Read the directions that come with the epoxy to know what ratios of resin and curing agent to use. It will also tell you what the initial cure time is, so you'll have a general idea of how much time you have to apply the epoxy and complete the project. To practice mixing, use just a small amount of epoxy to experiment with, and once you feel confident that you're using the right ratios, make the appropriate sized batch for your project.
Step 2 - Apply and Wait for Initial Epoxy Curing
Apply the epoxy to your project according to the directions. Bond the pieces together. It might be necessary to use a clamp for bigger projects, because the epoxy will take anywhere from five minutes to more than a half an hour to complete its initial cure. At this time you can also use soap and water and a paper towel to wipe around any edges or over any place where you don't want the epoxy to be. If you wait until the epoxy sets, you won't be able to remove it unless you use sandpaper.
Step 3 - Post Epoxy Curing
Once your epoxy has completed the initial epoxy curing, it will have to be left alone for at least another 24 hours so it can finish the post cure and harden completely. The time it takes to complete this process can be reduced by purchasing an epoxy accelerator or an epoxy curing oven. Adding heat or a chemical accelerant to your project will cause the epoxy to harden and dry more quickly. It's important not to let the temperature of your oven get too hot, because it can damage the structural integrity of the epoxy. The epoxy instructions should be able to tell you what temperatures it can safely withstand, and you should adjust your epoxy curing oven accordingly. Once the epoxy is completely dry, you can sand it down to make the surface smooth.