Aluminum & Resin Honey Dipper

Aluminum & Resin Honey Dipper

In this installment of ShopTime, the Series, (cue intro stinger music) Peter drones on and on about molds, aluminum, lathes and the material that is still all the buzz in the maker world, resin! 

He was tasked with creating a sweet handle for a honey dipper. This idea stemmed from receiving some aluminum mesh material from Zac over at Resin Werks Studio.

The hexagonal shape of the cells in the mesh looked just like a honeycomb and it all was meant to bee. 

The first step in actually creating a handle is the mold itself. Typically, this would involve Peter bumbling around in his shop, cobbling together scrap material and hot glue or commandeering one of Mrs. Brown’s premium Tupperware® containers as sacrifice. Not this time!

Rockler was kind enough to send out a silicone handle blank casting mold. This totally reusable container even has an adjustable stopper to tune in just the right handle length. Perfect!

Using his bandsaw, Peter trimmed up the aluminum mesh to just the right size to fit within the mold. Having been stung on prior resin pours, Peter wrapped a couple of rubber bands around the new silicone mold to ensure there are no leaks around the adjustable stopper.  

Peter selected to use an amber orange and a pollen inspired yellow and allow them to combine into a nice gradient for the center of the handle.

The MAS Deep Pour resin has a pretty long working time, so there is no need to put the petal to the metal when mixing and pouring. 

As the resin flowed into the cavities, trapped air bubbled up out in a mesmerizing dance of fluid dynamics, buoyancy and viscosity. Like so many resin projects before it, it was time for the pressure pot! This device exerts enormous pressure to the remaining air and compresses the bubbles until they are no longer visible.

After 24 hours in this chamber, the resin was ready to be shaped into just the right dimensions for the handle.

This involved trimming on the bandsaw and tapping a thread in one end of the handle to attach the honey dipper. One advantage of using a threaded end, it could be fixed onto a mandrel. The mandrel acts as a core of the workpiece so that it can be held by the lathe. Even after all of the turning Peter does, one would think he has every lathe accessory known to man! But alas, sometimes even he is humbled and must fashion solutions for the moments occasionally he finds himself in. Being able to think critically and on your feet can help you blossom and flower into a more capable maker!

In this instance, Peter merely chopped the head off of a bolt that matched the thread that he cut earlier.  This bolt was then chucked in the lathe along with the resin blank threaded on and it was off to the races!

Peter often gets many questions from his YouTube audience regarding particular tools and techniques. This time the hivemind wanted to know if traditional turning tools could be used with resin and even aluminum. As long as you have a solid sharpening system set up, you can certainly use them! 

Quickly, the handle began to take on a novel shape. Instead of being completely cylindrical in nature like most handles that come off of a lathe, this one had two flat sides left behind after the casting process.  

After consulting with his Queen, Peter settled on the final shape of the handle and went through the time-honored tradition of final sanding and Micro Mesh Pads.

So there you have it!  A custom aluminum honeycomb & resin handle for a honey dipper!

Ready to dispense the nectar of the Gods!