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January 16, 2013
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Tutorial: Epsilon by proppedupcreations Tutorial: Epsilon by proppedupcreations
I’ve been eyeing Smooth-On’s Epsilon since they announced it last November, and I finally got to test it out yesterday. Now that I know how it works, I’m going to be using it to coat the Judoon’s armor, which I’ll be carving out of EVA—so keep tuned here and you’ll see it in action in the next month!

There are a ton of foam EVA builds out there, especially those that are built out of Pepakura templates (from Iron Man to Cybermen to FoamShepards)—and almost everyone is trying to find a way to seal that foam so the cut lines don’t show. I’ve seen everything from Plastidip to Mod Podge to Smoothcast 65D being used, and all of them have their pluses and minuses. I see this as the final entrant into the field. Here’s why:

Review: Epsilon is a brush-on material that you can use to coat a variety of substances. It self-levels, so by the time it cures, the final surface is very smooth. It also can then be sanded and painted—or the top layer can be tinted. The final coat is so glossy that it shows fingerprints; if you’re looking for a more matte look, you’ll need to paint it. It SEALS foam or cardboard (I tested both) and is extremely pliable without wrinkling. And because you’re using it to coat something rather than casting a piece? A little goes a LONG way.

Here’s some quick photos I took during my test last night. Feel free to share this; I can’t wait to see how people use this in their own builds.

I fielded a lot of questions about the material and have since done some larger-scale tests, so I wanted to share my revised findings. After working with this material for a bit, I still feel that this the final entrant into the field to seal EVA foam pep builds. I’ve included a video update as well so you can see the material in action (both fully cured, partially sanded, and actually being applied). In brief:

The flexibility of the foam I was so excited about goes away at roughly the 5-7 days point, and the material becomes more of a hard coating. Unfortunately for us, that means it doesn’t move with the foam as much as I’d previously hoped. However, I’m not sure this is such a bad thing as it still retains a TINY bit of flex (you can push on the top of the coat and it is slightly pliable; applying the same pressure to a 65D coated EVA foam piece would cause the 65D to crack) and the firmness makes it much easier to sand.

This material, once it’s fully cured, sands wonderfully. I’ve been using 220 grit and am getting very nice coverage. Next up on my tests: I plan to see how spot-putty works with the armor set. If it bonds to this material (and I’m not sure why it wouldn’t), you’re going to be able to get a marvelously smooth finish to this beast.

It fills all the seams. ALL of them. It’s ideal for hiding edges.

I have at this point done two coats (and in some places three coats) to the entire Judoon armor set using the Epsilon “trial” bottle—and it’s still not empty. This is excellent news for everyone as it really stretches and is thus very inexpensive to use.

I hope this helps everyone!

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so basically you can sand it when its finished?? no need to apply bondo???
proppedupcreations Oct 14, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Correct!  You can add bondo if you need further smoothing for minor dings (spot putty is great!)
Nightlyre Mar 28, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Sounds very useful, definitely will look into this! Thank you for sharing the tutorial.
proppedupcreations Mar 29, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Make sure you share how it turns out! This is still a super-new material so I'd love to hear how it works out for anyone else and if you learn any tricks along the way :)
Nightlyre Mar 29, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Ohh, so it's actually formulated for foam! Did you just get the trial size? I know you said a little goes a long way... trying to decide if it's worth grabbing some for an ME cosplay I'm working on. I'm just starting to experiment with the watered-down white glue approach, which seems okay but slow. Do you think the trial size of the Epsilon would be enough to cover a full set of armor?
proppedupcreations Mar 29, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
The trial kit is what I used. It covered all of the Judoon armor I worked on, plus enough to get a good start on Chell's boots. I'd say it's probably going to be close, but if you're careful you should be able to get away with just the trial kit :)
Nightlyre Mar 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much for the info! I might or might not try it for this costume (found a couple jars of Mod Podge I forgot I had, and it works really nicely for a "brushed steel" effect), but I will definitely keep it in mind for future work!
I never even heard of this stuff before, I'll have to try it sometime! Thanks for the tutorial! :D
proppedupcreations Jan 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
It's brand new--it was just announced in November 2012 by the makers :)
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