There is simply no substitute for experience. It was a mistake to think that, with enough research, I could pull off what my predecessors have before me. My first casts were of stock HHKB caps. Back then, my success rate was abysmal. My casts were riddled with bubbles. And no matter how careful I was with preparation, I couldn’t avoid them.
Then came the air compressor, pressure pot, vacuum chamber, vacuum pump. I watched countless videos. Read tutorials. Guides for keycap making (which were few and far between). Jewelry making, prop-building, designer toys. If it was tangentially related, I’ve read it.
With every tweak and adjustment, I mitigated my failure rate slowly. But no matter how much I researched, there were too many variables you don’t read in the the tutorials or see in videos. If you were to ask me what knowledge I can impart on someone starting out in resin casting, I would tell them what I wish I knew when I started: If you are fazed or uncomfortable with failure, you should stop now. I am, by no means, trying to deter all the future artisans. I am simply informing them that need to have a stomach for failure.
Slowly, but surely, I was able to bring my success rate to a level that was acceptable. Experience is only an euphemism for failures that we recognize. To say that I wasn’t totally disheartened at times would be an outright lie. But then again… What was that Einstein quote again?