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General Questions

  1. Debit & Credit Card Slips. VAT invoices? Where is my copy?
    We use a virtual terminal from our gateway provider which means we do NOT get a merchant or customer copy of a card receipt. There is nothing we can do to produce one VAT invoices are available from your account. View your order and click print invoice. A copy is used to pack your order, however this may be marked. If you require a virgin copy, simply log in and print the one you need.
  2. How does our order system work? What do the "Order Status" messages mean?
    When you place and pay for your order with our payment provider, your order will be set to Pending. When we begin processing the order this may change to either Dispatched or Processing, there i s a difference. For Dispatched: Your order has been picked in full and sent to the Warehouse for packing. When we upload our data to the couriers, you should receive an email with tracking details if the carrier offer the service. For Processing: Your order is short of an item (or more) and the items we can send have been sent to pack. A follow up message of any delay will accompany this status We have only one other status we use which is "Fraudulent". If a transaction is charged back without contact with us and no reasonable explanation can be heard, we set the transaction to this status and block the account. Please contact us immediately if you ever see a message from us with this status.
  3. I am making a two part mould using RTV Silicone Rubber. What release agaent should I use between pours?
    Silicone to Silicone Homemade Release Agent When making a Split or Matrix Sectional RTV Silicone Rubber Mould, you cannot pour one liquid layer on a solidified layer and separate them. You must use a release agent. The common misconception is "Any release agent will do". Far from the truth! Any silicone based mould release will fail to produce a split. Wax is very much 50/50 and PVA Gloss will re-melt when the silicone is poured on as the carrier of the catalyst contains alcohol, which melts acetate! So which release agent then? Some people have reported limited success with Dry PTFE Spray. We have not tested it and therefore cannot endorse this. We have a recipe for a homemade release that's proven extremely effective over the years in house, and rather than make it and sell it, we prefer to educate you! You will require: Glass Jar & Lid
    White Spirit
    Iso Propyl Alcohol (IPA or rubbing alcohol) Method: Start by melting the Vaseline over hot water. Freshly boiled is usually sufficient to do this, change the water when it has melted to keep it fully liquid while adding the White Spirit. Add half the amount of white spirit by volume that you have of molten Vaseline or petroleum jelly. Mix very well. It is worth noting this is an approximation and doesn't need to be exactly right. Remove from the heat and add a similar volume of IPA, mix well again. Now immediately put the mix into the glass jar (it shouldn't be much more than hand warm) and place the lid on. Shake again to ensure total dispersion of components. There you go, Homemade Silicone>Silicone release agent! Application: Shake well before use and paint onto the set RTV. Do not get this on the former as it will produce a horrible flash line. If you do, clean up with a cotton bud. Slowly pour on the next layer and allow to fully cure or set. When set you will find de-mould quite easy!
  4. I have an incorrect item in my box or an extra item I didn't order. What do I do?
    Please use the Contact us page or rma system and include any details of the missing or incorrect item(s), we will endeavour to have the right goods with you ASAP!
  5. I have been using latex and need to clean my brush out. When I do this with tap water it doesnt work and the brush is ruined. What can I do? Do I need a special solvent?
    Mineral content within the tap water will naturally co-agulate latex in suspension. Not only will this fluffy material block your drains very effectively, you will still be throwing away the brush at the end!

    Use Distilled Water in two pots. The first clears most of the material, the second rinses clean. After the second rinse the brush may be washed in warm soapy tap water. DO NOT empty the waters down the drain, allow the containers to dry out and dispose of as waste.
  6. RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanising) Silicone Rubber - Cure Times
    RTV Silicone Rubber has many different timing to assist you with your work. They have specific meanings....

    Potlife: The time from adding the activator to the rubber being no longer useable (ie begins to set). This does assume a certain temperature and humidity. If your potlife is appearing shorter, you can often use less catalyst. Please ask for assistance.

    Tack Free: The time at which a slight skin has formed and if touched, there is no stickyness and not any material on your finger! However it will still feel gooey.

    Demould (95% Cure Time) : The earliest point at which you should attempt to demould. This is a guide time and the longer you leave it the better. Its worth noting ALL silicones continue to cure after their demould times.

    A Tin Cure Rubber like TOMPS Value will continue to cure (and shrink) for up to 72 hrs. If you want exact copies again and again to the micro-metre, you need to leave the silicone to fully cure. This is known as the full cure (or 100% cure) time but is often not quoted on TDS.

    Apply a 3 day rule and you should be fine.

    Temperature plays a big part on timings. Take note of the datasheet temperatures. They are often around 20-23 celsius. Colder extends times, warmer shortens them. Same for humidity. Higher humidity shortens times for tin cures.

    As a rule of thumb for our own works, we use a Potlife time of 10 minutes and we demould at 24 hrs (fast or slow cat being used). Exact times will be found on product labels (our own findings from our own tests) and the Technical Data Sheet
  7. Waste Disposal : A General Guide
    So you have successfully completed your project? You still have materials? You do not think you will use them?

    Or is it that you have a mountain of containers that you do not know what to do with them? Heres a quick guide to disposal, however this should not be taken as gospel and you should check with your local authority regards disposal of containers and non solid waste.

    The best way to dispose of excess liquid material is to mix it up and get it solid. Solid waste can generally be landfilled. Mix what you have left, place it back in its original containers and shake up to ensure all material gets cured. Leave off the lids in case any gas is made during cure that could cause the container to explode!

    Empty containers that are drip dry (ie drained) are usually safe for landfill.

    GYPSUM PLASTER is NOT safe to landfill. You should ask your local recycling & waste centre for advice on its disposal. This is due to sulphur content and potential poisoning of watercourse!

    Always read the data sheets and ask your local council if you really do not know! All council laws vary so we cannot give you hard and fast rules to stick to.
  8. What are MSDS and TDS? What is CoSHH? What is REACH?
    MSDS - Are Material Safety Data Sheets. Any product posing a hazard will have one of these sheets written by the manufacturer. Each box contains relevant information to the product regards its components and their safety. As a Commercial Organisation you MUST keep these on file. As a member of the public, it is advised you read them! TDS - Are Technical Data Sheets. They contain all the information of the products technical aspects. For example its Strength or Hardness. It also contains the method for use of the product including ratios, pot life an cure times CoSHH - This is an ageing Health and Safety Phrase relating to the Control of Hazardous Substances Hazardous to Health. MSDS and TDS were born as a result of this HSE directive. REACH - Is the next generation of substance control. Many substances are being banned for use in products available to the public. For example DBTDL is planned for outright ban in Jan 2015 and this was followed through.
  9. Which brush should i choose for GRP Fibre Glass Lamination?
    In short, you require a natural bristle brush to use with Polyester & Epoxy Resins. Nautal bristles are tolerant of the solvents and carriers contained in those resins.

    Avoid synthetic bristle brushes. 90% melt in Styrene, the main carrier in Polyester. These brushes are usually the economy type in DIY stores and have dark or black bristles. Avoid them.

    A virgin wooden handle (unpainted or un varnished but waxed is fine) is ok, but for best longevity you need a resin and solvent resistant plastic handle brush with natual bristles. We sell only this type in our shop!
  10. Which moulding rubber is for me, which should i choose? There are so many choices!
    There are essentially four moulding product groups:

    Latex : You can use almost anything in latex moulds, however Water Clear Resins are usually problematic and will leave a sticky or tacky surface in the case of polyesters and epoxies, gas bubbles will appear with urethane clears. This reaction is due to incompatabilities with the rubbers and resins but in some cases due to residual moisture content. Petrochemical systems like polyester, polyurethane and epoxy resins will rot them faster. Latex is amongst the cheapest of moulding materials and is perfectly suited to garden ornaments, stepping stones and anything needing a cheap "sock" style mould. Smaller moulds need no support case, justa bed of sand, larger ones will need supportive cases. We sell an ebook that is designed for beginners for latex moulds. Latex has an extreme tear strength, elongation to break and excellent durability meaning it is a great choice for Cementious mixes. The biggest downside of Latex is it cannot be poured, it must be applied by layer which is time consuming.

    RTV Silicone Rubber : Silicones are used where greater accuracy is required or where a thick section pour is employed, for example in a one piece block mould. They also have excellent self release properties and often (if not nearly always unless casting silicone itself!) do not need release agents. Tin or Condensation Cure Silicones will shrink around 0.4%, Addition Cures (aka Plat or Platinum Cures) will shrink far less, more like 0.04% or less. Some Plat cures have zero shrink. Tin Cure RTV's are NOT compatible with water clear urethanes, they will cause outgassing. Use Addition Cure for this. What about skin safe? A silicone is only skin safe if its data sheet states so. Not all addition cure rubbers are and most Tin Cures are NOT! Don't make that assumption! However most silicones once cured are perfectly safe to handle. Food Safe Silicones are VERY specialist. An extraction test is performed on each batch to ensure no chemicals can transfer to food stuffs and poison people. We stock Food Grade MM730FG which can be used for fatty and non fatty foods. Check the TDS has an FDA Extraction Test on it and never use other silicones that will come into contact with food. Their biggest downside is thier cost.

    Polyurethane Elastomer : Most people use RTV for moulding these days as its a very safe system to use with little or no toxins. PU Elastomers can contain TDI which has been proven to cause cancer and sensitisation. Some even contain Mercury. More recent elastomers are less hazardous. With correct care and ventiltion, this should not pose too much of a problem, but you should be aware of it! Excellent low shrink is a common feature, so for dimensional stability, its either elastomers or addition cures. However PU Elastomers do need release agents to work best, with almost everything you want to tip in, no release agent will mean it bonds in irreversibly. They are better costed than RTV's

    Alginate : These are used by dentists all over the world to take teeth impressions. So they are generally non toxic. If you are looking to take an impression of a body part, these are cost effective, but its worth noting they are a single use mould only. The mould is destroyed when the cast item is removed in many cases. You can cast plaster, mortar or silicone into an alginate mould, but resins dont work so well due to moisture content, however, you can trial this!
  11. Why is your email of tomps-online.co.uk and not the same as the domain TOMPS.com?
    The answer is simple. Spam emails. Over the last decade, TOMPS servers have been inundated with spam. Anything up to several thousand emails a day. It became I possible to pick the wheat from the chaff and real enquiries and comms get lost. We registered a new domain for email communications. Hopefully it will withstand the influx of spam. Shop sent tickets and contact page emails should now always arrive and be read and actioned.
  12. When I checkout I get a strange address in my browser bar. Why doesn't it say TOMPS.com?
    Most Internet sites use third parties for their payment gateways, it's not unusual to see a change of page design or web address change. We do differ from the main as our design carried across using HTML Clone technology. Safe and secure. What is important is you see sagepay or Paypal in your address bar. Some spoofers will use the start of the address as a sub domain to fool you. Always look for the last domain reference before a / - then you really know where you are! If you are unsure, click to view the certificate and security ownership of the page, you are looking for Sagepay/Paypal and perhaps TOMPS references. If not please send a support message immediately. There may be an issue with your own PCs security. *please note we cannot fix viruses and malware as a hobby company, but we'll point you in the right direction :)