Frequently Asked Questions
Glassing my board with Soltek UV Catalyst+
- How much time is needed to cure my board in the sun? What if it’s cloudy?
- What is the best way to cure my board?
- How much time is needed to cure my board under a UV light?
- How much UV Catalyst+ do I have to add to the resin?
- If I catalyse all my resin won’t I have to use it straight away?
- What sort of precautions do I have to take when working with UV catalysed resin?
- What sort of properties will the resin on my board have compared to MEKP?
- How do I UV cure my finish coat?
Repairing my board with Soltek UV
- Soltek UV doesn’t have any visible fibres in it, how can it be so strong?
- Can I mix another colour or Clear with White?
- I have a deep ding and need to fill my foam, how can I do this?
- What is the maximum curing resin thickness?
- What is the maximum depth of cure I can get with Solcat S products?
- Does Solcat S2 give me better properties than MEKP?
- How can I make a thick laminate using Solcat S products?
- What is the difference between MEKP and Solcat products?
- Where can I buy Soltek products from?
Glassing my board with Soltek UV Catalyst+
A1. How much time is needed to cure my board in the sun? What if it’s cloudy?
You will need to leave your board in the sun for a minimum of 5 minutes. Depending on the weather conditions, up to 20 minutes may be required. Even though it may be cloudy or overcast, you can still cure your board outside since UV light from the sun is still able to penetrate cloud cover. In these cases 20 to 25 minutes will be required to effect full cure.
A2. What is the best way to cure my board?
Curing outside in the sun can be problematic. The board may be at risk of tipping if it is particularly windy and if its raining, you won’t be able to cure at all. It can also be quite tricky to cure rails and laps which means you may have to physically hold the board on an angle towards the sun. To avoid these problems, use artificial sources of UV light within your glassing factory. This will ensure consistency, reliability and cure on demand. See our page on how to construct a Lightbox for tips and how best to arrange the lighting system and the best light sources to use.
A3. How much time is needed to cure my board under a UV light?
This will depend on how strong your light is in terms of UV emission. See our page on how to construct a Lightbox for the best light sources to use. In general however, an average of 10 minutes is usually required to effect full cure on the board. Using the right lighting system can reduce to this to less than 5 minutes.
A4. How much UV Catalyst do I have to add to the resin?
Soltek UV Catalyst+ comes in two standard sizes for adding to either 4kg or 20kg of polyester resin. This means all you have to do is empty the entire contents of the Solcat+ bottle into the tin (4kg) or pail (20kg) of resin and mix. No weighing or calculation is involved. Once the Solcat+ has completely dissolved it is ready to use. Note that you should NOT attempt to split the contents of the Solcat+ bottle.
A5. If I catalyse all my resin won’t I have to use it straight away?
One of the main advantages in using Soltek UV Catalyst+ is that once the resin is catalysed, it will last as long as the shelf life of the resin itself (provided you store it away from light when you’ re not using it). Thus you always have catalysed resin available when you need it – no need to stop, measure and mix in. Also, you can collect excess resin, store it and use it on later boards or for repair jobs.
A6. What sort of precautions do I have to take when working with UV catalysed resin?
You need to first of all ensure you are working in an area away from direct sunlight and any sources of indirect sunlight (from uncovered windows for example). Make sure that your workshop does not have any lights which emit UV such as Mercury Vapour workshop lights (they emit a purple kind of light and take a short time to heat up when first turned on). Normal fluorescent lights are OK. Other than these precautions you are free to work with your resin as you please.
A7. What sort of properties will the resin on my board have compared to MEKP?
UV curing with Soltek UV Catalyst+ produces resin properties far superior to MEKP. This means you can be assured that the moment the board leaves your factory it has attained maximum performance properties. Boards made with Soltek UV Catalyst+ are over 3 times stronger and 2.5 times stiffer than a MEKP produced board. These properties are attained within the UV curing time (5-10 minutes). MEKP boards require days to weeks to achieve full cure and will probably never achieve the superior properties shown by UV Catalyst+ cured boards.
A8. How do I UV cure my finish coat?
UV curing the finish coat on your surfboard is easy. Just add the wax in styrene to your UV catalysed resin and proceed as normal. The wax in styrene does not interfere with the UV curing process. You may need to wait for a few minutes for the wax to rise before exposing and fully curing. Once cured you may proceed to sand and finish the board as per normal.
Repairing my board with Soltek Rapid UV Ding Repair
C1. Soltek UV doesn’t have any visible fibres in it, how can it be so strong?
Soltek UV is over two-to-three times stronger than any other repair system on the market. All of these other products contain small but visible fibres. These products are commonly known as fiber-fill resins. The problem with these resins is that they use additives to thicken the resin. These additives combined with the fibres actually make the resin weaker by creating delamination and crack initiation points within the resin.
Ding Repair, on the other hand, has been chemically engineered such that it can provide superior strength compared to normal resin, even without the fibres. Soltek engineered Ding Repair in this way to ensure that you not only get the absolute best quality finish but highest strength. Fibres and fillers in the resin always create cloudiness and can never be absolutely transparent.
What surfers do not realise is that once they have dinged their board, the board area around that ding becomes weak and has a higher probability of initiating further damage. Soltek UV is so strong (stronger than the base resin on the board in fact) that it provides strength to dinged area and lessens the chance of further damage promotion. You simply do not, and cannot get this protection from other products.
If you find the colour to be too strong (or dark) you can add a little Clear to lighten. Please note that you cannot colour mix with White. This is discussed in the next question.
C2. Can I mix another colour or Clear with Ding Repair White?
Unfortunately you cannot mix another Ding Repair colour nor the Clear with Pearly White to make another colour. Pearly White has been formulated differently to the other Ding Repair colours and Clear meaning that it cannot be mixed effectively with other resins. Mixing will cause the Pearly White system to break down and thus Soltek cannot guarantee the quality of the resultant product.
C3. I have a deep ding and need to fill my foam, how can I do this?
Soltek UV can be used to fill foam if you have a deep ding. Depending on how deep the ding is, you may need to layer the application of the Pearly White resin. Fill the ding 2-3mm at a time with resin. Each time hold the ding up to the sun making sure the sunlight reaches the surface of the resin. Ensure that the resin is fully cured before applying the next layer.
C4. What is the maximum curing resin thickness?
The label on the back of each tube contains information on the suggested curing thickness. In general, for all colours including the white, a general thickness of 2-3mm is recommended. If you apply the resin in a greater thickness we cannot guarantee full cure. The clear allows a greater cure thickness with 5-6mm possible. In all cases it is OK to layer the application to achieve the desired thickness (or fill the ding). Layering does not reduce the strength of the repair. Just ensure that the previous layer is fully cured before applying the next.
D1. What is the maximum depth of cure I can get with Solcat S products?
The maximum depth of cure when working with neat resin is 8mm. The inclusion of glass may decrease this depth somewhat (1-2mm). Soltek is able to engineer additional Solcat S variants to cure your desired thickness and application.
D2. Does Solcat S2 give me better properties than MEKP?
Testing results show that Solcat S2 gives far superior flexural and tensile strength in comparison to MEKP. In addition, these far superior properties are achieved in a much shorter time than standard room temperature cure which makes Solcat ideal for civil applications which require immediate strength. For further information please refer to our technical data sheet.
D3. How can I make a thick laminate using Solcat S products?
Thick laminates can be made easily using Solcat S2. We recommend using secondary bonding to build up your laminate. Secondary bonding is the process whereby a thin laminate is first made and cured (a 4-ply laminate for example) and then another thin laminate is layed-up, on top of the already previously cured laminate (to give an 8-ply laminate). You can then repeat the process to make the laminate thicker. Tests have shown this technique of secondary bonding actually gives superior shear strength even though one would expect shear to occur in the secondary bond area. For further information please refer to our technical data sheet.
D4. What is the difference between MEKP and Solcat products?
MEKP or Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide is a liquid catalyst which upon addition to resin initiates a chemical reaction creating heat. Over time this internally generated heat cures (hardens) the resin. This can be assisted by the addition of heat from an external source (such as an oven or heat box). Cure time is variable and the resin takes several days to reach full cure. Solcat catalysts do not initiate a chemical reaction upon addition to the resin. UV light is required to initiate the cure reaction within the resin. Cure can be closely controlled since removal of the UV light source will halt the cure reaction. UV cured resin reaches maximum properties within the 5-10 minute cure time.
D5. Where can I buy Soltek products from?
Soltek products are distributed in a number of countries. Some of our distributors are listed in the contactssection. Alternatively you can email or contact us direct to obtain the contact details of your local area distributor or buy products direct from us.
If you have any questions that you would like answered, please contact us