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Thread: Archive: "Using ALEX for Tails"

  1. #1

    Archive: "Using ALEX for Tails"

    This is an archived thread that was originally posted on mer.yuku.com, the predecessor to MerNetwork. For more information about mer.yuku.com, click here.

    IMPORTANT:
    This thread has been archived for tutorial demonstration information. The material known as ALEX Plus is NOT reccomended for tail making. This is a partner thread to the thread "Making your own latex tail" by Raven of Merbellas, since removed. Raven stated herself this material was only meant to use as a cheap alternative to test out tail making techniques before investing in proper slip casting latex material. Since then Raven's ALEX tail has degraded and she has stated publicly that she does not recommend the use of ALEX for tail making. One can use slip casting latex and latex thicker to thicken to the same consistency of ALEX for use in making realistic tails, following the technique below.

    ALEX Plus is not meant to be submerged. When submerged for too long, the material turns white and may come off in the water. ALEX degrades with multiple submergances in water, making for a short tail life span.


    Material Safety Data Sheet: http://www.dap.com/docs/msds/00010019002_english.pdf
    Technical Bulletin: http://www.dap.com/docs/tech/00010019.pdf

    "CERCLA - SARA Hazard Category:
    This product has been reviewed according to the EPA 'Hazard Categories' promulgated under Sections 311 and 312 of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA Title III) and is considered, under applicable definitions, to meet the following categories:
    Immediate Health Hazard, Chronic Health Hazard"

    "First Aid - Skin Contact: Wash off immediately with soap and plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical aid if symptoms persist. If skin irritation persists, call a physician. Remove and wash contaminated clothing. In case of contact, immediately flush skin with plenty of water while removing contaminated clothing and shoes."

    "Effects Of Overexposure - Chronic Hazards: Repeated or prolonged exposure may cause skin, respiratory, kidney and liver damage. Repeated or prolonged contact with the preparation may cause removal of natural fat from the skin resulting in non-allergic contact dermatitis and absorption through the skin. Prolonged and repeated skin contact may cause irritation and possibly dermatitis. Prolonged, repeated, or high exposures may cause weakness and depression of the central nervous system."

    Negative health effects as stated above and in the MSDS have been observed by a couple of known people with ALEX Plus on/in their tails. Again, this material is NOT RECOMENDED FOR MAKING TAILS. The technique, however can be used with thickened slip casting latex for the same effect.


    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    12/03/10 22:12:13
    Disclaimer:The material known as ALEX is not made of approved skin safe material. It is discussed as a cheap alternative, but if you choose to purchase or make a tail out of ALEX, do so at your own risk. A barrier of neoprene is highly recommended to act as a barrier between skin and a non skin safe material. Therefore ALEX + spandex creations are not recommended - make/use at your own risk.




    The other thread is getting very long, so I'm starting a new one.

    In one of my other posts I said not to use ALEX for tails. In saltwater and chlorine there is attack of the material resulting in whitening of the material. While we can't prevent all of it, we can prevent most of it with silicone spray. In freshwater there is very little attack and the spray will help there as well.

    The Material.

    ALEX PLUS is a product of Dap Products Incorporated. It is a blend of acrylic latex and silicone. It comes in both squeeze tubes and in 10.1 oz cartridges. There is a range of colors: clear, crystal clear, white, antique white, almond, cedar tan, brown, dark bronze, slate gray, and black. The material can be purchased in single cartridges and in 12 cartridge contractor packs. The contractor packs only come in white and clear. The price per cartridge is $2-3, and the contractor pack goes for $23-25.



    Coverage is about 1 tube per square foot. Depending on the amount of area and thickness of application, you may need more. Mermaid Raven used about 2 contractor packs for her tail, but one can do the job.

    ALEX clear dries with a glossy to semi-gloss finish. The factory colored versions may dry with a matte finish. The almond color would match light skin tones, and the cedar tan, dark tanned and light negroid skin tones. Brown would be very dark negroid tones. The colors can be mixed to match any skin tone.

    Since ALEX is both latex and silicone it has unique properties. Clear ALEX out of the tube is a white creamy paste. It does have some smell similar to acrylic latex paint. This is ammonia. While not very heavy, it can be annoying in enclosed spaces. It can be thinned with water to a milky white liquid and painted on surfaces, where it will dry as a clear rubber identical to the cream. It can also be pigmented with acrylic paint, airbrush paints, and other pigments. ALEX will adhear to cured ALEX, allowing multiple layers to be built up. ALEX will stick to Lexan, but any material protruding over the edge will be easily damaged. It will pull up from Lexan if the material is pulled at a low angle to the Lexan. However, if this material terminates at the edge of the Lexan, it will be secure, but do try to protect it from edge scrapes. Glitter may also be mixed in for sparkle effects.

    MSDS http://www.dap.com/docs/msds/00010019002_english.pdf

    Use.

    Do remember that for making mermaid tails with ALEX, we are using this material outside of the manufacturers recommendations.

    http://www.dap.com/docs/tech/00010019.pdf

    Neoprene

    Do color mix tests before applying on a tail!

    In these following instructions, I'm assuming that color will be applied on top of the scales. If the effect you want is clear scales over the color, apply color over the thin coat between steps 2 and 3.

    1. On fabric coated neoprene, start by first laying down the material in strips with a caulk gun. With a wide putty knife, work the material into the fabric. You may let this layer dry.

    2. Next lay a thin layer of material down just thick enough to obscure the neoprene color. You may let this dry.

    3. Lay fishnet down and strech it out and press into the last coat. Various types of netting will give differnt scale effects.

    4. Begin filling the net holes with the material and spreading it out with a wide putty knife. Just the tops of the knots should be visible. Too much pressure at a high angle will make waves as the knife jumps over the knots. If glitter is used, mix it with the filler.

    5. Once the netting has been filled it is time to remove the netting. Begin at the tail and lift the net off the neoprene pulling toward the waist. This will make the bottom of the scales higher than the top. Let the scales dry.

    6. Mix equal amounts of water and ALEX and stir until there are no lumps of material. This mix will be thin enough for airbrushing. You may use less water for thicker mixes. Add your background color to the mix, and stir well until everything is blended. Paint the tail, and let dry. Repeat for all colors you want to use.

    7. For irridescent pigments, as a top layer, mix the pigment directly with ALEX, and apply to the tops of the scales with your finger. Very thin coats work well.

    8. Once painting is complete, dust the scales with talcum powder, corn starch, or spray silicone to prevent sticking. Untreated scales will stick to themselves, and if left long enough, will cause damage when pulled apart.

    This method will produce scales in which the pigment is embedded in the scales, and will not easily be damaged like paint would.


    In the picture:
    1. Bare neoprene.
    2. Working ALEX into fabric. STEP #1
    3. Thin coat. STEP #2
    4. Laying down netting. STEP #3
    5. Filling the netting. Note waves from knots. STEP #4
    6. Filled netting
    7. Netting removed. Step #5
    8. Experiment with heat gun (ignore)

    Lexan covered with ALEX. (ignore top pic)



    Paint over ALEX after rub test.



    Embedded glitter. Scales are still drying.



    Pigments used in various layers, and embedded netting.



    Liquid ALEX mix of 1 drop color mixed in 1" puddle of liquid.






    Last Edited By: Winged Mermaid 03/27/11 18:39:05. Edited 1 time.
    Capt Nemo Use on spandex


    Posts: 578
    12/04/10 09:07:06
    Alex can also be used on spandex. With spandex you will want to somewhat strech the fabric and secure it to a frame before applying. The fabric is not as ridgid as neoprene, and will move and bunch if not held down. For fully dyed fabric, you may use either side, but for prints you will have to use the front side. Coating is the same as for neoprene. You will loose a lot of the strech in the fabric, and it is probably best to coat the fabric before sewing. Coated spandex, such as hologram and wet look, may not coat properly due to the surface coating.

    Before coating, measure, and lay out your seam allowances on the fabric. Coat the fabric up to the edge of the seam allowance with the worked in and thin coats, but keep the scales back from that line about 1/2". Once the seam is sewn, you can go back and coat over the seam with a scale coat to hide the seam.



    Capt Nemo Protection


    Posts: 578
    12/04/10 09:30:32
    I have found that silicone spray will help protect Alex against saltwater and poolwater, and also against the material sticking to itself. The spray does cloud quite a bit when spraying, and anything it lands on will become slippery. Use this outdoors if possible. Items sprayed will not need to be recoated after swimming, but if you notice things sticking, it's time to recoat.

    Do not use hardware store silicone sprays, as they may be blended with petroleum. Buy online, or from your local dive shop.



    http://www.mcnett.com/Silicone-Spray...tant-P255.aspx

    Cleaning may be done with wetsuit shampoo. The shampoo listed below is good for both neoprene and lycra fabrics.



    http://www.mcnett.com/Wet-Suit-Dry-S...mpoo-P239.aspx

    meremily


    Posts: 92
    12/04/10 13:23:24
    hiim not so sure about step 4. what i understand is that you press the net in the alex and then you put another layer again on top of it all?


    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    12/04/10 19:57:39
    meremily wrote:
    hi im not so sure about step 4. what i understand is that you press the net in the alex and then you put another layer again on top of it all?
    Yes. This will give scales almost 1/8" of relief when the netting is removed. (depends how thick the knots are) The thin coat also helps hold the netting in place while filling the scales. Pulling off the net from fluke to waist will give somewhat of a tilt to the scales. The highest part of the scales will be in the direction of the fluke.

    Do some practice samples before attempting a tail. It will give you the hang of things. It's really quite easy to get good results.


    Capt Nemo Airbrushing ALEX


    Posts: 578
    12/07/10 21:33:27
    I tried airbrushing tonight. I used the sample used in the pictures above using the silver/pearl undercoat finishes and gold/copper/blue/natural surfaces. I mixed up a 50/50 batch of liquid ALEX, and used a 1 ounce airbrush jar 3/4's full. To this I added 25 drops of Createx airbrush paint and mixed.

    I used 3 of what looked like heavy coats to get the blue scales in the picture. The undersides of the scales are still translucent through the coats. I also sprayed the blue against the grain of the scales. Between coats, I used a heat gun to speed drying. I then mixed the same mix in magenta, and sprayed with the grain of the scales. This gave a purple cast to the tops of the scales but lets the blue show through in the valleys of the scale pattern. In the light, the blue is seen better than on camera. Spraying will fill in some of the surface features of the scales. A top coat of clear would further protect the colors, but was not used here.



    Upper Left. Whole sample. Silver/pearl undercoats with copper followed by gold surfaces right, and blue surfaces left, with natural in the center. Magenta sprayed on right and upper sections.

    Upper right/lower left. Blue/Magenta coats over natural tops. Some translucent effect showing on lower left.

    Lower right. Blue over natural.

    MermaidRaven


    Posts: 540
    12/09/10 09:47:13
    I wanted to post this video a while ago but it went down with the rest of his stuff. and I couldnt find it again
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reCFBIp0-JE

    Its a pretty old video I remember watching it before I was even friends with eric but I wanted to point out the tail in the back (yes its the same "NEW" tail he was posting) he told me this was one of his new silicone tails the first time I went to his house. well look at how its turning white and flaking off almost in the tank. I would think since they were doing a photoshoot she was probably in the water for a VERY long time and so the tail started turning white and stuff. think this video might pretty much 100% confirms Eric IS using this alex stuff. Im so glad he posted it cause you can clearly see the tail turning white.

    I remember asking him about what that was and he told me his silicone tails do that but he actually liked it cause it reminded him of splash. Ive seen the tail after this and it looked fine, I'm sure he just lets its dry and then repaints it. he used this tail when he swam in the springs with us and it didnt do it, so just like our conclusions you have to be in the water for a long time for this to happen.

    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    12/09/10 12:42:13
    I'm concerned about the tail whitening as it is a form of damage. Salt and chlorine damage over time may shorten the life of the tail. In the video, the tail was white and flakey just like the first test I did in salt water. He must of had the tail out before, or the shoot was a awfully long one.

    At least we found out how to fix or slow down those problems!


  2. #2
    Winged Mermaid


    Posts: 912
    12/09/10 15:15:14
    Again, I think when using ALEX for tails, maintenance and repair are going to be involved if you want a longer life span. I think this will include repairing ripped/cracked/scraped/ect latex and also repainting. I know Raven has done some repairs on her tails- perhaps you could share some info? A how to would be great, even if it's just text and not a video.

    Capt Nemo, do you think that using the protective spray initially and then perhaps doing a re layering of the spray every so often would help? If so how often do you think would be sufficient?

    Just trying to think of ways that would extend the life of the tails.


    Also, I think Eric should put up a disclaimer about the material he uses. If it is or isn't ALEX doesn't matter- people who have his tails have ran into the same problem, which is the whole issue. I don't expect him to do so, but.. just sayin.

    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    12/09/10 18:15:15
    Yes, the spray will help. We use silicone spray in diving to protect latex, rubber and silicone used in our gear. The silicone/latex blend in ALEX should be no different.

    If the scales are getting sticky, time to recoat. BUT! Do your scale repairs first! With the shampoo, hit the tail 2-3 times per season.

    You can use talcum powder to prevent sticking, but rinse the tail off well before going into a pool. (it will cause water clarity problems)

    prince calypso


    Posts: 44
    12/24/10 18:31:32
    i know this most likly a dumb question but could you you apply the same method to a fabric tail like lycra?

    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    12/25/10 11:07:33
    Yes, but you will have to strech the lycra on a frame before applying. The fabric is too limp and will wad up if not held tight. You will loose a lot of strech, so make your patterns accordingly.

    Do run tests before making a tail so you know what to expect.

    melbel1023


    Posts: 108
    12/31/10 12:03:44
    hey, capt. nemo, will this spray work just as well?

    http://www.amazon.com/Sil...t-AQUASEAL/dp/B001O78GY0

    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    12/31/10 14:24:29
    That's the old style can for the silicone spray.

    green52


    Posts: 37
    01/02/11 09:32:24
    I've been working with Malinghi over the last week to test scale texture techniques on neoprene. We've been trying to follow the steps other people have used, and so far it looks good, like the pictures on here, but it hasn't been as durable as we'd like. For instance, if I scratch it with a fingernail it comes off pretty easily, and if it is stretched the scales tend to crack and tear a bit. We can post some pictures of what I'm talking about soon. Basically I'm just wondering if our results are atypical, or if we're basically setting unrealistic expectations of performance on this stuff.

    Has anyone else had problems like this? Are we using it incorrectly, or do you guys think that this level of durability should be satisfactory for a tail? If this is common for Alex, I'm curious if there might be another latex or silicone product that could rectify some of these concerns.

    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    01/02/11 10:48:50
    You can damage it if you try, but I haven't seen any cracking or tearing with cured material. Bad batch??? Chemical contaminate???

    So far for me it's acted like dried liquid latex. Are you working the first thin coat into the fabric? If it wasn't worked in, it may just grab the tops of the fibers and not grabbing the full fiber leading to it peeling off easy. Even with mine you can still pull a scale off but you are going to have to work at it.

    gypsymer


    Posts: 231
    01/02/11 10:59:58
    Capt Nemo if I'm airbrushing my magic elixir mixture onto my neoprene tail do you think it will hold if I just airbrush it on or do I need to lay a base coat of ALEX down first and work it into the neoprene before I can paint my scale pattern? Basically what I'll be doing is making a latex/silicone tail but with a minutely thin layer of latex/silicone. Also, I'm thinking it might be a good idea for stretching purposes to spray it while it's on, or would that scrunch up the ALEX when it's off? hmmm...

    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    01/02/11 11:32:47
    Work a coat of ALEX into the fabric first to prevent the fabric from soaking up the airbrushed color mixes. The fabric will be good when it looks a little lighter than before application and a finger press will ooze a white circle where you pressed.


  3. #3
    Jewel de Lune


    Posts: 131
    02/02/11 19:44:10
    Ah this is a bit off-topic but I have a question about the whole ALEX with saltwater and chlorine. My pool, where I swim the most, is a salt-system which means there's salt AND chlorine in my pool...I know the salt is like a teaspoon or like half a teaspoon per gallon or something (probably less than that) but I don't know about the chlorine. Any thoughts about what swimming in my pool might do to the ALEX?
    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    02/03/11 21:54:47
    It will affect it slower than seawater. It should be about the same as tapwater.

    taom #56


    Posts: 202
    03/16/11 20:32:09
    A short synopsis:
    You put alex on two pieces of fabric, flat. Wait until it is tacky, then lay netting on top. Spread more alex on top of that, let sit for a minute, then gently pull up the netting (might want to practice this on a scrap piece). When that is all cured up, then you sew the tail together. To avoid, or rather, to cover up the side seams, you will have to apply alex on them then sculpt in the scales by following the lines from your netting.

    Hope that helps!

    Cecine


    Posts: 25
    06/01/11 13:21:52
    this might be a question with a blatantly obvious answer, but how do you tint the alex the main color? or mix the alex with paint and then use it with an airbrush? this process greatly confuses me......
    NorthwestMerboi


    Posts: 21
    06/01/11 18:16:29
    For the alex/paint mixture, I remember reading that you mix half alex and half water, and then add just a few drops of paint to color it because any more than that could effect the curing process or something.
    As for tinting the base alex that you're going to use for the tail, you would have to squeeze all the tubes of alex into a large bucket and then add paint and mix until you get the right color.
    OrcaMatt


    Posts: 179
    06/02/11 08:41:32
    Bah, must have done that thing where I shut down the computer at night without sending. Yeah, NorthwestMerboi has it.

    One thing you'll want to do is be consistent with your mixing, so when you have to make multiple batches to finish out a tail the color will be as close as possible between batches. So something like two or three tubes plus however much paint in terms of something like drops you count out as your work out your first batch to your liking.

    Also feel like a paint tray would be good to use, so you can use a larger palate/putty knife to scoop it out.


    To thin it for airbrushing, mix it 1:1 with water then tint. Then clean your airbrush and tips REALLY well right when you're done! Don't let it set up in there.

    MermaidRaven


    Posts: 540
    06/07/11 14:07:14
    Im currently looking for something else other than alex=/ I think it will work great for people who wont use their tails very often but if you use your tail as much as I do I dont recommend the alex. This is PART of the reason I took down my tutorial.

    Ive been having a lot of problems with my ALEX tail (the orange one) things like cracking/turning white again/degrading and the paint alex mix seams to degrade faster than just alex.


    I havent had too much time but Im looking into another cheap alternative. but after making and using my orange tail I realize cheap isnt the way to go if you plan on using the tail a lot...ill keep everyone posted when I can.

    I know a few other people have already made tails using my tutorial so Im curious to see how those tails hold up after a few months....I have come up with some mods to fix some of the problems I have run into so I might make other tail with these extra/new steps and see how that tails holds up but Im not sure when I will have time in between working on my other tails.
    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    06/08/11 07:34:27
    Are you using silicone spray with it? That should keep the latex from cracking and soaking up water, at least it did so in my water tests. Any damage pics?

    My test swatches are still soft and supple like the day they were made, but they're not seeing water daily. Even for latex drysuit seals, about 3-4 years is about the best you can expect out of them with proper care. ALEX is mainly latex. Latex can get gummy in the presence of metals, or crack if it drys out. Damage to the paint mixes is not surprizing. Any additive will weaken the material to some extent. Getting the right paint/ALEX mix may take lots of time and experiments to get it right.

    Try a airbrushed clear coat over the cracks and see if that works to repair it.

    Do remember folks that we are using this stuff outside the manufacturer's recommendations. There may be things to this material we don't know yet. As much as we'd like our tails to last forever, these tails may only last a few years at best.
    OrcaMatt


    Posts: 179
    06/08/11 08:52:53
    Yeah, this is why I never really took it seriously as a material for people to make tails intended for sale out of. You want to sell somebody a product made of something that's 1) unhealthy to some extent (though this can be minimised, we can't claim we really know) 2) soluble and degraded by the environment it's intended for use in and 3) requiring regular maintenance and touching up because it's going to break down in time no matter what you do. This sounds like something anybody can charge a customer money for with a straight face, even AFTER fully explaining the drawbacks? I still think it's really cool as a material for the dedicated amateur: it's relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, pretty well given to experimentation, and can turn out looking really cool. I'm probably going to do one myself one of these days, just always sort of felt like if this was something I wanted to get into, even if just for myself, I'd move on to something more stable.
    MermaidRaven


    Posts: 540
    06/08/11 14:08:38
    Nemo: Ive done the mix and the clear coat, which clear coating does come off. it doesnt bond 100% to the tail after paint and such. So I'm finding after a few swims it turns white and comes off...you can sort of see it turning white in my newest video when I'm swimming under a dock you can see the alex turning white my tail starts to look like the splash tail when shes in the tank and her tail gets faded and flaky (its around 2:30ish in my video I think)...it happened at the end of my swim after I had been in the springs for a few hours.
    Also if I'm in the tank for more than a few hours it does the same thing, the scales where my tail bends the most, hips knees etc will start to turn white and degrade a bit. since I made this tail I have CONSTANTLY been repairing it...now I do wear my tail a lot, probably more than most people who just want tails for fun, and when I just use it in the pool its not too bad but now I know I cant wear the tail if I'm going to be swimming for more than a couple hours.

    OrcaMatt I agree, this is why I haven't sold any tails I've made yet. I wanted to really wait and see how this tail holds up before I sold one to someone else. I really think if people make ALEX tails they should be for photoshoots/minimal swimming ya know? I would probably never wear this tail is I was swimming in an aquarium/sealife or at a gig where I was in the water for several hours...but I still think its a great beginners tail ya know?

    Also I'm really not a fan of the neoprene Ive been using. my orange tail takes the longest to dry out of all my tails (I have 8 realistic tails) and if I dont hang it up to dry in the sun right away after using it the whole tail starts turning white due to the neoprene staying so wet.

    So yeah flaws in my tutorial that Im finding can only show up after really using the tail a lot for a few months...but Im still looking for a better solution. I have ideas I just haven't made it a priority because of things happening in the community I don't agree with, But ill figure it out and keep everyone updated when I do.
    Capt Nemo


    Posts: 578
    06/08/11 21:08:30
    I figured clearcoating over paint wouldn't work well, as the paint wouldn't give a latex/latex bond.

    Sounds like you may not have worked in the first coat well enough. Water is seeping into the nylon underneath the latex. It would take a long time for it to dry. The inside of the tail should not be a problem being wet, unless you have a open cell type of neoprene used in athletic supports. That would also cause the problem. Then ALEX/spandex tails might not be a good idea!

    Are you using the silicone spray?

    My tests showed that it did protect the latex from whitening due to immersion.
    raina


    Posts: 862
    07/09/11 16:37:07
    I just wanna take a moment here, I just picked up Alex for the first time ever. The warning on this thing is INSANE and makes me REALLY worried about my own health as someone who is super sensitive. here's what the bottle says
    May irritate eyes. May irritate skin. Do not get in eyes, on skin, or clothing. Do not breathe fumes, Do not swallow. May cause eye, skin, nose, throat, and respiratory tract infection, dizziness, drowziness, and allergic skin reaction. Harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin. May cause kidney, cardiovascular, and liver effects. Has been shown to cause birth defects in laboratory animals. Use only in well ventilated areas. Wear safety glasses with side shields and rubber gloves. Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
    I found more at this link http://householdproducts....ds?tbl=brands&id=4008027

    okay, this scares the poop out of me because I recently had some tests at the doctor and my kidney and liver are under stress from an "unknown" source and I've previously never had any issues with them before. I;m quite nervous now if my tail has been done with Alex that it's being absorbed through my skin. I understand this often applies only to the raw materials before curing as most people see, but I am very susceptible to toxic chemicals given my variety of health concerns. Can someone confirm whether or not mertailor tails are made with this stuff? I promise you I'm not trying to be dramatic, or bash him, I've just never had the opportunity to sit down and look at Alex plus until I picked up 2 things of it today- does anyone know for sure if Mertailor's tails use Alex? You;re supposed to seriously wash clothing if it's come in contact with this stuff!

    This is all really freaking me out, I picked up some Alex to try and fix up my tail but now I think I can't get a newer tail fast enough! Im actually sincerely worried about the long term health risks. There are health risks for a normal person but even more if you're someone with a medical history like me.
    Last edited by Winged Mermaid; 08-29-2011 at 04:18 AM.

  4. #4
    malinghi


    Posts: 265
    07/10/11 14:17:48
    I don't want to be too dismissive, but I think ALEX Plus is safe since I was under the impression that most of the chemical hazards were associated with the produce before it has cured. To be safe though I recommend that you just print a copy of the official Materials Safety Data Sheet and show it to your doctor. He or she can probably tell you with greater certainty if there's any cause for alarm.

    Here is the MSDS. It has all the same information as the website you checked, since this is where that website got it's info. I think it's organized better than that page on the US Department of HHS website you looked at.
    http://www.dap.com/docs/msds/00010019002_english.pdf


    And Freckled Kisses, here is a link to a page with the MSDS's for all the products Dap makes. You can check and see if the silicone looks safer.
    http://www.dap.com/msds_index.aspx
    AniaR


    Posts: 862
    07/10/11 17:13:49
    it's not intended for use on people so I dont personally feel it's safe me to assume it's fine after curing. I get sick from off gasing from finalized products- I'm concerned about it being absorbed through my skin especially with my poor quality neoprene. When things have a toxic warning they are still usually much more toxic than they're legally obligated to say. So Im going to avoid it in the future, can't do much about it being on my tail now.
    AniaR


    Posts: 862
    07/22/11 17:13:47
    I wanted to add more to this that I read here: http://www.amconservation...technical bulletin.pdf

    "do not use for below waterline application"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    How long is "too long" when being submerged, and is this a cumulative "too long" or does drying it out in between submergences negate this?

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  6. #6
    Alex tails and fishtanks. I have an alex neoprene tail and i work at a renfaire, we are looking to getting a tank, is it safe to swim in an alex tail for acouple hours in a confined tank? It is ok for a pool but a tank is much smaller. I dont want to poison myself or the other mermaid.

  7. #7
    i am by no means an expert, but i think stephanie from fish butts has said that once it has cured completely, it is no longer dangerous. but i dont know for sure.

  8. #8
    The fact is that we can't prove one way or another if it's actually safe. There have been no tests on this stuff with health when it comes to mermaid tails. All we know is what the MSDS tells us, and it has some pretty bad things to say. It's a controversial material. I personally believe we need to get away from tin cure all together.

    If it were me and I had to swim hours in a tank with the tails I'd take precautions and action after to make sure my body could handle it. The msds says it can effect the liver and kidneys, so I would take milk thistle before hand- this will protect your liver and also help it heal, for a few days before preferably- and dandelion after - which will help detox your liver. Be SURE to drink lots of water, and if you can do a detox bath the day after. If you have a detox bath with epsom salts it will really help your body out in a lot of ways after work like that anyhow! Just saying what I would do if it were me, but I'm also in herbalism training and use the tools I have to help my body. I would say that if you're ever in the tank for long enough that it starts to turn white and/or starts flaking off the tail that it's NOT safe anymore. Get out and let the tail dry, and it should return to normal.

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  9. #9
    I have a good extra scrap of the silicone tail that i cut off, how could i do a test at home?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Saphira View Post
    I have a good extra scrap of the silicone tail that i cut off, how could i do a test at home?
    You can't really :/ The effects that is has is internal- liver, kidneys, nervous system, respiratory (although I think that may be more of a fume thing), ect. So you'd need actual medical blood tests after you had been exposed (after a weekend of swimming in the tank for example). Raina actually had those effects as stated in the MSDS show up on her blood tests when she was using her ALEX tail. She worked her fins off so she could get a tail that was safe (platinum silicone) as I can imagine that was quite a scare!

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    I obviously didn't continue it here and made a post somewhere else, but in the first tail flip Shelly gave a great article as a bio-chemist researching alex plus and the effect it had. Also, my doctor at the time when I brought the stuff in confirmed that she believed it to be the cause of the stuff showing up on my blood tests and other tests on my kidney and liver. I think the main point she made was that once chemicals like this become exposed to the sun and start to degrade they can be absorbed into your skin. From then on in I ALWAYS wore tights with my mertailor alex plus tail as well as socks to give it an extra barrier for my skin. I always washed really well afterwards too and drank lots of water. I told that to Mimi when I gave it to her. Keep in mind my tail was made with neoprin not neoprene it was about as thing as cheese gauss

    I know merbellas used alex plus tails for a short period of time, Raven made a green one for meshpa I got to see in person. It didn't last long- and they have a filter in their tank.

  12. #12
    Bit late to the party, but I'm really glad this is back. This thread practically had a plot line. It was so cool.
    Serious Sirenetics

  13. #13
    Just read through all this information. Thank you for taking the time to post all of this. I've found it all very helpful but has made me a little nervous about using my tail lol. The tail I have is made with Alex Plus, and though I have only used it once, i'm a little nervous about going swimming in it now. Like in a pool and such.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Prince Calypso's Avatar
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    So what is a good alternative to use in place of Alex that is readily available at like a hardware store or something?
    Sorry if this question has already been answered, I just skimmed through the post didn't really read the entire thing.
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    I never give anything for free...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Euro Pod Mermaid Crystal Shimmer's Avatar
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    I wish I knew this before I bought my lousy tail from Merberry.
    This is very helpful, I'm now saving up for a merbella or finfolk tail. Selling practically everything I own to get the money ^_^

  16. #16
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    I am trying to figure out what and how to make a mermaid tale on a broke college kids budget, and because I am seeing all these problems with ALEX I was wondering if I could use a different kind of silicone Calk , ( like a waterproof kind )? I was just wondering why everyone is so set on using ALEX. Because there is waterproof, paintable silicone calk out there.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Chesapeake Pod Mermaid Sierra's Avatar
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    Question

    Um... i have a little question. you are sating that the alex plus is not safe on the skin. would the regular alex, easy water clean up latex be okay? here is a picture of the two boxes in their packaging to show the difference.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    no. caulking is never skin save as a rule. Their MSDS documents explains so. But Alex is particularly bad because it uncures in water.

  19. #19
    I named ALEX Plus specifically becuase i was the brand that was popular, but all of the latex caulkings are not skin safe- the warnings apply to all of them. Like I said in the warning at the top, this was only archived to preserve the technique so people could use it with slip casting or mask making latex.

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  20. #20
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    Hey Capt Nemo,
    You seem to know a lot about this material. I just made a tail using tutorials from this site. After everything was dried I went for my first test run this evening. And it was a total failure. The alex plus is pulling apart from my neoprene. I don't know what is causing that. But it is a mess. What should I do to fix it?

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