The Insta-Mold Process

Techniques in Making Professional Insta-Mold Ear Molds and Hearing Protection

The following step-by-step instructions will show how easy it is to make Insta-Mold "On-The-Spot" ear plugs for water and noise protection, as well as ear impressions for laboratory specialty molds.

Read the following instructions completely, carefully, and be cautious when fitting Insta-Mold ear protectors. Usually a little practice is needed with the initial first 2-5 molds, but once the procedure is learned, the results are truly outstanding.

Well-planned procedures and compliance with our instructions are also important to achieve desired results and will give you the confidence your clients look for in a professional product. Make a few practice molds and finish them to the best of your ability. Usually the difference between a well fitted, attractive mold and an ill fitted mold is just a small matter easily corrected when the faults are recognized. Insta-Mold ear molds and hearing protection earplugs will only be as good as your impression techniques. So it is extremely important that the rules outlined below are followed carefully.

(Precautionary Note: If a client has any history of recent surgery or any other ear problems, medical clearance must be obtained before making earplugs)

1. Examine Client's Ear
Use otoscope or video otoscope to examine client's ear canal. If there are any indications of excessive (dried) earwax, reports of surgery to the ear, or any other contradictions, have client seek a medical source or physician's care products for clearance before proceeding. If ear has minimal earwax, proceed in gently cleaning with dry cotton swab.
2. Swab Outer Ear
When client is free from problems, swab outer ear with Hand Lotion provided in Starter Kit. Place a few drops of lotion on a cotton swabÉ do not saturate. This step lubricates the ear canal and cleans it from any debris which might be left on the finished product. DO NOT STICK SWAB BEYOND FIRST BEND IN EAR CANAL. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE END OF COTTON SWAB WHILE IN USE. REMOVE EXCESS OIL WITH CLEAN SWAB. If there is excessive hair in canal, use extra oil.

3. Insertion of Otoblock
Insta-Mold strongly recommends the use of an "appropriately size" otoblock in the Insta-Mold Process. The foam block protects the eardrum and helps spread the Insta-Mold evenly in the ear canal for a tighter seal. Insert the otoblock just past the first bend of the ear canal, or to appropriate spot where good length will be achieved if ear canal is straight. This will permit the ear mold to have enough canal length for adequate sealing, and if you need to cut off a portion of the ear canal during final processing, there is still enough remaining for a good fit.

4. Measuring and Mixing Insta-Mold Instant Silicones
Since Insta-Mold Instant Silicones are temperature dependent, keep in mind that working in hotter climates will inherently increase the curing rate. Colder climates will have the opposite effect. If you need a quicker cure time, add additional Hardener Paste drops to the "Original" material. For the "Featherweight" material, warm the mixture in your hands by creating friction by rubbing your hands together.

Insta-Mold II "Original"

A. Measuring Putty
Your initial order of Insta-Mold II "Original" silicone includes a set of spoons. This set includes one 1/2 teaspoon and one 1 teaspoon.

Lightly lubricate fingertips with Hand Lotion. Rub lotion onto fingertips and do not over lubricate. Using only oily fingertips, lubricate bowl of measuring spoon. Scoop one level teaspoon of material from Insta-Mold II putty jar. Smooth out putty with finger to level spoonful before removal from spoon. If ear is a bit larger, take additional material

B. Add Hardener Paste
Remove Insta-Mold II mix from measuring spoon and flatten on finger tips. Remove Hardener Paste from zip-lock bag and unscrew cap and remove pin. Place a slight crater in center of flattened mix. Apply proper number of Hardener Paste drops on material. Usually 3 drops for _ teaspoon, 6 drops for 1 teaspoon. (Replace cap and pin back onto Hardener Paste bottle as soon as possible, unless in continuous use. Do not screw cap down too tightly after reinserting pin. Over tightening will cause pin to be pushed down into hole of bottle). Place Hardener Paste back into zip-lock bag to seal it from air and to add longer life.

C. Mixing
Begin by folding silicone putty material in half and then start kneeding Hardener Paste into putty mix by folding and stretching until Hardener Paste is thoroughly mixed. This process will usually take approximately 20-30 seconds.

Insta-Mold Floatable "Featherweight"

A. Measuring
With every order of Insta-Mold Featherweight Instant Silicones, you will receive two sets of measuring spoons. Each set consists of a _ teaspoon and a _ teaspoon measurement sizes for use with appropriately sized ears. One set is marked "A" and one set will be marked "B". Always use the appropriate spoon with the corresponding jar as contaminating Part A with Part B will result in a chemical reaction to occur and the material to cure on you in the jar.

(It is also extremely important to keep the Featherweight batch numbers together. Whenever Featherweight silicones are ordered, you will always receive matching batch numbers. We cannot guarantee results unless you follow this guideline).

Lightly lubricate fingertips with Hand Lotion. Rub lotion onto fingertips and do not over lubricate. Using only oily fingertips, lubricate both bowls of measuring spoons. Fill spoon "A" with appropriate amount of Featherweight material from jar "A," and level off if necessary. To avoid cross contamination, wipe excess silicone off of hand before measuring Part "B." Using the same sized spoon, measure Part "B." Remove Part "A" and Part "B" from respectful spoons and place into palm of hand. (Reminder: Part "A" will always be the white material. Part "B" will be your color choice).

B. Mixing Material Together
Combine the equal amounts together in your hand and stretch and kneed the material together until they make a uniform color and texture. This process will usually take approximately 20-30 seconds.

5. Syringing into Ear
(Before continuing, it is imperative to carefully place an appropriately sized otoblock into the ear canal to confine the flow of silicone material. If you have not done this step, stop now and return to Step 3 before proceeding)

While any type of silicone syringe is acceptable, Insta-MoldWest recommends its deluxe syringe. This syringe allows for easier injecting and offers less waste to the dispenser.

Place mixed silicone material into cup and barrel of deluxe syringe. Make sure the collar of the plunger is at the tip of the plunger and proceed to place collar on top of silicone material. Press the collar all the way into the cup of the syringe which will push the silicone material into barrel of syringe. Depress plunger into the barrel pushing material to tip of syringe.

Place the tip of the syringe in the ear canal up against the otoblock. Inject the silicone material with steady pressure and slowly withdraw the syringe as the ear canal fills. (Note: Do not withdraw syringe to quickly as this will result in gaps and error to form in ear canal. Also important is to not depress plunger quickly as this will result in either trapping air pressure in between the silicone material and eardrum causing an uncomfortable feeling for your client, or will result in the silicone material to slip past the otoblock and possibly cause harm to the client).

Making sure to keep the tip of the syringe buried in the material, the remaining material is used to fill the helix and concha (bowl of the ear). Do not "decorate a cake" by walking the syringe from the ear canal to the helix and back down to the concha. This will result in uneven distribution and make gaps and cracks to form in material or ear mold.

For professional looking ear molds, it is important to keep the mold flush or even to the outer bowl of the ear. This will also make for easier modifying and finishing later on in the final stages.

6. Smoothing Out the Face
While the silicone is still soft, the outer face of the ear mold can be smoothed out with your finger to remove any creases and shaped appropriately for a professional look. To improve the smoothing process, place a drop of Hand Lotion on your fingertip and smooth with gentle pressure. This step will remove any fingerprints you might have left behind during shaping.

Be sure to minimize Hand Lotion use if you are going to insert Identi-Tabs or Handles.

7. Placement of Identi-Tabs
To better identify the left ear from the right, Insta-Mold has developed a blue, circular disk, which appears on the outside of the left ear mold. These markers are called Identi-Tabs and their use permits easier identification of each hearing protector in addition to improving the ability to police their use, especially in industrial settings.

Identi-Tabs are easy to use. After you have smoothed out your ear mold, depress the blue Identi-Tab in the outer surface of the left earplug before it starts to cure. Be certain the outside surface of the Identi-Tab is level or below the outside surface of the ear mold. You may smooth the outside surface again as in Step 6.

8. Placement of Handles
Handles are a convenient way to identify and use as options in your ear molding techniques.

Using a blue handle for the left ear and a red handle for the red ear, proceed by inserting the top of the "T" shaped handle into the uncured silicone material. Work the extra material around the ends so that the wedge part is the only thing exposed. (For a secure handle, bury into silicone material up to hole).

9. Removing the Ear Mold, Trimming and Shaping
For best results, leave silicone material in ear for as long as possible. This will allow for increased physical properties, less chance of breakage and greater memory. On average, after seven to ten minutes the mold can be removed from the ear.

Break the seal in the helix by pulling back on the top of the ear and grab the top of the mold. Remove by rotating the top of the mold towards the nose slowly until free from the ear canal. Holding onto the otoblock string while removing is also encouraged, as it will help release the mold from the ear canal.

Once the ear mold is removed, and is fully cured, pull the otoblock off of the end and discard. If otoblock strings are incorporated into mold, cut otoblock off with razor blade and pull strings from face. They should release themselves fairly easily. (Note: If the ear molds are removed to soon and seem soft, place them on a foam sponge and let them stand to cure for a few more minutes before removing otoblocks from the ear canal ends)

If ear canal has not been measured and cut with razor blade, cut flat. Remember that length is important for greater fit, so do not cut the ear canal too short or the ear mold will not function to the best of its abilities.

Proceed to trim or buff the ear canal with cuticle scissors or Dremel tool. If the outer surface needs attention at this time, trim and buff now. (Remember, Insta-Mold does not recommend trying to smooth out any imperfections that come in contact with the inside of the ear. This would eliminate one of the greatest advantages of the Insta-Mold ProcessÉ the Tissue-to-Tissue Fit!!!)

Clean off any excess earwax which may have adhered to the ear mold during curing with a cotton swab.

If you are in a rapid turn around setting, now is a good time to instruct the client on inserting and removing his/her ear molds and to review the use and care instructions.

10. Applying the Insta-Seal Plus Silicone Koter
Insta-Seal Plus is the perfect finishing step for your ear molds. Not only does the Insta-Seal Plus give your molds a smooth, professional, and shiny look, it also helps keep them clean, last longer and can be used to repair cracks or separations. In addition, Insta-Seal Plus can be used to tighten or retighten your molds for more protection against water, noise, and acoustic feedback.

Before applying Insta-Seal Plus, clean off excess body oils, earwax and Hand Lotion with cotton swab. Once cleaned of obstructions, insert toothpick into ear mold. Best spots for handled plugs is next to the hand. Best spot for flat ear molds is underside of bottom of mold (see picture).

Remove cap to Insta-Seal Plus bottle and pour _ into the plastic dipping cup provided in your Starter Kit. Proceed to briefly dip the entire ear mold into the dipping cup and rotate to cover the entire surface of the mold. When this is accomplished, remove the ear mold from the dipping cup and let the excess silicone liquid drain back into cup before placing ear mold into foam sponge for drying. Use cotton swab to catch excess drips once placed in foam sponge.

Pour excess Insta-Seal Plus back into bottle and screw cap back into place. Since Insta-Seal Plus reacts with air contact, it is important to watch how many times you are dipping. Too many steps like this will encourage the Koter to gel up. Another method to apply the Insta-Seal Plus Koter is to "paint" it on by using a cotton swab. This reduces the contact with the air and possibly contamination by pouring the excess back into the bottle. This procedure also takes longer and can leave the mold with uneven drying times.

(Note: Using Insta-Seal Plus with Featherweight Floatable Silicone is strongly recommended after "full cure" has taken place. If applied before "full cure" is established, Insta-Seal Plus has a greater chance of peeling off)

Repairing Cracks and Separations
Cracks, separations and even cuts can be easily repaired with Insta-Seal Plus. First, apply the koter liberally with a cotton swab to the center of the split. Wait for 30 seconds and then press the two sides of the split together. Continue to hold in this position for approximately two minutes to create a seal which will "bond" the split together. Then apply a coating of Insta-Seal Plus over the entire mold. The repair will be welded securely in several hours. It is important not to test or tamper with the repair during this curing period.

Note: Insta-Seal Plus can be used to repair almost any type of damage which can occur to an ear mold, and can also be used to build-up loose fitting molds. Therefore, you will be able to repair, instead of replace, any Insta-Mold Instant Silicone hearing protector and realize a savings in time money and client satisfaction.

11. Drying
Stick toothpick with coated mold into corkboard, cardboard or foam sponge to let dry for at least five minutes. Drying times will be enhanced with hotter temperatures and calm breezes. Your Insta-Mold hearing protector will fully cure in 24 hours. Instruct your clients to let the Insta-Seal Plus Koter dissipate for at least 3-4 hours before trying them on.

12. Inserting Cords into the Handles
Cords are handy for the clients who want to drap their plugs over their shoulders or hang them in their lockers when not in use. To insert a cord, simply double loop the tip of the cord through the hole in the Handle. This allows for easy removal when cleaning or installing a new cord.

13. Finish
You have now finished making an Insta-Mold hearing protector. Remind the client that he cannot wear the molds for at least another 3-4 hours as the Insta-Seal Koter will need this time to dissipate. If you give the client an E.A.R., Inc./Insta-Mold pouch, remind them how to find additional products and hearing protection devices which you can provide him/her at a later date if desired.

14. Advanced Techniques - Coming Soon

For advanced ear molding techniques like making swirls, boring holes, insertion of snap rings and preformed tubing, as well as many more fun and interesting things you can do with Insta-Mold Instant Silicones, please click here.



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