The toy export industry in Japan played a leading role in the recovery of Japan after the war. In particular, as advances in plastics and vinyl technology progressed, the toy industry saw exceptional growth.
However, as toy production gradually shifted to other countries in the region to reduce costs, most toy manufacturing facilities in Japan went bankrupt and only a handful of them are still in operation today.
Smart Doll is heavily influenced by Japanese culture and as such we feel that it’s important to keep production in Japan. We are fortunate to be able to work with some of the facilities who still cast vinyl the same way they have been doing since the 60’s through a process known as Slush Casting.
Here is a super mega simplified explanation of slush vinyl casting in 10 steps - there is actually much (much) more involved especially when working with different skin tones as containers, mesh filters etc need to segregated from each other - I plan to do an in-depth write up on the Smart Doll website.
1. Prepare liquid vinyl.
2. Put mold in deaerator for few mins to remove air bubbles. This device sucks out all the oxygen from inside.
3. Put mold in centrifugal separator to remove more air bubbles.
4. Spin mold for 30 secs to 1 min. Even after stage 2 and 3 there may be some air bubbles left which will remain in the cast - this is up to Mother Nature.
5. Heat mold in oil bath which is heated up to 180 celcius.
6. Return excess vinyl back to storage can. Excess vinyl is used for the next cast.
7. Cure mold in main tub to solidify walls of the vinyl cast.
8. Cool mold in cooling tub.
9. Pull vinyl cast from mold. At this point, birth marks may appear on the vinyl parts - some could be dust in the air or some of the actual mold breaking away from the inside - this is again up to Mother Nature. Also, some stretch marks may appear too.
10. QC vinyl cast. If blemishes are beyond the point of what we consider wabi-sabi, we reject the part which ends up in the outlet. If good to go then repeat for each and every body part x the amount of bodies we need to produce.
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