Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Visor Hate

So most of this memorial day weekend was spent on parts of the Tali Costume. There were many ups and downs...but mostly downs.

So I had two options I could see for the visor:

1) Use a safety mask and tint it.
2) Somehow find a way to vacuum form.
 this vs this

To be honest, the safety mask, while the more economical option does not quite give me the same shape as the more accurate vacuum form does. Still, as someone determined to stay on a budget I was going the route of tint paint and a well formed safety mask.

This weekend I tried. First I tried rounding out the flat mask so it would hold a curve more naturally. That is to say, I did not want/trust the force of foam to be able to hold the flat plastic in the correct shape. So I used a heat gun to try and get it to curve. This method worked for awhile, until I inevitably became impatient and applied too much pressure and heat on one side causing it to turn to a near right angle.

Well, it wasn't flat anymore and I could trust it to keep this shape and not spring out of the helmet. It was time for tint. I used Tamiya Color for Polycarbonate models. It worked like a charm...except I put on too many layers. Now I can't really see out of the mask. This makes the visor unusable at this point.

The failure of the visor made me turn into an aggressive researcher. While working on the visor, I also played with PETG plastic...aka empty 2 liter soda bottle. I managed to get a semi-mask shape out of it which lead me to think...yeah...maybe I CAN vacuum form cheaply...somehow. (btw, heat gun doesn't work as a good heat source for plastic.) It also took the tint better. ;)

SO now it looks like I wanted to do the more expensive vacuum forming technique, but I still want to be economical about it. I did some research in DIY vacuum forming, but all options were not feasible with my limited space and supplies. So more experiments will take place.

Currently, I'm jerry-rigging an aluminum turkey pan to be a vacuum forming surface. I'll test with a soda bottle.
Instead of carving the positive form, I'm using a Styrofoam head wrapped in duct tape with smooth mirror mask over it. I'm using another empty soda bottle to test with.

Results will be posted and probably lamented.

On the plus side I was able to finish one foot and the jumpsuit pattern. :) I also made a pepkura version of the visor for reference/sizing when I actually do buckle down and make the helmet.  I'm still debating whether I should wait until I finish the visor and build around that or put the visor in after. Probably could make the mouth pieces while I wait for visor stuff.

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