See-Through Chrome?

Neon Sentry

Sr Member
I've been planning on doing a Valor Vs. Venom-style Cobra Commander suit for a while, but the prospects of being trapped inside a helmet, blind to the world doesn't really appeal to me. But cutting holes in the faceplate appeals to me even less :D

I know that it's out there (chromed motorcycle visors, anyone?) but I'd like to be able to apply this to my own clear casting, as it has additional details, and is not just a plain front (stupid ribbing)

Would Testors Chrome spray enamel give the right appearance? And would a thinner coat near the eyes lend it some translucency, where the shadow from the dome would help hide it?





Any hints or recommendations would be uber :)
 

Neon Sentry

Sr Member
Just trying to eliminate everything as soon as possible, starting with the stuff I've got readily available. I sprayed some of the chrome enamel on a piece of plastic in varying coats... the thinnest were blotchy and see-through from both sides, and the thickest were almost completely opaque. No middle ground whatsoever

I've thought about trimming down a full-face chromed motorcycle lens, then adding on the details seperately, but then the finish/glossiness of the two surfaces wouldn't match :confused

If Mylar can't handle such curves, then what other options may be available? I've considered having an opaque faceplate with a tinted clear dome brow, but I think it would get annoying having people staring at my nose like it were my eyes :unsure

Any other advice?
 

jordankarr

Well-Known Member
Just use Chrome window tinting found at most automotive stores.

Auto Zone

Just go to the window tint section under the exterior setting, and find tint, then silver tint.

Its farly easy to apply and one roll will probably cover a good number of those helmet, and its completely transparent from the inside.
 

Neon Sentry

Sr Member
I had some Mylar handy (Geez, I never realized how much stuff I buy "just in case") and tried stretching it over a curved surface... didn't work too well, as you said, Bizarro

jordankarr, would it be able to do a curved surface? My concern is having it wrinkle up on the sides

Although, looking at the pics, if I were to create the main plate and all of the ribs as seperate pieces, I could tint them individually to avoid all that wrinkling, then attach them together. While there would be a visible separation, the finish would be consistant across the entire surface

What would be the best material to cast the faceplates out of if I were to tint them? I want to the stuff to actually adhere, and not have to worry about it bubbling up when it'd encounter temperature changes

... or am I looking too far ahead?
 

jordankarr

Well-Known Member
Mylar is not that flexable. Window tinting should be able to take a curve just go slowly with it and apply it the way the manufacturer says to apply it. Apply a larget section of it then nessary then trim to size also if your really worried about the curve, then cut very thin "V" Shaped wedges out of the tinting. when it overlaps the line should not be too visable.

Only other options to find a big enough motorcycle mirrored faceplate to do the job. Try this Ebay Seller : moto-directusa

Good prices and fast shipping, will not link any live auctions but most of them are buy it now for their helmet lens and they are not that pricy.

but these are my suggestions, you decide what would work best for you. Spend 14.99 on a roll of tinting, and get enough for trial and error, or spend 13.99 on a helmet lens and if you make a mistake on cutting, your out 14 bucks.

just remember we are here to help, but in the end its going to be your call on what you do.
 

Macklin

Well-Known Member
Go with the window tinting.

Hose it down with Windex and flatten it out with a credit card. Take it nice and slow to work out all the air bubbles.
 

Neon Sentry

Sr Member
I'd prefer to go with the tinting to as to have that extra detail, but if that doesn't work, it's good to have a backup

Thanks guys, seriously, you've been a big help so far
 

thorssoli

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have been doing a lot of silly projects that involve simulated chrome finishes lately. I have two ideas.

First, if you can make the visor in two pieces, that would be best. Make one piece out of a clear facemask (you can get these at any hardware stor) as a base with a simple curve. Cover this with mirrored window tint. Make ridges and whatnot be the second part. You could have it laser cut out of polished aluminum at emachineshop.com. It may cost a bit, but when you get it you can just bend it to match the rest of the visor, bond it to the surface, and you're home free.

If you already have some clear casting to use for the facepiece, you can do the finish in two parts. Mirror tint the part that you'll be looking through and paint the rest. Looking at your reference pictures, the inside corners should be deep enough to hide the ends of the window tint so there won't be an obvious seam. For the paint, you'll want to experiment to find a good match for your window tinting. The cheapest thing I've found yet is Krylon's Original Chrome which I think you can still get at Wal Mart or Home Depot. On the pricier side is going to be Model Master's Metalizer, Alclad II, or Rub n' Buff. These three are tougher to find, but a good hobby or craft store should be able to take care of you. If money is no object, I've gotten amazing results from Alsa's Mirrachrome. You have to order it through there website alsacorp.com, but the good news is it shouldn't take hardly any to paint the faceplate.

If you don't already have the faceplate cast, I'd discourage you from trying it. It's painfully difficult to cast something optically clear and it will be harder to mirror the outside when you're done.

Just my $.02.
 

Neon Sentry

Sr Member
It hadn't occured to me to use clear plastic for the base with added details... I just kept thinking about the mirrored visors, and trying to match the ridges to it

Would a clearcoat to seal in the paint dull the tint or obscure my vision?

Thanks for the additional info
 

hansicle

Sr Member
I make eyeglasses for a living, what you want is a mirror coating, much like those on sunglasses. They give the reflective properties of a mirror, but you can see through it. The problem is that this method requires that you place the item in a vaccume chamber, and evaporate metal targts,that then create a thin metal film on the plastic.
 

CaptCBoard

Well-Known Member
I don't know the price for the process, though it is expensive, but vaccum metalizing is the only way to get the results you are after. You have to specify you want a 50% or less coating so you can see through. This is essentially what one-way glass is (two-way mirror). Whichever side has the brightest light on it will be the reflective side, so with your head inside the helmet, you will be able to see out and those on the outside will not be able to see in. We built an entire set this way for "Flight of the Navigator", so things could be seen inside what normally appeared to be a mirrored surface-- just turn the lights on so the 'inside' is brighter than the outside.

Scott
 

Sidewinder

Sr Member
Could you make the faceplate, spray it chrome (maybe on the inside for better effect) and then drill lots of tiny holes where your eyes are to see out. Hasn't this been done before with some other costume in a film?

SAS
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Originally posted by Sidewinder@Feb 15 2006, 02:10 AM
Hasn't this been done before with some other costume in a film?
yep, these guys:



What about stretching the chrome tint over the faceplate and using a heat gun to soften it, thus allowing it to adhere to the curved surface without having to cut it or remove air pockets and wrinkles?

Just thinking outside the box... :p

- Gabe
 

fettster

Sr Member
i have a suggestion.

I have done this and it worked really well.

Do a search for SPAZ-STIKS ( i think thats how its spelt)

they make paint to radio controlled cars, they do a product called mirror chrome.

This stuff is amazing, you paint it on the inside of the clear polycarbonate car body and then paint a black base coat over it.

If you paint the mirror chome on the inside of your visor but dont paint the black base coat over it, it will be transparent enough to see through and have the chrome look your after and you wont have to worry about you scratching the surface is its on the inside.

hope that helps
 

BatDemon

Active Member
Would the spray on mirror coatings that they sell in craft shops like Michael's or Hobby Lobby work? or is that opaque? I've never used it, but know that real mirrors need an opaque black backing to work or they're slightly transparent. Thou can find the spray over in the glass section of these stores.
 

Neon Sentry

Sr Member
I've all too often seen the results of drilling holes. If I actually want to have any type of real vision in the thing, it'd end up looking like a chromed communicator antenna grid :)

I just did a search of the Spaz-Stiks, and it's stating that with even multiple coats of clear coat on the thing, it scratches easily. Even if I did paint over the non see-through sections and clear coat it, my face'll be right up against the thing (with glasses to boot) so I'd be seriously worried about scratching, unless someone can chime in about it's durability

I've gotten some advice on window tinting that I'm gonna try next, but I'm still quite open to suggestions, folks :)
 

Phayze

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Macklin@Feb 14 2006, 11:38 PM
Go with the window tinting.

Hose it down with Windex and flatten it out with a credit card.  Take it nice and slow to work out all the air bubbles.
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Not really trying to thread-jack, but with regard to this automotive window-tinting I was wondering about how one would best apply it to a pair of flat lenses (probably plexi-glass) - would it be better to apply the tinting to the sheet of plexi and then cut out the lenses, or should I cut the lenses, apply a slightly over-sized piece of tinting and then trim the excess?

Also, has anyone ever seen white window tinting? Autozone didn't have it on their site, so I'm doubtful, but it would look pretty sweet for what I'm planning.

lots of cool stuff in this thread. Thanks.
 
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