See-Through Chrome?

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Neon Sentry, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    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?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Any hints or recommendations would be uber :)
     
  2. RedTwoX

    RedTwoX Sr Member

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    I think window tinting film would be a much better option than spray paint.
     
  3. Great_Bizarro

    Great_Bizarro Sr Member

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    Try the reflective mylar they put on windows. I don' think it would do a compound curve though.
     
  4. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    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?
     
  5. jordankarr

    jordankarr Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    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?
     
  7. jordankarr

    jordankarr Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. Macklin

    Macklin Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    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
     
  10. thorssoli

    thorssoli Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    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.
     
  11. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    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
     
    bigkcheney likes this.
  12. hansicle

    hansicle Sr Member

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    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.
     
  13. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    I know it's probably out of my budget, but what would that cost to do a run of faceplates?
     
  14. CaptCBoard

    CaptCBoard Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  15. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Sr Member

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    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
     
  16. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    yep, these guys:

    [​IMG]

    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
     
  17. fettster

    fettster Sr Member

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    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
     
  18. BatDemon

    BatDemon Active Member

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    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.
     
  19. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    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 :)
     
  20. Phayze

    Phayze Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  21. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    Hijack as you please, multiple threads just muddies up the forums

    It's just occuring to me now all of the things that could be done with a translucent chrome. Why has this not come up more often?

    Maybe I can convince my 6'4" friend to be Destro this Halloween. This chroming stuff'll come in handy then as well :D
     
  22. thorssoli

    thorssoli Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm still thinking you'd be best off making that particular visor in two pieces, one for looking through and one for details.

    The idea of painting the inside of the face shield would work out pretty well.

    If you're willing to experiment a little bit, get a cheap protective face mask from a hardware store and some chrome spraypaint. Then start dusting a little bit of chrome paint on the inside. Make the lightest coat you can and see if you can still see through it when it dries. Continue adding a little bit more chrome until the outside looks like you want it to and stop before you can't see through it anymore.

    Vacuum metalizing something like this is going to be just about the most expensive option available. If that's not a problem, go for it.

    If you are determined to sculpt your own faceplate, what do you plan to make it out of?
     
  23. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    I already tried dusting the chrome spray... the see through bits were splotchy and looked really bad. The moment the finish looked decent it was too thick to see through. I don't know if it's just the brand, but it doesn't mist well

    I'm going to try the window tinting next on some plastic, with the raised details being painted and added seperately. If I can actually get out of the house I'm actually going to try that later today

    I would do my own faceplate sculpt, but I don't know if I'd want to deal with the trials of casting with a transparent material, so I'll probably end up with just the jaw ribbing being the only sculpted piece on the mirrored areas

    If this ends up going well, would there be any interest in a few of these, to help me recoup costs for the rest of the costume?
     
  24. Phayze

    Phayze Well-Known Member

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    I'm just quoting my question from earlier because I thought it might have been missed, being the last comment on the previous page and all. :)

    Any advice on this? I'm leaning toward cutting out the shapes first, because I'd be afraid of damaging the tint if I did it the other way.
     
  25. etheren

    etheren Well-Known Member

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    Have you thought of using heat-resistant face shielding?

    [​IMG]

    It might not be the exact shape you want, but I would imagine that you could at least trim it down.

    - Jason
     
  26. gonk27

    gonk27 Sr Member

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    If you have vac forming experience this may be another option..


    There's a very cool plastic, I think it's a form of ABS (not sure) that comes already manufactured with a chrome finish; silver on one side gold on the other.

    Maybe you could make a model of your visor then cast it in something solid such as resin or plaster to make your vac-form mould and vac over it with this plastic (chrome finish on the outside). It's quite easy to see through if you hold it up to your face and shield the light away from your eyes.

    I always thought LFL could have made 3PO faces this way to give Anthony Daniels more visibility but the finish is not as nice as vac-plating.


    By the way, some boxes of chocolates use this plastic for the 'compartments' the chocolates inside sit in.


    Jeremy
     
  27. Neon Sentry

    Neon Sentry Sr Member

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    I have considered vac-molding with something similar, but I think I have an idea as to how to build the piece now. I went out and grabbed some stuff for this, but I've yet to purchase the mirrored tint... that's on my list for today

    And as far as the heat shield is concerned, it's the same problem I've encountered when thinking about the full face motorcycle lens'... they're too wide, and wouldn't be able to dip into the dome without having to make the dome extra big (think more of Dark Helmet :D)
     

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