Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Two Heads Are Better Than One

two heads are better than one

This photo shows the finished metallic head next to the un-finished white head. It was a couple of days work to get the head to the metallic state. I'll outline the steps here.

The STL process leaves a groved surface in random patterns as a result of the building process. I consulted Scott Washington who won awards at the IPMS/USA 2005 nationals modelling competition. Scott reccomended filling the gaps with Squadron white putty mixed 1:1 with Testors liquid glue. This is a pretty toxic smelling brew so be warned. The glue thins the putty to make it more spreadable. The pitfalls to avoid in using this on an STL model is to make sure you cover all the gaps. Since the entire surface is textured, it's easy to miss a spot. I put the putty on with a brush wich leaves brush strokes, creating a texture of it's own. I will try using a popsicle type mixing stick to apply the putty in the future to see if that works any better.

This putty dries pretty quickly. I began sanding after about 3 hours using successively finer grits of paper. 150, 220, 320, 600. This is the step when you find the spots you've missed. Stop here and fix these spots, then re-sand. The paint won't fill the gaps.

I sprayed the metallic paint on avoiding drips and runs. The next day when that was dry, I gave it a coat of Future Floor Polish. This makes the metallic finish have a slightly lighter color and smooth's the surface like glass, increasing reflectivity.

Notice the logos on the sides. These are custom decals made with Testors custom decal kit. The kit contains special paper, a spray fixative, and software. I wasn't able to get the software to even load, so I used photoshop to compose and print. The decal material is transparent. This fact slipped my mind and I was suprised to see that white areas on the logos were now silver when I applied them. This makes a cool effect though on the large red background area of the IronCAD logo, as the red is translucent and the silver highlight shows through. Another thing to be aware of is that the decal material is flexible. This is a big advantage to covering curved surfaces without wrinkles. But beware of sliding the decal around as the water dries. I pulled on a corner and stretched the decal material, slightly distorting the image. Be sure the decal is where you want it before drying away the water with a towel.

After the decals were dry I added another coat of Future floor polish.

I'm dissatisfied with the silver paint and am looking for a high quality replacement.

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