Here is the next steps I’m taking after printing the pieces to make another Iron-Man helmet.
I took my time to take the supports off the printed pieces, keeping the supports handy for the next step. I used some different types of clamps to hold adjacent pieces in place. I mostly used a couple spring clamps, you know the ones that seem useless when you want something really cinched in tight?… Haha. Since it doesn’t take a whole lot of pressure just a spring clamp is super helpful and a lot quicker than a C-Clamp. With a couple pieces held together I used painters tape to hold everything in place and really get a feel for how everything was going to attach to each other. The first time that I made the Iron-Man helmet I didn’t get all of the pieces taped together before I started plastic welding and a couple of the pieces wound up crooked and had big gaps that I had to try and fill. This time taping everything together up front helped a ton. Here are some pictures of this step:
The first time I did the helmet I printed everything in PLA and I did a very rushed and terrible job with XTC-3D. This time I wanted to print everything in ABS and use a weird technique for joining the pieces. For PLA I used a soldering iron to melt spare filament (old supports) to each adjacent piece. It took forever and was not clean. I’ve heard about and seen “ABS Goo” for sale before but since it’s really just ABS and acetone I thought to make my own. I didn’t take a whole lot of consideration into proportions I just added a couple ounces of acetone and dumped some ABS supports into an old glass jar. I shook it pretty well, and it mixed okay, but it really settled down into a liquid after a week or so. Here’s my batch (picture is after settled for a week):
After a couple minutes it was usable but it was still so thick and goopy that it couldn’t be used for all things. What it was good for though was the first step of gluing the pieces to each other. With the tape fairly firmly in place, I flipped the helmet upside down and used a paintbrush to glop some of the goo onto the a seam. I then spread it out accordingly. (A word of caution on this step though; the goo is very pungent. I wore a mask and had a fan pushing the fumes from my face and out of the garage.) Since the seam is on the inside I really didn’t take care to do a really clean job, I just made sure to put a bunch of goo so I can have a good firm bond between the pieces. It actually turned out really strong. Here’s a pic of a seam:
It’s a little hard to tell but the view is through the bottom of the helmet with the helmet facing left. The seam to the left of the tap is the “HelmetTop” and the “FacePlateTop”. This one in particular I put a nice thick seam because I intentionally left the gaps that you can see in the middle of the image. I left the gap so it could still resemble the multiple pieces that it is in the movie.
It took a while but I got everything glued up. I did these steps in a weekend and didn’t mess with it for the following week. When I came back to it, the ABS Goo was much more liquidy which makes it more convenient for the next step. I used the ABS Goo kind of like you would use XTC-3D, or paint. I did this to take away the layer lines. It works really well, but unfortunately does not remove me from my dreaded next step… sanding and then more sanding and then guess what… more sanding.
I made my best attempt at patience and sat down in my crazy hot garage for a while and I’m still not at all close to starting to paint. Here are the pictures after the first afternoon of sanding:
(Click the images for the full size view.)
I had initially started with a medium grit sanding block, but I wasn’t getting the kind of removal that I needed so I went backwards to a sheet of 100 grit sandpaper and started again. With the 100 I was making some dust!! Again, dust mask and fan is critical here. I sanded for a couple of hours this afternoon, but it was too dang hot for me to keep going. So I gave up for the day. Up til now I’ve been sanding by hand, but I might get out the multitool and the sandpaper attachments. I’m going to really try and see if I can get it super smooth before I start painting. Hopefully my patience will hold up… Wish me luck.
More to come.