Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Opacity Problem Is Solved

A very exciting day for me over here at the Project Workbench. This morning, I am pleased to discover that I have found a solution for the opacity problems I was experiencing with my urethane!

Regular readers will know that I have searched high and low for a urethane that will cure VERY opaque, as that is what I want and need for my Superman Returns costume parts. I found a yellow pigment that works really well, but have struggled long and hard to find a good red.

Here's a sample that came out of the mold this morning

Granted, the color is off a bit, but that's not the point. The point is that it's REALLY DARN OPAQUE! And that is precisely what I was after. This is really geat news for me, as I can now move forward.

Here's the stuff I used. I put in a little bit of the white stuff, and it just makes it brick-wall opaque. Just like the yellow. Only without the yellow.

I'm very excited right now, and looking forward to moving ahead. This opens up all kinds of doors for me regarding different parts of the costume, and may also let me pursue a different direction with the cape.

SPEAKING OF THE CAPE, I'm still having trouble with it. Right now, I'm trying to develop a technique to attach the red fabric to the back side of the latex shell I have poured. I've tried using brushed on latex, and I've tried using brushed on urethane. None of those work as an adhesive. The next move is spray77, though I don't have high hopes for that. One thing that concerns me is fabric I am using. It is not the thickest stuff, and I think the final product will be. So I may hold out until I find something better.

In the mean time, I have been thinking about starting again with the cape, but this time making a rigid mold. This will allow me to be more flexible in the materials I use to pour it up. I'm no longer convinced that the originals were made of latex. Though an interview with the costume makers claims it is, there are some contradictory facts. I cannot say with utter certainty, but the cape I handled certainly didn't FEEL or move like latex, nor did it react like it. Hard to explain. It just didn't feel right. To make a urethane cape (which I feel confident now that I can do, seeing as how I've found a really opaque urethane mix!!) I will need a rigid mold, as the urethane just beads up when you pour it thin onto silicone. I will do some more testing to confirm this, and experiment with materials, but this has been my experience in the past.

So it occurred to me to make a rigid mold. The screen used cape was made using three sections of diamond pattern material. My guess is they picked up a roll of some industrial coating, cut three strips, lined them up, and then molded it. THe capes then came out of that. For the record, you can see the seams in the screen used cape for the three sections I'm talking about. I'm not just taking pot-shots in the dark on this one. Which means the trick is to find that rubber. I've had some luck lately using google, but need to do some more research. I'm not sure how to proceed. If I can find the EXACT same rubber that was used to make the capes for the movie, I think I will pursue a rigid mold. It will give me some more freedom, and eliminate some of the nagging issues I have with the current mold. It'll also be good in case the mold is somehow damaged, as it will be easy to recreate it if necessary.

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