Making Clear Windows

Got a question about techniques, materials or other aspects of physically building a model? This is the place to ask.

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modeler1964
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Making Clear Windows

Post by modeler1964 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:39 am

Made sticky, because it's a useful subject

Hey folks
I see a lot of people who use clear resins for filling the windows and portholes on star trek models. Is there a drawback in using clear thick CA for the same purpose? You know the process of drilling out the window, applying scotch tape to the outside of the part and then filling from the inside. Just wanted some info about this. Thanks

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Post by TREKKRIFFIC » Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:03 am

I've heard of others using it. Myself, I used it to fill in some spots in resin windows I'd casted that had some tiny pinholes. I just used some CA to fill them and any low spots. Looked fine after I wet sanded it. You could always experiment on some scrap plastic. There may be size limitations for one thing.
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Post by Scanam2006 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:50 pm

microCrystalclear will dry clearer and is less likely to fog. It also can be removed with water so it won't mar your finish

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Post by TER-OR » Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:13 pm

It's tricky, and the adhesive can cause a problem. Best to put a bit of tape or plastic over the adhesive, giving it a nice smooth surface.

CA can haze, if you try this make sure you use a fresh container.
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Post by BERT aka MODEL MAKER » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:32 am

try testors clear parts cement/window maker :)
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Post by Slave1 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 2:29 pm

BERT aka MODEL MAKER wrote:try testors clear parts cement/window maker :)
That's what I use :)

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Post by 2keyla » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:02 pm

I like to use silver reflective tape from the hardware store. It'll reflect light as if the window were lit from the inside. It's very thin stuff, so you won;t end up with any bulky tape effects.

KG

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Post by TER-OR » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:00 pm

http://www.modelingmadness.com/reviews/ ... ebeech.htm

I use envirotex light pretty frequently for larger-scale windows. I think I did a fair job describing that process in this article. If you have more questions, let me know.
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Glorfindel
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Post by Glorfindel » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:06 am

Will Elmer's glue make for good windows? I remember the glue yellowing over time (many years) and drying out. I'm guessing in time it would pop out eventually.

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Post by No_6 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:17 pm

I've used Elmer's glue for masking, but not for windows. It does yellow and it doesn't really stick well--it peels up easily, so sanding is out.

BTW, I've been using Devcon 5 minute epoxy, which dries very close to water-clear. It's a bit thick, so it can be tricky filling small windows. But it does wet sand well. Also, from what I understand, it will eventually yellow as it ages. I'm all right with that as it wouldn't be too noticeable with smaller windows.
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Post by irishtrek » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:40 pm

Does the hole for a window always have to be taped from the inside or can it be done from the outside?
If this question has already been asked on this thread my apoligies for not reading the entire thread.
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Post by TER-OR » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:27 pm

It can be done from the outside, but the tape adhesive might cause troubles. In that case, tape a bit of clear cellophane in the tape where the window will be, and adhere it in place.. I learned that the hard way.
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Post by Andrew Gorman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:03 pm

Elmer's glue makes great windows up to about 1/4 inch around. Swirl it into place, let dry until clear, and then fill the meniscus with a drop of clear enamel.

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Post by Glorfindel » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:53 pm

Filling the meniscus from the outside of the model?
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Post by Glorfindel » Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:31 pm

Is it normal for Testors clear parts cement/window maker to come out white from the bottle? Will this dry clear?
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Mr. Badwrench
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Post by Mr. Badwrench » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:14 am

You probably know this by now, but yes, it dries clear.
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Post by Andrew Gorman » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:07 am

Yes, fill it from the outside of the model with a drop of clear enamel after the white glue has dried. Looks glossier and glassier.

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Post by Interesting_Screen_Name » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:51 pm

I've been trying lately to use the testors window maker myself with horrible results.

While the Elmers white glue does yellow over time, has anyone tried the elmers gel? I just made some windows using it and so far it's worked beautifully. It spreads great with my putty knife and is drying now. The gel doesn't go anywhere except where I wanted it to go.

I'll toss up some pics of it tomorrow after it's dry and let you guys be the judge.

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Post by z1pkicker » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:15 pm

Testors Window Maker doesn't cut it for me either.
Though I'm going to go with using the kit supplied windows for the majority of the model, I'll be very interested to see the results of the Gel.

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Post by Interesting_Screen_Name » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:36 pm

Ok, here's a test I did with the Elmers gel.

http://i844.photobucket.com/albums/ab1/ ... C11501.jpg

Don't mid how bad the "eyes" are made, I haven't finished em yet. The digital couldn't get much closer than this pic without going outta focus so I hope you can at least get an idea as to how the glue came out.

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Post by DLMatthys » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:17 pm

I like Ter-ors method best... Mainly because he knows better.

So here is an update Terry...

My trick is to use Smooth-on 202 Crystal clear. Ten minute pot life. Dolluped in with drops from a toothpick. I work in sections.

The tape dam I use on the model exterior is 3M Scotch Magic
The tape is transparent. Easy to see air pockets in the corners. So after the resin is dropped in flip the part over while the resin is still liquid.
A fresh sharp #11 blade pokes though the tape... trapped air goes out.
liquid resin fills in.

Remember to work in sections... put the model hull parts aside and pull the tape off next day. Any resin residue is sanded away. Repeat onto the sections until done.

As all these procedures are done before masking windows with 3M blue or Tamiya yellow tape... then priming and painting finish colors.
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Post by TER-OR » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:48 pm

That's certainly faster than the Envirotex Light, which needs a day - but it's easy to remove bubbles. Does the adhesive screw with the resin clarity? For an Enterprise, it's not a big deal, you probably want it semi-opaque. For clear windows, it's more trouble.
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Post by Joseph C. Brown » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:47 pm

Here's a new product that I just picked up today: Elmer's Clear Glue.

http://www.dickblick.com/products/elmer ... hool-glue/

I have no idea what it's long-term yellowing may be like, if any. I need to toss together a 'beater' model that has a canopy and use this stuff on it. I am already using it this afternoon to attach plastic craft gems to my 'BlingBird' and it works great on the flat surfaces.
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Post by Tchail » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:52 pm

I've drilled out my windows on my Enterprise-D.

And I've purchased Envirotex Lite as my clear resin.

If I understand what's been posted here, it sounds like my next step is to cut rectangles of cellophane tape them in place from the outside.

Then fill in with the clear resin from the inside.

Or should I tape from the inside and fill in from the outside?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Post by Scotaidh » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:43 am

This is all very helpful for those wishing to simply fill a void with clear gunk, but what about how to make a canopy? I need, at the very least, windshields (ala WWI aircraft) for this - I'd like a full canopy, but have no ideas other than to try to use a plastic water bottle ... or perhaps a plastic wine glass, as from iParty ... hmmmmmm

Anyway - anyone have any thoughts?
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Post by Mr. Badwrench » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:05 pm

Carve one out of balsa or a cured chunk of Bondo, then vacuform over it. If you have never tried this before, you will be amazed at how easy it is. For big windshields like this you can use a piece of a two liter bottle. If the first pull doesn't look good enough, just keep trying, the plastic is free.
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Post by ajmadison » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:29 am

Its possible there's mention of this earlier in this thread, but there's also Squadron Thermoform. The process is called "heat & smash". Like the vacform method, you'll need a male blank in order to pull the main part of the canopy. But you won't need a vacformer. The process looks crude, but the results are not. You will need to practice a couple of times before you get a pull that you'll like. If you're lucky, one or more of the rejects can be used as a framing layer. That is, you mark out where you'd like there to be framing, and cut the rest away, and apply this now flimsy piece on top of your canopy.

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Post by Wug » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:47 am

Heat & Smash is ideal for simple shapes. You don't even need to buy Thermoform from Squadron. I've made a small canopy from clear PETE from the lid of a strawberry container. The master was a craft bead. Binder clips held the plastic while a candle heated it. For larger parts you'll need a better way to hold the plastic.

Other modelers get their PETE from water or soft drink bottles. Many blister packs are made from PETE or PS. If you get your plastic from the trash your mistakes are free. I made a bunch of mistakes to get a couple of canopies I was happy with. Someday they'll become debris in a diorama.

If you buy your plastic it will probably require less sanding and polishing.

Mike

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Post by talon » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:20 pm

Will Future work for making windows? I'm just curious because I've got a huge thing of it and it does wonders for canopies and other clear parts. I was just thinking applying tape to the back of the part, filling it with future and then let it dry.
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Post by SJM » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:50 pm

Tchail wrote:I've drilled out my windows on my Enterprise-D.

And I've purchased Envirotex Lite as my clear resin.

If I understand what's been posted here, it sounds like my next step is to cut rectangles of cellophane tape them in place from the outside.

Then fill in with the clear resin from the inside.

Or should I tape from the inside and fill in from the outside?

Any help would be appreciated.

-Tchail
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