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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suwalski
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Post by suwalski » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:36 am

My problem with Envirotex is that it always seems to dry a little rubbery.

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talon
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Post by talon » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:35 pm

Repeating this because it got tacked on the end right before a page change.

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 outside face of the part, filling it with future from the back and then let it dry.
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Post by linesiders » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:07 pm

A couple things on the Envirotex. Make sure it is mixed well and not too humid when you mix it, this will make a harder finish. Two, you can wave a lighter over it (not too close) when drying to get the bubbles to come out. Too close and you may soot the finish.

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Post by MillenniumFalsehood » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:36 pm

talon wrote:Repeating this because it got tacked on the end right before a page change.

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 outside face of the part, filling it with future from the back and then let it dry.
I don't think so. I tried making a pool of water with Future, and all it did was make a glossy film. It doesn't want to build up any layers.
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Post by mike_espo » Sun May 01, 2011 3:23 pm

Micro Krystal Klear works great! :D Use it for creating 1/72 scale windows. Dries as the name suggests: Crystal Clear!

I should think for small scale portholes, it should be great.

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Post by Gerry » Sun May 01, 2011 3:31 pm

For the Enterprise 350 I used Model Master Clear Parts Cement & Window Maker.

For larger windows, packing tape on the outside {It's smooth on the sticky side} then I used a clear resin my local train hobby store sells for making water features filled from the inside.

slow drying time but very nice results and it will sand very nicely.
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Post by USS Atlantis » Sun May 01, 2011 3:32 pm

mike_espo wrote:Micro Krystal Klear works great! :D Use it for creating 1/72 scale windows. Dries as the name suggests: Crystal Clear!

I should think for small scale portholes, it should be great.
Ditto on the MKK - perfect stuff for making small windows - and attaching larger ones - something no modeler should be without
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Post by AbsoluteSciFi » Tue May 31, 2011 9:21 pm

Has anyone tried to use a clear piece of plastic? Why "fill" an area when you can "replace" and area with acrylic?

Just paint over the clear with paint, then you are left with... clear windows?
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Post by seam-filler » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:29 am

AbsoluteSciFi wrote:Has anyone tried to use a clear piece of plastic? Why "fill" an area when you can "replace" and area with acrylic?
For larger windows this is a definite (if not preferable) way of doing it.

But for smaller windows, the pieces will often be incredibly small (more food for the monster that eats the parts that fall on the carpet). Second, getting the shape of your clear window to exactly match the shape of your opening without any gaps or irregularities is not that easy, especially with really small windows. Finally, for really small windows you'll probably find that you're using almost as much MKK/Future/epoxy or whatever to stick the window in as you would have used making it from the stuff in the first place.
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Post by AbsoluteSciFi » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:02 am

@seam-filler:
I am sure that tiny windows are not easy, that is why I don't bother. I side step the problem, and make it a masking problem rather than a gluing problem. If I take a row of tiny windows out, then replace everything in that area with a strip of hard acrylic, then I can put a dot of Elmer's where I want the window, and paint over the whole thing. Then remove the glue, giving you a spotless window. I like to scribe a small line around the window to give a little structure. Yes it takes more time to do and more glue, but try it, and I am sure that you will like the results- often this hobby is not about time and glue.

Now on a project like the Enterprise, or some other of the 50 million StarFleet vessels, I would not take this route, except for the body of the model, but in this case I would use clear acrylic gel, same as used by the gals at the nail shop down the street. Stinks, but it works.
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Post by AbsoluteSciFi » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:07 pm

I just got back from Sally's, the beauty supply store... got some of those really cool long lashes...

Not Really.

I did pick up some powdered acrylic. This stuff is neat, you add the emulsifier, and you can mix the powder in as thick as you like, but I just followed the directions and got a nice thick putty-like consistency. Put a piece of tape behind the windows, and used a flexible putty knife to trowel it into the space. You are left with a perfectly clear window! The best part is- it's nice and hard, you can sand it smooth and polish it just like the surrounding plastic, resin, whatever!
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Post by rosalind » Tue May 08, 2012 3:58 am

-spam-

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Post by CarlGo » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:45 pm

How do you guys approach drilling out groups of tall skinny windows that are grouped tightly together, like on the TNG-era ships:

http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/ ... loseup.jpg

http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb5 ... _class.jpg

I mangled 2 Ent-E kits trying to drill out the groups of windows on those indents on the underside of the saucer section, before throwing up my hands and abandoning ship. Any advice?
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Post by Mr. Badwrench » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:47 am

I see no one has answered this yet. But I'm not exactly the guy to answer either. I don't build Trek ships. I guess it is the same with anything, measure twice, cut once. Drill a series of holes for each window. Keep them straight by fixing a steel rule along side the window, and keep the drill against the ruler. Don't use a Dremel, you'll have more control with a pin vise, and are less likely to melt the plastic. Drill the holes as close together as you can, but beware that if they intersect, the drill could walk and wobble out the hole. Cut between the holes with an Exacto knife, and smooth them out with small files. Take your time! Use a magnifier as you work, and check your work often. Use calipers to measure the width of each window as you cut, and remember, you can always make the window bigger, but you can't make it smaller. So start off small and work out towards the finished dimension. There are probably some neat tricks that Trek modelers use to simplify this, that I've never heard of.
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Post by TREKKRIFFIC » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:58 pm

Mr. Badwrench wrote:Use calipers to measure the width of each window as you cut, and remember, you can always make the window bigger, but you can't make it smaller.
Actually you CAN make it smaller. Just glue in a piece of Evergreen strip to the inside of your oversized frame with CA, use a piece a little longer than the depth of the window so you can easily place it with your tweezers, let dry, sand the excess strip flush with the hull. If you use enough CA there shoudln't be much of a gap between the kit plastic and the Evergreen strip but, if there is, just fill it with putty and resand. I used this technique on my 18" Enterprise and it worked well.
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Post by Mr. Badwrench » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:13 am

I stand corrected!
I speak of the pompatous of plastic.

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chiver
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Post by chiver » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:59 pm

Where and how do u get some dental acrylic?
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Post by RossW » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:17 pm

AbsoluteSciFi wrote:I just got back from Sally's, the beauty supply store... got some of those really cool long lashes...

Not Really.

I did pick up some powdered acrylic. This stuff is neat, you add the emulsifier, and you can mix the powder in as thick as you like, but I just followed the directions and got a nice thick putty-like consistency. Put a piece of tape behind the windows, and used a flexible putty knife to trowel it into the space. You are left with a perfectly clear window! The best part is- it's nice and hard, you can sand it smooth and polish it just like the surrounding plastic, resin, whatever!
Could you describe the powdered acrylic & emulsifier some more? I'd like to try this on my 1/350 TOS E.

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Post by chiver » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:50 pm

That's what I ended up getting, very easy to work with. It's a powder and a clear liquid. Small purple container. Ask the girls there for acrylic nail filler, it was about 10-15$ for the set
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Post by RossW » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Picked up a set of clear acrylic powder and liquid today and tried it out. I don't think it's join to work for me because, (a) the stuff stinks worse than lacquer paint/thinner and I'm not even sure how I'm typing this right now, (2) it sets up REALLY quick, so you can't really make a big batch to do a lot of windows at once, (iii) smearing it over the window hole also removed the paint on the plastic.

So, back to square one.

I'm almost ready to paint the part halves on my PL 1/350 TOS E and then start gluing the sub-assemblies, but what's holding me up is the windows. The inserts provided in the kit are great, but the holes in the hull halves are slightly larger (and in some areas the clear insert windows do not end up flush with the outer surface) and I'm determined to make the windows seamless just as they were on the 11' filming miniature.

Anyone have other tips/tricks? I don't want to use Micro Krystal Kleer or canopy glue or anything like that as I want to be able to sand it flush and make the window uniform.

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chiver
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Post by chiver » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:09 pm

You can't do a big batch ten apply it. It is a pain in the ass. You need to tape the outside of the window it cover the window. Fill the hole with the powder, you will need slightly more then just flush with the plastic. Then a few drops of the liquid, just enough to melt the powder
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RossW
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Post by RossW » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:56 pm

chiver wrote:You can't do a big batch ten apply it. It is a pain in the ass. You need to tape the outside of the window it cover the window. Fill the hole with the powder, you will need slightly more then just flush with the plastic. Then a few drops of the liquid, just enough to melt the powder
Thanks chiver. That will work for filling windows completely but not for filling around the clear inserts from the outside. Guess I'll have to do some tests to see if just using the acrylic powder on its own will do the trick.

BTW, are you in Petawawa, ON?

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chiver
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Post by chiver » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:46 am

Yes I am, and from my expeence with it and from what I've sen on you tube it's easy to expats ment with. It pops back out easy if you don't like it
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