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Using sander to create bubble effect on acrylic?

Started by joeranger, Jan 31, 2011, 06:19 pm

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joeranger

I am midway through a 1st project. A variation of a tardis door as an opening to my work/prop room.
Has anyone tried to use a round sander to create bubble indentations on the reverse side of acrylic?
I am going to play around with various techniques.
It would solve my problem of needing multiple panes.
I am also going to paint the back side with glow in the dark paint to add to the opaque look and lighting.

philipw

If by a round sander, you mean a random orbit sander...  I've sanded acrylic this way a number of times. It just scratches it up. It won't look anything like bubble indentions, pebbled or hammered glass.

Even so, if you want to sand acrylic, be sure and get cast and not extruded. Extruded never looks good sanded, but cast can get to opaque that's not too bad looking. I would expect that all acrylic at home centers is extruded and you'd only be able to get cast from an actual acrylic supplier.

I've also bead blasted acrylic, and it's much the same result, just more even in the finish.

galacticprobe

Feb 01, 2011, 05:40 pm #2 Last Edit: Feb 01, 2011, 05:51 pm by galacticprobe
There are tools called "dental burrs" (most of us dread these) that will fit in larger chucked hand drills such as Dremel/X-Acto-like. They will even fit standard-sized drills. The burrs come in a wide variety of sizes and "patterns" like so:

416021pic.jpg sdmedicalint_112525754_s.jpg
Drill_long.jpg

I'm sure one of those round-tipped "burrs" (a.k.a. bits) would give you that bubble-look of the pebbled glass you're looking for. However, to make that many little "dimples" in a piece of acrylic (and you've got 16 pebbled panes in the standard TARDIS) could drive anyone beyond insane (unless you've got some serious patience).

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

action_mat

If you have plenty of patience, I'd imagine you could build up the pebble effect on the outside, by adding blobs of glue from a hot glue gun?

galacticprobe

Feb 02, 2011, 08:40 am #4 Last Edit: Feb 02, 2011, 08:53 am by galacticprobe
I think that would drive me as crazy as what I originally suggested. Personally - and this is just me - I'd look for a fluorescent light fixture cover - either "clear" or white - that has those spiky things on one side and use that, smooth side out, to simulate the pebbled glass look. (The "smooth" side really isn't that smooth; it has "dimples" in it from the pointy things on the other side so it gives a bit of a pebbled look to it.) It's the closest thing I've come across that's not cost prohibitive that gets the "close enough" look to it.

If the "dimples don't give enough of the pebbled look, you could always try using the sander on the pointy side to take the sharp tips off of the points. That might round them down enough to give a decent pebbled look, and add a little of that "frosted" look to it as well.

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

joeranger

It obviously did not create the pebbled look, but I am not unhappy with it. I will finish sanding and post a pic.

joeranger

Feb 16, 2011, 02:13 pm #6 Last Edit: Feb 16, 2011, 02:14 pm by joeranger
It turns out a sponge paint of glow in the dark paint gave me the look I wanted. It also provides a nice glow effect in low light.
tardis windows 1.jpg

galacticprobe

Feb 16, 2011, 03:17 pm #7 Last Edit: Feb 16, 2011, 03:18 pm by galacticprobe
Now just put a black light inside once you're done and zap it with a bit of UV to give those windows a nice, almost eerie yellow-green glow. That's going to look so cool, I'd go as far as to say "Smurfy!"

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

Teletran

On an unrelated note I really like your window bars/stiles, whatever those bits are called, I don't think I've seen any quite like that on a TARDIS before.
(http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/1360/omni02g.jpg)

joeranger

Trim
Not unrelated at all. Thanks for feedback. Its just a piece of trim which boarders a wallpaper accent.
I am trying to use as much recycled stuff as possible. I am assuming they should be painted blue?
If so, I will fill in the gaps with spackle and paint.

Blacklight
As for the black light, how does that work? Do I just use the black light to charge the light?
My whole workroom is accented in glow paint. My wife likes to turn off the basement lights when I am in my workroom and I used to have to fumble around in the dark to get to the light switch. Now, when she hits the switch, it lights up like pandora:)

galacticprobe

Feb 17, 2011, 09:30 pm #10 Last Edit: Feb 17, 2011, 09:32 pm by galacticprobe
The blacklight will charge the glow-in-the-dark paint, and at the same time make it glow brightly. In a normally lit room leaving the blacklight on would give the windows a nice glow and would do no harm. In a dark room it would look like a bright greenish yellow glow was coming from within, and then if you turned the black light off the glow would slowly fade. (This fade could take several minutes so as a dematerialization effect it would be rather slow.) In a bright room or in a daylight/outdoor setting you might as well leave the blacklight off as there would be too much ambient light outside for the glow effect to be noticed.

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

Teletran

I think there are blacklight light bulbs that you could use in place of a normal internal box bulb but I don't know the details especially now that incandescent bulbs are all but illegal
(http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/1360/omni02g.jpg)

galacticprobe

Feb 19, 2011, 06:53 am #12 Last Edit: Feb 19, 2011, 06:55 am by galacticprobe
They make compact fluorescent blacklights that screw into standard lightbulb sockets so they would be good for the internal light as Teletran suggests. You can usually find them at your friendly neighborhood hardware/home improvement store. If they don't have any, try Spencer Gifts; they usually have them (and it's about the only thing they're good for these days).

The compact fluorescent are not expensive and they preform like the standard blacklight fluorescent tubes, whereas the incandescent blacklight bulbs don't really to anything except shine a dim purple light.

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"