Monday, September 5, 2011

I have the sight!

Time to star working on the eyes....
This task started with me trying to get the eye grills to actually fit properly into the eye holes in the face mask, where were slightly too small.


Firs step, widen the holes.
I didn't want to screw up the face by trying to dremel these out. I ended up hotgluing some sandpaper to the tapered end of a glass water bottle and using that to ream the hole evenly.
Using this method I was also able to keep the holes perfectly circular and very carefully control how large the opening was getting without accidentally making it much too large.

The opening now JUST fits the eye grills.


They will have to be opened up a hair more to accommodate new primer and gold plating but I'll tackle that another time.

Before the mask even arrived at my house I saw a forum post on the C3PO builders tutorial page where someone was asking about ways to improve the vision

I thought about those wide angle door viewers that can be used to see who's outside before you open your door. I checked some out at the hardware store and the looked like they would fit so I picked up a few.


Normally the view through the eyes is restricted to a small brass tube not much larger than a McDonald's straw. (see the bullet shaped tubes in the photo below)

I believe these are cut a bit shorter when the eyes are assembled but still gives crap visibility...

I figured if this wide angle viewer would work it would make a world of difference.

SO when the parts arrived I tested it out..
The threaded part fit perfectly into the holes where tube was supped to fit. Only problem now was that the front has a large flange that wasn't appealing to the eye. (most likely the normal person would never notice, but hey...)

I bought a sheet of that clear plastic with the small diamond shaped pattern used to cover fluorescent lights.

It's not the same pattern that came with the kit but it's similar enough to a few versions of the screen used eyes that I didn't mind.
3po prop lenses

I used a hole cutter bit on my drill and went to town.. until the plastic broke. Putting some masking tape down on the side being drilled helped to keep it from cracking.

The hole cutter worked perfectly, I'll edit this post with the exact size soon...

The center hole needed to be widened slightly to make room for the lens but since the material is so much thinner than the clear part that came with the kit,

this meant I could mount the flange part of the door viewer behind the plastic only exposing the very tip with the lens


I wanted to test the eyes with the lights on to make sure the flange behind the clear plastic didn't drastically alter the look of the eyes


I did s makeshift wiring job for a the test. This is NOT how the final eyes will be setup.

Based on the test I think it's going to look really good. I picked up some parts, from Skycraft in Orlando, to wire-up the eyes properly. I'll have that in another post soon.

In conclusion, the door views greatly improve visibility. Even more so than wearing the mask without the eye assemblies and looking through the gaping holes!

only drawbacks I've found so far is that the back of the viewers are REALLY close to my eyes when the mask is on. So close that my eyelashes brush against them when I blink!

The back of the door viewers can be trimmed down a bit but there is a small magnifying lens inside that needs to be there for them to work properly so I can only remove between 1/8" and 1/4". I think once the extra is trimmed it won't be so sketchy to wear. I also Picked up a few rubber grommets to cover the metal once they are trimmed down. This will also give me almost and "eyepiece" type part in the inside of the mask.

The second issue is that it's very hard to line the viewers up to create one seamless image. I can do it with the mask off and have come very close with the mask on but it's not perfect. It's really not too big of a deal. It's a similar feeling to looking though the eyepiece of a video recorder and having your other eye open at the same time. They're not quite seeing the same thing but it's not exactly bad. In my opinion the extra visibility far outweighs having to focus more with one eye than the other. I may still find a way to work this out but if I don't, I'll still be happy with the results.

Another quick update, not worth it's own post is that I opened up the mouth, which was fiberglassed over on the inside of the mask. After drilling a few small holes through the fiberglass I cleaned up the rest with an exacto knife.


Eye-lights off...


The eyes have been changed to a different style. See them HERE
I also made 3d printable eyes in multiple styles and sizes. See those HERE

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