Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gluing on the transparency templates

As I mentioned previously, I used loctite spray adhesive to attach the transparencies.  A few tips as you do this:

1)  Try not to move the transparency around much after it touches the glue.  It can still smear a bit, but if you hold it still, this isn't an issue.

2)  Be certain to press the transparency under a heavy weight after application

3)  Wait overnight

4)  Then use a credit card or scraper to try to remove as many air bubbles / distortions as you can.  Believe it or not, but most of the glue isn't fully dry yet, but is more like a thick paste that can be moved with a lot of pressure to improve the uniformity of the panel appearance.

Now, for those final two panels - the mission sequence and the mission timer/display panels.  These two measure 6"x12" and 12"x12", respectively.  That's too large in both cases for using a single transparency sheet.  So you'll need to divide the print among 2 - 4 transparencies, depending on the panel.  This division can be done simply by importing the label image into an image editor, cutting out a section and pasting it in a new window and printing the new one and the old one after it has been cropped so the blank area is removed.  Just choose locations to divide the label that are logical - such as between letters/words/ buttons, not through them.  This isn't hard.  Now you get to match the multiple pieces together.  Because you'll have margins, you'll end up with transparencies that overlap to get the labels right.  Don't worry, though, there's a woodworking trick we can use here.

First, take the sheets, and line them up  so that the printing is properly aligned.

Then tape across the edges so the two pieces are held together, but be sure to leave the line where they match up as visible as possible

Now simply cut down that dividing line where the two panels are supposed to meet, being certain to cut through both transparencies in a single pass.  You don't have to be perfectly straight - you can even make a jigsaw design if you so desire.  The only important thing is to cut somewhere in the non-printed area between the edges (on the mission timer panel, you'll have to make sure to pass through the points where the dark boundaries around the cutouts meet, but other points don't matter).

Now remove the tape and dispose of the waste material from each transparency.  You'll have two perfectly matched pieces that have a single neat splice line where they meet

 Now glue these pieces onto the panel just as you did the others.  When you get to rubbing the bubbles out, you'll likely get a little bit of ooze at the joint that won't look terribly appealing - but this is easily removed with a little Goo Gone.  If you do this all carefully, those joints will be nearly invisible when everything is fully dried (not fully dried below)

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