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Carbon Fiber & Chrome - Page 5

post #41 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quick Update - Decided to make a logo for the build. You can see it in the original post, but I've included it here as well. Let me know what you think!

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Edited by Colonel Zay - 4/16/12 at 1:27pm
Midnyte
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Midnyte
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post #42 of 54
Thread Starter 
Plastic Chroming - Pt. 1

So it's been a while since my last post and things have been pretty busy. With the weather warming up, I've had lots of house/yard work to do. Expecting a baby and taking care of my 2-year old. Not to mention in the process of upgrading my wife's car. But - I've been able to get some work done and I'm excited to show you guys where I'm at. I received the silvering kit and was excited to get started, a little too excited actually - you'll see why in the pics. I made some repairs to some gouges I made with my Dremel in the plastic before I primed and tried out the silvering kit. Here are some pics:

Here's a pic showing some of the scuff marks I made while cutting out the plastic. Even after some sanding, I saw that I couldn't get it smooth without removing a lot of the material
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So after washing and cleaning all the dust and other gunk out, I used a plastic filler to patch the gouges out. This stuff is awesome. It was kind of like sticking a bunch of gum on the pieces, but it was definitely good quality (JB Kwik Plastic). It comes in a tube and you basically tear or cut small pieces that you will need to patch the area you're working on. It has an outer shell with an inner core (one of them is the hardener, can't remember which). After you cut off the amount you want, you knead it together until it is a consistent color. You'll want to wet your fingers to work with it, as it has some tack to it. You have about 30 mins after this point to apply your kwik plastic or it'll start to harden. Just press and work into the areas you're repairing
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I was doing my best to take pics of each step, but I seemed to have forgotten to take a pic after I sanded down the JB Kwik Plastic. After you've applied the Kwik Plastic, you let it sit for 24 hours. When you come back to it, you should find that it's hard as a rock and ready to be worked and sanded. After I sanded the Kwik Plastic down, I took some white primer and sprayed a couple coats on it. Here is the front panel and under-handle (with a small shot of the carbon fiber wrapped in plastic)
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Here is a picture of the top piece primed, dried, and ready
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So the silvering kit I got is just that - an entire kit. This not only includes all the chemicals, but the measuring tools, cleaning tools, and waste disposal system. The waste produces a liquid containing heavy metals (liquid heavy metal! drum.gif ), so you need to treat and dispose of it correctly. It's irresponsible and potentially illegal to throw waste water down the sewer system. The entire kit comes with everything you need. The only thing I needed to get was an extra pump spray bottle (mostly for preference, but not needed) and lots of distilled water - 4 gallons to be exact. Here's a shot of me starting to get the chemicals setup
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Here's a random pic of the other bottles of distilled water I hadn't opened yet, lol
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Here's a picture of the the siphoning system that came with the kit. This will allow me to pour the two main chemicals simultaneously (and more importantly, in equal amounts) over the substrate
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I'll be doing a mixture of spraying the chemicals and dripping the chemicals, so I set up a little trash bag as a way to cover the spray area and also drain into the waste pan
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Now that I have my workstation prepared (the silvering process is very time sensitive, so you need to have everything laid out in advanced so you can go from one step to the next without any preparation), I prepare my work pieces by cleaning them with the included cleaner. It's labelled as a glass cleaner, but it works with plastic as well. You need to use very hot water to properly clean this and you need to starting wearing your gloves, as fingerprints will ruin the entire process. I like the 'European sponge' that was included in the kit, very heavy and thick. It came as a little wafer, but after adding water it expanded like crazy, lol
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Here is the first piece that I did the silver process on. As I mentioned, it's a very time sensitive procedure, so I wasn't able to take pictures during the process
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So I went through the silvering process on the under-handle piece and on the small part of the top panel. I definitely saw the chemical reaction taking place as I completed the steps...... however..... well, you can see for yourself
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So there were a few things that went wrong here. The one thing I noticed immediately was that I can't just prime and lightly sand and achieve the effect I want. The silvering process does not make a non-smooth substrate shiny. By only using primer and lightly sanding with 800 grit, it was smooth to the touch, but not mirror smooth to allow for a 'chrome-like' look. The other issue here as you can see is the spotting and brown blotches that you see on the pieces. I wasn't sure what this could have been, so I contacted the company with some pics of the pieces, and they were quick to respond. I went through all the steps properly, but totally forgot the 'wetting agent' that's included with the kit. I specifically ordered this too, but completely skipped that part (that's where the "over excitement" kicked me). The wetting agent is used on glass sometimes, but specifically on plastic pieces where the surface tension of the substrate doesn't allow the water to 'sheet' over the material. It instead beads up, which makes the sensitizer not do its job. Because of this, there were parts that simply did not silver correctly.

So - lesson learned. I just can't 'short-cut' my way through the silvering process. I have to basically get a pristine, mirror finish... to produce a mirror finish (my co-worker got a kick out of that one). I'll need to sand all the silvering and primer and start over. I'll then prime again, then start applying a basecoat. I'll do a few basecoat layers and let it cure. Once it's cured, I'll go ahead and start the finishing process of sanding it with 800, 1000, 1500, then 2000 grit (might go straight to 1000, depending on how the spray settles). Once I pass the 2000, then I'll start buffing it out with compound, then I'll finish that off with a finer swirl remover. I think this will give me the finish I need to get a truly chrome like look from the silvering process. I'll also remember to use the wetting agent next time redface.gif .

You'll notice this is "Plastic Chroming - pt. 1". I figured this first 'test' is a fairly large update with images, so I will be breaking up this whole process. I've already gotten more work done, so I will be posting a pt. 2 very soon.

Thanks for watching, and as usual - more to come! thumb.gif
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post #43 of 54
Ouch, lesson learned. How much is that kit and do you have plenty to do it again?
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post #44 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blupupher View Post

Ouch, lesson learned. How much is that kit and do you have plenty to do it again?

The drip kit that I got can be found here. It's definitely not cheap - but it's the effect I'm looking for. The kit comes with the chemicals in a concentrate formula, so those little bottles make a lot of chemical. I have plenty left to do this project a few times over wink.gif . The biggest thing is that when you prepare and mix some of these chemicals, they have a short shelf-life. The activator, for example, only has a shelf-life of about 24 hours after you mix it. The metal in the liquids start to oxidize (I believe), so it goes bad. The concentrate itself lasts about 6 months I think, so I can't keep this stuff forever.
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Midnyte
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post #45 of 54
Thread Starter 
Plastic Chroming - Pt. 2

Well after my last 'lesson learned' moment, I was ready to get this thing going again, and do it right. All I've done so far is strip the previous silver and primer, prep it for another coat of primer, prime, then paint. My goal here is to get a mirror or near mirror finish on the basecoat, which will allow me to apply the silver correctly and get a MUCH better result. After that I can coat with a clear coat to protect the silver from scratches and oxidation. Here's what I got so far:

This top piece had the CF wrap previously, but with all the painting, cleaning, and handling I was doing, it started to get some stains on the edges - so had to strip it off. Because of the Primer 94 I used, it was a PITA - but I got it off, used some adhesive remover, and prepped it for primer. This pic shows just after I removed the CF, you can see the gunk on it
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Here are all the pieces sanded down and ready for a new coat of primer. I'll be using a gray primer this time since I'll be using a black basecoat. It's hard to see in this picture, but on the taped off piece - I taped off the edge where I am going to be doing the silvering, but this time I cut the tape a little short onto the black part of the panel. This will allow the CF to overlap where the silvering will take place and give it a much more crisp look once it's all said and done...... hopefully, lol
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Here's my little paint booth (my pre-fab shed). Everything hung up and ready to prime
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As I mentioned, I used a gray primer this time as I'll be using a black basecoat.
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After letting it dry some time, I washed it up to get any overspray or other contaminants off
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Now to prep for the black basecoat, I lightly scuffed it with an 800 grit sand paper. This thing has so many fine curves that you have to be extra careful not to sand through the primer on the edges
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I've shown you the other pics of hanging the pieces and painting. Basically went through the same thing to get ready for the black. I applied a light dry tack coat first and let dry about 5 mins. I then went over with a heavier coat, but not wetting it yet - I let that dry about 10 mins. I finally went over with a nice wet coat, let dry in the garage for a little (to get the fumes out), then brought inside to finish drying
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Now on the front panel, it's so curved that I had to go over a few places to make sure and get all the angles. in the process of that, I got two paint sags on the side and on the bottom. Yeah, not good. I was more irritated than anything, so didn't take any pics of that. After I let dry 24+ hours, I lightly sanded down both spots with 800 grit, washed it up and dried it. I then took it outside and applied another wet coat on those two areas. Since I will be letting these cure and then work them down to a polished finish, I was debating on whether this was necessary or not, but I didn't want to take the chance so took care of the sags anyway.

They're about a week+ into drying/curing right now, so I will get to work on them in a few days. Here are some pics of how they look now

The 'under-handle' piece
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The top piece where the power/reset buttons are. Pretty decent reflection here
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And here's a couple shots of the front panel - probably the most important piece IMO
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And another
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A little dust starting to collect on it, but that's nothing. You can see there's some 'orange peel' in the basecoat. It gives a pretty good shine/reflection and for a split second, I considered leaving it as is and applying the silver. I thought it may have the orange peel, but it has enough of a uniform surface to give it a mirror finish. Yeah, that was just a split second though. I will be leveling it with some 1000 grit, move up to 1500, then 2000. After that I'll get to it with some rubbing compound and probably some swirl remover. I'm still debating on whether to do the polishing by hand or buy a little 6" polisher. There will be a last (hopefully) 'Plastic Chroming' part, and then on to the rest of the case, so stay tuned!
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Midnyte
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post #46 of 54
Thread Starter 
Plastic Chroming - Pt. 3

So - had some time to get some work done. In the last update I had finished painting the plastic pieces I wanted to chrome. Now it was time to sand it down some and finish it down to a mirror finish. I started by washing everything down with mild soap and water, then got to work with 1000 grit paper.

Here's a couple shots before I started sanding
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I'm mainly concerned with the parts that will be chromed, not the parts that will be covered with other plastic pieces from the panel or just not shown. Here's a shot after taking it down some with 1000 grit
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I was working on the other parts as well, but I figured I'd just take pics of the front panel. Here's the next step after 1500 grit
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Here's a quick shot of 2000. I still need to work on it some more, but it's just about where I need it
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Here's a shot of the top panel after 2000 as well. It's damn hard to not cut through to the primer, but I think I kept it to a minimum
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Here's a shot of the front panel ready for polishing
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Here's a shot of the side panel after about 3 applications of rubbing compound
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Think it's looking pretty good. Here's some finished shots of the front panel. I used some rubbing compound until I got a nice shine, then I switched to a swirl remover to try and get the perfect finish
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Here's a shot of both the front panel and 'under-handle' piece after buffing and polishing
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Right before I was ready to polish the top panel, I wiped it down with water, then alcohol to really clean it. It ended up stripping away some of the base coat. Not sure why that happened. Sucks, but I'm just going to proceed to see what results I get
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So there we are. Took the time to build up a base coat and finished it down to a near mirror finish. I let these pieces sit for some time, as I just had a lot going on at the moment. Finally had some time to try and do the silvering again. I think my sensitizing chemical may be wearing some, as it's started to oxidize and turn yellow. Not sure if this will have an effect on the final result or not, but I don't have any other bottles and I'm not going to order more. So..... well, not much to write about so I'll just show a pic of the results
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That shot of the top part was after I had handled it some and rubbed some of the silvering off with a cloth.

So yeah.... better, but not good. I got a reflection, but it's more an antique mirror type reflection than a new mirror/chrome finish. The preparation paid off, as I'm able to see a deep reflection (can see objects a far distance away clearly in the reflection), but there's still the brown spots and haziness of the finish from the chemicals. I'm a little disappointed to say the least. I'm sure it's a combination of the substrate I'm using the chemicals on and my own inexperience with the whole process - although it's pretty straight forward.

Soooo...... yyyyyyeah. At the end of my rope with how to chrome the pieces of this case. I put the parts to the side and put the project out of my mind for a couple days. After a short break I came to this conclusion - if I can't get the results I want out of the current panels, then make my own. So that's what I'm going to do. Still rolling some ideas and measurements around in my head, but I think I will be incorporating more CF wrap into the top and front panel and will still have a reflective/chrome look on both the top and the front. I know I will not be including a handle in the top. The design will have harder lines on the front and top, so there won't be any complex curves in the panels. I think this will flow better with the theme and give it a smoother, more crisp look. I'll start out making some mock setups and getting the 'rough' work done (thinking it will be wood, not 100% sure yet) to get an idea of how it will fit. Once I have a good grasp of the design, I will start with the finishing part of it (CF Wrap, chrome panels, etc.

After all this, I think of the Thomas Edison quote, "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I'm definitely not giving up on this and, if anything, am even more determined and inspired to finish this build. Getting excited thinking of putting together a new top and front panel from scratch.
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Midnyte
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post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonel Zay View Post

Plastic Chroming - Pt. 3

After all this, I think of the Thomas Edison quote, "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I'm definitely not giving up on this and, if anything, am even more determined and inspired to finish this build. Getting excited thinking of putting together a new top and front panel from scratch.


Updates? smile.gif
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post #48 of 54
Thread Starter 
Progress/Pic Dump

Yeah, been a while since my last update, lol. Been busy with tons of things around the house, work, buying a new car for my wife - lol... With all that going on, I've been doing tons of planning. Since this isn't just modding a current panel anymore, but building a new panel for the top and front, I'm doing lots of sketches, measuring, etc. I'd like to keep the final design a surprise, but I can tell you that I've decided to use wood as the 'frame' for the panels. I'll be building it up and will keep all drive bays accessible. I won't be using a handle for the top - thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread when I got it, could care less now. I'll incorporate both carbon fiber and chrome/reflective looks in both the front and top panels. The design will be slightly different as it'll be more... sleek, for lack of a better work. It won't be as curvy as the original panel, but a more flat look. I've bought some materials to start on the frame and will document the build as I go along.

On another note - I was waiting to show the other parts of the case originally, as I wanted the whole thing to be a big 'TA-DA!' at the end, but since it's taking much longer than anticipated, I figured I might as well show everything I've done so far. So here's some pics on the carbon fiber side panels and the case:

Here's a shot of the front of the 'cage'. I got it powder coated with a gloss black with silver flakes in it. Thought it would look the best with the type of theme I'm going for
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Here's a shot from the side and the top. It's been handled some since I had it done, so will definitely clean it up once it starts coming together
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And one of the back - shows the flakes a little better in the light
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These next few pics are the two panels. Looking at these pictures reminds me that I'm working with an old case that's gotten a 'ding' or two. The wrap looks good, but you can see a shift in the 'grain' of the fiber because of some warping in the metal... also just some dents like in the corner. I like it though biggrin.gif
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Here's a pic of the panel with the smoked acrylic. I cut the fan hole already, but with the recent changes I'm making, I might need to reshape the hole some... we'll see
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And just to show some of the planning I've been doing, here's a couple shots of my sketchbook on the measurements I took
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700

So that's where I'm at right now. There's lots to do and I'm starting to get to it. I have a couple days that I have to take off from work soon, so I'll be having a couple of days dedicated to working on this build. Hope to have some good progress by then. As much as I love the journey of this mod, definitely want to get into the finishing part of it - like sleeving, cabling, etc. More to come thumb.gif

Midnyte
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Midnyte
(18 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb ASUS M4N82 Deluxe EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 SC (2-Way SLI) CORSAIR XMS2 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
WD Caviar Blue 7200 RPM WD Caviar Black 7200 RPM (Storage) Sony Optiarc DVD/CD Rewritable Drive ZALMAN CNPS9900ALED 120mm 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 Pro x64 ASUS VE276Q Black 27" Acer X223Wbd Black 22" RAZER Lycosa 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX Antec Nine Hundred RAZER DeathAdder steelseries QcK Mass 
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post #49 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonel Zay View Post

Progress/Pic Dump
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Yeah, been a while since my last update, lol. Been busy with tons of things around the house, work, buying a new car for my wife - lol... With all that going on, I've been doing tons of planning. Since this isn't just modding a current panel anymore, but building a new panel for the top and front, I'm doing lots of sketches, measuring, etc. I'd like to keep the final design a surprise, but I can tell you that I've decided to use wood as the 'frame' for the panels. I'll be building it up and will keep all drive bays accessible. I won't be using a handle for the top - thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread when I got it, could care less now. I'll incorporate both carbon fiber and chrome/reflective looks in both the front and top panels. The design will be slightly different as it'll be more... sleek, for lack of a better work. It won't be as curvy as the original panel, but a more flat look. I've bought some materials to start on the frame and will document the build as I go along.
On another note - I was waiting to show the other parts of the case originally, as I wanted the whole thing to be a big 'TA-DA!' at the end, but since it's taking much longer than anticipated, I figured I might as well show everything I've done so far. So here's some pics on the carbon fiber side panels and the case:
Here's a shot of the front of the 'cage'. I got it powder coated with a gloss black with silver flakes in it. Thought it would look the best with the type of theme I'm going for
700
Here's a shot from the side and the top. It's been handled some since I had it done, so will definitely clean it up once it starts coming together
450
450
And one of the back - shows the flakes a little better in the light
700
These next few pics are the two panels. Looking at these pictures reminds me that I'm working with an old case that's gotten a 'ding' or two. The wrap looks good, but you can see a shift in the 'grain' of the fiber because of some warping in the metal... also just some dents like in the corner. I like it though biggrin.gif
450 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
450
Here's a pic of the panel with the smoked acrylic. I cut the fan hole already, but with the recent changes I'm making, I might need to reshape the hole some... we'll see
450
450
And just to show some of the planning I've been doing, here's a couple shots of my sketchbook on the measurements I took
700
700
So that's where I'm at right now. There's lots to do and I'm starting to get to it. I have a couple days that I have to take off from work soon, so I'll be having a couple of days dedicated to working on this build. Hope to have some good progress by then. As much as I love the journey of this mod, definitely want to get into the finishing part of it - like sleeving, cabling, etc. More to come thumb.gif

Oh, I like that effect... hmm (thinks of possible future applications) tongue.gif

Yea, that's one of the drawbacks to CF wrap... it may look good, but it's relentless and shows every flaw imaginable.

Lookin' good, Colonel!
post #50 of 54
maybe this????
MEDUSA
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MEDUSA
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
amd phenom ii x4 955 BE oc 3.8 @ 1.5v/19.0multi ASUS M4N82 Delux MSI GTX580 lightning Crucial 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
crucial M4 256g SSD Windows 7 64 home 22' acer mionix zibal 60 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Ultra X4 750 watt Silverstone TJ07 Cooler master storm sentinel rocketfish 
Audio
Logitech G35 7.1 headphones 
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