Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting It Together

An awful lot of costuming consists of sticking something to something else. I started off using rivets to attach one bit of leather to another, and then picked up some contact cement for other projects, and finally figured out how to use a lock stitch awl to sew up a sporran. I'm learning how to use a sewing machine to attach various bits of fabric to each other. And now I've got another tool or two in my arsenal...

First up is Epoxy Putty. You've probably seen the late-night TV ads for one particular brand flogged by the late Billy Mays, but there are actually several of these on the market - so check the label. Different formulas are intended for different applications. I picked up a couple of these from JBWeld - one specifically for use in attaching disparate materials (metal to plastic, wood to glass, etc.) and one reinforced with steel for high-strength repairs.

I've had some trouble keeping the jeweler's loupe attached to my goggles, so I had high hopes for the steel-reinforced putty. The laser pointer that I superglued to one of the vents likewise snapped off, so I had a couple of options to play with the putty.

The process is pretty simple, actually. The putty is a two-part formulation, with one part wrapped inside the other and the whole shebang packed in a plastic tube. Use a sharp blade to cut off a chunk, knead it together until the two colors blend into one, then form it up and let it set up for about 24 hours. Oh - and use gloves to be on the safe side. A couple of test beads mixed nicely in just a few minutes of fiddling, and started setting up within 15 minutes of setting them aside. I cut another slightly larger slice and kneaded it into submission, then encased part of the spring clip and pressed it onto the outer ring of the goggles, nicely covering the mess left when the cyanoacrylate glue failed. I'll probably touch up the putty with some dry-brushed metallic paint for daytime and close examination, but the putty itself has a nice silvery metallic sheen to it.

One more slice, and the vent cap was neatly reattached to its vent hole. No more ventilation on that side, but I tend not to wear these as actual goggles, so it's not really an issue.

My wife purchased a lovely umbrella from the Kraken Rum website, but sadly Colorado's heat and lack of humidity did a number on the hot glue they used to attach the tentacle handle on our first excursion. In examining the handle, I found that the hole in the handle was deeper than the shaft of the umbrella, so I employed the other mixed-media putty to effect a repair. After measuring the precise depth, I prepared a chunk of putty and filled in the extra space, then wrapped the umbrella shaft in a thin layer of putty and pressed it into place. I scraped off the excess - this will also probably require a little touch-up paint to finish the job, but so far the handle is holding. Will have to take it outside again to test the putty adhesion, but so far so good.

And for good measure, I picked up a sample pack of Sugru, the air-cure silicone rubber that Makers everywhere have been going nuts about. I plan to repair my headset with it - the volume control wheel's casing fell off during AnomalyCon earlier this year, and the bare wires aren't particularly attractive - but a nicely shaped bit of Sugru should enclose the circuit board and leave the wheel exposed, so that it's still functional.