Solar cells..effective enough.

Discussion in 'Off Topic - Card Modeler Lounge' started by McGee, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    Hello. and good day, I have finally gotten a chance to retrieve an old and as yet unfinished model, but it features a test run on my idea of achieving realistic looking photo voltaic grids or arrays.
    The model in these pictures is a couple models thrown together quick for structure, printed from one of the links at the ninfinger site.
    I will try to make this short and sweet.
    The first thing i did was print the solar cell grid onto a piece of clear acetate that had a blue tiny to it
    After printing the solar cell pattern on the acetate, I lightly sprayed it with a gloss protective coat and let it dry.
    I then reprinted that same image onto a sheet of both gold and silver bare metal foil, so that individual elements could be cut free and applied to the surface of the satellite shroud, where appropriate. You can see where that is done.
    The last think I did was to take a sheet of that silver prism adhesive myllar sticker sheets you can get at craft stores, and lined the pattern up so it was straight with the grid lines, and working forward, to avoid trapping any air bubbles or wrinkles, carefully, laid the acetate image printed side down against the sticker surface, then burnished it down and there it was.
    Since doing this test run, I have tried mylar prism sheets with different patterns on it, and the one that I have decided looks the most accurate, is a sheet thaat has that pattern that looks fractal and like metallic shards of broken glass, pressed paper thin.
    I applied that to the back of a piece of clear blue acetate as well as just plain clear, with a grid printed on it, and the result looks spot on.
    I hope this all makes sense and helps anyone who is interested.
    Note though, that it is trial and error, as I tried this on another piece of acetate, and when trying to print the image of the grid, the ink was not nearly as successful. for some reason, subsequent print trials on different acetates,had the ink pooling or beading up.
    I dont know what the difference was in my first couple trials, except beginners luck, but the pictures show that the method is effective if you have the correct acetate material.

    Attached Files:

    gideon1962 likes this.
  2. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

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    McGee

    First, FANTASTIC JOB, it looks very real (and metallic!). A couple of questions, though:
    1 - if I understood it correctly, you didn't use BOTH foil and prysm adhesive on the same spots, right?
    2 - how did you burnish it?
    3 - could you post pictures of the technique itself? I think it would be more "educational". Maybe even a thread in the "Tips and Tutorials" section?

    It looks really cool, I think it deserves a "spot" of its own.
    CONGRATULATIONS!

    Rogério
  3. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    Rogerio, thank you immensely for the very kind words.
    I would be glad to do an in process step pictutorial. I'll also show a couple of the other foils I have that have a better effect.
    regarding the technique...my long windedness made the process sound way more complicated than it is, so I apologize for that first of all.
    If you look at the one pic that is a really close shot, you can see that the pattern in the solar cells has sort of a continuous rows of interlocking circles sort of look.
    What you're seeing is the back,raw, untinted side of a sheet of prism adhesive backed mylar "paper"
    The other (front) side of that sticker paper, actually has a weird brownish coppery tint to it. If you look close at a few of the pics, you can see the top inside edge of the cylinder...that dark burned copper color you see, is the front side.
    So after i printed the image of the grid on the acetate, i simply cut an approximate size away from the stickered mylar, placed it face down, and peeled the backing off the sticker side, then taking one edge of (the roughly cut to size) printed acetate, just laid it down and slowly worked my thumb forward, while holding the other end up off the sticker, slowly working it down.
    then i just used a napkin and pushed it down on the acetate and worked forward, just the same way you would when trying to apply a sticker to a car window,jst getting a nice clean bond.
    once its down, youre commited..and even if you've just started an end and have to readjust it, it will pull the ink off.
    Its a good even clwan adhesive though and doesn't give any kind of silvering or weird foggyness or un evenness.
    I hope that was a bit easier to understand.
    I will try to track down the various prism mylar sticker sheets i have to show them here.
  4. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    and if i understand your first question right, the bare metal foil was actually applied on the out surface once it was all done. Is that what you mean or did i miss it?
    :mrgreen:
  5. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

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    I think a thread explaining how you did it would make things easier, but I know you need your time, so don't worry about it. :thumb: :thumb:
  6. micahrogers

    micahrogers ...And the Wife...

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    Looks spot on to me for PV cell replication
  7. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    Looks really nice. Knowing how you did it would be nice reproduce in various forms for different models. That tutorial would be a "Sticky". :)
  8. mbauer

    mbauer Cardstock Model designer

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    What type of bare metal foil? Where do you find it at? Really looks cool!

    Very nice job, looks totally realistic!

    Thanks for posting it, brings great projects to mind...

    Mike
  9. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    You are all very kind and very inspiring. I have posted two new albums of pictures in the Albums/Pictures part.
    One album is the pictures featuring several of the various kinds of adhesive Mylar Prism sticker papers I have collected for different types of solar arrays and other uses.
    Ive included some explanatory captions with each image. I will definitely do a picture tutorial with more pics of the other materials and step by step instructions of the process.
    My favorite part about what I learned, is that you can achieve a completely accurate solar array on even really small models, and keep it in scale..no bulk.
    I think when you see the pics of the different patterns available( likely more out there) you will be even more inspired and on fire to apply it.
    I'm really excited to see that this may be a big help and a really nice application that alot of people will be able to maybe use if they want. Another option to add to your library of methods to madness.
    The other album is a handful of pics of am "artistic license" Mercury capsule I did around 10 years ago.
    As you will see, the escape tower sits a bit crooked. It wasnt that way 10 years ago. It's been through several moves and it may be that it has absorbed moisture enough over the years to allow it to slightly warp.
    That said. I hope you enjoy the pics. Its my first time posting pics anywhere.
  10. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    I mean my first time posting pics of any projects to any kind of forum. Let me know if i did it wrong or in the wrong place.
  11. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    The bare metal foil was actually the stuff you can pick up at local model shops. actually its the aluminum and gold BARE-METAL FOIL (tm).
    The model is a bit old and has been handled enough to have worn the ink off of the metal foil bits.
    This was a simple test bed model to try out different tricks, hence the very simplified details.
  12. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    Tomorrow Im going to try to create the frame/grid of a solar array, out of strips of very very thinly cut BARE-METAL foil, applied to the face of acetate, following the printed lines. Crossing my fingers. I really want it to work.
    I know its possible in certain scales.
    I'll picture log it for future submittal with the tutorial..if it's successful.
  13. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

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    McGee

    I've seen both of your albums, and I must say that it really cleared things up. Now I think I've understood completely your process, thanks! Nevertheless, I'll keep my suggestion of posting a step-by-step thread on the Tips and Tutorials section. You'll never know how accomplishing the feeling of sharing knowledge is till you do it! :cool: :mrgreen:
  14. McGee

    McGee Newbie

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    Thank you very much. I have the worst luck ever with computers. Heres how badly. My lady's dad had a short stint at doing computer repair and disgnostic related work contracted by NASA back when he was just out of the military.
    She brought him one of many computers that hsd just dorked out on me, and his comment was " in all my years and of all the jobs i did for NASA, I never saw the kind of damage that he can do to these things. Have you ever watched him? What exactly does he do to get these to crash so hard.?
    I wasnt even looking at "sites of ill repute " either, and all my internet protection stuff was enabled, yet last night shortly after posting all those pics and replies,the computer totally stopped being able to go online at all.
    i mean i could go to the firefox, google, or ie front page but then as soon as I'd type in zealot hobby etc the page would never ever load.
    No pages would ever load through any of the engines. It's still like that today.
    sooooo. Im writing this on a kindle and further pic posting will be awhile. Hopefully not too long.
    i apologize for all this.
  15. Rogerio Silva

    Rogerio Silva Active Member

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    Magnetism is a ...

    McGee

    Do not apologize, man! My wife has the same problem, and sometimes she doesn't even touch the thing... Anyway, I'm always there to help, and it may take some time, but I can get the "poor thing" back on its feet.
    Knowing that peculiar fact about her, I bought her her own computer, and now I can keep mine up and running all the time, so we don't get "internet blinded" when one of the machines goes down (usually hers! :rolleyes:).
    Well, what I've found out so far, but that's just a wild guess: both of you might have those strong, MAGNETIC personalities, and the computer doesn't cope so well with strong magnetism around it (electric fields and all that stuff... :mrgreen:).
    So, you've gotta be a cool guy, with all that magnetism...:cool: :cool: Lucky in love, and unlucky with computers! sign1 sign1
    All the best,

    Rogério
  16. mbauer

    mbauer Cardstock Model designer

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    You have created a very realistic look!

    Read this thread some time ago, took a little while to find it again!

    Great job! Will try this method fairly soon.

    Thank you for sharing it.

    Mike
  17. spaceagent-9

    spaceagent-9 Right Hand Man and Confidant Moderator

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    dollar tree--- birthday metallic paper bags might work too.