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Old 03-26-2010, 12:08 AM   #1
Didymus
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BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

I really prefer the look of real metal over sprays like Alclad II, but I haven't been able to get BMF to follow tight corners and compound curves without getting all wrinkly at critical points. No matter how much I try to burnish down the wrinkles, they're still visible as thin lines across the smooth surface.

When I've tried clipping notches in the BMF, or tried to put separate pieces next to one another, I've gotten overlaps and gaps.

Are there any tricks to this? Any ways to smooth out BMF when it wrinkles at the edges of, say, a Baby Moon hubcap? Or on the inside edges of a window frame?
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:21 AM   #2
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

I have had success by using a much larger than needed piece and stretching it carefully over the part being "plated". Dog dish caps for instance, I will take a 1" square piece of BMF drawn tight and press the cap into the foil carefully so as not to rip the foil. I have had limited success with this same process on bumpers and other sharp turns of wheels and engine components.

If you want super quality, send your parts off to be plated. by far the best way to get a chrome piece with a flawless finish.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:25 AM   #3
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

If you can't get it to work on wheels, you may be out of luck...get them plated, use Alclad or Spaz Stix (supposedly SS has a new chrome formula that's stronger and more reflective).

As for window trim, try cutting a large piece that will cover the entire area without bending around corners or splicing pieces, and then carefully burnish & trim.

If it can't be done in one piece, plan ahead so that splices are at sharp corners or transitions. Aside from having a model car body plated and then masking it off prior to painting, your choices are relatively limited, and you'll just have to try all the various possibilities and see what works best for you. I would never have the patience to do Alclad window trim; it's just too fragile for the handling needed to be done between doing the trim and finishing the model...and forget using a polish afterwards to do a final detailing.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:54 PM   #4
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

I've kinda given up on paint for polished chrome parts too. I recently covered some smooth blade style bumpers with BMF ultra-chrome. I first polished the piece to get the metal nice and smooth. Then I covered the bottom surface up to the line where the part started to curve upward and burnished it smooth. The next BMF covered the top surface and rounded the blade to meet and just overlap the bottom BMF. After burnishing that down I used some worn 3600 emery cloth to carefully sand just the edge at the overlap so it wasn't noticeable. Then I polished the entire part carefully with paste. Under strong light you can see a very faint scar line but once mounted on the car it hides in the shadow of the surface transition (even a penlight can't spot it). A technique like this will work best on large smooth surfaces.

Paint or plating may be the only solution for intricate shapes. Also, if I get a wrinkle in the BMF I tear it off and start over, with a smaller piece if I have to. Experiment a little. The stuff is incredibly versatile. I even use it as a paint mask.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

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The next BMF covered the top surface and rounded the blade to meet and just overlap the bottom BMF. After burnishing that down I used some worn 3600 emery cloth to carefully sand just the edge at the overlap so it wasn't noticeable.
Overlapping and burnishing BMF "splices" sounds like an art form in itself. Any chance of an illustrated tutorial?

I do appreciate yours - and everyone's - encouragement. Because of the cost and the delay, I'm not quite ready to send parts to a chrome shop, but I definitely want to try the new Spaz Stix formula that Bob mentioned.

Thanks to all.

Tom
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:13 PM   #6
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

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Originally Posted by Didymus View Post
Overlapping and burnishing BMF "splices" sounds like an art form in itself. Any chance of an illustrated tutorial?

I do appreciate yours - and everyone's - encouragement. Because of the cost and the delay, I'm not quite ready to send parts to a chrome shop, but I definitely want to try the new Spaz Stix formula that Bob mentioned.

Thanks to all.

Tom
If you are limited to spray paint like I am, Spaz Stix Ultra Chrome works better if you spray it on top of Primer and Gloss Black. Make sure that the Gloss Black is shiny and just polish the chrome with flanel cloth. I was able to reach mirror-like chrome with this technique.

Have fun and good luck!
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:37 PM   #7
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

Here is what I did. It turned out better than expected. Just go slow and the stuff will stretch quite a bit before tearing. Edit: I sanded parallel to the edge of the BMF, not perpendicular as shown. Sorry 'bout that...
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

As I understand it, you sanded/polished the edge of the first BMF piece before you set another one up against it, and then you parallel-sanded the boundary line between the two pieces. Do I have that right?

I've been mostly using Alclad II, but sometimes it has little nits on the surface, and some areas turn out dull, even if there's a smooth coat of Alclad Black Lacquer underneath it.

I haven't figured out why those things happen, but BMF doesn't have those problems. That's why I tried using it on a set of Baby Moon hubcaps - they need to be really smooth. But with BMF, I kept getting wrinkles on the perimeter. Your method looks great if there's a short boundary in a hard-to-see location, but you can see how it wouldn't work for smooth hubcaps.

So for this job Alclad was the only way to go. I had some extra caps and I managed to get four good ones with Alclad, so I'm happy for the time being. But I'm going to order some Spaz Stix and see if I get a more consistent smooth gloss.

Does anyone know whether Alclad's black undercoat will work with Spaz Stix?
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:51 PM   #9
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

Didymus, don't give up on metal veneers. They have qualities that paint will never match. I think the problem you're having is that you aren't stretching the metal. You have to think of it like a piece of vinyl tape (electrical tape for example). In order to get a flat piece to conform to a 3D surface it MUST stretch.

Next time you are at Home Depot or other home center pick up a roll of aluminum stove pipe tape. It's much thicker than BMF and sticks better too so you can really pull the crap out of it to stretch and conform. The pick below is a piece of stove tape I stretched around the end of a screwdriver (not unlike a babymoon hubcap). I simply went around the edge pulling with one hand and burnishing with the side of a paintbrush handle with the other. You can see some small wrinkles developed as the curvature began to reverse but this was an extreme example and I didn't want to spend more than 5 minutes on it.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:24 AM   #10
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

I agree; real metal looks great. My favorite "chrome" stuff is white metal polished with silver polish.

My hubcaps have turned into a science experiment. I have two sets, so this is a chance to do a little testing.

Before I took CrateCruncher's advice and tried the heavy foil, I had one Alclad'ed set and one set with Dupli-Color Chrome (also over Alclad gloss black undercoat). To my surprise, the D-P set looked much better, more evidence that my Alcladding skills aren't so hot.

I have some of that chrome tape they sell at Pep Boys. It's thicker than BMF and it looks very similar to the stovepipe tape in CC's photo. So I tried it like you said - about ten times on the same hubcap. No matter how I pulled and stretched it, it either tore or wrinkled around the edges. (These hubcaps are small and very curved; they are almost little hemispheres. I think the radius is much smaller than your screwdriver handle.)

But finally, it WORKED! And it looks pretty darn good.

I finally figured out that, after stretching it as much as possible, my burnishing tool (a metal crocheting thingy) could be used to rub the foil toward the edges and eliminate the wrinkles. Then, after cutting off the excess, I used Tamiya Fine compound to polish the cap. It's not all that smooth, but it sure is shiny. It has an actual mirror-reflective finish. (I'm going to take CC's suggestion about sanding to see if it can be smoothed out a bit.) So the thick foil looks better than the Dupli-Color. Which, like I said, looks pretty good.

The only problem is, it might take me ten more tries to get another one right! Lord, give me patience.

Back on the liquid chrome front: A few days ago, Burbank House of Hobbies, my LHS, showed me a bumper/grille that's been chromed with Spaz Stix. Wow! This thing is incredible. It's by far the most realistic rendition of chrome I've ever seen, short of actual plating. And the part is very complicated. I ordered some, and plan to give it a try on one of those sets of hubcaps.

So when I get the SS, I'll try it on whichever is the inferior set at that point. If all goes well with the heavy foil, that may be the D-C'd set. Ultimately, the set that looks best will be the "winner," at least for this application.

After seeing that bumper/grille, I have a hunch that Spaz Stix is going to be my "default" chrome for pieces that are too complicated to foil.

Many thanks again. I'll keep at it and let y'all know how things go.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:08 PM   #11
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

At last report, the thicker chrome foil was in the lead. It's very reflective, so at first glance it seemed to look better than the Duplicolor. But, because of the all burnishing, the finish was uneven. Yep, an uneven mirror finish. Seems odd, but that's what it was.

The more I looked, the better the Duplicolor looked in comparison It's dust free and very smooth and even, even if it doesn't have the sharp reflective mirror surface that you want with chrome.

(It's hard to tell for sure, but I think my "beanie caps" are about half the diameter of the screwdriver handle used by CrateCruncher to test that foil. So you can see how I was getting wrinkles.)

Then the can of Spaz Stix spray showed up.

My first try was a flop. I sprayed it directly over grey Tamiya Primer. It looked dull. It would make a great aluminum metalizer, but it definitely was not chrome-y.

Where did I go wrong? I checked the Spaz Stix website, and lo and behold, their pdf guide warned that Spaz Stix is only for "interior" painting, meaning it's meant to be sprayed on the INSIDE of clear Lexan, the stuff used for RC car bodies. I called my LHS and told them what was going on. They assured me that their bumper/grille sample was an opaque part and that it was painted on the EXTERIOR. (They weren't sure whether the guy had used a black undercoat for that great bumper/grille combo.)

A black undercoat seemed to be the last and only hope. So I stripped one set of caps and painted them with Tamiya Primer and Alclad Glossy Black "lacquer." Then I applied a light, dry coat of Spaz Stix. I let it dry, and gave it a wetter coat.

Finally, SUCCESS! Despite the warnings from the manufacturer, the Spaz Stix looks great. Like the foils, it has a highly reflective mirror finish. And like the Duplicolor, the finish is consistently bright and smooth - no dull areas. There are only a couple of dust specks - not nearly so much as Alclad, which seems to be a monster for dust.

I'm very happy with Spaz Stix. For these little caps, it beats everything else by a mile. But with the HUGE caveat: It has to be sprayed over a high gloss surface. Not just smooth, but high gloss! Alclad glossy black undercoat worked for me; I'm not sure whether other gloss blacks would do as well.

(It's possible that the source of the dust problem is the undercoat. The Alclad "lacquer" undercoat is slow drying. I'd like to see some tests using Spaz Stix over other enamels, over polished Tamiya synthetic lacquer and over glossy acrylic. Adhesion might be a problem, but it would be interesting to find out.)

For less complicated surfaces, I still prefer foil, either BMF or the auto parts stuff. But for tight corners and complex shapes, I've settled on Spaz Stix. I get mine at Burbank House of Hobbies, http://www.houseofhobbies.com. They take orders on line.
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:58 AM   #12
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

So you sprayed a wet coat of SS? That's interesting. I think Alclad goes dull when you apply too much of it. If you have a super smooth shiny surface and spray it very lightly then it looks awesome, but it's very thin and susceptible to wear and damage. It also doesn't seem to dry all that well, I always find it a bit sticky, certainly enough to attract dust if you're not careful.
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:52 AM   #13
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

Those guys at the hobby shop didn't say anything about you having to apply Spaz Stix over a glossy surface? It's just like Alclad in the fact that it goes on in microscopically thin layers, and fairly common knowledge that it must be sprayed over a super-glossy surface for it to be reflective.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:49 AM   #14
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

SS was new to the guys at the shop. The guys hadn't actually sprayed it themselves; they just had a work sample from a customer.

I was "just following orders" when I applied the wet coat. That's what it says to do on the can. The method seems to work just fine; the beanies really look like chrome, especially in comparison to their Duplicolored brothers.
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:06 PM   #15
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Re: BMF Wrinkle Work-Around?

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If you are limited to spray paint like I am, Spaz Stix Ultra Chrome works better if you spray it on top of Primer and Gloss Black. Make sure that the Gloss Black is shiny and just polish the chrome with flanel cloth. I was able to reach mirror-like chrome with this technique.

Have fun and good luck!
Hey hey, I mentioned that couple of posts above! I am glad to hear about your success. I am a Spaz Stix convert also!
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