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Lens fabrication question...

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I am trying to make a "mirrored lens" by applying window tint behind the existing lens; however, the lens that came with my SC kit is flat.


When I bend the lens to fit into the mask, the tinting wrinkles in a few spots, so it appears that it may be better for me to pre-bend the lens first, and then apply the tinting.


Does anyone have any suggestions for bending a flat piece of thin plexiglass. The trusty heat gun just made things worse... the edges curled up and the middle of the lens warped.

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My suggestion that will help you out in the long run is to get already mirrored and tinted lenses. You can find them as either football or lacrosse lenses. I found mine on eBay.

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Or you could get a motorcycle visor that flips down. I used that for my mirrored lens.


Did you have any trouble cutting the motorcycle visor to fit inside the mask? I've found a few on Amazon, but wonder what kind of cutting tool I'll need to get through it...

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I haven't ruled out the motorcycle lens idea yet, but I thought I'd try the "boiling water" option first. This may be an epic fail, but I've got nothing to loose since I've already got the plexiglass cut out. It took about 20 minutes to get the plexiglass soft enough to bend. I got it nice and warm on either side over the top of a sauce pan, and eventually pushed it down into the boiling water. Once "soft", I used the side of another sauce pan as a mold to create an even curve. Got a much better result than I got with the heat gun for sure! The curve may not perfectly match the inside curve of my mask, but it should be close enough to keep the tinting material from blistering.


More pictures to follow once the mirror tint it placed.








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I got the lens installed this evening and I think it turned out fairly well... I got the tint material placed and worked out the bubbles as best as I could. A handful of small bubbles remain but I hope they'll work themselves out over time. The good news is that there's NO CREASES or WRINKLES! :icon_bow: Worse case scenario... I may have to attend window tinting class and apply a new sheet to eliminate the bubbles. Behold...




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So..... the bubbles don't seem to be "working themselves out" and they're bugging me. After half a day of contemplation, I thought of another option... rather than peel and stick the reflective tint material to the plexiglass, I thought I'd try to sandwich an unpeeled piece between two flat pieces of plexiglass and bend to fit. I think it's a big improvement. No more bubbles, and no wrinkles either. Let's just see if this holds up now....





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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I feel like I need to follow up with you all regarding the outcome of my "experiments" just in case someone in the future wants to reproduce or improve upon my efforts....


After a few days, the tinting material used in the "sandwich technique" began to sag and droop. Up close, it just didn't look good, so I tried to reapply tinting to the curved piece of plexiglass. Using a squeegee, I was able to get a very good adaptation to the plastic lens material and let it set up overnight. Unfortunately as the lens needed to be slightly flexed to fit within the mask, the tinting began to wrinkle in the center again. Unless you can get the exact curve reproduced, it will be a challenge to keep this material affixed properly.


So, I've resorted to ordering reflective lens material from http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/11378/i/afx-fast-shield. I'll let you know how that goes soon enough!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just made new lenses for my TX bucket. I bought a piece of clear acrylic from home depot for like $10.00 it was a 36" x 36" sheet and it's nice and thick. Then I measured the inside of the bucket with a tailors tapemeasure to get the rough size of the lens. I cut the size out of the acrylic and put it in the oven on the lowest setting which is 200. I've worked with this material many times so I knew how long to wait. I took it out when it was flexible and put it in place in the bucket very carefully as it will scratch easy while hot. like I said it's hot so I had a towel and very carefully held it in place and let it cool. I went to Walmart and got 2% window tint with metal flake to reflect light. It has a sticky back so its very easy to install. You do however need to buy a install kit, it comes with a rubber wiper and solution to help install the tint. It's awesome, no matter how you look into them from the outside you can't see in even in direct sunlight and it's super clear. Sorry unlike me not to take build pics but I don't have any. I'm thinking of making another one so when I do I'll post pics.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I used both techniques, the boiling technique works very well and won't let it over heat causing bubbles and distortion but won't get hot enough for thinker plastic. The oven works very well but if too hot or left in too long it will make the plastic bubble and distort so you have to watch it closely. Once you get the right temp and time it works very, very well. I have used this acrylic to make little flat clips to hold wiring in my chest armor and back plate and also to repair cracks. The lenses came out very well but the acrylic will scratch easy when hot and even at room temp it will scratch so you just have to be carful. I'll get picks of it and post later.

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