Not for Intended Use

Of all the things my team has learned from working on the Bat-Camcorder, the biggest lesson is that you never have to use materials for their original use. In fact, sometimes materials work better if they are not used for their intended purpose.

For example, we very early on tested using XTC-3D, a brush-on coating for 3D printed parts. We brushed it onto multiple prototypes that we then left to dry on paper towels. When we came back the next day to investigate, we found that the 3D coating had dripped onto the paper towel and effectively fused the 3D print with the paper towel. This is when we realized that the 3D coating could be used as a stabilizer and adhesive. Later in our project, we used the 3D coating to adhere our skin texture to our 3D prints and had really great success! By brushing on the 3-D coating and then pressing our skin texture onto top, we achieved and even adhesive that also drys clear and stays solid.

Speaking of the skin texture, we had lots of tests for this as well. At first, we thought we would cast it in Dragon Skin, a silicon very commonly used for skin texturing in makeup prosthetics. But then we heard about Rosco Crystal Gel from our professor, Karen Maness. Typically, Crystal Gel is used as a scenery coating for finishing on large sets and other theatrical elements. It is a nontoxic water based plastic that is non-toxic and dries to a rubbery consistency when exposed to air. Our team lovingly related its texture to that of a fruit rollup. One of the thing we really like about the Crystal Gel was its ability to retain textures as well as it light weight and durability.

The pigmented Crystal Gel is stuck onto the 3D printed body using XTC-3D coating.

When working on projects, especially weird and fun one like this, it is always good not only to do samples but it also keep that information and reactions in the back of your mind for future application. You never know how thing may work together, but it never hurts to try.

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