So, inspired by this amazing creation on Deviant Art, I decided to have a crack at my own using the Tiffany style of lampshade-making.
Step 1: pepakura
In terms of finding a file, there are millions on the RPF Forum, for instance here. Initially I opted for building one with larger “units” of folded card with the idea of cutting out the glass to match the underlying paper template and then laying it over the top to solder.
Step 2: Making the model
I thought I would be a bit silly and put it atop my mannequin. You’ll be sad to hear the dress featured here never saw the light of day as I, in a momentary lapse of concentration, cut a massive hole in the front of it with my pinking shears in such a way that could not be disguised. The fabric was, however, a lovely cotton from John Lewis that I was sad to have ruined… I will console myself by thinking that the dress looks far better on iron man, than it would have done on me.
I built the model helmet out of thin, slightly shiny card which can be purchased from any craftstore. I opted for shiny on the basis that it would be (a) slightly more rigid and (b) slightly more water resistant should I start liberally start spilling soldering flux all over it.
As you can probably tell, the model helmet was not an outright success. The cardboard was flimsy and held its shape poorly requiring internal struts to stop the cheeks from slowly sagging outwards. It was also enormous i.e., could probably have worn it as a larger than life helmet myself. I could definitely have done some more measuring before plunging into the deep end with this one.
Step 3: cutting out the glass
The below images featured the accumulated equipment, which includes: a cutting mat, some copper foil, a silverline soldering iron, some grozing pliers, running pliers, safety glasses, some soldering flux, 50:50 solder, a pen style cutter, some Novocan black patina, and some Sea Glass Yellow and Red Cathedral from Lead and Light. At this point I did not have my grinder (which made life a little harder also).
Step 4: soldering (a.k.a. making a massive mess of it)
This part was a disaster. While the glass looks lovely laid out like below, this disguises the fact that when it was configured into a 3-d arrangement there were little gaps and crannies that were slightly too large to solder neatly. I probably could have worked around that but I also managed to allow the solder to oxidise and crumble (probably a combination of contaminated and insufficient use of flux). I was also impatient and didn’t fully let the iron warm up each time I wanted to solder an area, resulting in layers of warm solder adhering top of cold solder.
Oh well; lessons have been learned. I have started another attempt at this using a foam model (more stable) and a more incremental cutting method (namely, trying to cut, fit and solder only two or so pieces at a time) to avoid the unnecessary heart ache and duplicative labour when multiple pieces end up not quite fitting exactly.
It takes longer, but probably saves time in the long run (or so I hope…) Anyway, watch this space.