Mirror coating ideas?

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by froland, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. froland
    froland New Member

    I'd like to print a relatively simple 3D object, say a 3D parabola, and then coat it with something to make the surface reflective. It should have mirror-like reflectivity, though quality does not have to be very good. Smallest bending radius would probably in the meter range.

    Does anybody have an idea if of a method to coad or glue on mirrors?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Best way I can think of offhand is to give it a chrome finish. Alclad produce a range of lacquer-based paints which give a really nice metal finish, and among them is a gorgeous chrome lacquer. You need to apply it over a gloss black or dark grey base coat, and it's best sprayed (the bottle's formulated to be used in an airbrush, and they also produce spray cans). The finished result, if done properly, pretty much produces a mirror shine.

    Here's a YouTube video of the stuff in use to show how it's done.

    Hope that helps.

  3. bitstoatoms
    bitstoatoms Member
    Depending where you are, there are some telescope manufacturers the offer mirror recoating services. They use a vacuum process to coat the surface with a front surface mirror. Some kaleidoscope makers have them too.

    Would be fairly high quality though, depending of course on underlying surface.
  4. crsdfr
    crsdfr New Member
    Vaccuum Metallizing works rather well on most 3DP objects. You'll need to make it water tight and baby-butt smooth before the metalization, and flaw in the surface will be immediately visible.

    There's a whole mess of companies out there that do it.
  5. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member
    Sorry for the different topic, but this reminds me that - when I was younger - I was wondering what would happen if you put two parabolic mirrors, of different sizes, one in front of the other with their respective focal points just at the same place.
    Here I draw half of the two mirrors and a sunbeam.
    The parallel sunbeams should all concentrate on this point without possibility to escape...
    I was convinced that I could never try and I forgot the idea.
    Now, what do you think? Is it feasible?

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  6. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    I've wanted to try a similar idea, A combination idea. If you've ever seen a crystal ball, they actually bend the light towards the center. Then I saw a video of this guy in Mexico or something that used empty soda bottles, and put water with a cap full of bleach to light his house. By having the bottles in his ceiling, collecting light and transmitting it below. So I bought a snowglobe, stole the globe, but have yet to fill it with bleach water to test if it will pull the light to the center and glow brightly.
  7. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    Reflective Mylar can be glued on, and it's cheap.
  8. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    Real mirrors work their magic because they have nearly flawless surfaces. Most surfaces created by current printing technologies can't come even close to the tolerances required to produce a true mirror surface. Because of the relatively low densities of most printing processes no amount of post finishing will produce an even edge to edge mirror finish. Selective laser sintering (SLS) might come close but the process is roughly 10x the cost for print services. Better to learn to grind your own mirrors, just like the old days.
  9. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    It doesn't need to be like 'the old days'... loads of ideas here & a satelite dish coated with reflective mylar works very well (good enough to melt aluminium with the right size dish)