Ok, I originally pitched this as a group build idea...but looking at it in more detail, it's really too cheap to do to be any use amongst a group. I've decided to try my hand at this & need some bits & pieces to do it correctly.
First up, a UV light box:
For obvious reasons, the sunlight here in Ireland is as far from dependable as you can get. We get patchy, low intensity sunlight for most of the year (if we're lucky!). Combined with sketchy results like swirling, I've decided to go the light box route. Basically the idea is to build a small box, in which there will be a lid/door to block out all light. Inside the box there will be a UV light source, so any plastic that gets placed inside will be exposed to consistent & balanced UV light, giving much better results by all accounts. The inside of the box will be lined with reflective foil (tin foil), to keep the light inside as broad & spread out as possible. Here's what I've done so far:
I've also picked these up:
T5 8W fluorescent light fittings x2
UVA 8W G5 bulbs x2
Still to get:
A roll of cling film to wrap any plastic going into the UV box. This prevents the retrobrite drying out, which creates bleaching/stains on the plastic.
Retrobrite itself, by all accounts this stuff is retrobrite in a bottle, and is available easily enough:
Once obtained, I'll fit the fixtures to the lid of the box & begin the trials!
Looks good! I'd experiment using a ziplock bag as well as the clingfilm. Its actually a little tough to keep air out of little pockets in the clingfilm and can dry out small bits faster than others. I've had good and less than good results with clingfilm.
Keep us updated though!
Cheers for that, have you tried it with zip-lock bags & found it to be better in that regard?
They sell that Oxy stuff you need to help make the real stuff in the Euro shops by the way.
Might be helpful to add it to this mixture maybe?
Yep was thinking the same myself, though given the stuff from the bottle is already thickened, I'm not sure how adding Oxy would affect it (or the ratio I should add it in etc).
I've only used it once in the zip lock bag and it turned out decent enough. It also resolves the problem of the clingfilm sticking to the surface which can create slight overlapping of the plastic which can keep out the rays and create little lines.
As for the Oxy, the stuff in the bottle is pretty much the real stuff anyway so I don't think you'd need the Oxy either. The Oxy was usually just a sort of first step or just added to the ingredients to boost it.
Is it necessary to seal in the 'stuff' at all when using a light box ? The heat generated should be low and the exposure time should be much shorter ?
From what I've read, it's still kinda necessary (see post #10 & 18 here), depending on the bulb type used. Do the above bulbs I got give off much heat normally?
Oxy is not to thicken it, that's what the Xantar gum does. The Oxy is added just before you apply the Retr0brite as an activator for the peroxide mix. Without the activator it won't work very well at all.
A lot of people skip the Oxy and wonder why the results are not great. It's the TAED (Tetraacetylethylenediamine) in the Oxy that works as a catalyst so you need to make sure that's what's in the Oxy you buy.
Not sure really, you're the one that'll be doing all the experiments for us and reporting back the best method
Easy for you to say.
Best of luck with this, pass the tinfoil box around when you are done.
Interesting, though my point was I'm not sure if adding Oxy will make the already thickened 'stuff' even thicker, to the point where it just turns into useless gloop. If adding Oxy, should I be adding a small amout of a diluting agent to keep the 'stuff' at the right consistency?
A DIY UV Light Box you say?