Invisibility Shield

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Introduction: Invisibility Shield

So, you want to make an invisibility shield, eh? Of course you do! Who wouldn't want the ability to become invisible? Watch the video above to see the fun you can have with an invisibility shield made from a sheet of Lenticular Lens. Are you excited yet?!

Enter this raffle to win my invisibility shield (the raffle benefits a charity fighting hunger), or get started making your own by ordering your supplies:

Supplies:

Step 1: Cut the Polycarbonate

First you need to cut your shield and handles out of your piece of polycarbonate, following my PDF drawing (below). You can use a CNC table router if you have access to one, or you can use a hand-held router, reciprocating saw, bandsaw, circular saw, handsaw, or even a well trained beaver with sharp teeth who likes a good challenge.

Special Note for CNC or Hand-Held Routers: It's fine to leave the internal corners rounded. Mine were, and the results were great! The little radius was barely visible when compared to the overall size of the part. I used an 1/8 inch diameter O-Flute bit from Onsrud, it cuts sooo goood.

Step 2: Bend the Tabs

Next, bend your tabs back. The exact angle is not important, just bend them far enough so that you can't see them when you're looking at the front of your shield.

What's that? You've never bent plastic before? With most plastics it's pretty difficult, but you're in luck because you're using polycarbonate! This plastic is really easy to bend and you don't need to heat it or do anything special, just bend it! While you're bending, you might feel afraid it's going to snap.... but don't worry, it won't snap because polycarbonate is special like that. It's the bendable plastic of your dreams!

I bent my tabs using a bending machine called a finger brake, but you can use a shop vise or whatever you have available to you. I even bent one of the tabs just using my bare hands during my prototyping process. I just tapped into some leftover teenage angst and pushed with all my strength and it bent! I'm not a super strong person. As you can see in the photos my body was mostly designed for typing, so you can probably do it too.

Step 3: Glue the Lenticular Lens to Your Shield

Remove the oddly satisfying plastic film from the front of your shield, and set it on some boxes or whatever you have nearby to raise it off the floor.

Make sure your shield and lenticular sheet are clean of dust before you proceed. I wiped mine with a microfiber cloth sprayed with alcohol, but you can also use a paper towel.

Next, take your two 50 ml vials of Optically Clear Adhesive, and spread the glue on your polycarbonate in the pattern you see in my photos. The pattern helps prevent air bubbles. To get all the glue to come out, you'll need to push the plunger all the way into the vial using a pen or stick or whatever's handy.

Now, carefully place your lenticular sheet onto the glue. The lenticular sheet has a smooth side and a side with ridges. Make sure to place the smooth side against the glue, so the ridges are facing away from the shield.

Use your hands (or a roller, if you purchased one) to push down HARD on the lenticular sheet and force the glue to spread out and fill the entire air gap between the polycarbonate and the lenticular sheet. If you see an air bubble in the glue, press down hard and squeeze and push that bubble to the edge of the sheet where it will pop and disappear. Special Note: The roller makes this much, much easier because it concentrates your forces to produce a higher pressure. I hope you bought the roller! I did the first one without the roller and my muscles were really sore the next day.

The glue gets everywhere so when you're done, carefully clean any glue mess from your shield using a paper towel or microfiber cloth soaked in alcohol.

Step 4: Cure the Adhesive With UV Light

Hang your UV light above your shield. I used a backdrop stand and some spring clamps, but you could use a broom handle suspended across two stools, or whatever you have handy. The UV light should be about 10 - 20 inches (25 - 50 cm) from your shield. If your light is too close, the light won't spread to the edges of your shield.. but if it's too far, the light won't be concentrated enough to cure the glue.

Turn on the light and let the adhesive cure for 24 hours. Depending on how powerful your light is, you might find that some adhesive towards the edges of your shield is not hardened even after 24 hours. If so, move your light above the uncured section and wait another 24 hours.

Finally, remove the last layer of protective film, and clean any last bits of uncured glue with a microfiber cloth or paper towel soaked in alcohol.

Step 5: Attach the Handles

Cut your Optically Clear Adhesive (OCA) sheets so that they are about 1/4 inch (6 mm) less than the width of your tab. This will make it easier to align.

Your OCA sheets have not one, not two, but THREE glorious protective films. Remove the first two layers (the widest and second-widest) of protective film to expose one side of the adhesive. Now stick the OCA sheet to the tabs and press down hard to get a good bond.

Next you need to remove the final protective film from the OCA sheet. This one is super hard to get with your fingernails. You can do it by carefully using a utility knife or hobby knife to peel it back, but be prepared for a little frustration. Instead, if you bought the optional OCA film removal stickers, stick one to a corner of the film and press it down hard with your fingernail to get a good bond, then slowly peel back the film and you'll see how amazingly easy this step is with the right tool (the film removal stickers).

Finally, remove the protective film from your polycarbonate handles and stick them on to your tabs. Press down super hard with your fingers to make sure the adhesive sheets bond well to the polycarbonate.

Step 6: Become Invisible!

Have fun becoming invisible. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

This magical illusion is pretty easy to use, as long as you follow this one weird trick: The background really needs to have strong horizontal stripes. It could be stairs, aluminum siding, bricks, a chair rail on a wall somewhere, a dark TV on top of a single-color stand, really anything that has clearly visible horizontal stripes.

To see more of my fun projects, follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe for email updates when new projects come out.

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    105 Discussions

    0
    himangee
    himangee

    9 hours ago

    Amazing!!🤩 My mouth was literally open all the time..
    Want to make this one but don't have things to make it.. So sad..😢
    Thanks for sharing!! :D

    1
    MrErdreich
    MrErdreich

    3 days ago

    This is really awesome, you seem like an phenomenal teacher (assuming that's what you do?) and an above and beyond first instructable! Well done!!

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Reply 3 days ago

    Hi Mr Erdreich, thank you so much for those super kind words! I really appreciate it.

    1
    tpotwinnow
    tpotwinnow

    8 days ago

    This. Is. So. Dope.

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Reply 3 days ago

    OMG thank you so much!

    1
    raddevus
    raddevus

    Question 8 days ago

    Why/how does this work? Thanks

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Answer 8 days ago

    Hi Raddevus! There's a visual explanation of how this works around 1 minute into my video. Check it out! I hope you enjoy it: https://youtu.be/uuM_KVs3xnM

    1
    dohelpinspire
    dohelpinspire

    6 days ago

    So well done. Thank you for making invisibility shields even better!

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Reply 3 days ago

    Hi! Thank you so much for the super kind words :-)

    1
    mdm2005
    mdm2005

    Question 5 days ago on Step 6

    Very cool project and funny video :)
    I would really love to make this, but hailing from Europe it would cost me $45 alone for shipping the lenticular lens. Could you give me some more information on the sheet such that I can try finding some seller over here?

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Answer 4 days ago

    Hi and thank you so much for the kind words! The lenticular sheet is 28 x 40 inches, 40 LPI. I hope you're able to find a supplier closer to you.

    0
    mdm2005
    mdm2005

    Reply 4 days ago

    Thanks for the quick reply! There seem to be many suppliers here and 40 x 28 inches seems to be a pretty international standard. But of course small quantities will be a problem... Could you please tell me what the thickness of your sheet was? 3 mm perhaps? (i.e. 15/172 inch or whatever you use over there :P )

    Edit: Thinking about it, isn't the optical path determined by the thickness of the sheet plus the thickness of the polycarbonate? Did you experiment with the combination of both?

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Reply 4 days ago

    Happy to help. The material is 0.033 inches thick which is about 0.8mm

    Oh also the viewing angle of the lenticles is 49°

    The polycarbonate didn't seem to change the optics much.

    1
    DonutAtwork
    DonutAtwork

    4 days ago

    This can be made at home. Amazing!

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Reply 4 days ago

    I'm so happy you enjoyed it :-)

    2
    MichaelL628
    MichaelL628

    7 days ago

    Brilliantly worked on and created I love the fact that you wear in some of the picture's a red striped top and glasses reminding me of wears wally something because of your creativity and learned knowledge you are not. well done many a stage illusionist would love to use to there advantage.Thank you for sharing

    0
    IanCharnas
    IanCharnas

    Reply 7 days ago

    Michael, thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :-)

    0
    MichaelL628
    MichaelL628

    Reply 5 days ago

    Your welcome.. I was serious about creating a stage illusion ;^)