Intro: Cyclops Optic Visor Cheap and Easy DIY Prop Tutorial
This visor is based off the more classic style from the early X-Men comics. The build is fairly easy but if you want to make it light up, you'll need some soldering skills or time to learn. I bought the base pieces of this build from the Dollar Tree. Approximate cost of the building materials was $20. This doesn't include speaker wire but that shouldn't be very expensive. You can build without power tools but it'll take longer and be a bit challenging. Rather than solder you can use the twist and electrical tape method. Utilizing the tap lights, you can "fire" the visor just like Scott Summers! Excelsior!
- x2 mini self adhesive tap lights
- x1 plastic omelette pan
- x1 red plastic transparent cup
- x1 sheet of 5cm craft foam
- x1 small sheet of mylar/tin foil or anything with a reflective surface
- x1 momentary switch
- decent length of speaker wire or any conductive wire
- hot glue or contact cement
- sand paper medium and fine grit
- x1 can of plasti dip any color
- x1 can of yellow spray paint
- x1 can of gloss (optional)
- length of elastic band (whatever amount wraps around your head)
- x2 red LEDs (optional)
- safety goggles
- rotary tool
- box knife/exacto knife
- soldering iron
- wire cutters
- needle nose plyers
Step 1: Prepping the Omelette.... Pan
The omelette pan will serve as the main body of the visor but first it must be cut to shape. Start by sanding the inside edges where to two halves meet when closed then glue it shut. Sanding helps adhesives and paint stick to surfaces better. I used contact cement for this which you apply on each half and wait a few minutes until the glue isn't as glossy looking.
Next, begin to remove the unnecessary part of the pan, it already has a nice line that divides the front and back so follow that guide using a cutting wheel on your rotary tool. *cutting wheels don't like curves and will snap and pieces can fly at your face so don't worry about removing all of the material right now. ALWAYS WEAR SAFTEY GOGGLES! This can also be done with a knife or other cutting tool. Now use the sanding drum on the rotary tool and smooth out the rough cuts and remove the remaining bits. Also remove the front opening switch bit thing.
*The amount of surface between the two halves in minimal, I reinforced the connection with hot glue after cutting out the lens slot but you may want to before as you will be removing a lot of the surface the connects the halves. I waited until after because I used hot glue which gums rotary bits but something like super glue is very solid and easy to cut through.
The visor hole is a bit tricky, you made want to make it more narrow or wider than I did. I made mine 1" thick and it starts 1.75" in from each end. Since the front is curved, I recommend using a fabric measuring tape so it can wrap around. I made a dash line where to cut by measuring a half inch up and down from the center line. Again use the cutting wheel to remove the bulk and the sanding drum to finish the job. Oh and use the sanding drum to make a nose groove, I sanded in 1/3-1/2 of the wheel circumference which fit my nose.
Once you've completed this, sand it! Low or medium grit work fine. Sand the entire thing and make sure all jagged edges are smooth.
Step 2: Forming the Foam
This is probably the quickest and easiest part. Using craft foam, build up the insides of the visor in the gaps between the edge and where the lens slot begins. Cut six 1"x1" foam squares, three for each side, then glue them together. Next, cut two more pieces of foam, these will be 3"x1", glue to the initial foam pieces.
Step 3: Prepping the Tap Lights
Start by disassembling both tap lights. The bottoms have an adhesive, remove those by whatever means necessary then sand. There are some things you can skip if you're not planning on wiring up the LEDs, such as removing the power switch and LEDs from both lights. I only rigged my visor up to use two LEDs and have one fire button which utilizes the tap light function. You could do both but the additional batteries would add quite a bit more weight.
With that said, remove the LEDs and circuitboard/power switch from both tap lights. Sand all exterior pieces. Take one of the inner pieces of the tap lights and drill a hole in the center large enough for a couple wires and the momentary switch leads to pass through. Reassemble one tap light and leave the inner piece with the hole for later. Glue the non functional tap light to the craft foam (glue to which ever side you don't want to fire), leave little to no gap between the light and the omelette pan. Glue just the base of the other tap light to the other side. You are now ready to paint!
Step 4: Paint Everything
Take your parts outside to paint (or inside if you do that). You should have three pieces, one tap light shell, one tap light top, and all the rest of the visor that is already assembled. I like to hang up items that need paint all around but you can just paint them on the ground a rotate. It will just take a bit longer. Hit everything with 1-2 coats of plastidip. Normally you would want more around 5 coats of plastidip but that's when the majority is craft foam. In this case most of it is plastic but the plastidip will seal the foam and still primer the plastic. Give each coat 30 minutes to dry. Now hit it with the yellow paint, as many layers as needed. Additionally, you can put on a layer of gloss. This gives the paint a bit more protection as well as a nice sheen. Makes it a bit more comic like to me but you can just rely on the gloss of the yellow paint, assuming you didn't buy a matte finish.
Step 5: Soldering
Soldering is a bit tricky and I've been working at it for over a year now. I suggest watching some youtube tutorials if you don't already know how as I will not be covering how to solder, just the info that pertains to this build. This part took the most time and was the most challenging as I had to fit a momentary switch inside the tap light. You will be using the original leads and battery compartment of the tap light. Measure longer lengths of wire than you think you need just in case. Since the base of the light will be glued down to the main body, extra wire length will allow for easier change out of batteries. I used two red LEDs that I salvaged from other dollar tree toys but you can use LEDs from the tap lights since you have the red tinted cup for a lens, however the LEDs give a much deeper red. A momentary switch is one that makes an electrical connection while the button is being pressed much like Scott's visor in the comics/tv shows/movies.
You will have to trim part of the leads off for the switch to fit, I cut them flush so there were no more square holes on the ends. Next you want to bend them inward. You may need to make the hole in the tap light innards a bit bigger to accommodate the switch. Preferably you'll want both LEDs as close the the edges of the visor as possible to allow more room to glow. I misjudged the space and came up a bit short and the LEDs sit more towards the middle but it still turned out great! You will want to make sure to run the wires through the hole of the tap light base before you solder. The hole will or should only be big enough for the wires and switch base to fit through.
Step 6: Visor Lens, Installation, and Final Touches
You're so close to being done! Take that red transparent cup you bought and measure a segment that's 8.25"x1.25". Dremel out that segment and sand the edges smooth. Placing the lens in the visor should be easy, it looks like it's too small but it's not. This lens will sit back a bit from the front of the visor opening. You may want to round the edges for a smoother fit but essentially you want to jam one side in then the other. Once it's in place, use some glue to make sure it's not going anywhere.
Now you just need to place the LEDs and give them a bit of glue to hold them in place. Finally, use you mylar, tin foil, or whatever reflective material you have and glue it on the inside of the visor. This will help the light fill more of the area. The final thing to do it glue in the elastic band. Feel free to deviate from my plans to affix the visor to your face however you'd like. Other possibilities include velcro, and magnets (how do they work?). I can't give you exact measurements for the elastic but start longer than you think you'll need. Attach them with glue on the craft foam as close to the lens as possible. I glued about a half inch of each end of the elastic to the foam followed by a small scrap of foam to reinforce the strap. Now you're done! Enjoy!