So, I've had a million questions and assumptions thrown at me about both acrylic eyes and resin eyes. I don't mind answering questions but it does get to be a bit tedious (and sometimes rude with the assumptions people have thrown at me and other suit makers).
This will have a ton of information on it and as such I cannot sit and do it in one go, nor do I think it would be right if only I were the one that got to attribute to this. I'm going to fill up the most asked and most commonly mistaken and then add to it when I have spare time.
So far Drakonicknight (Myself), Phazonalloy (Sniper), Breakspire (Skullery), Crystumes, and Keeatah (Kandorin Creations) have helped with this.
First and foremost, is there a better choice?
-No, a lot of things come down to personal preference and stylistic choices.
A style of cutting a gem or bead that results in a form that is usually a convex top with a flat bottom.
Acrylic and glass eye blanks are normally referred to as Half rounds, or cabochons, when looking for places that provide them it's helpful to use that in the search engine.
Which is more realistic?
Out of anything taxidermy eyes are typically the most realistic but they aren't what this post is really about. Resin makes a more realistic overall look, acrylic and glass blanks are too shiny. Though the shinier versions tends to be more inviting with a more lively look.
Can I see through them?
-No, even when they are not painted you can not see through them. Trying to do so can mess up your eyes or make you ill. You need to use tear duct vision holes with any of these eye types.
Do they follow?
Yes and no- half rounds will follow as is (think sphere cut in half) but thinner versions will not. Some resin blanks will need to have another adhered to it's back in order to create this illusion as most people use paint pallets to make their blanks. The difference is the concave shape of the half rounds and the flatter shape of the others. This however can be changed if you make a deep enough mold for the resin eye or just making sure to buy half rounds (IE: make it similarly sized to the acrylic eyes for the mold). Example: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/11982122/
Why not just get a sphere, wouldn't that be better for an eye?
Not only would it be too large/heavy for a fursuit head but it would create too drastic of a following illusion. you would never see the pupil unless you were in the sweet spot. This would however work for a black beady eyed rodent.
Can I get them in different sizes?
Yes- you can get a variety of sizes with each one. I will list the most common sized below but you can get any size if someone makes their own mold or a variety from different suppliers.
There are smaller than this but they aren't relevant for our uses.
7/8"/22.225mm Diameter (Too small for traditional eyes, maybe for a multiple small eyes monster)?
1"/25.4mm Diameter (Very small, not recommended).
1-1/4"/31.75mm Diameter (Size I use for smaller eyes).
1-1/2"/38.1mm Diameter (Size I usually make).
2"/50.8mm Diameter (Very large, good for more toony suits with a foam base).
2 1/4"/57.15mm Diameter (extremely large)
Will they yellow?
Resin will yellow over time, acrylic and glass will not.
Is one clearer than the other?
Yes- Resin has a lower clarity than acrylic (and glass I believe). They use acrylic for fish tanks because of that.
There is a specific type of resin that can be just as clear but it's rather volitile:
Do they have bubbles?
Resin will typically have bubbles most of the time unless you have the proper machines. Acrylic bought from a supplier may have 1-2 pinpoint sized ones here and there but it's never been noticeable and glass should have none.
What side do I paint?
The flat side, if you paint the side that's facing you once it's installed on a suit it will not look right at all.
How do I put them in the head?
You can use hot glue, E6000, epoxy, and most glues to adhere it to the head. DON'T glue directly to the paint though, put fleece or something on the back to save the paint.
Reason: http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb204/Anarchpeace1/fuckedupeye_zps290b8e31.jpg Provided by Crystumes
Can I paint them?
Yes, both readily accept acrylic paint. Don't use Tempra paints on them, it just falls off both.
Can I print my eye and glue it to them?
Yes, you can print and use an adhesive to adhere it to the backs of the eye.
What do you use Drakonic?
I use E6000 with my prints to adhere them. You have to make sure every possible air bubble is out, and you have to baby sit them for about 20 minutes to make sure no air bubbles appear out of nowhere and that they haven't shifted.
Can I install LED's in them?
Yes- you can install LED's in them, either by drilling into them (resin and acrylic only), gluing to the outside, or for resin you can lay them in while your casting them.
Should I add LED's before painting or gluing paper?
Resin and acrylic only: Drill the holes first but do not install the LED quite yet, trying to drill after they're painted or glued can scuff or alter your paper.
Glass: glue the LED's to them after painting/gluing.
Do they have poor vision with the tear ducts?
Depends on the maker and size they allow for the vision area. Some make them with vision better than traditional toony eyes, some make them worse. Too small of a tear duct and you will be basically blind and too much will be distracting for the audience. Find a happy medium when possible but keep in mind it needs to be at least big enough to suit comfortably. Don't forget that fur will make the tear duct seem smaller once it's made as well!
Are they durable or fragile?
All: I've chucked them multiple times to stress test them. Just dropping them won't break them.
Can they crack?
Resin doesn't and I haven't seen glass ones crack yet, however acrylic can craze.
Crazing: Crazing looks like a network of fine cracks on the surface of a material, for example in a glaze layer. It's a more common term among aquarium specialists with their acrylic tanks.
Do I need to take special care with them?
Resin, glass, and acrylic care consists of no more than normal wipe-cleaning to keep it looking new – but care should be taken to avoid scratches. Do not use chemicals on acrylic eyes to avoid crazing.
Where can I get taxidermy eyes (glass eyes)?
Most people make their own by pouring resin into paint trays. The clear resin found at hobby lobby etc is rather messy and takes day(s) to cure. It's often a jell-like consistency and very smelly. You NEED very good ventilation with these.
Video of casting eyes:
LED Resin eyes in a mask:
You can buy clear resin from smooth-on that has a better consistency to work with but it may have more bubbles depending on what you use. To get it bubble-free you need a pressure pot.
CAUTION: NOT FOR HOME USE. THIS PRODUCT IS FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY - Proper ventilation, a NIOSH Approved Respirator and Protective Clothing are required to minimize the risk of inhalation and dermal sensitization. If breathing is affected or a dermal rash develops, immediately cease using this product and seek medical attention. Read MSDS before using.
When casting anything like this you need proper ventilation, a respirator, gloves, protective eye gear, clothing, etc. Do not just do it in an enclosed area with no protective gear. These will cause very bad side effects/reactions and possibly cancer.
Can I get the resin to make them locally?
Yes! you can go to Michaels, Dick Blick, Hobby Lobby, Walmart (sometimes), Smooth on, and Reynolds Advanced Supplies.
Can I get them locally?
Sometimes you can get them at craft stores, but not often.
Places to purchase wholesale online?
Will it yellow over time?
Yes, resin will slowly yellow as time passes. However fursuit heads aren't eternal themselves so this isn't a life or death thing on it's own just something to keep in mind.
Will resin craze like acrylic does?
No, it is not as reactive to the chemicals acrylic is.
Any size you can get a paint pallet in or you can make your own mold! Or make a mold of an acrylic eye with silicone! You can even buy some silicone molds online for casting in.
Can I make the blanks them self?
I'm not totally sure where to get the product to make it itself, but I'm going to say it's not likely. The acrylic blanks we buy are extruded into their molds. Why bother when the blanks are readily available in many sizes and inexpensive anyway?
Watch this if you want to see someone making something with acrylic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO6259ot9lI&feature=related (its just cool)
Can I get the stuff to make them locally?
Not that I'm aware of.
Can I get them locally?
Not that I'm aware of unless you live close to a supplier.
Just how clear is it?
Optical Clarity: Excellent light transmission, it has a transparency rating of 93%, which is as clear as optical glass. In fact, acrylic passes the most light of any known material.
What causes acrylic crazing?
I've had quite a few accounts of crazing for different reasons. I haven't been able to tie down every reason but I think I've found more than most and avoid some things that cause it. Some people haven't had any though, it's not a huge deal but it's something to think about.
These are thing's I've found to be bad.
Windex or other window cleaners (as picture showed above)
Acetone (nail polish remover)
Keep away from open flame or high heat (heat guns!)
E6000 seems to make it crack at about a 1 out of 20 rate, though it may be another factor I haven't been able to pin down.
High temp glue guns might cause crazing but I'm not sure.
Different providers of the acrylic blanks can also be a factor.
Certain types of dyes, ink, or paints.
Fast temperature changes.
Half round cabochon suppliers:
Look above, I already covered this.
Differences to acrylic
These look very similar to acrylic, and operate the same way in a suit, but they will be heavier. The biggest pro is they will not Craze like acrylic (see above).
Can I drill holes for LED's into these?
No, this is glass, it would shatter or chip off.
Can I make these myself?
I've seen people at ren faires that know how to work with glass so if you have the skill and know how possibly?
Do they follow?
If you can find and buy half rounds yes, make sure that they say this when buying. If they are too thin then the illusion is not going to happen and I'm not sure if you could glue halves together of the thinner version to make them follow like resin.
(these are flat, NOT half rounds!)