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About Cali_Nole

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    Lincoln, CA

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  1. Hi Kaleb and welcome. I'm still a newbie here myself, just received my ATA armor a couple weeks ago, so my build is still in it's infancy. Check out all the pinned threads in the "Getting Started" section, but I found the following particularly valuable when I started my research. Acronyms are widely used here on FISD and this thread is super useful for understanding them: As far as armor makers, the following thread is a must read. You really can't go wrong if you stick to the vendors on this list. And yes, I did read all 57 pages! As mentioned above, research is key. Good luck!
  2. Thank you Glen. I was definitely trying to be "rough" with the cut lines. I'm trying to always remember to cut conservatively at first, fine tuning later. And thanks for the reminder regarding the ears, I was holding them up to the sides when marking my lines, kind of visualizing how they'll cover the seems, but I do still need to do a rough trimming of them to get a better idea. I was hoping to just give myself a good jumping off point.
  3. Ok, so feedback time. Still have to get back to my TD this weekend, but I am going to build my bucket after the TD, so I did some preliminary marking up of the back and cap and a little pre-planning. If you see anything "off", please feel free to call it out. I knew from my research that the lids are definitely not perfectly round, perfectly smooth, or perfectly lined up. But until I pulled out the pieces and really started handling them and planning things out, I didn't have a true appreciation for the wonderful wonkiness of these helmets. Many, many quirks to them for sure. Anyways, I will be referring quite a bit to pandatrooper's ATA helmet how-to. I've marked some things out for feedback before I start cutting. Front of cap was not close to being straight, as seen below, but still did have slight "mold/pull lines", so I clamped a metal ruler aligned as best I could with the cut lines and marked my line with a china marker. Below shows the ends of the above marked line terminating under the traps. In the photo on the left, I will probably cut just above the marked line, to more align with the front of the cap, but it was difficult to get the line marked with not much surface there. I then followed the the mold/pull lines down for the vertical S lines, leaving more rough material than I think I will need, keeping in mind I can always take more off, can't put it back on. Oh, and I will be sure to drill out a hole at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines, as I have read it can create a stress point or tear cutting sharp angles here. Marked line for rear/bottom of cap and back: And finally the face. I haven't marked any lines here yet but I will be cutting along the well defined mold/pull lines along the neckline. Also as you can see in the first photo, the left side of the face extends further back than the right, so I'll even that side up a bit, using the mold/pull lines shown in the second photo, again leaving more than I think I will need. Again, if any of my thoughts / plans / lines here seem out of whack, please let me know...thanks!
  4. Hahaha! I swear, I looked at my screen when I took it and for a split second thought I had my phone in "selfie" mode!
  5. I was hoping someone would get a little chuckle out of that.
  6. Affirmative sir! If there were a top 10 of most common missed details on approvals, that would have to be near the top. Along with fully painting ATA ab buttons to the edges. I KNOW I'll miss my share of details, but hoping to avoid some of the common ones for sure.
  7. Only had a little bit of time to work on the kit this evening, so instead of TD work, I figured I'd do a little bit more slicing and dicing. Decided to do the rough cuts of the ABS belt, thigh ammo belt, belt rivet covers and ab button plates. It's not much, but at least it was another small step in the right direction. So again, ATA kits come entirely untrimmed: Since these were all straight line cuts, I used score and snap for all. On the underside / inside of all the pieces, the corners are really nice and sharp (tried to capture that in the photo below). These provided perfect grooves to guide the blades for scoring. Scored and snapped below. Again these are just the initial rough trimmings to get rid of the extra pull material. I will size and clean them up at a later time. And yes, I will be sure not to round the corners on the ab button plates.
  8. It definitely helps knowing what to expect before getting started. Even then, the unexpected is sure to pop up every so often. I couldn't even imaging trying to do this without research. Thanks so much, Glen. It was both nerve-wracking AND exciting finally putting scissors and blades to plastic!
  9. Thermal Detonator #1 As always, please feel free to chime in with comments or concerns. Ok, managed to find a little time today to work on the TD caps and control panel. I realized as I was working, I was forgetting to take photos. I'll try to take more as I continue on. Most of you know, but I'll mention anyway, ATA caps and control panel come untrimmed and are made to fit a 2" diameter pipe (from what I understand, a little smaller than other kits). I was able to pick up some white 2" PVC pipe, but work on that will be next weekend. I used the reference below as a measurement guide. I also borrowed some tricks from Caleb's (MaskedVengeance) build thread. Caps were first. No photos, but I marked a line at 20mm with a pencil and used lexan scissors to trim away excess, a few mm short of my line. I then added tape from the guideline to the top of the cap, leaving the few mm's I needed to trim exposed. First I used a Dremel, with 60 grit sanding barrel to knock down the excess to 1mm or less from the edge of the tape. I then used a 180 grit sanding sponge, followed by 220 grit paper to finish off. Control Panel came next. First was removing the side "bulbs" (my made up name for them). For the left side in the photo below, I cut as far as I could to the left while still clearing the raised bulb, so that the entire length of control panel is flat. I eyeball centered the piece between lines on my cutting mat and used a piece of tape aligned with vertical lines on the mat to create a somewhat straight, perpendicular line as a cut line. Not sure if this is the best/easiest method, but it came to me and I went with it. I then added a few more layers of tape so my cut line had a raised edge. Used the x-acto knife to lightly score first, two or three passes, then used the utility knife for a couple more passes and snapped away. Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of the taping process, just the end result below. For the other side (right side), I measured about 124mm from the left edge, marked about 4 points along the arc with pencil and then added tape to connect the dots and create the cut line. The reference photo above shows 122mm, but I went a couple additional mm's for when I clean up the edges. Used the same x-acto, utility knife and snap method. For the top and bottom cuts, I used a tailor's tape around the arc. At one end, I started the tape measure as far as I could go to where the curve reverses to the flat trim (hope that makes sense) and made a pencil mark, stretched the tape around arc to the top and made another mark. Repeated for the other end. I then clamped a metal ruler (again, no photos, sorry) connecting the marks on the right and left to use as a cut line and again, used the score and snap method. The photo reference above lists 95mm from top to bottom of the arc, however with the ATA control panel, there was only 90mm, I'm assuming due to these being made for 2" diameter pipe. I'm also assuming this will be ok for approval since it should still be proportional and the reference photo measurements are approximate. Today's end results. The edges of the control panel are still very rough, I didn't have time for sanding and cleaning them up. That will happen next time. I didn't set it up with this in mind, but when I was taking the below photo, it looked like a face. So...I added eyeballs. Probably matches the look on my face working with ABS today for the first time.
  10. Thank you for all the detail you've put into this, Caleb. I'll be starting my build this weekend, and tackling the TD first. As I also have an ATA kit, this will be a very helpful resource for me.
  11. Thanks Glen! Since I already have some rust-oleum gray self etching primer, if I'm not able to source the gray pipe, I'll probably go this route. I have read the return edges 101, along with most of the 101s to be honest. All great info. I've pretty much decided on removing most of the return edges, except where they are required to remain. But I will most definitely re-read it prior to trimming. And I'll be sure do "rough" trimming first and throw photos up here for comments before getting carried away!
  12. Well, today was finally BBB day!!!! And USPS was kind enough to deliver my holster and neck seal from DarmansProps along with the BBBs, so it was Christmas in September! Things just got VERY real, lol. I know it's a common initial reaction, but I'll still say it...I opened things up and thought "OH MY LORD VADER, what have I gotten myself into?" Feeling pretty intimidated right now, but I know the fantastic resources and guidance from the awesome troopers of the FISD will help me see things through. I have a somewhat busy weekend, but I WILL find some time to dive in...and I can't wait to get things started! All comments and advice are welcome! So I've babbled enough, on with the photos! I kind of underestimated the amount of space I would need to lay out all the pieces, lol. I know it's a Big Brown Box and all, but it seemed bottomless as I unpacked it. I didn't try to match up rights and lefts just yet. I'll do that when I start working on them. The shins were marked R and L, so at least I won't have to figure those out. Just wanted to make sure everything was present and accounted for. Looks like it's all there, but please let me know if it looks like anything's missing. Thanks Troopers! As I said above, hopeful to get started on actual building this weekend. I plan on starting with the TD. Seems like fairly simple cuts to get used to working with ABS and also some glueing to get used to working with the E6000. One question in regards to the TD: If I'm not able to source gray pipe, is there a specific shade of gray paint required? Gloss or matte? I think I remember reading where someone just used gray primer? Thank you!
  13. No BBB just yet, but USPS has an ETA of this Friday for the big day! So this is a less exciting update. Round two of snap plates last weekend went much better, made 20 double snap plates in the time it took to make 4 in my initial attempt. Biggest key was having a steel bench block with soft plastic base (circular unit with orange on bottom in photo below) to provide a solid platform, which allowed for the weight of the hammer to do all the work (thanks again for the tip on this, Shawn @Firedog). About 4 light hammer strikes per snap and...done! Using a soldering iron also made quick, easy work of hole punching and edge sealing. Oh, and also thanks again to JR (@TheDecisiveRaindrop) for linking AJ's build thread. Wow. So many great nuggets to take away and possibly incorporate into my build.
  14. Thanks for the advice JR. I've already been reading up on build threads (mostly ATA builds), but I had not checked out AJ's yet. I will definitely do so, much appreciated. I've also already made a habit of viewing approval/pre-approval requests, trying to see if I can spot potential issues before seeing what the experts have to say. Still an amateur, but definitely learning a lot from it. Thanks again JR! I can totally relate to the OCD, Joseph! But I can see where that can potentially help with this hobby. I take all the advice I can get to heart, so questions and photos will be plentiful for sure. Yeah, I was pounding away pretty violently with the hammer. I was also using a 4x4 block of wood under the anvil, so with a combination of too much force and soft wood underneath, the anvil was sinking into the wood and not staying level. I've since picked up a steel bench block to place under my anvil and will be mindful of not "jackhammering". Much appreciated Shawn.
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