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A.J. Hamler

A.J.'s O.F. AM 2.0 Build

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1 hour ago, A.J. Hamler said:

Hi, Dave..

 

I *think* I made those plates 1-1/8" x 2", but I'll check for sure when I go downstairs later this morning.  I know they're 2" long, because I cut them crosswise from 2" webbing, but I'll check the width to be sure.

A.J. I bet if you made a tool that could measure, cut and punch the holes I bet you could sell these to the community, heck I'd probably buy one. This is a fantastic idea  :th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:

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AJ, 

 

Just wanted to again congratulate you on EIB and completing your build. It is fantastic, and awesome to see in person. I am pumped for you, and happy to have been part of your 1st troop this past weekend. 

 

Now onto Centurion! :duim: :dancing-trooper:

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Can't wait to see this build in person in a couple weeks :)

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10 minutes ago, Alay said:

Can't wait to see this build in person in a couple weeks :)

Say Whhaaaa? 

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12 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

Say Whhaaaa? 

Some cross garrison trooping!  He's coming to say hi to us at our Air Museum Expo! :D

 

 

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Some cross garrison trooping!  He's coming to say hi to us at our Air Museum Expo!
 
 
That's so awesome!!

Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk

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Yep, we lived in Connecticut for nearly 20 years -- in the next town over from Sarah, in fact.  Our daughter and grandson Jed (my Young Jedi) still live there and we visit frequently.  I have an upcoming visit that coincides with the CTG "Space Day" event at the New England Air Museum so I asked for permission to fall in with them, and there you go.

 

Really looking forward to it!

Edited by A.J. Hamler
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12 hours ago, A.J. Hamler said:

Hi, Dave..

 

I *think* I made those plates 1-1/8" x 2", but I'll check for sure when I go downstairs later this morning.  I know they're 2" long, because I cut them crosswise from 2" webbing, but I'll check the width to be sure.

 

[A slight pause occurs here.  Well, "slight" if you consider two hours to be "slight"...]

 

OK, I checked and my webbing plates are indeed 1-1/8" x 2".

 

Hope this helps.

 

A.J.

 

Yes, Thank you very much! Glad I asked cause my visual measurements were way off. Sorry that leads to another series of questions...

 

Now that you've trooped using those web/straps, would you say the two inch width is plenty in terms of lateral support (restricting the upper and lower pieces from shifting side to side)? Do you suppose making them a bit wider with the snaps slightly further apart might mean more support?

 

On the converse, many say elastic is the way to go wherever possible due to armor movement flexibility benefits. While I personally want to go with strapping on my back pieces, perhaps wider would be too restrictive? For example, I can take a piece of strapping and shift the upper and lower points I'm clutching ever so slightly getting about 1/8 movement'flexibility out of it.

 

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You could make them wider, but I don't think it would add appreciably, and in fact may restrict movement.  The 2" straps are pretty wide, and give -- for me -- the right amount of lateral movement.  Elastic straps are stretchy lengthwise and not across their width, so the wider the straps the less lateral movement.

 

As to using 2" webbing or 2" elastic.... ah, that's a debate that's been going on here for a long time.  Many people swear by elastic and nothing else, while just as many seem to swear by webbing and nothing else.  For me, I did a mix.  I originally did all elastic, but found that the middle of the Butt Plate tended to push out too far with all elastic.  So, I replaced the center strap with webbing, while leaving the two outer straps elastic and it works much better.  For reference, here's my strapping scheme:

 

TK%20240%20lo-res_1.jpg

 

You can see the three straps joining the Kidney and Butt Plates -- the center one is webbing, the two outer ones elastic.  Those two outer elastic ones aren't the originals, btw.  I found that my first ones were a bit too stretchy, so I made some new ones just a skosh shorter to hold those areas under a bit tighter tension.  Still plenty of give when needed, but the Butt isn't floating around all over the place now.  (I absolutely HATE when my Butt floats around.  It's so undignified.)

 

Hope this helps.

 

A.J.

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Gotcha, My butt plate flares a bit on the outer edges too so I'll likely hot water bath it a bit and consider the elastic route there as well to pull it in if needed.

Thanks again!

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And you're thinking, Ah man, that longwinded Old Fart is back again.  Shouldn't he be yelling at kids to get off his lawn or something?

 

Well, yeah, it is prime yelling-at-kids season, but they're at school at the moment -- or they oughta be, the little juvenile delinquents -- so I've left my lawn unguarded for a little while to bring you up to date on my build.  Haven't updated anything since March, at which time I outlined a few issues:  One was my left Bicep constantly coming loose.  After two troops I knew that I was satisfied with the Bicep position, so rather than replace or add more snaps to the Bicep, I simply squirted a bit of E6000 around the snaps such that it cemented one strap to the other right around the snaps.  Not a lot of glue, but enough that it never comes undone on its own anymore, but would be easy to pull apart if I needed to.  (Thanks, E6000.)  I also had a clicking Sniper Plate, even though I had already added padding in the front of the Shin and Back of the thigh on that side.  A bit of judicious Sniper Plate trimming along the top edge, along with hiking up the thighs pretty much solved that.  

 

The final issue I needed to deal with at the time was the rampant and incessant pinching around the, ahem, nether regions.  The armor bites were terrible, even leading to a bleeding wound at one spot on my leg after three hours of Trooping.  I shaved a bit off both sides of the Cod, as well as off the inner edges of the thighs.  Next troop I still got some bites, but not nearly as many.  I shaved some more off the inner edges of the thighs again, and the problem is all but gone.

 

Since then, I submitted for and achieved EIB (yay!) and intended to immediately go for Centurion.  As always, the EIB review was filled with lots of great suggestions for improvement that don't directly affect Centurion approval, but there were two things I was requested to fix before applying for Centurion:  The gaps between the Shoulder Bells and the Chest plate in front, and the overlap of the Back Plate over the Kidney.  The first was an easy fix by just tightening up the shoulder straps, but that Back Plate was problematic.

 

As anybody who has built a set of AM armor knows, the bottom edge of the Back Plate is a bit odd.  Now, I absolutely love AM armor and consider it to be the best out there by far. 

 

am%20armor%20change%20my%20mind%20lo-res

 

However, it does have a couple quirks and that Back Plate is one of them.  For some armor, the bottom edge of the Back Plate has a nice, flat return edge that mates flat on the top edge of the Kidney Plate.  AM armor is different: That bottom edge isn't anywhere near flat, and the outer tips bend down and out like little "wings."  The end result is that no matter what you do, those wings will overlap the Kidney, which is a no-no in general, and a roadblock to attaining Centurion.  Here's a detail from the back photo from my EIB submission:

 

TK%20243-a%20lo-res.jpg 

 

Notice in the above photo that the actual bottom of the Back Plate is right on top of the Kidney where it's supposed to be (red arrow), but those wings overhang at the sides (green arrows).  What's worse, with those wings overhanging they tend to pull the Back Plate out and down over the Kidney pretty much every time you move.  Here's a look at if from the side just before I started to work on it yesterday.

 

TK%20243-b%20lo-res.jpg

 

How badly the effect is may vary from Trooper to Trooper, depending on body characteristics.  If your upper back arches out at an angle, it's a bit easier to get the bottom of the Back Plate to rest atop the Kidney.  In the photo below, I'm holding the Back Plate out at an angle.

 

TK%20244%20lo-res.jpg

 

If your back arches out, great, but even if the Back Plate is resting in the right place along its width at this angle, good luck getting it to stay there.  Lean forward and your strapping will likely pull the Back Plate down over the Kidney again. 

 

I had brought up this issue way back during my build and got a number of suggestions, most of which dealt with heating those wings and bending them up to make them level.  But I could tell that heating and bending would warp the side edges of the Back Plate because of the amount of return edge I'd retained there, so I balked on heating.  Then, when I got my EIB, I corresponded with JustJoseph about it and got some guidance from him, as well.  Joseph has a set of AM armor, so he knows exactly what this issue is like.  He agreed that trying to reshape them with heat would badly mis-shape the side edges, and suggested that the only real way around it is to start cutting off return edges to reshape those pesky wings.  Again, I put it off because I wanted those edges to stay (my shoulder blades tend to push the Back Plate out, creating gaps at the side that I wanted to minimize with as much return edge as possible),.  However, I want to reach Centurion level even more, so those edges had to be dealt with.

 

After giving it a lot of thought, I determined that a combination of return-edge trimming and heat would be the best way to go.  I started by outlining the cuts I planned to make on the sides...

 

TK%20245%20lo-res.jpg

 

... and along the outer tips of the bottom.

 

TK%20246%20lo-res.jpg

 

It took me a long time to do these cut lines, as I kept redoing them to ensure I started with the minimum amount needed -- I didn't want to cut too much.  I wanted to do this in extreme baby steps: Do some cuts, then do some heat and see what I got.  Then trim some more and heat some more, and check it out.  By the way, remember that last photo above.  You'll see it again a bit later.

 

So, first I used Lexan scissors to cut off most of the waste up to my lines.

 

TK%20247%20lo-res.jpg

 

After that, I headed over to my drill press and used that cutter drum you saw earlier in my build to shave the Back Plate smoothly down to my lines.  Then, I heated those trimmed wings up using a hair dryer and did some bending, starting with the right side wing.

 

TK%20248%20lo-res.jpg

 

In the photo above, you can see the result after several cycles of trim/heat, trim/heat, trim/heat.  I was indeed taking it slow.  Satisfied that I had the right side as good as I could get it, I did the same trim/heat, trim/heat, trim/heat routine on the left wing.

 

TK%20249%20lo-res.jpg

 

OK, both sides are looking pretty good, and you can see how the bottom edge is now more or less straight across with no corner wings dipping down.   Lastly, I heated both sides a bit more to curve the outer edges inward to more closely match the curve of the top of the Kidney to help the Back rest more firmly in place.

 

TK%20250%20lo-res.jpg

 

This whole process took several hours, but I was determined to go slowly.  I did not want to trim any more than I had too or, worse, ruin the Back Plate and have to buy another one and start over.  Hey, remember earlier when I said you'd see that photo of my proposed cut lines again?  Well, here's that same photo, but I've superimposed red lines where I ended up making my actual final trims.

 

TK%20251%20lo-res.jpg

 

Yeah, I ended up taking a lot of plastic off, and as time-consuming as it was it was worth it when I reassembled all the straps and hung the torso on my mannequin to see how it came together.

 

TK%20252%20lo-res.jpg

 

That's about as perfect as I think it can be.  I still don't like the way the AM armor isn't flat along that bottom edge -- that bottom return edge is angled, not flat -- and I may address that somewhere down the road, but for now I'm satisfied that this fixes my issue with the overhanging Back Plate.

 

Now it's time to reshoot submission photos and achieve that Centurion certificate.

Edited by A.J. Hamler
repaired dead photo link
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WOW, A.J.!!  As a fellow AM owner I can say that you have really conquered that issue with finesse.  The extra time you spent certainly made a huge difference, and this will be an invaluable reference for those with this issue.  As I mentioned in my PM, you should add this as a tutorial, no doubt!  GREAT job!  :th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:  I see a Centurion badge under your name in the near future, brother.

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That's some mighty fine work there AJ!! :jc_doublethumbup:

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I know your pain.

 

I have had many moments of wanting to test the aerodynamics of a back plate as I skim it out of a window, it was slowing me down so much that I had to move on to something else.

 

Soon as I think I am finished I will revisit those troublesome corners/wings or as I came to know them, devils horns.

 

You solution is going to come in very handy :)

 

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Hi gang; guess who?

 

Yeah, still tweaking my build thread as much as I'm tweaking my armor.

 

Just did my 5th troop last week, and it was a blast.  Not only was it a fun outdoor event with absolutely perfect weather, but it was the first time I used a sound system.  Up till now, I've eschewed adding sound mainly because I wanted to focus on the armor itself in my first troops.  Concentrating on walking without falling down, not trampling small children, and making sure all the armor stays where it's supposed to has been top-of-mind for me, and I didn't want any distractions caused by worrying about sounding good.

 

I've had my sound gear for more than a year (got it way back during the build), and it consists of an Aker 1506 and an iPod with the outstanding TrooperTalk app installed.  And, since I've had everything for so long I've  had a lot of time to think about how I wanted to implement it.  I didn't like the idea of mounting it into the armor itself, as I wanted to be able to adjust the sound and get it perfect before getting the armor on, so I finally decided to use a neck-hanging system.  Here's what I came up with:

 

sound%20harness%20lo-res.jpg

 

I picked up some black plastic mesh at the craft store (the kind used for stitched needlepoint, or whatever it's called), and cut it to size to accommodate the Aker amp at the top, and an inexpensive folding iPod wallet at the bottom.  The wallet is very thin, not bulky at all, but has slots for my driver's license and a bit of cash.  The wallet folds closed with a magnetic tab.  You can find the wallet here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NY2G8S1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I attached both the Aker amp and the wallet to the plastic mesh with E6000 slathered on the back of each, then just weighted them down on the mesh till dry.  Then I just corralled all the wiring, folded it neatly, and bundled it into place with twist-ties along one edge of the mesh.  The neck strap is the same one that came with the Aker amp, but I disconnected it from the amp and reattached it to the top corners of the mesh.  It took some trial and error to adjust the strap to get everything to hang at the optimum level, but the neck strap is easy to adjust.

 

The system worked perfectly on its first troop, and I found that the hanging system is fairly easy to reach inside and adjust by just leaning to one side so that it hangs closer to the side opening of the chest plate, allowing me to reach in and adjust as needed.  The volume wheel on the Aker is at the top right (as you're wearing it), so all it really takes is reaching a finger in to adjust the volume level.

 

A.J.

Edited by A.J. Hamler
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13 hours ago, Frank75139 said:

No problems with feedback?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Nope.  The end result has the Aker hanging pretty much right where it would have been mounted in the Chest Plate, so I wouldn't expect any more or less feedback than mounting it in the chest.

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Nope.  The end result has the Aker hanging pretty much right where it would have been mounted in the Chest Plate, so I wouldn't expect any more or less feedback than mounting it in the chest.



I was getting terrible feedback. Maybe it was the Bluetooth headset


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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