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

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Just be aware also some companies have swapped their suppliers and one packet of snaps can be slightly different in size to another packet. Definitely pays to check and double snaps are the way to go.

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Ok, I'm officially starting "A.J.'s O.F. AM 2.0 Build."   So, why "O.F.?"  You’re probably thinking I'm dyslexic and meant First Order.  Nope.  That stands for "Old Fart."  Or, in keeping with ANH c

Meanwhile...   Yeah, I know it's not part of my TK build, but while I'm waiting to submit we finished my wife Sally's Imperial Line Officer and I just had to share.     A

Snaps 'n' Straps -- Part II   OK, back to work.  All the snap plates are done, so let's start gluing them into the armor.  For reversibility I'm going with E6000 all the way here.  Yeah, it'

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13 hours ago, A.J. Hamler said:

Interlude -- Aw, snap!


I started on my snap plates today.  I began by doing several test plates and straps, then tried snapping and unsnapping them just to get the feel of it all before doing the real ones.  I was flabbergasted at just how un-strong the Tandy snaps are.


Seriously, it takes almost nothing to pull a snap loose.  And it wasn't just one or two I may have done improperly -- although there's no real way to do these improperly -- but about seven or eight practice snap sets.  How anyone can use single snaps on their armor and depend on them is beyond me.  I had always planned to do the double snaps, but now I'm more determined than ever to do doubles.


More importantly, I've decided to put my snap plates and strapping on hold for now and, taking Ukswrath's advice, ordered several dozen Fasnap sets from Mr. Amazon.  Thanks, Tony!  I'll have them Tuesday or Wednesday and can get back to making snappin' and strappin' happen.



You won't be disappointed, there are really good snaps. 

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Hi, gang.  I just got a last-minute work assignment with a two-week deadline (of course), so I'll have to set the build aside while I make some money.  Before I do, though, I need the group's thoughts on this.  Also, my apologies if the photos are funky -- I flipped the images so the armor is in normal wearing position.


I've been working on snap plates and straps for the armor main body.  The A.M. armor fits me almost perfectly without trimming, and I've taped it as it'll go together and here's what it looks like. 




Out of the box, this is how A.M. armor goes together, with everything lining up nice and neat.  Looks "off" to me, though.  There's no Kidney notch here, of course, but since it's no longer required my plan was to skip it.  Now, I'm not so sure and am thinking this might not look quite as off if I made the Kidney notch, then trimmed the Butt Plate even with the notch.  If I do make the notch and trim the Butt, would I then taper the upper sides of the Cod to meet the notch as indicated by the curved dotted line?.  Those cuts would look like this.




(I've also added a dotted cut line at the snaps where I need to shorten that tail piece and relocate the two snaps as Tony had pointed out a while back.) 


So, what are your thoughts on this --- Is the "off" look all in my mind and I should let it all be, or should I make these cuts?





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Your lines are pretty close to what Daniel has illustrated with the canon armor photo.


Note: It doesn't have to be perfect considering the cloth waist belt will cover most of the area. 



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2 hours ago, Frank75139 said:

If it’s comfortable I say keep it. Is that exactly how it fits? I have the same armor but because of my body shape none of it lines up perfectly therefore that would be unnoticeable.

Yeah, it fits exactly like that.  And right out of the BBB.  I may still tweak some of those return edges, especially at the top of the Ab, and that may affect the overall fit a bit.  And, if so, I may need to shave just a hair off the joining edges.  Not there yet, though.



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This build is so detailed. I think any new member who is also building armor the same time as you would be lucky to follow it. Can't wait to troop with you again A.J. but this time as a fellow TK ! :th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:

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Test fit!


The amount of absolute dread I had approaching this moment was second only to the amount of absolute dread I had before making the first cut in the plastic.  Terrified to actually do it.  But since I have to put the armor away for a couple of weeks, I couldn't possible put it to bed without a test fit.  So here goes.  From the front:




Holy yikemoly, look at me -- I have Stormtrooper pants!  As a bonus, I get to flaunt common decency by wearing white after Labor Day. 


OK, let's take a look at the back:




Again, looks pretty not bad.  Yeah, I don't have the Shins closed properly -- hell, I'm lucky I was even able to get this on by myself much less get those things closed -- but it looks like the strips all line up nicely both front and back.


I think I might need the Shins to come down just a bit as they feel pretty high over my knees.  Not much, maybe a 1/2" - 3/4" trim from the bottoms.  Also, from the front view above they seem high at the ankles, so when I have a second person to lend a hand I'll get those closed properly and tugged down where they belong and reassess how high they are at the knees.


I also think the Thighs need to come up, as I can feel them scraping the front of my knees.  I think I at least need to trim the tops -- although you can't see it in the photo, the peaks at the Thigh fronts are banging the bottom of the Ab, and the insides are really rubbing against each other something awful just below the Cod.  You can see that from both the front and rear view.  


One thing I'm noticing on this my first time wearing it is that I almost have to keep my back arched so the garter keeps the Thighs up.  If I lean forward even a little, they come down and rest on the tops of the Shins.  Need to do some adjusting to that, but I think maybe trimming the Thigh tops may help there, too.


As an aside, wearing this for the first time is the weirdest feeling thing I've ever felt.  The armor feels like it's going to fall off at any moment.  I can't move at all.  Plus, it all seems so "fragile," for lack of a better word.  But again, this is only the first time ever that I've put these one, so I'm hoping that after tweaking the Shins and Thighs a bit that it'll feel a little less weird.


Man, you should have seen the comedy show it was of me trying to get this on.  Thighs first, of course, but when I bent down to get the boots the garter lets the Thighs sag five or six inches when bending forward, pretty much putting a splint on my knees which, because they wouldn't bend, I couldn't put the boots on.  I finally had to unattach the Thighs and let them flop around my ankles as I got the boots on.  Then it was the same thing trying to get the Shins on -- when I leaned forward I couldn't bend my knees to get the Shins on.  It was a nearly half-hour laugh riot of loosening this so I could tighten that, then loosening something else so I could do another thing.  Took forever, but I finally just slapped the Shins on and hoped for the best, because I couldn't bend to reach the closures.  I literally had no idea what they looked like until I took the photos.


That's it for my build for a little while, as I gotta get to work on an assignment with a really tight deadline.  However, I wanted to get this step done first and let you all take a peek.





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1 hour ago, TheSwede said:

 First time I did  a full suit up I sweated like crazy but know I can keep cool:)

Yes thank you A.J. I'm pretty sure I had a minor panic attack my first time lol

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, gang...


I'm slowly getting back to the build after that pesky work interruption, and had a couple of questions.  Since strapping is up next, I wanted to clarify something on the snaps attached to the shoulder straps, the one the Shoulder Bells hook to.  It seems that most of you use sew-on snaps there, while some use the regular 24 snaps.  First, what exactly is that sew-on snap; that is, what's it called and what kind should I look for if that's what I decide to go with?  Second, are the sew-on snaps better than using the Tandy 24 snaps at that spots for some reason?  I'm curious why so many use the Tandy 24s everywhere else, but the sew-on snaps there.


The second question has to do with hot-water shaping after everything is glued, Velcroed and done.  My Shins are a bit too high at the knees and so they need to come down a bit, and I originally thought it would be a matter of just trimming a bit from the bottoms around my ankles.  But on closer inspection, I'm thinking the Shins might be just fine size-wise, but it's the shape of the opening at the ankles that is keeping them riding so high.  Here's a closer look cropped from some earlier images in the build thread.




You can see that the fronts and backs of the Shins at the ankles are really tight to the fronts and backs of the boots, keeping them riding high and not slipping down naturally over the ankles as they should.  Meanwhile, you can also see how the sides have bags of extra room.  The general cross sectional shape right there is kind of oval from side-to-side, whereas my boot ankles are generally oval front-to-back.  [BTW, yes, I know I don't have the shins closed quite properly in the back.]


So, I'm thinking that simply dunking the lower portion of the Shins into boiling water and reshaping so they're more oval shaped front-to-back will solve the problem and allow them to sit more naturally around the boots, giving me that extra room I need up at my knees. 


But what about the glued cover strips and the Velcro -- what will boiling water do to those?  I'm concerned I may damage or destroy both.  


Any thoughts?



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I think boiling water might mess up the velcro but thats replaceable. Not sure if it’ll weaken the glue but I imagine it wouldn’t help glue (but what do I know). I do know I think it looks good the way it is. If it hinders you walking then I can see messing with it but if it doesn’t leave it. If you need more room at the knee you can always trim a bit at the bottom. As for the snaps I didn’t use snaps so I can’t answer those questions.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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My only advice would be to save all the shaping until you get the suit built. Tackle fitment last, you never know if you will need to make compromises in order to be somewhat comfortable. 

As to E6000 and boiling water, I used a 16 QT pot, and did not leave in for more than 11 seconds. Immediate cold water stream and hold to shape. No issues with the E6000.

You can always play it safe and test on some scrap pieces. 


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1 hour ago, A.J. Hamler said:

Hi, gang...


I'm slowly getting back to the build after that pesky work interruption, and had a couple of questions.  Since strapping is up next, I wanted to clarify something on the snaps attached to the shoulder straps, the one the Shoulder Bells hook to.  It seems that most of you use sew-on snaps there, while some use the regular 24 snaps.  First, what exactly is that sew-on snap; that is, what's it called and what kind should I look for if that's what I decide to go with?  Dritz Sew in Snaps, Nickle, Size #10. Second, are the sew-on snaps better than using the Tandy 24 snaps at that spots for some reason?  They're about the same regarding functionality. Sew in are screen accurate, but not mandatory. I'm curious why so many use the Tandy 24s everywhere else, but the sew-on snaps there.



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  • 1 month later...

Snaps 'n' straps, part I


Hi gang; I'm back, but only briefly.


Since last time, another work assignment popped up, so no armor building for me for while.  Plus that Thanksgiving thing with a house full of family most of the week.  Plus a trip of my own.  Plus some household repairs.  All that's past, and for a day or two I have some "me" time before the next round of time-demands rolls in tomorrow (and for a full week after that).  So I'm picking up where I left off.


As Lou suggested in one of the last posts regarding my shin issue, I'm gonna let the shin reshaping go until the armor is complete.  I'm sure there will be lots of tweaks I'll want to do once I can wear this stuff, so I'll tackle it all at once.  So, the key to getting the armor actually on my body is the get it to hold together.  That means it's time to do snaps and straps.  After thinking about it for months during the rest of my build, I decided on webbing snap plates over ABS squares.


Being a woodworker, I love jigs for making things.  So, to ensure that my snap plates are uniform in overall size and hole placement, I whipped up a simple jig out of scrap wood.  You'll see the whole jig shortly, but the first part of the jig I used was a piece cut to the dimensions of the snap plates I wanted.  Using that, I cut out all the webbing plates that would get double snaps.




This was just a simple matter of holding the wooden template up to the webbing and using it as a guide for my scissors.  After cutting each piece, I then heat-sealed the raw edges with a grill lighter.  If you haven't done this yet, a tip: Seal those edges immediately after cutting.  Webbing unravels almost instantly upon cutting, and will certainly start coming apart if the fresh-cut webbing plates are handled, so seal the edges right away.




Then it was just keep going till I had all the webbing plates I needed for the double snaps -- two dozen.  Actually, that's a couple more than I really needed, but I wanted some extras.  (I also plan to use some single snaps here and there, mostly on the Forearms and Shoulder Bells, but I'll do those later.)


The eagle-eyed among you have probably already noticed that my cutting template has a pair of holes in it.  Those are measured and drilled exactly centered, so no matter which way I flip that little piece of wood, the holes will be in the same place.  The key reason for the hole guide -- which I'll also use for the straps -- is so snap locations are the same on each plate.  Then, using the same template for the ends of the straps, the male and female parts of the snap pairs will mate perfectly.  To make the holes, I placed each webbing plate in the corner of the jig, put the hole guide template on top, and then poked the business end of a cordless soldering iron down into the guide holes and through the webbing.




The soldering iron creates and heat-seals the holes in a single action, and it took only a couple minutes to do all two dozen webbing pieces.  Let's take a look at that jig.




It's just a length of oak scrap (any hardwood will do), with some thinner pieces of oak glued on the edges of one corner to act as fences for aligning the webbing plate in the jig.  Those thin strips are just glued in place to form a nesting corner.  Once the glue dried I snugged the hole guide into the corner, and poked the soldering iron through the holes to mark the jig, and then drilled a couple larger holes in the base of the jig for the tip of the soldering iron to go down into.  Worked like a charm.


After all the holes were done, it was just working my way through setting snaps.




Finally, all my double snap plates are done and ready for gluing.




At this point, I'll adjust the jig to make that handful of single snaps I need.  


Up next is gluing the plates into the armor, after which I'll do the straps to fit all the snap plates.  That'll have to wait for a week, though.  Got more company coming later this week, followed by another trip of my own (Grandson birthday!).  After that, however, I have absolutely nothing on my to-do list until Christmas.  Unless I get a surprise work assignment, I think I may enjoy a White Christmas -- that is, I'm thinking I will finally have my armor done in time to welcome Santa. 

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