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A.J. Hamler

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

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Thanks, Pretzel!  It's good to have those plates done.  Of course, now I still have to do all the straps...

 

Meanwhile....

 

I've trimmed the inner neck opening of the Back piece as well as thinned down the top "straps" where they go over the shoulders for comfort, but I still haven't trimmed the sides of the Back piece yet.  Since the trimming here doesn't impact the snaps and straps I'll proceed getting those snap plates glued in and making straps, but I do want to trim that Back piece that I've been putting off.  From all of your builds -- as well as in lots of screen shots -- I've seen the Backs trimmed on the sides pretty much where I've marked it here:

 

TK%20127%20lo-res.jpg

 

I'm guessing that's about right, but I'd really like to leave more than what I've marked and am concerned it'll impact approval for EI and Centurion if I do.  I like the thicker, heftier look of the somewhat wider sides.  Perhaps not the full untrimmed width that's still there, but certainly more than what I've marked.  Also, I'm a fairly big guy, torso-wise, and the Back piece simply feels better on my back with the sides wider.  So my question is: Can I leave those sides with a wider trim?

 

My second question involves the bottom corners of the Back piece.  One of the things I see a lot in the builds is that those bottom corners tend to flare out and catch over the top of the Kidney, somewhat preventing the flush fit that should be there between Back and Kidney.  So I'm thinking that trimming those bottom corners like this would help that issue a lot.  This is how I've marked the lower left Back corner:

 

TK%20128%20lo-res.jpg

 

I figure that will prevent those corners from hooking onto the Kidney, allowing for a better flush fit back there.  What think you all on this, as well as the general side trimming question for the first photo?

 

Thanks!

 

A.J.

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Here’s my thoughts.

Question 1...
Do what makes you feel comfortable, there is nothing in the CRL that states anything about return edges on a back plate, therefore there would be no issues with EIB or Centurion. If you like them a bit wider then leave them wider as long as it’s not awkward looking you’ll be ok and from the pic it looks perfectly fine. I left mine wider on the back and front, wish I had trimmed the front more due to cracking but have had no cracking issues with the back.

Question 2...
If your trimming the sides then I personally would hold off on any further trimming and do a test run to see if you actually have any snags to fix.


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Looking great so far!

 

Don't do the wings until you are at the fitting stage and see if it really matters. You can always shape them with a little heat. 

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On 11/28/2018 at 8:19 AM, A.J. Hamler said:

I'm reimagining the old Burl Ives classic, "Have A Shiney Whitey Christmas." 

Ha! I'm working on some Sithmas parodies - may have to add that to the list :D Great work overall. I found that the back piece (admittedly ATA, not AM) would snag against the kidney no end and not lie flat while I was holding pieces together by hand, but whenever I strapped it together with tape and put it on it somehow fit just fine. I like your proposed cut, but agree with others to wait until you've tried it on with the strapping to see if it's really really necessary.

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Thanks guys, and I think all of you are right.  This sounds similar to my Shin issue from earlier -- wait till it's all done to start tweaking.  I guess I'm trying too hard for perfection during the initial build, but it makes sense to wait. 

 

In short, I should work toward getting my armor to the point where I can actually put it on before worrying about tweaking and fine-tuning.

 

Thanks!

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4 minutes ago, A.J. Hamler said:

Thanks guys, and I think all of you are right.  This sounds similar to my Shin issue from earlier -- wait till it's all done to start tweaking.  I guess I'm trying too hard for perfection during the initial build, but it makes sense to wait. 

 

In short, I should work toward getting my armor to the point where I can actually put it on before worrying about tweaking and fine-tuning.

 

Thanks!

The hardest part for me was getting my head wrapped around "one size fits all", so many adjustments to make in order for it to work. Building it was just half the fun, fitting is the other. That's why so many say use E6000 or something you can remove. The next part might be elastic straps or nylon, each has its benefits. 

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12 hours ago, A.J. Hamler said:

Thanks guys, and I think all of you are right.  This sounds similar to my Shin issue from earlier -- wait till it's all done to start tweaking.  I guess I'm trying too hard for perfection during the initial build, but it makes sense to wait. 

 

In short, I should work toward getting my armor to the point where I can actually put it on before worrying about tweaking and fine-tuning.

 

Thanks!

Everyone wants to be perfect. lol But remember that the Armor in the '70s was not even perfect. Little "imperfections" are to be expected. As long as you are Screen accurate ;) You are doing awesome AJ, and it shows that you have an eye for detail. Don't stress it. Afterall, it is only Plastic :D

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Still moving along with snaps 'n' straps, but I've got a question for you all -- especially you A.M. 2.0 folks -- regarding the upper shoulder "bridges" on the Chest and Back pieces.  What I'm calling "bridges" are the two extended portions of each piece; no idea what they're actually called.

 

As far as assembly goes I'm not quite there yet, but I will be soon (in the next day or two) and want to be prepared.  Below are two photos showing how the tops meet.  First, with the Chest and Back just lying down on a flat surface:

 

TK%20129%20lo-res.jpg

 

Note that the two pieces aren't attached by tape or in any other way.  Here's another shot with the two pieces propped up in an approximation of being worn on the body.  Again, no tape; these are just leaning against each other.

 

TK%20130%20lo-res.jpg

 

So my question is, do I need to be concerned that the Back bridges are so much larger than the Chest bridges? 

 

Keep in mind that although I've trimmed these two pieces for return edges and such, I've not yet trimmed those bridges to length or width in any way.  Since A.M. armor is large, I may need to shorten those bridges -- particularly on the back piece.  There's wiggle room for the Chest in how far it comes down over the Ab, but the Back must meet flush with the top of the Kidney (which, in turn, must meet flush with the top of the Butt), so trimming the Back bridges may be necessary to raise the Back for fitting purposes.  Since I haven't gotten there yet, I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that shortening those bridges will probably make the mismatched size issue less of an issue.

 

I may be worried about nothing here -- the issue could totally disappear when I trim the tops of the Chest and Back for fitting and add the tensioning that strapping just naturally provides.  Still, I figured you folks who've already done this part would know.

 

Thanks!

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I have that AM and I’m a bigger guy so I didn’t need to trim them but mine hang fine when I wear it. If you need to slightly trim it I’d stick with the same size/shape and you should have no issues.

22cd70d2fe5545108d99c510a34a425a.jpg


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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's slow to cure but I definitely want to be able to rework and relocate the snaps for whatever reason may arise.  Like putting them in the wrong frakkin' place... which I did with one pair.  Duh.  No problem; just tugged them free, cleaned the plastic, and reset them with fresh glue where they belonged.

 

I took a careful look inside the armor and did some measuring and marking in pencil to be sure that everything would go in evenly and symmetrically. (Symmetrically?!!  Yeah, anti-canon, I know.  But there you have it.)  To make the snap plates easier to handle and to avoid getting E6000 all over my fingers, I used an extension magnet to hold them while I slathered on the glue.  This is just one of those telescoping pick-up tools I use in my shop, but it works quite nicely to hold the plates while working and placing them.

 

TK%20131%20lo-res.jpg

 

Yes, I'm still using the white E6000.  I found that its holding power is no different than the clear version, and I've also come to like it better -- it's easier to see when applying to be sure you get it right where you want it in the right amounts.  With the underside of the snap plate fully slathered, it was a simple matter to use the magnet to place it where I wanted it inside the armor, in this case at the top/center of the Kidney.

 

TK%20132%20lo-res.jpg

 

I decided I wanted the snaps uniformly at 1" from any joining edges, so in the photo above you can see that I used a ruler to slide the plate around as needed to get it into position.  (The sticker on the back of the ruler is 1" from the end, and it was easier to just use this side for placement rather than looking at tiny numbers with Old Fart eyes.)  Once positioned and held in place with the ruler, I just pulled the magnet free, then used a small wooden stick to press the snap plate down securely and allowed the glue to set.

 

Some thoughts on E6000 --- I think I noted before that even though you want to allow a minimum of a full 24 hours for it to be fully cured, the glue doesn't really take all that long to set.  It's all slippery-slidey when you first put things in place, but they'll typically set in 15-20 minutes when gluing webbing.  The fabric webbing allows some air movement right through it and unlike, say, gluing plastic-to-plastic, these webbing snap plates were fairly solid in short order.  Still, take care not to push on them or they might still slide, but you can safely work with the armor in far less than the full 24-hour curing time. 

 

At this point, I just worked my way around the Kidney until all the snaps were in place and the glue set.  Next up were the mating snap plates in the Butt.  First, line everything up the way it'll be when worn, and slap some masking tape on the outside to keep it lined up.  On the inside, I used a pair of small clamps to pinch the return edges between Kidney and Butt together, and glued the mating snap plates in place as before.

 

TK%20133%20lo-res.jpg

 

While the glue is still slippery-slidey, use a straightedge to be sure the new snaps are in-line vertically with those glued in earlier, and adjust as needed.  If the snaps aren't aligned vertically, the straps will want to pull the armor pieces out-of-line when snapped on.  That would be a Bad Thing, so check that alignment now and be sure nothing moves until the glue has set (again, in about 20 minutes or so).

 

TK%20134%20lo-res.jpg

 

Once all the snap plates were in place in the Butt, I put it aside and glued in the three snap plates at the bottom of the Back piece, and then put it, the Butt and the Kidney aside for a while to allow the glue some more setting-up time while I started with the connections for the left side of the armor between the Ab and the Kidney.  If you've looked at the many builds here, you know that there are half a dozen ways of doing this.  The one and only thing that has to be consistent is the fact that there must be rivets on the outside of these two pieces of armor, three evenly space in each.  But what you do on the inside is up to you -- snaps and straps, glued straps, use the rivets through straps, etc.  One of the things I liked that a number of folks here have done is to use a single wide piece of strapping that bridges the edge of that joint between the Ab and Kidney.  This keeps things lined up nicely and prevents one piece or the other from shifting up and down, and I liked that idea.

 

So I stole it.  I also saw how several folks reinforced this strapping with strips of ABS, so I stole that, too.  I combined both ideas to create a strapping "hinge" for that side of the armor.  I used a piece of 2" black webbing, to which I glued 3/4" wide strips of ABS using Duco cement for a permanent, fast-curing bond.

 

TK%20135%20lo-res.jpg

 

Next, I secured the left edge of the Ab to my worktable with some clamps, then measured out the locations for the rivets.  If you haven't done this yet, it's pretty basic.  Measure in 10mm from the edge and pencil in a line.  Then, measure down about 20mm from the top edge of the Ab and mark, and 20mm up from the bottom edge of the Ab where the Cod starts, and mark again.  Then, just split the difference between your marks and pencil in the center rivet location.

 

TK%20136%20lo-res.jpg

 

Clamp the Ab side of the hinge in place securely with clamps, making sure everything is centered top-to-bottom and that the center of the hinge is right on the edge of the Ab.  Now, using a 5/32" bit, just drill through the Ab on your marks and on through the hinge.  You can't see it in the photo, but I also have a thin scrap of wood clamped with the hinge on the underside for support.  This keeps everything pressed against the inside of the Ab for efficient drilling.

 

TK%20137%20lo-res.jpg

 

With all three holes drilled, I removed the clamped hinge and used the tip of a soldering iron to seal the edges of the holes in the webbing.  Now, it's just a matter of slipping in the rivets from the outside, putting the drilled side of the hinge in place, slipping on some washers and bending over the wings of the split rivets.  I started this process on my worktable by using a large screwdriver to open the wings of the rivets just enough to hold everything in place, and then moved to the concrete floor.  I placed a scrap of ABS underneath, then simply hammered the wings flat and flush with the washers.

 

TK%20138%20lo-res.jpg

 

Keep in mind that even though the rivet wings are flush, they can (and will) snag and catch on your undersuit, so once I have everything done with the armor I'll put a dollop of silicone caulk on those wings, essentially creating a rubbery cap on top -- no snagging and catching.  With the Ab side done, now on to the Kidney side.  The glue on all the snap plates has set nicely, so I taped the Ab/Kidney assembly together, and then marked matching hole locations on the Kidney side.

 

TK%20139%20lo-res.jpg

 

With the hole locations marked, I repeated the drilling steps as before by clamping the hinge and the wood scrap in place, and drilled right through to make the matching holes.  Then just slip in the rivets, position the hinge, add the washers, bend open the rivet wings with my screwdriver, and then move to the concrete floor to hammer the rivets flat.

 

At this point, there's just one more step to do and that's add the "Han snap" to the top right corner of the Ab.  Like those rivets, this must be visible from the outside but it's not necessary for this snap to be functional.  However, I decided to make it functional and use it as part of the closing straps on the inside (like they did originally).  For this, I measured in 20mm from the top and 20mm from the edge, drilled a 5/32" hole, countersunk the hole from the outside to accommodate the male snap post, and then set the snap.

 

TK%20140%20lo-res.jpg

 

OK, let's take a look.

 

TK%20141a%20lo-res.jpg

 

Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.  (Spoiler alert: I just did.)  I'm considering the lower half of the body armor done, ta-da!  The Ab, Kidney and Butt are all trimmed and sized, and all snaps are in place.  You'll notice in the above photo that I haven't yet done the snap plates at the shoulder extensions or on the lower inside of the Chest piece.  There's a reason.

 

When I start making the straps I'll need to make them in sets that match the fit of the lower half of the armor -- in fact, I'll be doing that in the next installment.  From there, I'll work up across my back, and it's at that point that I'll decide how those shoulder extensions need to be trimmed to match my height and body shape.  Not much you can do with the lower armor since it has to fit snug in the Nether Regions and around your abdomen; can't trim for height down there.  You have to trim for height at the top.  Wearing the abdomen assembly (Ab, Butt and Kidney), I'll hold the Back and Chest pieces in place, then mark and trim those shoulder extensions to size.  That's when I'll add those snaps and straps at the shoulders.  With that done, I'll see where the Chest piece falls in relation to the top of the Ab, then mark and add those final snap plates.

Edited by A.J. Hamler
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Boy am I glad you posted this today - I haven't seen a side closure like that hinge you made, and I like it an awful lot. In fact, I like it so much, I'm likely to steal it shortly. ;)

Looking great on the whole! Highly professional job, as always.

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Odds 'n' Ends -- Part I

 

I ran out of snaps and couldn't finish all my straps, so while I wait for Mr. Amazon to get them to me I thought it'd be a good idea to play catch-up on a number of unrelated odds 'n' ends that have needed done for some time now.  Most of these are one-off tasks, the kind that usually get put off to the end of a project, but with a bit of time while waiting for my snaps I started taking care of them.

 

First on the list, although it has nothing to do with Basic approval of the armor itself, was to add a D-ring to my Hyperfirm E-11 blaster since I'm doing my build with the intent of attaining the higher levels.  (Note here that I didn't say "try" for the higher levels.  Confidence!)  So take a look and tell me that's not the most authentic-looking D-ring you've seen this side of Hoth.  Man, that looks like the real thing.

 

TK%20142%20lo-res.jpg

 

That's because it is the real thing.  In fact, the entire end cap is vintage, from a real British Sterling.  I bought it on eBay from forum member Fieldmarshall who, as many here know from following his build in the Blastech E-11 section, managed to pick up about a zillion vintage Sterlings.  He's listed a number of original parts on his eBay page and I snapped up one of those babies.  To mount it I cut off the original rubber Hyperfirm end cap and replaced it with the real one, epoxying it into place.  

 

Next up, a couple of painting chores.  The first thing I made for my build more than 1-1/2 years (!) ago was the Thermal Detonator.  I finished it, but still hadn't gotten around to painting the pan head screws Ukswrath includes with his excellent brackets.  The only thing left to do on the TD is to bend those brackets out a bit to match the contour of the Kidney and adhere some fuzzy-side Velcro on the back to prevent scratching.

 

TK%20143%20lo-res.jpg

 

The painting continued with the eight visible rivets that have to be white.  I did the AB/Kidney rivets first ---

 

TK%20144%20lo-res.jpg

 

Followed by the ones on each side of the Knee Belt.

 

TK%20145%20lo-res.jpg

 

Came out pretty good, but I think I may need to hit those with a second coat once this initial coat is dry.

 

And finally for today's work, I did the "Han hooks" for each of the Biceps. 

 

TK%20146%20lo-res.jpg

TK%20146%20new%20lo-res.jpg

 

This is the first time I've used anything other than the boiling-water method to bend ABS, and I didn't like that much.  I thought my results, while perfectly serviceable, could have been a bit better.  I think I'll stick to boiling water if I need to bend anything else.

 

That's it for now.  Still a lot of these little odds 'n' ends to do, but if my snaps come tomorrow -- and the package tracking that Mr. Amazon provides says they will -- I want to get back to strapping my armor.

Edited by A.J. Hamler
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You’re doing very well. Everything looks like you are very meticulous. Armor looks like it’s being built with attention to detail.

You may have mentioned above, but are you building for the upper levels- either EIB or Centurion?


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Thanks, guys.  I'm definitely seeing completion on the horizon.

 

And, yes, I've been building for EI and Centurion from day one.  There is very little I'll need to rework for L2 & L3 -- in fact, just one thing I'll have to redo (that I'm aware of), and that's the snaps on the pointy bottom end of the Butt Plate.  I didn't cut off the tab the A.M. armor has, and mistakenly put the snaps there.  As I understand it I can probably get away with it as is for EI, but will have to remove the tab and move both snaps up for L3.

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Snaps 'n' Straps -- Part III

 

Christmas, along with all preliminaries and Christmas-week travel, is about over at last and I can finally get back to my build.  I had hoped to have a Shiny Whitey Christmas, but too much stuff going on.  Still, the finish line is definitely in sight, so let's get back to those snaps 'n' straps.

 

Up till now, I've been concentrating on getting all the snap plates located and glued into place.  As a reminder, I'm working up from the Butt Plate in back, to the Kidney, the Back Plate and then down the front onto the Chest Plate and Ab.  Essentially a big circle starting at the lower back portion.  As such, I hadn't yet gotten up to the snap plates at the shoulders, which is where I picked up this time.

 

TK%20147a%20lo-res.jpg

 

As you can see, unlike the black webbing snap plates I used elsewhere inside the armor, up on the shoulder extensions I opted for white webbing.  When worn, it's not difficult to see up under the shoulder extensions, and I felt that black webbing snap plates might be more visible, while white ones would blend in better.

 

Note that I still have two final snap plates to locate and glue into place, and those are the ones on the lower inside of the Chest Plate that connect to the Ab.  I'm going to hold off on those until I get straps made for the Butt, Kidney, Back and shoulder connections, and then suit up with the full torso.  With those sections of the armor on, I figure I'll be able to more accurately mark the locations where those two snap plates for the Chest should go.  

 

So, on to the straps.  I've read a lot of pros and cons about whether these should be all webbing, all elastic or a mix of the two.  I may be wrong, but in looking at about a bazillion build threads so far, most seem to favor elastic so that's what I'll start with.  (I can always swap them out for webbing later.)  With the exception of the white shoulder straps, which are plain old Jo Ann Fabric 2" elastic, and a few narrow 1" black elastic straps, I opted to use suspender elastic.  I bought a pair of suspenders with 2"-wide black straps, and cut that into the lengths I needed.  The suspender elastic material is far superior to the fabric-store stuff -- it's thicker, stiffer and doesn't stretch quite as much or as easily as regular fabric-store elastic.  I'll still have the "give" I need in all my connections, but they won't be stretching so far that it'll open up big gaps.  (In theory...)

 

For strength, I planned to fold over the ends of each elastic strap and then install the snaps through the double folded layers.  I've also seen a number of ways folks are further strengthening those folded ends -- those will undergo a lot of stress when snapped and unsnapped, and the stronger those ends are the less likely the snaps will tear out of the elastic.  Some of you have sewn those folds closed; others have slipped a thin piece of ABS into the fold.  These are both good ways to make those ends stronger.

 

However, I decided to glue those folds down.  Gluing will not only keep the folded layers intact, but will stiffen the overall construction of the strap ends.  As a bonus, it keeps the ends thin enough to get the snaps in (adding a piece of ABS would have made the straps too thick for the snaps I have).  Gluing is also faster than sewing.  Plus, due to an unfortunate occurrence the last time I borrowed my wife's sewing machine, I'm not allowed to use it unsupervised.  Less said about that story, the better.  (But it's a really good story...)

 

Anyway, I found that prepping the elastic straps for gluing is easier if you crease the ends first where you plan to fold them.

 

TK%20147%20lo-res.jpg

 

Here, I've just folded the ends over and put a couple small clamps on the fold to hold it.  You don't have to clamp for a long time (or at a high pressure), and by the time I had several straps clamped and came back to the first one, there was a nice crease right where I wanted to fold it.  Working on one end of the strap at a time, I removed the clamps and slathered in some glue.

 

TK%20148%20lo-res.jpg

 

I'm using Duco Cement here, but I also did some straps with E6000.  I decided I liked the ones with Duco better -- the bond was stiffer, and took a lot less time for the glue to set and cure.  And, the stiffer bond makes snapping and unsnapping easier.  I'll still use the ones I made with E6000 as an experiment to see if there's any difference in how they stand up to use, but I think the Duco Cement will win out.  

 

With the glue applied, I just folded the ends over and clamped them up -- using small pieces of wood on each side of the fold to keep it nice and flat -- and allowed the glue to set.  When dry and ready to work, I marked them for the snap holes.

 

TK%20149%20lo-res.jpg

 

You can see that I'm getting a lot of use out of my snap jig.  Here, I'm just using the jig to mark where the holes will go.  You're maybe wondering why I'm not making the holes the same way I did for the webbing, by placing the ends in the jig and using the guide holes in the jig to burn holes into the strap with a soldering iron as before.  Well, I tried that but found that the soldering iron didn't do a very good job of getting through the elastic straps.  It sort-of did, more or less, but the holes where messy and undersized for some reason.  (The strap material seemed to stretch over the tip of the soldering iron instead of melting to the same diameter.)  So instead, I used my snap-setting pliers, which come with hole punching inserts, to make the holes.

 

TK%20150%20lo-res.jpg

 

This worked well, and I found that with the elastic strap being glued into a two-layer "sandwich" on the ends, there was no fraying at the holes -- the glue kept everything nice and solid.  I continued working my way through all the straps, and then installed all the snaps once I'd finished all the holes.

 

TK%20151%20lo-res.jpg

 

I have to say, I am mightily tired of making snaps.  But all the snaps and straps for the armor's torso are done except for those two on the Chest Plate I mentioned earlier, and I am one extremely pleased about-to-be Trooper.  Let's snap everything together and  take a look at what we have so far.

 

TK%20152%20lo-res.jpg

 

Don't look now, but I think it's almost time to get dressed and see how everything fits.  Since I've already had the full torso assembly on with everything attached with tape for measuring and marking for straps, if all goes well it should fit fine.  Then, with the torso on I'll mark for those last remaining snap plates on the Chest Plate and move forward from there.

 

Moving forward means moving on to the Shoulder Bells, Biceps and Forearms -- the last major parts of my TK build.  Those parts are all assembled, with cover strips, and ready to go; it's just a matter of strapping them together.  I'll still have the Shoulder Bridges, Belt and Hand Plates, but the biggest part will be complete.  I really am nearing the end!

Edited by A.J. Hamler
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Exciting stuff, and great call on using suspenders for elastic! I bought a big roll of industrial elastic online because yes, the elastic at the fabric stores is not durable. Fun fact: most readily available elastic is knit, which has much less resilience than woven elastic - which is what suspender and mil-spec elastics are. :)

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Exciting stuff, and great call on using suspenders for elastic! I bought a big roll of industrial elastic online because yes, the elastic at the fabric stores is not durable. Fun fact: most readily available elastic is knit, which has much less resilience than woven elastic - which is what suspender and mil-spec elastics are.

Did not know about the elastic differences you’re speaking of. Now I’m worried I have knit and not woven elastic!!!


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20 hours ago, Bud Spaklur said:

Did not know about the elastic differences you’re speaking of. Now I’m worried I have knit and not woven elastic!!!emoji45.png

Not to worry - I imagine most troopers have knit. It's really much easier to find. And cheaper. Everyone's going to want to replace their elastics sooner or later anyway! Generally speaking, knit elastic has a much "looser" or "gentler" stretch to it than woven does, due in part to the looped construction technique itself being stretchy to begin with. The fact that it's made from one continuous length of elastic (not the multiple opposing threads of a weave) makes it a little more fragile, too, as one point of failure can rapidly spread.

There. Information. :) I knew being a textile nerd would come in handy someday!

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Odds 'n' Ends -- Part II

 

Now that I'm nearing the end of the main build, I'm finding lots of smallish things I also need to do, so I'm peppering them in as I think of them and need a break from the main build. (Truth?  The next part of the main build would have involved spending the day running around my workshop in my undersuit, but I forgot to turn on the heat in my basement workshop.  Yeah, time for some odds 'n' ends instead...)

 

One of the things I wanted to do with my armor is to arrange an alignment method for the right side where the Ab and Kidney meet.  No issue with the left side, since that's riveted with a rigid ABS/webbing hinge, but the right side will be closed with straps.  To keep the alignment correct and prevent one side or the other from sliding up or down, I decided to use a "tab-and-slot" arrangement that many of you have used.

 

I made the slot plate with a length of white ABS scrap (the 3-1/4" length allowed it to fit nicely between snap plates), raised at each end with smaller squares of ABS glued in place.  The opening of the slot matches the thickness of the tab that would go into it.  For the tab plate, I used some black ABS (scavenged from the black plastic case one of my DeWalt drills came in),and cut it into the tab shape with a long gluing surface matching the length of the slot plate.  I made this with black so it'd blend in with the undersuit, rendering it invisible through the seam where the Ab and Kidney meet.

 

TK%20153%20lo-res.jpg

 

Not how I scored the gluing surface on the back of the tab plate.  I then closed up the armor and put both pieces in place on the right-side closure between Ab and Kidney and traced where they needed to go.  Starting with the slot plate on the kidney side, I glued it in with E6000 and clamped it up.

 

TK%20154%20lo-res.jpg

 

While that was drying, I did the same thing with the tab plate on the opposite Ab side.

 

TK%20155%20lo-res.jpg

 

You have to be careful when gluing these in, and make sure they stay on your traced lines when you apply clamping pressure.  Parts glued with E6000 are notorious for sliding all over hell and back until the glue sets.  I let both sides set up for several hours, then removed the clamps to test the fit.

 

TK%20156%20lo-res.jpg

 

Perfecto!

 

Up next, heat the damn basement and pick up where I left off with the main build.

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