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HOWTO: Resize armor with ABS paste and armor scraps


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Here's a very brief overview of how to re-size thighs (or other armor, in my case it was thighs!) with a mix of scraps (always good to save what you can from trimming/assembly!) and some ABS paste. You will also need:

* some spare ABS sheet (you can but it online, some use "For Sale" signs)

* glue (E6000 or other)

* sandpaper in several grits (I used: 80, 150, 320, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500)

* a dust mask (ABS dust is probably bad for you)

* ABS polish (Novus is what I used)


In this case, I had to add several inches to my thighs, but this should work for biceps or other parts as well.


The first thing I did was disassemble my thighs. I chose to do this in the back as they are flatter and thus less work would be needed (easier to find scraps to fit) and any gaffs (ABS paste isn't perfect!) would be less visible.


I did a quick fit of my thigh armor to determine how much I would need to add, and then cut some spare ABS sheets to span the gap with an inner shim. I then used a heat gun and a large pot (that I use to fry turkey once a year) to give them a gentle curve so they would conform to my existing thigh curve - this will help with assembl versus gluing them on straight, which would probably work but may also add more stress to the gaps we'll be filling.


I didn't take pictures here, but the process is simple. Lay your ABS sheet on the side of something round, heat it up with a gun (or an oven in a pinch) until it gets soft, it will start to "bend" and conform to the shape it is sitting on, take it nice and slow being careful not to scorch the plastic.


Another quick test fit with the curved sheets to make sure everything still was good to go, then onto the next step:



(Note: I used E6000 for all glueing in this process as it's easy to remove if you mess up and also somewhat flexible, but you could use the adhesive of your choice such as ABS cement.)


Next, you will need some to rummage though your trimmings/scraps and find some bits and pieces that will work to span the gap you need to cover. You will also need some ABS paste:




What is ABS paste? In summary, it is ABS shavings mixed with acetone to form a slurry that can be used to fill gaps and sanded/polished to help minimize gaps. There is a great article that goes into depth on how to make and use it here:



(Quick note: I like to make small batches of ABS paste as I have noticed (and heard from others) that it can discolor over time, make just as much as I plan to use within 1-2 days just to be safe.)


I went through my bag of scraps and found some bits that would work (3 per thigh, with a slight gap that should be covered by the cover strips). I had to modify a couple parts as they were originally from my shin armor so the curves were wrong, a little help with some pliers and a heat gun fixed them right up. Here they are after some slight trimming to fit, being glued down to the inner shims:




After both thighs had dried, I trimmed the top and bottom of each thigh so they were flush with the existing curves, then put down a rough coat of ABS paste, using a combination of a toothpick and a razorblade to spread it out and shove it into the grooves. It helps to leave a millimeter or two so you have space for the paste, otherwise trying to force it into a hairline gap is very, very hard.


I then sanded them down with some 80-grit sandpaper, then did another coat of ABS paste to fill in pockmarks, holes and goofs (not pictured).


Here is my thighs after two rounds of sanding and filling, in this picture I am in the process of using 150-grit sandpaper on my left thigh (wear a mask!), you can still see the gooey ABS paste mess on the right thigh:



Once I was happy with the results and was seeing no more low spots (in my experience it is near impossible to get rid of every small hole) I went on to increasingly finer grits of sandpaper, moving to wetsanding somewhere around 1000 grit:



There is a great guide with more information here:


After working my way up to 2500 grit, I then switched to Novus plastic polish. This is a two-stage polisher, here are my thighs after about half an hour of polishing:



After that it all I had to do was re-attach the rear cover strips and I was ready for trooping:





In summary - I wish I'd trimmed them correctly the first time, but this was a good learning experience and hopefully this will help others avoid the same mistake.

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4 hours ago, Katye said:

How much did you sand with each grade? I just started sanding and I’m trying to figure it out. First time doing abs paste

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I didn't time it, long enough that my arms felt like they were going to fall off. If you add it all up (I did this over a couple days) probably 2+ hours of sanding.

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Looking good. I would stop and add more ABS paste to those low spots (holes) before going further, or you are just going to make more work for yourself.


Unfortunately it takes a few passes of paste -> sand -> polish to get things looking seamless.

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Looking good. I would stop and add more ABS paste to those low spots (holes) before going further, or you are just going to make more work for yourself.
Unfortunately it takes a few passes of paste -> sand -> polish to get things looking seamless.

Okay awesome thank you

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