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Hey Troopers, 

 

I'm in the process of prepping my T-21 build.  I see a big consideration for this BFG is weight.  I've been trying to brainstorm what might be good ways to lighten the load of the blaster.  The lighter it is, the more likely I'll bring it out trooping.  

 

Last year I scored some 4x8 sheets of high density EVA foam in various thicknesses from 1cm to 5cm thick.  I've been following Kamui Cosplay for a while now, and I've been (kind of) hoarding gathering foam for various costume projects.  I'm thinking that it would be quite possible to create the stock of the T-21 out of EVA foam instead of wood.  I could reinforce the center of it with a piece of aluminum tube (repurposed from a set of old golf clubs).  Last year I made a very strong sword with  EVA foam and aluminum tube in the middle, and it can take (and give) quite a beating! 

If it can be done, an EVA foam stock would make the BFG a lot lighter, methinks.  I'm wondering if anyone has attempted this yet.  I've searched here and over at the MEPD, and I've found nada.  Can anyone chime in if this idea could work?

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Could definitely work, but keep in mind weight distribution, not just weight itself. Making the stock of wood and keeping the typical pvc tubing for the barrel will make it pretty barrel-heavy.

There seems to be a stigma against EVA in the Legion, but I think it revolves around durability more than anything else. I'm not sure what steps you can take to make it longer-lasting.

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All really good points, Ben.  :duim:

 

So this got me thinking about the PVC barrel.  In some of the T-21 builds I've read, I've seen people mention that if they could find a lighter PVC barrel component, they would take it.  The off-the-shelf stuff (schedule 40) is heavy.  Mainly I'm talking about the 3" and 2.5" pipes.  If I could find lighter sections of PVC, then a foam stock built from high-density EVA foam should work balance-wise.

Let it be known that in my area, the only PVC pipe I can find nearby in stores is schedule 40.  A little driving out of my area, and I found schedule 40 cell core PVC pipe at Lowes.  This is lighter than solid schedule 40, but I thought I could do better.  Some calling around to local hardware stores, and I found an Ace Hardware (about 20 minutes away) that was happy to special order a 10' length of 3" schedule 30 pipe for me.  At just $6 (including tax, free ship to store), it was worth buying if only to look at it.  

And whaddya know...  the 3" schedule 30 pipe is super light- much lighter than the cell core PVC of the same diameter!  And it's the perfect size!  

Next I decided to do some online searching for 2.5" schedule 30 pipe.  This is an odd size that I can't seem to find locally, either.  Lucky for me though, I located a length of 2.5" schedule 30 pipe online via Home Depot.  I should have that here in a few days.

I've got a spOOL68 resin kit for the T-21 on the way, but I might make some effort to build the detail stuff in EVA foam as well if I muster up the courage (and time!).  I could always build two blasters- one from foam, and one from wood, and see which one I prefer.  (I wouldn't need two T-21's, so I could always sell the other.  :) )

And with that, look for the EVA foam T-21 build thread to begin soon.  


 

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I look forward to it! I'll buy the one you don't like off you, a T21 is on my build list but likely not to happen for a veeeeeery long time :)

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And with that, the EVA foam T-21 build begins.  First thing was to print out Pandatrooper's full size template, and tape it all together so I know what I'm getting into.

47148267061_05bfdc10b4_c.jpg

 

You can see one of the rolled up sheets of EVA foam along with the schedule 30 PVC pipe there on the right.  I've got more than enough material to make at least three T-21 blasters!


Then I made a few print outs of Jax's (over at the MEPD) Parts Breakdown template and cut out the pattern pieces.  Instead of making my parts out of wood, I'll cut them out of EVA foam in 3/8" and 1/4" thicknesses.  

 

32206307907_07f37bc8fa_c.jpg

 

I am super excited to get this build going.  Fingers crossed that I can maintain momentum as I divvy up time between this and my TK builds!

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Given Cricket's track record of awesome builds, I would not back myself in that wager hahaha

I'll be watching this with interest! The one drawback to the T21 has always been weight after a couple hours of trooping, I really hope this turns out awesome!

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So it's starting to look like a thing!  I was just test fitting the white plastic styrene bits, so those aren't glued down just yet.  The EVA foam is all adhered together with contact cement.

47159654361_4e3b404be5_c.jpg

 

46436163214_6403c5b783_c.jpg

I'm fairly happy with this so far.  It's incredibly light!  Once everything is permanently attached, I'll hit the whole thing with a good coat or two of PlastiDip.  Not only does the PlastiDip protect the plastic, but it also seals the foam to give it some serious protection.  PlastiDip also smooths out the edges, so everything on the sides will look more like one piece.  

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22 hours ago, Cricket said:

So it's starting to look like a thing!  I was just test fitting the white plastic styrene bits, so those aren't glued down just yet.  The EVA foam is all adhered together with contact cement.

47159654361_4e3b404be5_c.jpg

 

46436163214_6403c5b783_c.jpg

I'm fairly happy with this so far.  It's incredibly light!  Once everything is permanently attached, I'll hit the whole thing with a good coat or two of PlastiDip.  Not only does the PlastiDip protect the plastic, but it also seals the foam to give it some serious protection.  PlastiDip also smooths out the edges, so everything on the sides will look more like one piece.  

Neat!  This makes me want to go back to my t-21 and add these details.  The feeding mechanism or magazine guide or what ever those things are were missing from my 3D print.  It only has the cylinder that sticks out.  As usual, you make it look so easy. 

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41 minutes ago, wook1138 said:

As usual, you make it look so easy. 

I Think this looks hard to do:P

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I'm embarrassed to say that building this first component was super easy.  Jax Malachor over at the MEPD has made the PDF template I'm using freely available, so I don't think it'll be a problem if I share it here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13cphyKPV-5goejKg3ZWhrNauOcwtVgAh/view?usp=sharing

Cut the "wood" parts out of high-density foam.  Cut the "plastic" stuff out of plastic. 

BTW, my resin parts from spOOL68 arrived today, and they are awesome.  But sooooo heavy!  I'm going to continue with my foam building and see how far I can take things.

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4 minutes ago, Cricket said:

But sooooo heavy! 

Well on my outing with the TD I held the T-21 like this alot and in this relaxed state of the arm it´s not heavy at all :)

yfm8aD5.jpg?1

 

But if it does get heavy here´s another way and still look badass - I think:P

rBIBM10.jpg?1

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47 minutes ago, TheSwede said:

Well on my outing with the TD I held the T-21 like this alot and in this relaxed state of the arm it´s not heavy at all :)

 

But if it does get heavy here´s another way and still look badass - I think:P...

 

 

Yes, you do look badass!  :duim:  The "relaxed carry" pose is always awesome.

 

My problem would be carrying the thing to the event.  Between the backpack and blaster, I doubt I'd have the strength to troop (I think I'm half your size!).  I am about to begin a P90X program, so maybe I'll be strong enough to carry a fully weighted blaster in a few months.... haha....

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25 minutes ago, Cricket said:

carrying the thing to the event.

I have a solution for that - that´s your husbands job now that you`re building armor for him^_^

27 minutes ago, Cricket said:

I am about to begin a P90X program, so maybe I'll be strong enough to carry a fully weighted blaster in a few months

That´s the spirit Trooper - you can DO IT:duim:

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1 hour ago, Cricket said:

BTW, my resin parts from spOOL68 arrived today, and they are awesome.  But sooooo heavy!  I'm going to continue with my foam building and see how far I can take things.

How about using them for a mold and casting out of foam? This I can help with to begin repayment on helping with my build (troopers helping troopers). Just picked up supplies for my droid build from the engineer guy

 

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On 2/21/2019 at 5:41 PM, LTM said:

How about using them for a mold and casting out of foam? This I can help with to begin repayment on helping with my build (troopers helping troopers). Just picked up supplies for my droid build from the engineer guy

 


Thanks for that, Lou!  Building the little bits and pieces out of plastic and foam isn't all that difficult, actually.  :)   (Besides, I don't know how I feel about making casts of things  that I didn't build myself.)

A little more progress has been made today!  I'm so excited about this!  Or maybe it's just the fumes from the contact cement that is making me so ecstatic...

 

This is the foundation for the stock part of the T-21.  I was going to tackle this using my 1" thick sheet of EVA foam, but I realized that I couldn't slice it in half.  I need to put some sort of stabilizing material along the middle inside of the foam.  I brainstormed that it would be possible to stack up thinner layers of EVA foam instead.  I really like how dense the 8x10 sheets of 6mm craft foam are (found in 10 packs over at Amazon), so I decided to stack layers of that together to make my stock.

Each half is built of 8 sheets: four across, with two layers.  The sheets are glued together with contact cement in a staggered tile-pattern for extra strength.  The contact surfaces and adjoining edges are coated with contact cement.  See the pole in the pic below?  That's an old super-light aluminum golf club handle that will run inside the length of the stock.
46297228085_2dc16463c6_c.jpg

 

Next you can see how the first half is complete.  I placed the 1:1 template on top for scale.  There will be a channel carved out of the middle of the EVA stock to allow the aluminum pole to sit flush inside between the two layers.  This pole gives incredible strength to the foam and keeps the stock super lightweight.

33336211848_11cfc34e73_c.jpg

 

Second half coated with contact cement!

47159560502_0d97d7eb65_c.jpg

 

And done with the second half.  Considering how much stress that will be on the handle of the blaster, I will probably add an additional piece of pipe or something to the handle area behind the trigger.  I could cut another small section of aluminum pole from another old golf club, drill a hole in the main aluminum tube, and insert the small piece there- like in a T formation.  That should work, but if anyone out there has a better suggestion, please chime in!
46297227735_dd9e91bd26_c.jpg

 

I'm not concerned with the seams at all.  I know how to hide them, but they really won't be visible anyhow with all the greeblies that will be attached to this blaster.  The next step will involve rough cutting the blaster shape, carving the channel for the aluminum pole, then gluing both halves together with the pole inside.  Stay tuned!
  

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I found a wooden dowel yesterday when I was helping my son build a balloon-powered car, which gave me an idea: the dowel was the perfect diameter to put perpendicularly into my aluminum tube.  I got a general idea of where I wanted to insert the dowel and marked the spot on the tube.

47220312561_487184a881_c.jpg

 

I drilled the hole with a Dremel, then I needed to figure out how to secure the dowel inside the aluminum tube.  Quick ideas that came to mind were e6000 and hot glue.  But I wanted a less messy and more robust way to glue things together.  Then I remembered that I had a few packs of Sugru hanging out in my craft chest!  

47168146972_efbc357c1f.jpg

 

I kneaded it into two parts.  One was a smaller bit that I inserted directly into the hole of the tube.  Then I pushed the wooden dowel inside.  From there, I simply molded the second half of Sugru into a shape that surrounded and supported the dowel against the aluminum tube. 

47220312471_dee34fe1d4.jpg

 

Have you tried Sugru yet?  The stuff is awesome (expensive, though!).  It dries into a super strong rubber in 24 hours, and it bonds to everything.  I fixed a stress crack on a shelf inside our refrigerator door with Sugru two years ago, and it's still holding firm!  

 

47220312511_a1f95a030e_c.jpg

 

Attaching the wooden dowel to the aluminum tube might be over engineering things a bit, but at least I have peace of mind that the grip will not be an area of weakness in this blaster.

 

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I re-cut a lot of my plastic bits for the feeder plate because I wanted the pieces to have a beefier look to them.  I snagged a sheet of 1/8" white ABS off of Amazon, which is more than enough for my needs.  It took using a cutting wheel to initially cut them because the ABS is so thick.  A sanding drum and some hand sanding later, and the parts were done.  I glued it all together today.  I don't think it looks all that bad.  :) 

32318548877_fedc0c1e4b.jpg

 

32318545887_6f82d2b3e1.jpg

 

46536905764_6785cd81a1.jpg

 

After that, I chose to work on getting the stock together.  I needed to sandwich the support in a channel between the two halves.  I traced the outline of the support piece on each half.

32318545617_2d09498598_b.jpg

 

Don't worry if you think I carved a channel into both halves like this!  I flipped one half over and re-traced things before beginning.  

If you plan on doing this as well, remember to wear a decent respirator!  Or else all this powdery nastiness will go into your lungs.

33384649628_ed04087b2c_c.jpg

 

An hour later, and the channels were carved out!  Each channel is approximately as deep as one layer of EVA foam (6mm).  I simply sanded with a large sanding drum until I began to see the second layer appear.

47208544872_3ce6e69af7_c.jpg

 

Then I applied a liberal coat of contact cement all over each half, carefully lined things up, and....

46345881895_7deba60161_c.jpg

 

Taaa daaa!  Here you can see how thick this blaster is.  
32318545847_b49b633541_c.jpg

 

Let me tell you that this stock is super- and I mean super- lightweight.  With the support firmly in place inside the foam, it feels really strong and stable.  And it may not look like much now, but I can assure you that it will begin to look more like a real T-21 very soon!

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I know I should be focusing on completing my TK, but I'm having so much fun making progress on the T-21 this weekend!  

I needed to find a cup or something to create the taper from the 3" to the 2.5" barrel.  I don't have anything here at home for it, so I made a trip to Target to see what I could find there.  Happily, I found some kids party cups that were a pretty good shape and size.  And on clearance for just $0.50 each, too!  Oh, and they're Star Wars themed.  Perfect.  I picked up two in case I mucked one up.

 

Once home, I cut out the bottom and top parts of the cup off to create approximately 2 3/8" length of the taper.  Here's a test fit.  Hello, Poe.
46357002965_d5ea84e317_c.jpg

And the small barrel, taper, and large barrel test fit together.
47219498782_ef62ee1261_c.jpg

 

In order to secure the smaller barrel securely in the middle of the taper cup, I decided to craft a gasket of sorts inside the cup.  I made cuts of two pieces of EVA foam (1cm x 6mm, and 1cm x 1cm). 

33395740168_0a782a2465.jpg

 

I wrapped the 6mm piece snugly around the inside of the taper cup and made my cut so the ends met together. Using hot glue, I secured the ends.

 

40306970133_d31924e8ef_c.jpg

 

Then I hot glued the ring inside the taper cup and fit the smaller barrel inside.  It is a really snug fit and will not be going anywhere soon.  
40306970153_a51688e75c_z.jpg

 

Next I attached the larger strip of foam to the small barrel with hot glue.  I stretched this piece a bit as I glued it on.
46357009865_5f1d44e9c8.jpg

 

Then I fit the small barrel into the larger barrel.  It's another very tight fit here.  I had to coax the foam to cooperate.
46357005945_be937e86c6.jpg

 

And everything fits really well!  Oh, hai Rey!
33396241508_0fcd31a5e2_c.jpg

 

I put the whole thing together to see how it looks.   I put a little blue tape on the end of the small barrel so you can see it more easily in the pic.

46357009125_8e9ab77b95_c.jpg

 

Once I verified that everything test fitted well, I added some construction adhesive inside the gaskets to permanently secure them to the barrels.  

 

I weighed everything so far as it is, including the feed plate thingy (not shown in the pic above).  It all weighs... 1lb, 12oz!  It's a little heavier in the front, but the overall balance of the blaster isn't bad at all because the PVC barrels are thin-walled.  I know the weight will increase a bit as I add greeblies and bondo, but I'm really happy that it's so light at this stage. 

Edited by Cricket
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