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11B30B4's ROTK Strapping Tutorial

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Because I have been asked numerous questions about how I did my strapping, I am making this tutorial on how I strapped my ROTK.

 

1GW1APY.jpg

 

Mm37SIv.jpg

 

First, you need to decide on two things before you do anything with your kit.

1.       Do you plan on lining the inside of the armor? I chose to line the inside of my armor with flex seal liquid white that was applied with a paint brush. The decision to line the inside of the armor was made for two reasons. One was that the armor is fiberglass and was very abrasive on the inside. The second reason was because I paid for the under-suit and wanted to prolong it wearing out.

 

2.       How do you plan on attaching the strapping? In most places I adhered the straps to the armor with PC-7 putty. Normal TKs adhere their strapping with Velcro. I was not comfortable with how well this would work so I went with a permanent PC-7. The Velcro may work just fine; however, I cannot attest to this.

 

 

So, if you plan on lining the inside of the armor, you will want to mask any area you plan on applying Velcro because the Velcro will not stick to the flex seal and removing the flex seal is damn hard. It embeds into the fiberglass and even after sanding and using chemicals, it still was not receptive to apply Velcro. This should also be considered when you are planning out the Velcro to hold the leg and arms pieces closed.

 

While I am talking about this, I would like to suggest that you attempt to use Velcro on the front and back of the lower leg armor. I did not do this, instead I permanently closed the front side of the leg armor and used Velcro for the back and this has caused stress on the leg armor when putting it on and taking it off. This has led to cracks. If I get around to ordering another set of RO armor, I will try to close the legs on the front and back with Velcro, so just a suggestion.

 

I digress… so once you know if you are lining the armor and what attachment method you will go with you will need the following: Note: everything is black unless noted and all Velcro is 3M industrial sticky back Velcro except the drop box Velcro, its 1” “sewn on” Velcro with no backing.

 

Quantity

Length

Width

Use

2

31”

1.5”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

 

#24

4 part snaps Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

 

1.5”

Plastic loop Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

4”

1.5”

Velcro (both sides) Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

5”

1.5”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

7”

5/8”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Back Closure

2

5”

5/8”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Back Closure

2

 

5/8”

Plastic side release buckles

2

6”

1”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal connecting Posterior Armor

4

 

#24

4 part snaps Abdominal connecting Posterior Armor

2

5”

1”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal connecting Posterior Armor

2

1.5”

1”

Velcro both sides Abdominal connecting Posterior Armor

3

5”

1”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal connecting Cod Armor

6

 

#24

4 part snaps Abdominal connecting Cod Armor

1

5”

1”

Nylon Webbing Connecting Cod to Posterior

1

11”

1”

Elastic Webbing Connecting Cod to Posterior

1

 

#24

4 part snaps Connecting Cod to Posterior

2

12”

1”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal to Legs

2

6”

1”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal to Legs

2

 

1”

Plastic side release buckles Abdominal to Legs

2

2.5”

1”

Elastic Webbing retention loops Abdominal to Legs

2

15”

2”

Elastic Webbing Shoulder straps for chest to back armor

2

10”

2”

Velcro hard side Shoulder straps for chest to back armor

4

 

#24

4 part snaps Shoulder straps for chest to back armor

2

3”

1”

Elastic Webbing shoulder armor to shoulder straps

2

 

#24

4 part snaps shoulder armor to shoulder straps

2

5”

1”

Elastic Webbing Shoulder Armor to Bicep Armor

4

 

#24

4 part snaps shoulder armor to bicep armor

2

6”

1”

“Sewn on” soft Velcro drop boxes to box belt

2

6”

2”

Velcro hard side drop boxes to box belt

 

So all of these parts considered, this is your shopping list:
 

Quantity

Length

Width

Description

1

72”

1.5”

Black Nylon Webbing

1

24”

5/8”

Black Nylon Webbing

1

78”

1”

Black Nylon Webbing

1

32”

1”

Black Elastic Webbing

1

30”

2”

Heavy Duty Black Elastic Webbing

23

 

#24

4 part snaps

2

 

5/8”

Black plastic side release buckles

2

 

1”

Black plastic side release buckles

2

 

1”

Black plastic loops

1 box

15’

2”

Black Industrial Strength sticky back Velcro

1

12”

1”

Sew on black Velcro

 

In addition to these materials you will also need the following:

 

Sewing machine (preferably an industrial machine but most of this stuff can be sewn with a standard sewing machine).

 

Black bonded nylon thread, I use #69 bonded nylon thread, but I also have an industrial machine, if you are using a standard sewing machine just get some black nylon thread general purpose.

 

Webbing hot knife/ cutter. You can just cut the webbing with a box cutter or scissors and the melt the end with a lighter but this can be tedious if you are cutting a lot of webbing. I use a hot cutter like this one for $74.99

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Electric-Rope-Cutter-For-Paracord-Cord-Webbing-Belting-and-Blade-/293128089661

 

Snap setting tool and a hammer. You will need the anvil and the punch set. The anvil should be double sided to accommodate the cap and the eyelet. I recommend this tool set found on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Snap-Setting-Snaps-Vaughan-Bros/dp/B074HKBBW1

 

Most of these materials can be found at Joann’s or a similar craft stores but I would suggest that you purchase these materials from Amazon or webbing supply stores. On amazon you can order smaller rolls of webbing like 10’ in length; however, most webbing supply stores will require you to purchase full rolls which are often 1,000 yards and quite costly. Additionally, you can use polypropylene webbing instead of nylon webbing which is often cheaper but does not have the abrasion and strength of nylon webbing.

 

Ok so that is the list of materials and tools needed. In my next update, I will cut and assemble the straps and show where they go and what they do.

 

Thanks for the interest.

 

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Fantastic!     My question is about how you did the shins and forearms.    Most ABS builds uses the industrial strength velcro front and back, or bra hooks with one side glued.   My concern is keeping stress off this fiberglass when pulling the back open to put your legs or arms in.     I'm trying to avoid stress cracks as much as possible.

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Plainsrunner, you hit on the point I was trying to make in the previous post. I permanently closed off the front side of the legs and arms and used Velcro to close the back seam and this has caused stress cracks. My suggestion was to experiment and see if its possible to keep the two halves of the armor separate and close both the front and back with Velcro. I can not do this since I have already welded the two halves together on the front seam on my armor but you or others can try the suggested method and see if it works before going the route I did.

Before we get started I wanted to add some helpful information. I recommend you use a hot glue gun when folding the webbing before stitching. Also, I recommend you use a soldering iron to melt the holes in the webbing for the snaps.

 

First, I need to cover a few quick notes. I do not know what level of sewing you (the reader) have so lets hit some basics. Start and end all stiches with a lock stitch. That is when you run a line for 3-5 stitches then reverse over the 3-5 stitches, then resume the stitch going back over the 3-5 stitches. All sewing machines have a reverse level or button, and this is what it is meant for. This ensures the stitch is locked in place and will not pull out. Next, when possible (meaning if you have the available area) do a box stitch. This is where you stitch a rectangle then two crisscross stitches in the center. In the pictures below, look at how I sewed the Velcro, that is a box stitch. Lastly, the 4 part #24 snaps can be a bit confusing if you have not worked with them before.

eRlKP94.jpg

BAaIdgm.jpg

 

In the picture above from left to right you can see the 1-cap, 2-socket, 3-eyelet, 4-stud. To the left of these 4 parts is a cap and socket correctly assembled but not struck, and right of that is a eyelet and stud correctly assembled but not struck. It is entirely possible to mix these up and assemble the snap incorrectly. Also, note below the snaps are the two tool you will need the two sided anvil (seen here with the cap side up) and the punch. The next picture shows the anvil with the eyelet side up.

 

Ok, so today I will try to explain how I made the two primary shoulder straps for the abdominal armor and the two back straps that close-up the abdominal armor. The sole purpose of the shoulder straps are to support the abdominal armor. On my armor I made these straps out of 1” wide nylon webbing but in this tutorial, I recommend you use 1.5” wide nylon webbing. I honestly do not know if it will make a difference, but I believe it would be more comfortable. My 1” straps are not uncomfortable but if I am doing this again, may as well do it right. If you do your strapping like I did you will end up having three sets of straps on your shoulders. Base layer is the straps I will demonstrate today. The next layer is the shoulder straps that connect the chest and back armor and support the shoulders. The top layer is the exposed shoulder straps that come with the armor and are made of fiberglass or the urethane rubber straps I make.

 

If you look at the list above, you see we will need the following for the Abdominal shoulder straps:

Quantity

Length

Width

Use

2

31”

1.5”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

 

#24

4 part snaps Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

 

1.5”

Plastic loop Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

4”

1.5”

Velcro (both sides) Abdominal Shoulder Straps

2

5”

1.5”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Shoulder Straps

 

After cutting all the materials this is what I have. Note: I did not have any black plastic loops in 1.5” so they are green in this picture.

0OyTY19.jpg

 

Next, I fold the two 5”x 1.5” nylon straps over one end of the plastic loop and use hot glue to hold the nylon closed. Also, I expose the sticky back of the Velcro and apply a 3” hard piece at the end of the 31”x1.5 nylon webbing. I space (the white chalk X) 1” then apply the 4” soft Velcro.

ADPWkmQ.jpg

 

Next I sew the Velcro on the 31” straps using a box stitch. I sew the 5” strips closed; however, I do not use a box stitch because we will be punching a hole inside the sewn rectangle for the snap.

4DtQQMs.jpg

 

Next using soldering iron, I melt holes in the 5” nylon webbing.

qBGX8K8.jpg

 

Next I mount the cap and socket set of snaps to the 5” straps. I use a drill to make the holes in the armor and mount the eyelet and stud set of snaps. You will want to be careful to not crack the armor when doing this. I placed the armor around a board I suspended with a vice and hammered the eyelet/stud set closed. The two holes for these snaps need to be on the front of the armor close to where I have them in the first picture of this thread (my armor hanging).

ieACRnw.jpg

 

Next, I run the 31” straps through the loops and you should have two assembled straps like this.

Y62NGiL.jpg

 

The Velcro we sewed on the front end of the 31” straps allows me to adjust the straps a few inches to get the best fit. The back end of the 31” straps are adhered to the inside of the abdominal armor along the back opening. How you adhere the straps is up to you and you should test fit them and cut any unneeded length of the 31” straps from the back end before finalizing how you mount them. Once the back end of the straps are adhered to the armor, the front side should snap like this. The straps should crisscross in the back.

uKdFZTB.jpg

 

So I hope that was somewhat clear… Next, we will make the two straps that close-up the back of the abdominal. For these straps you will need the following:

Quantity

Length

Width

Use

2

7”

5/8”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Back Closure

2

5”

5/8”

Nylon Webbing Abdominal Back Closure

2

 

5/8”

Plastic side release buckles

 

After everything is cut you should have a set of parts like in the top of this picture. The bottom strap is a completed strap.

PkCQC2w.jpg

 

There are two sides for plastic side release buckles and some buckles are slightly curved to fit a contour. These 5/8” buckles are curved so how I sew them is important but most of the time any logo or residue mold marks are on the back side. I wrap the 5”x5/8” strap around the female side of the buckle and fold it in half. Again, I use hot glue to hold the webbing closed for easy stitching. On the 7” strap I fold one end twice and run a stitch the width of it. This creates a finger hold to better tighten the strap down and it also prevents the strap from coming out of the male end of the buckle.

c6w8NvZ.jpg

 

Note how the strap is threaded. If you thread it incorrectly it will not hold tight when you cinch it down. These two straps are mounted to the inside back of the abdominal armor and should look like this.

qfJ2Nhm.jpg

 

I made sure I could reach behind and access them so I could put my armor on and take it off myself but it does make life easier if you have someone help you put the armor on. How you adhere these two straps inside the armor is up to you. I permanently adhered these straps and given how tight I cinch these straps, I do not recommend using Velcro. Since the back plate covers this area, you could consider rivets but I felt that would stress the fiberglass. I used PC-7 putty to adhere my straps. See my build for more details on the PC-7 method.

 

Well, I hope this is a good start. Please let me know if this tutorial is unclear or requires more detailed pictures, etc… I have more webbing and Velcro on order so it will be next week before I continue this. As always, thanks for the interest.

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Hold on...Yesterday I discovered a product that will most likely make the shoulder straps between the back and chest armor wayyyyyyyy more simpler. Standby for an update on that product as I need to fully evaluate it. Everything I have posted up to this point is still correct and the only modification if this works out will be to the following materials:

Quantity

Length

Width

Use

 

2

15”

2”

Elastic Webbing Shoulder straps for chest to back armor

 

2

10”

2”

Velcro hard side Shoulder straps for chest to back armor

 

4

 

#24

4 part snaps Shoulder straps for chest to back armor

 

2

3”

1”

Elastic Webbing shoulder armor to shoulder straps

 

2

 

#24

4 part snaps shoulder armor to shoulder straps

           

 

 

 

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OK so I had the opportunity to test out the “new” product and hell yes!

XkyPyAj.jpg

 

In the picture above you can see the version 1 (on the right) of the shoulder strap that connects the chest to the back armor. The side strap is to connect the shoulder bell and the soft Velcro is intended to adhere to the underside of the kit included fiberglass shoulder straps or the urethane shoulder straps I make.

Version 2 is on the left and was made from the new elastic/Velcro webbing. I also decided to make a version 3 which is the same as version 2 but the shoulder bell elastic/ snap is velcroid rather than sewn on the shoulder strap. This allows the wearer to adjust it on the strap for best fit.

 

Going forward I pan on making the strapping kits available for purchase at $110.00 shipped to CONUS  and will include the version 3 straps in that kit. I am still working some of the details for the kit and will post a link to the sell them once I have ironed everything out. This also means that if you have are planning on buying the urethane shoulder straps you should order them with the hard Velcro on them is you also are considering buying the strapping kit once its available.

 

Ok so here are some pictures of the version 3 straps in full kit. They performed even better than the version 1 straps.

ipOrIDY.jpg

 

tnpw3V6.jpg

 

AGGxgAw.jpg

 

dyzR4SF.jpg

 

WyhOiMJ.jpg

 

lwOJEGf.jpg

 

G83sgoz.jpg

I will continue the tutorial and refine the cut list in the coming weeks.

Thanks for the interest.

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Super impressive strapping thread, thank you for sharing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Great info. Jeff!  I’m working on a clone Airborne now, and I think I’ll be able to carry over some of your strapping methods to my build.

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