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Cricket

Cricket's 3D Print FOTK (TLJ)- ABS, Kid-sized

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Heeey troopers!  It's me again, with yet another build.  I've had to fast track this one, so it's taking priority over progress on my 3D printed Shoretrooper (that build is going on over at the Pathfinder's Detachment).  I finally have enough pieces printed/welded together that I can share some activity now.  

I'll begin by saying that this is a build for my 10-year-old son, Cameron.  A few years ago, I built a Battle Buddy FOTK conversion for him, and he loved it more than anything.  He would have slept in it if I allowed it.  He was treated like a rock star everywhere he went in it, and he completely embraced the bada$$ FOTK trooper we all know and love from the movies.  He was approved in it for Galactic Academy, and has trooped with me many times- always stealing the show!  :D   

Earlier this year I was approached by our GML who requested some guidance from me about the FOTK Battle Buddy conversion process.  The Garrison was looking to build a kid-sized FOTK for a 5-year-old boy named Jimmy (he has chronic heart conditions) whose only wish was to have a stormtrooper helmet.   (Most people don't even consider that something like an entire suit of FOTK armor exists in a child's size, so the best Jimmy could hope for was a FOTK helmet.) However, we ALL know that it's possible!  Since I am one of just a few troopers in our Garrison who have taken the journey of the FOTK Battle Buddy build, there was hope that I could help with putting one together for Jimmy.

I told my son about Jimmy and his conditions and that I *might* be making another one.  My son started to cry, and when I asked him why, he said, "I want Jimmy to have my stormtrooper armor.  He's had a hard life, and I want him to feel happy."  I was very moved by his reaction, but told him to think about it first.  I didn't want Cameron to give his armor away simply because he thought it was something that I wanted him to do.  He was very attached to his armor, and I didn't understand how he suddenly could offer it up like that.  He said he would think about it, and we didn't discuss it any further.

A week later, Cameron brought $60 of his saved allowance (which was pretty much all he had), dumped it on our kitchen counter, and said, "I want to donate this to the American Heart Association."  What???  It was such an "out-of-the-blue" gesture for him, and it took me by surprise.  Then I remembered Jimmy.  So I asked Cameron, "So, is this about Jimmy?  The armor?"  And he yelled at me, "Yes!  I want to help Jimmy!  I want to give my armor to him.  I haven't changed my mind!"  Okay then. He wanted to keep the helmet, though.  :)   And that's what happened.  

Somehow I was chosen to be the person who was the "voice" for the surprises during the Bert's Big Adventure presentation .  (Watch out- nerd with a mic!) The Georgia Garrison presented Jimmy with a Battle Buddy first.  Jimmy was soooo excited about it!  I don't think that the family knew that there was moooooore!  After that, Lord Vader presented Jimmy with a FOTK helmet (a lovely Rubies Deluxe conversion crafted by our own Sith Lord, Scott Britt).  Jimmy was thrilled!  Then came the biggie... the Garrison donated a small case on wheels to hold the armor (just like the one I used for Cameron's armor), and the case was wheeled out in front of Jimmy and his family.  I don't think they understood what was being presented until I started pulling out the chest and back plates and said, it's his VERY OWN ARMOR.  Jimmy cheered, and the parents started to cry.    Cameron suddenly became shy and stood off to the side, a little overwhelmed at all the people and the excitement. 

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Could a mom be any prouder?  I think not!
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And if you're still here... As a gesture of thanks to Cameron, I'm rewarding him with a new set of 3D printed FOTK armor.  This set will be more screen accurate than the Battle Buddy for sure.   I'm trying to build to 501st specs along the way.  I don't know a thing about the FOTK armor, so I'm learning as I go.  I bought my files here, and the person who made the files has been very, very, very receptive when I've requested changes to the files for improved accuracy and/or model print improvements.  Seriously, if I ask for a change, I usually get a new file within an hour.  I don't think he ever sleeps.  Most change requests were for improved thickness of the parts.  Everything prints out really solid.

Here are most of the parts I've printed/assembled so far.  Using Armorsmith, I've been able to scale everything down to fit Cameron nicely.  Still have lots of sanding and gluing of greeblies before priming these parts.  The white stuff on the seams is Apoxie Paste, and it sands like buttah.  The shins are two halves (another request I made), and they are attached with heavy white elastic on the outside.  I'll be securing them closed on the insides with some elastic and velcro.
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I love the shape of the FOTK back.
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Another change that was made per my request was that the yoke and back be formed in one piece.  It is incredibly solid and very strong, yet has some flex to it as well (yay for ABS printing!).  Cameron loves sliding this piece on.  He keeps saying that it's like a Halo backpack.
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And today was the first day of priming parts!  The weather was nice enough today to get a few light coats of filler primer on the biceps.  One thing I love about filler primer is how it shows you what you need to work on.  Like more fine sanding on those printed buckles.  ;)  A small step on a much longer journey, but I'm excited about the trip!

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Edited by Cricket
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Wow! Your son truly embodies Troopers helping Troopers. Please give him my best:th_AnimatedBravoSmiley::salute:

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Wow... In these uncertain times uplifting stories like this are just what we need, Cricket.  Your son's generosity and spirit are quite simply amazing to say the least, and I think I can speak for us all when I say that we are as proud of him as you are.  Kudos to you for raising such a noble young man, and my very best to you, your son and Jimmy.  Thank you for sharing this with us!

 

Smiles like this are what we are all about.

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Very inspiring and generous, well done

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Outstanding!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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That is simply awesome, you must be very proud.. outstanding gesture, can't wait to see your little trooper in his new armour...

Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk

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Very inspiring Christine, thanks for sharing :duim:

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Small progress over the weekend.  Spent almost 2 hours with my mouse sander and armor parts to get the seams super smooth.   I had hoped to do more, but all I was able to tackle was the back plate, a thigh, and both shoulder bells.  In the pic, the box in the front is all of my son's FOTK parts. The box behind it is all of my Shoretrooper parts (progress currently pending completion of this build).  You can see some of the completed PPE face shields I've printed out, too (they're the orange curvy things on the left).  My printer has been busy!
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Glad I was wearing an N100 respirator for sanding.  Even though I was working outside, I was covered in powder-fine dust when I was done.  I would not want that stuff in my lungs!

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Nice Job! Another safety tip on sanding, when I am outside I setup a fan to blow over the work and away from myself (hopefully not in the neighbors yard). With a mask and a fan, I walk away clean and healthy-ish...

 

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Just now, LTM said:

Nice Job! Another safety tip on sanding, when I am outside I setup a fan to blow over the work and away from myself (hopefully not in the neighbors yard). With a mask and a fan, I walk away clean and healthy-ish...

 


Oh!  I very much like this idea!!!  We have a large standing fan that is currently not being used for anything, and I can easily bring it to my workspace.  There is a massive border of privacy shrubs and trees between our place and the house near where I sand, so nature will be taking the brunt of the dust.   Thank you for the tip!  :D 

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Wow. That's outstanding! What a wonderful little man you have there. I can't wait to see the photos of him with his new armour.

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On 4/23/2020 at 2:30 PM, ukswrath said:

Hey Christine any progress lately?

 

Hey Tony!   Thanks for checking in.  Progress has been made of sorts.  Not on the armor yet, though.  I was battling a massive sinus infection over the past few weeks that had me flat.  It messed up my balance so badly that I couldn't leave bed.  No fun feeling like I've had one too many, when I've not had anything to drink since early March.  :/  At any rate, I finally started feeling better this week (my balance returned, yay!), but it's slow going.  

Here's what has been making the most progress lately:  the scaled down (76%) F-11D!  I was able to conquer white ABS, so the entire blaster is ABS printed.  I used Germain's amazing files and instruction guide for assembly.  I am so impressed by all the details that he put into the PDF assembly guide.  Seriously, if you haven't seen it, go give it a look.   It makes putting this blaster together completely effortless.   I've thanked him privately, but I'll also thank him here, too- because he deserves it!  Germain, THANK YOU for such detailed files that print like a dream, and clear, detailed instruction guide for it all.  You ROCK!
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Because the blaster is reduced in size, I am using smaller hex button screws for the build.  Fortunately, all I needed to do was go one size down for everything.  So if the blaster needs an M3 screw, an M2 fits perfectly on this blaster.  And I had to use shorter screws, but that was an easy thing to do since I own a decent assortment of small black hex button screws.  Here are the first semi-assembled parts.  So fun to see this come together!  My son is super excited to help me finish it.  :) 
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Hoping to knock out some sanding/priming of the armor this weekend.  Fingers crossed for good weather!

Edited by Cricket
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Weather was beautiful for outdoor sanding yesterday, and I really made good use of it.  I used the tip that Lou suggested about having a fan nearby while sanding, and it really made a difference!  I was still quite dusty by the end of the session, but far less than I typically would have been.  And the fan kept me cool, so that was a nice bonus as well!

 

Here is the result of 2.5 hours of sanding, using 120, 220, and 400 grits with my Mouse sander.  I don't have the belt or ab boxes in the shot, but I can assure you that they also got the sanding treatment.  
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I will be doing some additional filling in of low areas on the chest and ab plates, namely at the mid-seam areas.  I want these to be completely smooth, and I can still see a little dip below the seams.   Another layer of Apoxie Paste should take care of things.

Oh, and even though I remembered PPE for my lungs (P100 respirator), and my eyes (goggles), I totally forgot PPE for my arms.  :icon_eek:   I haven't been out in the sun in months, and I am paying for it today.  My left forearm is now two-tone pink.  Gah!   Don't be like me; if you're wearing a short sleeved shirt, wear sunblock when working outside!

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Edited by Cricket
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More filling and sanding happened this week, and the weather is good today, so that means...

Priming!!!!  Priming!!! Priming!!!  

So glad to be at this stage of the build.  I like this part very much; all the hard work starts to look like a thing now!

I thought I'd share a little shortcut for painting parts.  I'm sure some of you already know this tip, but for those who don't, this can help you with spray painting your parts!  We all know that some parts are kind of difficult to spray paint.  They don't have flat surfaces, or are just oddly shaped.  This is a way to get even coverage and eliminate any drips.

 

You'll need some craft foam, hot glue, and coat hanger wires.  If you don't have craft foam, styrofoam works nicely, as well as cardboard.  You'll want your pieces large/thick enough to put your hanger into.
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Make sure your coat hanger wire is kind of straightened out.  Stress on "kind of" for me because I don't have the patience to straighten out coat hanger wires.  Keep the large hook in one end, and put a smaller hook in the other end.  Length doesn't matter.
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Hot glue your foam block right onto the armor.  Make sure it's fully cooled before proceeding.

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Once the hot glue has cooled and your block is secure, put your small hook end firmly into the block.  Fishin' for armor!
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It should look like this when you're ready to move outside to paint.

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Now hang the larger hook end from a branch, pole, or whatever location where you can spray from all sides.  Lucky me, we have a nice tree right outside of our garage with some relatively low branches.  The length of the coat hanger puts the part exactly at eye level for me to paint.  Before and just a few minutes after, I've got the first coat of primer done. 
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And I love seeing the chest plate finally look like one part instead of a bunch of smaller assembled bits.
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I have a bunch of these coat wires, but not enough to paint all the armor at once.  While these dry, I can easily hang them in my garage.  
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I will leave the foam glued to the armor until I've completely finished the filling/sanding/painting process, so I can quickly hook up my parts again when necessary for paint.  Using the foam and coat hanger method to paint parts allows for quick, even, drip-free coats.  It also makes for keeping the parts off the ground and clean while they dry.   The foam easily can be removed from the armor once everything is all painted.

At this stage, I'm also out of filler primer.  Boo!!!  :(  More will be arriving next Saturday, so the rest of the armor bits will just have to wait for their primer coats.  In the meantime, once the primer has cured, I'll be applying spot putty, wet sanding, then applying gloss white.  Can't wait!

Edited by Cricket
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If you've followed any of my prior build threads, you know how I can get hung up on things looking just right.  Even if it's something that no one else will notice.  Itty bitty details.  This build is no different.  <sigh>  

 

After priming the chest plate, I noticed that while it looked smooth overall, it still looked veeery slightly lumpy at the seams- especially when the light would hit it just right.  The chest plate is such an important piece of this armor that any lumps will really make it look bad (at least to me).  So I sanded things down as much as I could without destroying the integrity of the part, but there were still lumps at the seams.  Time to bust out the Bondo (and make sure you're wearing a decent respirator when working with it- even outside.  The stuff is noxious.)!

 

I'm using Bondo High Bond filler to fill in the low spots and make things smooth all over.  The stuff cures and is ready for sanding in a crazy fast 15 minutes!  Here is the chest plate after one layer of Bondo and some sanding:
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There are two colors of blue on there because I had to mix up two batches, and I ended up adding a little more hardener to the second batch.  Let's just say that I don't recommend working with this on a warm day.  It was 85 degrees outside in the shade where I was working on it, and I ended up having less than 5 minutes work time with the Bondo.  I was leisurely smoothing it all on when BAM!- it all hardened up on me in an instant.  I thought I would have more work time, but nooooo...  gah!  As a result, I my application didn't go on as smooth as I'd hoped.  Thankfully, it was ready to sand just as quickly, and sanded incredibly easily as well.  

Once done, I realized that I needed to even things out just a bit more with some more filler.  This morning was a much cooler 65 degrees, so I knew I'd have a little more time to smooth the Bondo on just as I wanted it.  I was right!  With just one small batch, I was able to apply another thin layer of Bondo with plenty of time to spare.  I had to wait a little longer for it to be ready for sanding, but that wasn't a big deal.  I used 150 grit to knock down the high spots, and 400 to feather the edges in and smooth things all over.  It is soooooo smooth now!
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And yeah, I know I have to do some extra cleanup in the holes and ridges.  This is an easy task with a small Dremel bit, and it'll get taken care of next.  There are also small pin holes that will get filled with spot putty before the next application of filler primer.  

And I think it's kind of cool to see the "behind the scenes" of 3D printed parts.  You can't tell from the front that this chest plate is comprised of 5 separate prints! ;) 

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7 hours ago, Cricket said:

"... you know how I can get hung up on things looking just right.  Even if it's something that no one else will notice.  Itty bitty details".  

Welcome to my world, Cricket!  :laugh1:  Amazing job so far, but I have one question:  Are you taking commissions for the full size version? (Just kidding).

I think we need to change your FISD Kudos title to "Best SW Mom Ever"!  

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It's a valuable tip you've got to hung parts that are ready to be primed. Whenever I see someone painting something that isn't hung-up, it drives me absolutely crazy! How are you supposed to evenly paint the whole piece in one go, and make sure to reach all the areas, and don't get dust lifted from the ground, and...... Huuuh.... I could go on for hours.

 

Personally when I don't have a suspending point, such as a hole, or something similar, the way I do it now is to bondo directly the wire to the inside of the part. You basically need to grind it with a dremel when comes the time to remove it, but the good thing is that it allows to suspend heavy parts as well. I remember one time, having finished to lay the final coat of gloss white to something that was quite heavy, leave the area, only to hear a loud thud minutes later. I went to see and found out the part on ground with a huge crack running its surface.

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It had been suspended for a couple of days (priming and white paint) and its weight had finally managed to break the tape that was holding the wire to the part. Needless to say that was quite the bummer! 

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On 5/7/2020 at 9:01 AM, The5thHorseman said:

It had been suspended for a couple of days (priming and white paint) and its weight had finally managed to break the tape that was holding the wire to the part. Needless to say that was quite the bummer! 

Ouch! 

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Keep up the great work Christine :jc_doublethumbup:

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Slow progress, but progress nonetheless...

I discovered that I actually enjoyed working with the Bondo so much that I slapped it all over the other parts to smooth them out as nicely as I did the chest plate.  This took me a few days, and I totally forgot to take pics of the process.  Not much really to see on that, though.  It's dusty, noisy work sanding it all down.  But I am sooooo glad I did!  The parts all look seamless now, and the extra weight of the Bondo on the parts gives them strength and a more substantial feel to them.  My son is thrilled because it really feels like solid armor.

The ab hasn't had any Bondo added to it yet.  I wanted to get a coat of filler primer on it so I could better see where I needed to fill in low areas and smooth things out.  In normal light, it looks fine, but when the light hits it just right, you can see the horizontal seam in the middle.  I couldn't see this at all before I applied the filler primer.  Here you can see how the light shows the areas where I need to work.  There is no WAY that I'm letting my son go out in armor looking like that!  I have to fill in the vertical seam in the middle as well.
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I glued on the buckle greeblies on the limb parts using E-6000 instead of using CA glue.  E-6000 has more flex and I feel it's more resistant to popping apart than CA glue- and these little buckles might get knocked a bit while out walking around.  For me, CA glue is just too brittle to hold the buckles, and I don't want to take my chances with it.

I Dremeled out the areas where I had extra Bondo in the creases and sprayed everything down with filler primer.  I'll be adding spot putty next, followed by a 400 grit wet sand, then another coat of filler primer.  
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It's starting to look like armor now!  :D 

Edited by Cricket
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Looking awesome, glad you are enjoying the bondo work, coming out a treat. I personally can't stand bondo after using it for years on car restorations, I only use it when I have too. Found a great way to get rid of a lot of lines was using a file before adding spray putting, cuts down on the bondo work.

 

Great work.

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Before getting to spot putty-ing everything, I decided to Bondo fill the ab to blend in the middle seam line and fill in the vertical gap.  I'm learning how to work with Bondo a little better with practice.  I added a little less hardener to the mix because it was really warm outside where I was working.  As a result, I had a bit more time to apply the material as I wanted to.  My application skills are still being honed, but I'll get there eventually!  

After a few minutes of application, a few minutes of waiting, and about 30 minutes of sanding, I blended in the areas that needed work.  I tried to angle the ab part in the sunlight so that it would best show any ridges or dips in the surface, but I couldn't see any irregularities in the surface like before.  It all looks smooth now.  Before and after below!
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I wet sanded it down with 800 grit and am waiting for it to fully dry for now.  Once dry, I will be gluing the ab boxes on, then hitting it with another coat of filler primer.  I feel like I've gotten a lot done at this point, but I know there is still a LOT left to do.  One little step at a time!!!  :) 

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I keep telling myself... marathon, not a sprint.  But I'm still trying to make decent time on things, though!

Remember how I mentioned earlier that my Bondo-application skills are novice-level?  Well, I really found out how bad I am at it when it came time for spot putty.  I closely examined everything with a strong light and magnifying glasses. I put spot putty (red areas) where I saw small pinholes or scratches from sanding.  The armor looks diseased!

I don't mind wet-sanding spot putty, though.  It's pretty easy to work with.  Wet sanding with a 400 then 800 grit really made the armor silky smooth and eliminated most of the pin holes and scratches.  Before and after wet sanding of the chest plate, back plate, and a thigh...
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Here you can see everything I wet sanded today to silky smoothness.  I still need to apply spot putty and wet sand the ab, which is why that part isn't in the pic.  But don't you think that the armor looks like it has chicken pox?
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Overall, I am very happy with my progress (even though my hands are completely shriveled up from hours in the water).  I can't find seams or print lines on any of the parts at all!  I will apply another coat of filler primer and check for any pinholes I missed from the first round for the next step.  I noticed a few tiny areas I want to fill in on the back plate, and I'm sure I'll see others as I proceed.  The filler primer really helps to highlight what needs work.  

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