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Work in Progress: Adding a kidney armor shim


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Greetings Troopers,

 

I decided to go ahead and document my process closing the gap between my ab and kidney armor. For my project, my right side had a gap that was about 3” wide at the top and 1.5” wide at the bottom. This was acceptable to be approved as a 501st TK, but in order to achieve level 2 (Expert Infantry), the gap needs to be closed.


(Disclaimer: This project is currently a work in progress, I’ll continue to update this thread as I progress through the process. Be sure to read through the tutorial, start to finish, before beginning work on your own armor.)

 

The supplies I used were as follows:

 

1. ABS plastic

2. Exacto knife

3. 6” ruler/ Measuring tape

4. Small clamps

5. Small super strength magnets

6. E600 glue

 

This project is a work in progress, so if I end up using any other supplies I’ll be sure to annotate them below. With my supplies gathered, I began working.

 

k95IGZi.jpg

 

First measure the working edge( the edge you’ll be attaching the shim to) of the kidney armor to prepare to make the first cut. And always remember, measure twice, cut once.

 

vzgdThd.jpg
 

Using the Exacto knife, cut a piece of ABS to fit the length of the working edge of the kidney armor. I left a little length on the bottom to be trimmed later. Better too much than not enough.

 

B5K262z.jpg
 

Next, prepare your kidney armor for the shim. You may not need to, but I trimmed away the return edge and removed the nylon strap and snap used to attach the kidney to the ab. I then went over the edge a few times with the exacto knife to ensure the edge was as straight as possible.

 

JMuHGqb.jpg
 

Prepare your shim and a connecting strip of ABS that will be used to attach the two pieces together. My shim is 7” by 4”, and my strip is 1” by 5”. Yours will be different depending on your kidney armor working edge length and the width of the gap you’re closing.

 

XqSKQqu.jpg
 

 Before gluing, using the clamps, position the shim and the connecting strip on your armor to ensure that:

 

1. Edges are straight

2. Lengths are correct

3: shim will hold position on its own

 

E6000 glue needs to be left for 24 hours to dry, so you’ll want to ensure your shim will not move during that period. This step is important, ensure the shim will fit exactly how you want it before applying any glue.

 

S05g8yX.jpg

IZYpseW.jpg

 

Apply glue to one side of the the connecting strip. Holding your shim butted against your kidney armor, apply the connecting strip to the inside of your armor. Ensure the connecting strip  is evenly placed half on the working edge of your kidney armor and half on the edge of the shim.

 

once I had the shim held in place by the clamps, I used the super strength magnets to keep the shim held tightly during the drying period.

 

NrAb7RI.jpg
 

tR0AIfB.jpg
 

And now we play the waiting game. It’s recommended that E6000 be given 24 hours to dry, so make sure your armor is positioned somewhere it will not be disturbed.

 

(As stated above, this is a work in progress, so I’ll provide updates to this project as I continue working. In the mean time, any and all input is very much welcome, I’m by no means an expert and any tips or advice will benefit not only me, but anyone else this tutorial may help in the future. Thanks in advance!)

 

to be continued...

Edited by Order and Justice
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Moving forward,

 

Once the E6000 had fully dried, I went ahead and did a test wear to ensure that the gap was closed and the lines were correctly, well, aligned.

 

There are different requirements for shims depending on whether you are seeking  EIB (Level 2) or Centurion (Level 3) approval, but moving forward, what remains is to create return edges on the top and bottom of the shim to match the kidney armor, and to conceal with ABS paste the line where the working edge of the kidney armor meets the shim. (And that canvas belt could use a little love too.)

 

eXySFxw.jpg

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Nice work Trooper , if i can give a suggestion, this is the moment (working with ABS paste) when you could consider to move the Han Snap as per the CRL states fo level 3

 

CRL: A single male snap on the top right corner of the ab plate is present.

 

KJelXM2.jpg?1     DqZpPam.jpg?1

 

 

Cheers

 

 

 

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Excellent question, my armor is made by RS Prop Masters in the UK. I was very much concerned with making sure the additional ABS was the right color and the right thickness, so I went directly to the source, contacted RS, explained my situation, and asked if they would sell me a couple cards of ABS. They were kind enough to send them to me free of charge, their customer service is excellent.

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