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Unread 01-03-2013, 10:21 AM   #1
Jkchan
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Reinforcing an item?

So, I ordered a cosplay prop online, Bakuras millennium ring to be exact. (picture; http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/6...leniumring.jpg) The prop itself is pretty. The problem is that it isn't made in plastic, as it was listed to be. The item is made in some sort of weird cardboard type of material. I'm terrified to break it, and I'm wondering what my alternatives for making it more durable is? I was thinking about plaster (the bandage type) but the result is usually extremely rough (not to speak of ugly)... Do any of you have any ideas?
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Unread 01-03-2013, 10:55 AM   #2
verdatum
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Weird cardboard type of material? Could post some photos of it?
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Unread 01-03-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
Jkchan
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Originally Posted by verdatum View Post
Weird cardboard type of material? Could post some photos of it?
Of course! It's a bit hard to see the type of material in the picture, though.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...mnecklace.jpg/

If I'd have to describe it... A mixture of paper/cardboard that has been very tightly compressed together and then... somehow shaped into a necklace.

I've dealt with this type of material before, and it's very frail. Brought another prop made in the same material to a con and it had some "battle wounds", despite being handled with care. Me and my friends could see the inside of the prop here and there. We made a joke about it looking like "Kexchoklad" on the inside, but without the chocolate. (Kexchoklad; http://static.matklubben.se/image.ph...t=150&crop=yes) Sorry for the seemingly random explanation, trying to give as much info about the material as possible.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 11:38 AM   #4
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hrm. If the pieces are hollow, you can drill some holes and inject them with epoxy. That would go a long way to upping the strength.

If it isn't hollow, as far as reinforcing the outside, most tricks you can do are either not going to add very much strength, or they're going to be so thick that they will ruin the detail.

If seriously concerned about strength, you might have better luck just using that piece as a guide and building a copy out of wood.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 11:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verdatum View Post
hrm. If the pieces are hollow, you can drill some holes and inject them with epoxy. That would go a long way to upping the strength.

If it isn't hollow, as far as reinforcing the outside, most tricks you can do are either not going to add very much strength, or they're going to be so thick that they will ruin the detail.

If seriously concerned about strength, you might have better luck just using that piece as a guide and building a copy out of wood.
I don't think it's hollow, it has some sort of material inside, but it does nothing to help the sturdiness... It's kind of like that "Kexchoklad" i mentioned/cracker-ish. Dry, not quite filling the inside out, and frail.

I'd have tried making it out of wood in the first place, but the problem is that I'm a complete newbie. I have no knowledge, talent or skill when it comes to working with wood... I don't even have any tools...

Thanks for the tips, none the less.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 12:56 PM   #6
rj_sosongco
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Verdatum pretty much hit it on the head. Reinforcing the inside is the only way to retain the current detail. If you add coating to the outside (resin, mod podge, gesso, etc), it's only going to soften the details.

One method that I can think of, given the material of the prop, is on the backside, carve a channel all along the ring. If it's cardboard it shouldn't be too difficult. Then, take some thick gauge wire and bend it into a circle. Glue it inside to provide more support, and then reseal the channel. That should at least give it some more support and keep it from breaking apart completely.

I'd also reinforce the ring on top that the cord is tied to. That is going to be under the most stress as you wear it, and if that ring fails and breaks, the whole prop could fall and be ruined. Above all else, make sure that ring on top is strong and secure.

The only other suggestion is to just treat it like your baby and handle with extreme care.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 01:17 PM   #7
Jkchan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rj_sosongco View Post
Verdatum pretty much hit it on the head. Reinforcing the inside is the only way to retain the current detail. If you add coating to the outside (resin, mod podge, gesso, etc), it's only going to soften the details.

One method that I can think of, given the material of the prop, is on the backside, carve a channel all along the ring. If it's cardboard it shouldn't be too difficult. Then, take some thick gauge wire and bend it into a circle. Glue it inside to provide more support, and then reseal the channel. That should at least give it some more support and keep it from breaking apart completely.

I'd also reinforce the ring on top that the cord is tied to. That is going to be under the most stress as you wear it, and if that ring fails and breaks, the whole prop could fall and be ruined. Above all else, make sure that ring on top is strong and secure.

The only other suggestion is to just treat it like your baby and handle with extreme care.
I hadn't even thought of the ring on top! Thanks, I'll definitely make sure to reinforce that!
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Unread 01-06-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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So, I've gathered my courage and drilled a small hole at the back of the prop. Apparently it is hollow, so epoxy would be a great idea. Now I have my mom telling me that epoxy corrodes for example Styrofoam, and that it supposedly melts the material a bit. Now I definitely don't want that to happen to my ring. I've searched google a bit, but there doesn't seem to be anything on epoxy corroding either Styrofoam or paper, but I still wanted to double check... Also, there appears to be several types of epoxy glue (some for wood, others for more extreme stuff like motor parts) so what type of epoxy would people recommend for filling a cardboard-ish material?

Last edited by Jkchan : 01-06-2013 at 04:26 PM.
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Unread 01-07-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
verdatum
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Your mother is a little mistaken. Epoxy does not dissolve styrofoam. Polyester resin (sometimes referred to as "fiberglass resin") dissolves styrofoam. So does spraypaint, and a whole host of solvents.

To dissolve paper, you need something stronger, like concentrated nitric acid. Other things, like water will weaken paper, but won't really destroy it unless you tear it apart.

Epoxy is sold in a couple different categories, based on their intended use.

Most easily obtained is probably epoxy adhesive, which is generally sold in either 2-chambered syringes, or a pair of small bottles. It tends to be thick so that it stays where it is applied, and tends to have a working time of around 5 to 20 minutes after it is mixed.

After that would be epoxy wood finish. It is often not called "epoxy" on the front label. But you can pretty much tell it by being sold in 2 containers that must be mixed. These products are a bit thinner, and most importantly "self-leveling" meaning they try to level out into a flat smooth sheet before they begin to harden. Often this is achieved by a very slow cure time, sometimes as much as 12 hours.

Epoxy resin used in fiberglassing, often available as the more specific "marine grade expoy" is available from boating supply stores. If you need a bunch of epoxy, this tends to be the stuff to get. It has a middle of the road cure time, and middle of the road viscosity.

There are a host of epoxy putties. These have added thickeners so the epoxy will hold it's shape when sculpted. The consistency varies from fresh Play-Doh to firm taffy. This stuff won't work for you, since you'll want to inject your epxoy into the core of your piece.

I think your best and most cost-effective bet would be to buy a couple of the expoxy adhesive syringes. Ideally, if you can find they ones that have a "static mixer" attachment, that'd work well. A static mixer is sorta like a tube with a crazy swizzle stick inside. You screw it onto the end of the double syringe and as you squeeze the 2 components through the tube, it is mixed for you automatically. Using a static mixer, you'd merely need to drill 2 holes in each section. 1 just large enough for the end of the static mixer to fit, and the other can just be a pinhole near the top of the piece to let the air escape. Just keep on pushing the plunger until you see resin coming out of the vent hole. Then apply a piece of masking tape over the holes and balance the piece upright to minimize risk of leakage. Wipe off any leaks with a paper towel before it begins to set.

If you can't find one with a static mixer, you might want to find a separate syringe. I get mine from my local pharmacy. Explain that you want a couple syringes, about 20mL in size, and you don't need a needle. They should be less than a dollar apiece. If you want to try to use a single syringe, you need to wash it out with acetone after each batch before it begins to set. Personally, I wouldn't bother. Squeeze out the unmixed epoxy into a small wax paper cup, mix it with a popsicle stick, then pour/scoop it into the syringe. Then inject it into the hole drilled as described above.

As the epoxy cures, it will heat up. Don't worry about this.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 04:48 AM   #10
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Thank you very much for the help!
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