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Unread 01-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #1
CosplayJelly
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help with making this sword base

Ok so im making a noel sword (ffxiii-2) cuz I feel like it. I cut the sword out in thin foamboard and id like to coat it with something to make it durable, stable, and a good base to start working details onto. Would wonderflex work? If not, then what else could I do? Btw im not going to cut out another sword out of wood or anything. Cutting it out in foamboard was tough already cuz its such an odd shape. Heres a pic of what iv got.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 08:43 PM   #2
Druhzin
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I recently bought some of this http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Wire-Foam-...ords=foam+coat , its pretty nice, not too hard to apply and if you spend some time on it you can get it smoothish before it dries. I'm waiting to sand right now, I'll let you know how well it sands.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 09:15 PM   #3
verdatum
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To use wonderflex, you would need to similarly cut that out. It would go even slower than cutting out the foamcore.

I'd recommend a couple layers of muslin fabric on each side, saturated in white glue (PVA glue). You don't have to be super acurate cutting it out. And if you just trace the pattern with a sharpie and cut it out with sissors, it should go pretty quick and painlessly.

Make sure each layer of fabric is saturated in glue, and then lay it in place. Use a plastic scraper to coax as much excess glue as you can without starting to squeeze the fabric dry. Paradoxically, this makes it stronger. Avoid air-bubbles like the plague. scrape them out to the edges. If one keeps popping up, wrap that spot repeated turnings of waxed string (waxed dental floss works.

In the future, with proper technique, it is actually easier to cut this sort of complicated shape out of wood. All you need is a cheap coping saw with thin medium toothed blades, a clamp, a sturdy working surface you can clamp on, and a scrap of wood.

Ya cut a v-shaped notch out of the end of a scrap of wood, something like 1/2'' by 4'', but it doesn't matter much. You clamp the board securely to the working surface so the 'V' hangs over the edge towards you. You have the pattern drawn on the wood. You cut it by pulling downward on the coping saw, keeping the blade pretty much in a constant position; straight up and down, positioned close to the notch of the 'V', twisting it slightly while cutting to turn sharp corners. You move the hunk of wood around instead. You don't need to go very fast or use too much muscle. Just let the saw teeth do the work, and you're through it in no time. Use fiberboard or solid wood for this. Plywood and particle board are harder to saw through with their interwoven grain patterns. Solid wood may need to be planed flat before you work with it.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
CosplayJelly
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Verdatum: ive never heard of using fabric for making a sword prop. would you know of where I can see a pic of a prop made like this?
Druhzin: cool! Plz do tell me how that works out for you.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 06:40 PM   #5
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After painting, it looks exactly like a prop made with fiberglass & resin, it just isn't quite as strong. All the techniques involving the combination of a sheet of something mixed with some sort of adhesive are known as "composite materials" and they're all pretty similar, they just have different strength and weigh properties. Fabric & glue is stronger than paper mache, weaker than fiberglass+resin (which is often sorta overkill for props), and lighter & less brittle than plaster bandage.

After the layers of fabric, you still need to do some work to hide the fabric texture and the seam lines where layers of fabric overlap. This means coating it in a surfacing material; something thick yet sandable, like gesso (multiple layers), jointing compound, thinned wood putty, thinned paperclay, epoxy wood treatment or a host of other things. and then sanding that smooth. Don't try to sand through the fabric, it just gets all fuzzy. If you need to, because of something like an airbubble, just cut the bubble away with a sharp knife, and fill the void in with your chosen surfacing material.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
Siegfried Cos.
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If I had been making a prop like that I definitely would have chosen something a lot stronger than foamboard, You can strengthen it with things like plaster and glue but there really isn't a whole ton you can do to make foamboard stronger. I would recommend using that foamboard as a basis for carving an identical prop out of wood or forming one out of fiberglass. Of course, its your prop and its really up to you what you make it out of but foamboard just really is not the greatest choice out there for durability.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 08:16 AM   #7
CosplayJelly
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So.. I have no idea what fiberglass or resin is. Can anyone point me in a direction of what to do to make it or a how to tutorial on resin or fiberglass?
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Unread 01-24-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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fiberglass is just what it sounds like, glass that has been stretched and spun in to fine flexible fiber. This fiber is then woven or knitted into some sort of fabric that has a very high tensile strength.

Generically, resin is any liquid that hardens up due to a chemical reaction. In the world of fiberglass, it usually refers to polyester resin; a nasty chemical that needs to be used outside, since the fumes are smelly, bad for your health, and can hang around for days.

When fiberglass and resin are combined, you get what is called a "composite material" that is very lightweight, rigid and strong. Fiberglass+resin is used to make things like speedboats and surfboards. The composite is applied almost the same way as paper mache (another composite material), either laid into a mold, to make things like custom automobile body parts, or wrapped around a foam core, to make things like surfboards.

There are oodles of good demos on youtube, but I can't get there from this machine. You should do plenty of research before attempting fiberglassing, since it is messy and sort of expensive.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 05:38 PM   #9
Darkdreamyr
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You can make foamboard surprisingly durable with a little effort. I've made an axe that's survived several cons so far with no damage at all. (Of course I wasn't trying to whack anyone with it, but it's bumped into doors and fallen over at times.) The blade itself is three layers of foamboard, shaved to form a small edge, and covered in crisscrossing layers of masking tape, mod podge and gesso. The blade edge itself was helped by a little paper clay. Sure it requires a buttload of sanding but hey, the materials were cheaper, there's no noxious fumes and no special equipment needed other than scissors and an exacto knife.
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Unread 01-25-2013, 08:57 PM   #10
CosplayJelly
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Oh. Well maybe ill just go with that. Do you know if its ok to use modge podge specifically for furniture on it? Bc I have a bottle of that and if not ill have to go buy another bottle just for making this.
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