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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:00 AM   #1
CosplayerKirito
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Best thing to make Heathcliff's (SAO) armor from?

I'm going to be starting construction on my armor for my Heathcliff costume. What would be the best material to make it out of? I don't know if I'm comfortable making it from Fiber Glass unless I'm starting with craft foam.

What would be the easiest, yet the better way of making it strong enough not to just fall apart when someone touches it, or looking bad in the heat?
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:31 AM   #2
Altrus
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This is a pretty debatable topic, it depends on what you're comfortable with. Craft foam will definitely fall under the least expensive method. Without being reinforced, it's also one of the least durable. Fiberglass isn't a scary material as long as you take the proper saftey steps: Working in a well ventilated area and wearing a respirator. By applying resin and fiberglass to the foam, you'll make it much, much sturdier. I'm a fan of bondo on top for detailing and further strength. Once again, this is fairly noxious while mixing and requires ventilation as well as a mask. Modge-podge and plasti-dip are also popular alternatives for sealing foam. I"m also very fond of Apoxie, but it's fairly expensive in the amounts you'd need to coat a whole set of armor. It's a 2 part epoxy clay that's non-toxic, has a 2 hour working time, and hardens fantastically. It's also sand-able, paint-able, and waterproof. It could be very useful for detailing.

More options would be plastics like worbla, wonderflex, and sintra. Worbla and wonderflex are definitely the expensive option. Sintra is PVC and much cheaper. They're sturdier than foam that hasn't been reinforced, but they're very thin and I personally find they tend to reflect that in how they look, which may not work for every project.

If you have any knowledge of 3D modeling or can find the PDO files, there's the pepakura method. Pepakura can produce fantastically accurate results, and is very inexpensive for the base materials, but you WILL need resin and fiberglass to reinforce, plus bondo or someother product to coat it or it will look and be about as strong as armor made from paper. Done with time and effort though, it's very very strong.

In the end, they all have their strengths and weaknesses and it will come down to your own preferences and skillsets.

I suppose there is making molded armor (which is so strong I've seen people stand on it), but that is both very expensive and the opposite of easy/friendly.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 12:43 PM   #3
StabbityBlkMage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altrus View Post
By applying resin and fiberglass to the foam, you'll make it much, much sturdier.
ABSOLUTELY DO NOT APPLY RESIN TO FOAM. Foam gets eaten through using most hardware store resins (polyester resin) and will destroy your work in a matter of seconds. The only resins that are suitable for this are specialized such as marine resins and a few resins on Smooth-On.com (Smoothcast is the de facto one right now).

Personally I use PVC foam (Komatex) to make all of my armor. It cuts with a knife or saw, then heats to shape using a heat gun. I'll attach some articles on that method.

http://junkerscosplay.blogspot.com/2...rd-online.html

http://junkerscosplay.blogspot.com/2...s-monster.html

However since you're interested in doing craft foam I would suggest doing the Goldy method of foam + vinyl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vugy-x0hiGk). I did it with Spandex and Foam but it's the same concept. In the US I suggest using the RED can of Weldwood contact cement, since the green can is utter crap.

Picture of my friend Champ Okageo. His armor is part plastic and part foam+vinyl. As you can see it's very difficult to distinguish where one material starts and the other material ends.

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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:16 PM   #4
Altrus
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@Stabbity: You are outright wrong on this one, I'm sorry. I've done this personally and had no issue.

Kirito, I have PERSONALLY applied fiberglass resin to EVA foam, which is what craft foam is. It will NOT eat through it. For picture evidence that it will not destroy the foam, I present my friend in a FMA costume with automail that was made by applying standard hardware store fiberglass resin to craft foam:



Now, for other types of foam, yes, resin can be caustic. HOWEVER, for craft foam, aka EVA foam, AKA Ethylene-vinyl Acetate, which is overwhelmingly the most common sort of foam for armor and what I specifically mentioned, it is perfectly friendly.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #5
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I'm actually the crafter of the above automail, and I would like to point out that you do not add fiberglass if you're just looking for a way to seal the foam. Just heat mold your foam, hot glue it together, and then paint it with the fiberglassing resin. It may warp a bit during the curing, but it seemed to always settle back to the original shape. I only resined one side of the foam.

Once cured, it's flexible enough that it's easy to put on and off without cracking, but if bent too far it will craze badly and deeply. It seals in one coat and is beautifully smooth and shiny, and you can sand off any protruding bits. Painting can be done with any plastic-bonding spray paint.

The automail was my first attempt and done in three days. Since then, I've used polyester fiberglassing resin on EVA craft foam three or four more times, and the most recent was much smoother.

Last note: To assemble armor of these pieces, you'll probably need to resin both sides. Hot glue won't stick to the resin side and E6000 will eat through the foam side. Only one side has to be pretty and painted, though.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 02:49 PM   #6
animenerd93
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^what is the name of the resin you used?
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Unread 02-16-2013, 03:10 PM   #7
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Just ran at test with craft foam and resin and I'm surprised that it doesn't get eaten through. My previous experiments with foam and resin ended in corrosive madness so I guess I I learned something.

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Unread 02-17-2013, 02:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animenerd93 View Post
^what is the name of the resin you used?
Just 3M brand fiberglass resin, but any should work.
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