Vacforming buck advice!

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by Static, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Static

    Static New Member

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    Hi all - I've just been going over vacforming threads and my head is spinning with ideas for future projects! However, I need a bit of advice on a project I'm working on at the moment for a client.

    i've been commissioned to make a Jaime Lannister costume from Game of Thrones. Fabric and scale mail components are fine, but the breast plate is what has me worried.

    Images of the breastplate:
    http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lc3fz7T2Sb1qbmmu7o1_500.jpg
    http://www.spoilertv.co.uk/images/c...r-game-of-thrones-17904592-500-281-1-_595.jpg

    To keep the weight and cost down (and to hopefully give me the option of selling copies later) I'd like to vacform the front and back pieces in ABS. I've done a little bit of spectacularly horrible (and highly educational) vacforming in my tiny kitchen before (using DrCrash's instructable as a guide - BRILLIANT) and as this is a larger scale piece, I want to build a buck that is going to stand up to a bit of wear and tear...but not break the bank.

    Right now, to give me a torso-shaped shell to work with, I have paper mache'd a male mannequin. Yep. Would treating this similarly to a pep model work to strengthen it for forming? Ie, coating it in resin and reinforcing it from the back side with fibreglass or "rondo"? I was planning on starting out with plaster, to keep costs as low as humanly possible while playing with a new technique, but I'm very concerned about it just not being tough enough to stand the abuse it will no doubt get. I'd also like to get it right, or as close to right as possible, the first time!

    Thanks in advance! :D
     
  2. oota goota

    oota goota Well-Known Member

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    hey if you treat it like a pep job and reinforce the back with fibreglass that will get you there but you'll have make the glass pretty thick. It would pay to fibreglass in some wooden supports to stop the form buckling while underpressure.

    I'd suggest over building it really, you don't want to run the risk of destroying your form. good luck and post pics!
     
  3. Psicorp7

    Psicorp7 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm not sure how powerful your vacuum table is but mine is powered but a 5HP shopvac and it would crush a fiberglass and resin buck. If it does not crush it, there is a very likely chance of deformation and warping. If you want to make along lasting buck on the cheap. I would use several layers of MDF wood to get the basic shape and then smooth it with bondo to get the final smooth layer.

    This type of buck will last a long time and get you many pulls. The fiberglass and resin over paper is bound to fail in a short time.

    Just make sure to keep the edges raised to get it to form all the way around the buck.

    How big is your table?
     
  4. Static

    Static New Member

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    It's not so much a question of table size - rather, oven size! I'm getting these pulled at a shop rather than doing it myself, just providing the bucks.

    Thanks for the advice - I'll look into mdf, but I'm a bit limited in both tools and the experience to use them. If I were to rough up an mdf block, and smooth over the gaps with something like urethane expanding foam, THEN chuck on the fg+paper shell...would than hold up?

    Sorry if I sound like a complete amateur, I really really am one! :)
     
  5. Psicorp7

    Psicorp7 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The expanding foam is mostly holes and air. I will not do well under the vacuum. I will collapse on itself. If you are getting these done at a shop with a pro-level vacuum table then I would forget about the paper and fiberglass. The heavy duty vacuum tables really pump up the suction and will distort anything that is not rock solid. Plus the heat of the hot plastic can liquify some resins.

    The MDF can be worked to a pretty close shape using an angle grinder (only about $15 here in the states) and then a dremel. The final coat of bondo would be a skim coat and goes on to keep the buck smooth. Any imperfection in the buck will translate into the plastic.

    MDF is pretty cheap and works really easy. As with all new things try a few simple things first and work up to the big piece. I sucked at it when i started. I just practiced and slowly got better. The angle grinder is easy to use and really makes quick work of the MDF. Try it...you'll like it!!!
     
  6. oota goota

    oota goota Well-Known Member

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    Hey Static where in NZ are you? I have access to a vac former. PM me if like I might be able to help out
     
  7. Static

    Static New Member

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    Excellent, thanks Psicorp - I'll have a nosey around and see what I can find!
     
  8. Mostly Fantasy

    Mostly Fantasy Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    A shop I use to work at used fiberglas male/female molds all the time- as long as they were thick enough (reinforced enough) they were never a problem, and we had a surge tank with an industrial vacuum pump.
     

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