Where to get sheeting for Stormtrooper armor


Well-Known Member
Hello, this is my first post here and I gotta say first off, this website is a godsend for me. I've been trying to start a little prop/ costume sort of thing for movies I make etc.

Anyway I've been making molds for some stormtrooper armor and now all I really need to do is buy some sheeting. I'm not really sure what the best is (I know its a matter of preference). So my question is what is the best kind to get and where can I get it, specifically websites or businesses or a decent price. Thanks.

I look forward to lurking around here for a long time hence forth :cool
I'd like to know the answer to that, too. I am building a vacuum forming table as well so I would Love to know where the ABS is cheapest.
interesting... vacuum forming table for under 10GBP? haha

was wanting to make one a while back myself :eek:) hows it going?
Thanks for the info, does anyone know any websites that have their prices listed with shipping and other info readily available?
9 years of experience in trooper armor has taught me:

Plastic needs to be .090" for durability, but .060 will work for short term use.

Only use Smooth/smooth finish - Haircell finish on one side will transfer during the vac process and create a pebble-grain finish.

ABS - compared to styrene - is more durable, easier to cut with power tools and is naturally glossy. However, ABS is harder to work with on a vac-table because of it's tendency to 'boil' when overheated and is more expensive.

I agree with SuperKrates above. You probably want to go with ABS plastic for a stormtrooper armor, because of the naturally glossy look, but that boiling factor is something to worry about. If you are brand new to vacuumforming, I would recommend going with High Impact Polystyrene (a.k.a. HIPS -or- simply Styrene.) It will vacuumform with a satin or matte color finish, but it deals with the heat a lot better and you won't waste 30% of your sheets due to trial-and-error and overheating. Once you get used to how a plastic reacts to heat, and you feel confident with the process, then you can move on to a more finicky material like ABS.

Cal mentioned US Plastics. I've purchased with them in the past and they have a nice online interface for purchasing, but be prepared for a potential 2-4 week delivery time.

For my needs I purchase plastic from either Sabic Polymershapes, or Laird Plastics. I call my local distributor and check the price of materials that week. Plastic sheets are a commodity and they fluctuate the prices on a near weekly basis. I always shop around for the best price, this way I might actually trip upon a price of a material that has been sitting in the warehouse for 2 months, and the price of that batch of plastic can be lower than a competitor that just got a batch in this week. This "shopping around" method is the nature of the business, especially in the petroleum market these days.

Here's the local phone numbers for Sabic and Laird in the NY area... Just call the number, ask for a sales rep, then tell them what you are doing, that you are a hobbyist just getting into vacforming, and they will help walk you through the ordering process.

Sabic ... Syracuse ... 315-422-9165 NYC ... 516-933-4980
Laird ... Syracuse ... 888-285-4798 NYC ... 800-873-8421
hello, I have been doing some vacuum forming and pretty much all websites for ABS plastic seem to be haircell one side.

Anyone know a place that still sells smooth/smooth? The parts that I have been making, are 1/8" thick. They look okay, but am sure they would look nicer with the smooth/smooth. I tried HIPS, but gets dirty too easy and doesn't have any gloss. Well, at least the material that I found online.
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