Armor Material Question - Hot Glue

Serris

New Member
Hi all. After a long time of being stagnant after making a (of somewhat dubious quality) Mk V chest piece that has long-since been canned using a mixture of hot glue and contact cement, I wanted to get back into armor-making by starting with the AndrewDFT Halo Reach ODST and the only construction option I have available to me is using hot glue, since I don't have a true workspace at the moment. My question to you all is, for those of you who have made suits in the past using hot glue, what sort of problems arose during construction and what did you do to work around those problems? I wanted to gain some knowledge from those with first-hand experience since I think it represents a wider variety of what can happen and is ultimately more beneficial. Thanks in advance!
 

S229

Jr Member
I myself started and have made a DFT ODST and have been using foam and hot glue exclusively for 5 years, and i'd be happy to help out.
My main pointer would be to say that a little goes a long way. You don't have to use a ton of hot glue to get a good bond. Keep your working environment fairly cool, as I have found that this helps the glue set better and faster. Along these lines, hot glue is forgiving and fairly easy to take apart, but be sure your pieces are lined up properly, and make sure you give the piece(s) a good 2-3 mins to set before moving on. Its slow and tedious, but if you take your time, you can produce quality pieces. An extra bit of advice, ( I know this isn't hot glue related) in his vids he uses box cutter type craft knifes, but I would recommend using X-acto knifes. You can find them at almost any craft/ hardware stores, and you can get around 200 replacement blades for like 10- 20 USD on amazon as well. I prefer X-acto knifes due to better controllability and more precise cuts, but beware that blades, no matter what kind will dull very very quickly, and its probably a good a idea to change them out every 20-30 mins of working, or until you can see that the cuts aren't coming out clean.
But, as I said, i'm more than happy to help, and will answer any questions as best I can.
 

Argent

Member
I'm working on a foam Doom suit right now using solely hot glue. Since I'm freehanding the whole thing, it works better than contact cement or superglue because you can create connections that aren't exactly flush or parallel just by globbing a whole bunch in and letting it cure around the joint. For flat layers, I just run a thin bead of glue around the borders of the foam and do some squiggles in the middle, then press it down until it cures. Basically kindergarten Elmer's glue techniques.

As far as disadvantages, it's relatively heavy if you use enough of it, it isn't quite as strong as contact cement, and it can in theory melt under heat. But if the suit's going to be foam, I wouldn't leave it in a hot car anyway. And I have yet to experience any problems with strength; but if anything it does make it easier to go back and tweak things.
 

Serris

New Member
I myself started and have made a DFT ODST and have been using foam and hot glue exclusively for 5 years, and i'd be happy to help out.
My main pointer would be to say that a little goes a long way. You don't have to use a ton of hot glue to get a good bond. Keep your working environment fairly cool, as I have found that this helps the glue set better and faster. Along these lines, hot glue is forgiving and fairly easy to take apart, but be sure your pieces are lined up properly, and make sure you give the piece(s) a good 2-3 mins to set before moving on. Its slow and tedious, but if you take your time, you can produce quality pieces. An extra bit of advice, ( I know this isn't hot glue related) in his vids he uses box cutter type craft knifes, but I would recommend using X-acto knifes. You can find them at almost any craft/ hardware stores, and you can get around 200 replacement blades for like 10- 20 USD on amazon as well. I prefer X-acto knifes due to better controllability and more precise cuts, but beware that blades, no matter what kind will dull very very quickly, and its probably a good a idea to change them out every 20-30 mins of working, or until you can see that the cuts aren't coming out clean.
But, as I said, i'm more than happy to help, and will answer any questions as best I can.
Thanks for the tips! Another question I have is, does using an extra foam piece to remove extra glue work? I had seen that using friction by rubbing the foam can remove some spilled glue from the outer edge of the seam. The last time I made a suit, I overdid it on the glue and didn't really know how to remove the extra bits.
 
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Serris

New Member
I'm working on a foam Doom suit right now using solely hot glue. Since I'm freehanding the whole thing, it works better than contact cement or superglue because you can create connections that aren't exactly flush or parallel just by globbing a whole bunch in and letting it cure around the joint. For flat layers, I just run a thin bead of glue around the borders of the foam and do some squiggles in the middle, then press it down until it cures. Basically kindergarten Elmer's glue techniques.

As far as disadvantages, it's relatively heavy if you use enough of it, it isn't quite as strong as contact cement, and it can in theory melt under heat. But if the suit's going to be foam, I wouldn't leave it in a hot car anyway. And I have yet to experience any problems with strength; but if anything it does make it easier to go back and tweak things.
Thanks for the tips, and I wish you well on the rest of your suit!
 

S229

Jr Member
Thanks for the tips! Another question I have is, does using an extra foam piece to remove extra glue work? I had seen that using friction by rubbing the foam can remove some spilled glue from the outer edge of the seam. The last time I made a suit, I overdid it on the glue and didn't really know how to remove the extra bits.
You can use a piece of scrap foam to remove access glue from the outer edge, provided the glue is still hot/ warm. It only works if its still goopy. but, if you let the glue dry, you can just kind of tear off the access glue from the outside. But, if it leaks out too far, you can tear bits of foam off. Plus, if the seam isn't good, you can also pull apart the seam completely. I've also found that using a heat gun (assuming you have one) to reheat the seam so that it melts slightly and just wiping off the access also works. But heat guns are hot because heat, so be careful to not burn yourself or the foam.
 

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