Foam Armour Scaling and Construction

Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
There are different paints you can get, some metalizers and others just high gloss. It really boils down to you searching and finding what you like best, personally.

You will definitely want a clear coat, for sure. I haven't tried it yet, but I've heard a lot of really good things about using varnish or floor wax, actually.

I just grabbed a can of clear coat from walmart and sprayed the daylights out of everything, but next time a gentler more patient approach would be best, I think.
 

OJ102

Member
The foam Made the outer shell and spacers inside. I then filled it with expanding foam. Its firm but not like stone. So has a little give
 

OJ102

Member
After the shield I'm looking at ways to reinforce the foam without adding thickness. Bearing in mind the reinforcement has to allow joint flexibility where needed.

For example the helmet is a solid piece, but for it my head to fot through the neck hole it would have to be massive. It counter this I'm thinking of stealing a page from human biology. A babies head has a hinge in the top that allows enough compression to fit through without breaking but also stops deformation. I've made the helmet the perfect size to sit 1cm off my head so I dont look like a churchill bobble head bitt in order to wear it, it has to pop over my head. I'm thinking of using fine aluminium mesh for the sides of the helmet with paperclip weaving on flex-joints. Adapting a similar system for each component that requires movement.

Has anyone used such methods for reinforcing? Or cam suggest alternatives. The suit has to remain thin above all
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Has anyone used such methods for reinforcing? Or cam suggest alternatives. The suit has to remain thin above all
For things such as spaulders and thin brims I use strips of aluminum flashing layered between the outer foam layer and an extra layer of 2mm craft foam to help keep thin shapes in their required form.
 

OJ102

Member
My iron man design is based on 5mm foam. Closer to 7mm but it says 5mm

I'm concerned that my body filler will crack and fall off if I dont reinforce the larger straight areas.

I used paper mache the first time which worked well when coated all round. I'm thinking of using the fine mesh on flatter areas to reduce flexibility. Guess I'll need to do some testing.

I'm also embedding magnets inside parts of the foam to allow them to clip together. For the shins I'm thinking cutting down the centre and using a strap to hold the front on and then magnetically lock the back on so that it's not a group effort to use it!

Thankfully the first stage is making a complete suit from foam, then I can chop it up so I can ensure i can get it on without making it the size of hulkbuster lol
 

OJ102

Member
Update:

I have completed a Helmet, Back and Chestplate. Unfortunately my own perfectionism is my enemy as the seams are upsetting my sense of perfection! My model is designed for foam but as some very thin parts are removed, I cant join components electronically so I cut them all out and assembled. I found out the hard way that seams only 1cm apart look very bad!

I have, however altered my approach.

Up until now I have been using 45* 5mm foam. The thickness made scaling easier but I think the density was making construction harder as it was quite soft. My Contact cement also seems to have been curing in the tin, as it now has the consistency of jelly....

I started thinking, if I cant join electronically, I could always join the paper cut outs. So i chose a component that was small, but had lots of parts, the Neck Seal! it has 40 parts in it some no thicker then 2cm. I printed them out and sure enough some of the parts lined up fine, some however could not be joined as paper just isnt made to bend like that! So... I thought to myself.. maybe the key is a 2 stage template. using 5mm foam for the frame worked well but Im not wasting foam making each part twice! I can however, get 2mm 45* foam dirt cheap £4.50 for 2mx1m roll.

So my idea is, and im testing this with the next seal first. . .

1. Print out the paper templates and join the ones that join well, for the next seal this reduced me down to 12 parts from 40! score!

2. using the paper templates that are merged, cut them onto foam (2mm) as exact as possible (obviously)

3. Combine the foam templates together to form larger sections that don't have defined edges, since curves can be molded in foam well. The foam allows horizontal distortion of the foam where paper would have ripped.

4. Lay the foam flat being carefull to not stretch it more then needed. Then use THAT as a template for tracing onto 5mm 100* foam which will be the final form. This should eliminate 80% of my seams.

5. For the finer details between 1mm - 3mm, score with a scalpel and apply heat to contract the edges to create the intricate details. For the larger details 3mm up to 2.5cm use the 2mm foam and cut out those very small parts again and attack them onto the surface of it, cleaning edges as i go.

6. The remaining seams should only be large ones that have defined edges so I should hopefully be able to use my rotary tool to smooth off any roughness after applying filler.

Im hoping this will mean ill have the appearance of almost solid sections of Armour across large areas. Im not sure how to go about the fingers however as they are small and complete enclosed curves.

How does my plan for the main Armour sound, likely to work?
Also any thoughts on fingers?

I'm only up to starting part 3. as i mentioned, my contact cement has turned to jelly and doesnt actually stick to anything, you can scoop it out and roll it into balls currently... despite being continually sealed I'm disappointed in its shelf life! Ive had to order new materials, a roll of 2mm and 5mm foam, as well as fillers and a new brand of contact adhesive that is meant to be specifically used in foam crafts, so fingers crossed!
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Update:

I have completed a Helmet, Back and Chestplate. Unfortunately my own perfectionism is my enemy as the seams are upsetting my sense of perfection! My model is designed for foam but as some very thin parts are removed, I cant join components electronically so I cut them all out and assembled. I found out the hard way that seams only 1cm apart look very bad!

I have, however altered my approach.

Up until now I have been using 45* 5mm foam. The thickness made scaling easier but I think the density was making construction harder as it was quite soft. My Contact cement also seems to have been curing in the tin, as it now has the consistency of jelly....

I started thinking, if I cant join electronically, I could always join the paper cut outs. So i chose a component that was small, but had lots of parts, the Neck Seal! it has 40 parts in it some no thicker then 2cm. I printed them out and sure enough some of the parts lined up fine, some however could not be joined as paper just isnt made to bend like that! So... I thought to myself.. maybe the key is a 2 stage template. using 5mm foam for the frame worked well but Im not wasting foam making each part twice! I can however, get 2mm 45* foam dirt cheap £4.50 for 2mx1m roll.

So my idea is, and im testing this with the next seal first. . .

1. Print out the paper templates and join the ones that join well, for the next seal this reduced me down to 12 parts from 40! score!

2. using the paper templates that are merged, cut them onto foam (2mm) as exact as possible (obviously)

3. Combine the foam templates together to form larger sections that don't have defined edges, since curves can be molded in foam well. The foam allows horizontal distortion of the foam where paper would have ripped.

4. Lay the foam flat being carefull to not stretch it more then needed. Then use THAT as a template for tracing onto 5mm 100* foam which will be the final form. This should eliminate 80% of my seams.

5. For the finer details between 1mm - 3mm, score with a scalpel and apply heat to contract the edges to create the intricate details. For the larger details 3mm up to 2.5cm use the 2mm foam and cut out those very small parts again and attack them onto the surface of it, cleaning edges as i go.

6. The remaining seams should only be large ones that have defined edges so I should hopefully be able to use my rotary tool to smooth off any roughness after applying filler.

Im hoping this will mean ill have the appearance of almost solid sections of Armour across large areas. Im not sure how to go about the fingers however as they are small and complete enclosed curves.

How does my plan for the main Armour sound, likely to work?
Also any thoughts on fingers?

I'm only up to starting part 3. as i mentioned, my contact cement has turned to jelly and doesnt actually stick to anything, you can scoop it out and roll it into balls currently... despite being continually sealed I'm disappointed in its shelf life! Ive had to order new materials, a roll of 2mm and 5mm foam, as well as fillers and a new brand of contact adhesive that is meant to be specifically used in foam crafts, so fingers crossed!
This sounds like a good plan. When working on large panels with small changes in direction you can use undercuts on the back side of the foam to create creases and bends based on the depth of foam you remove. For changes in angle less than 45° I'll often combine pattern parts and instead of having a split in the foam, I'll have a bend. It's a bit more work up front since you have to rough assemble your template, check angles and add some edge bevels to the foam but there's far less gap filling and sanding at the end of the project. It's kind of like coasting to the finish :p
 

OJ102

Member
I need as good a finish as possible. So the more exact I can make the base the better! I've been building it since last November and done 5 helmets, 3 backs, 2 chests a full left arm and a full left leg lol.

So I'm hoping this variant will be the one!
 
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