(Tutorial)Snap Fasteners. Seamless armor to under-suit attachment, with no sewing!

FANGS

Commanding Officer
Community Staff
Division Staff
The snap method works really well. I've always used pieces of plastic - HIPS, Sintra, ABS or even thermoplastics like Worbla to make my snap pieces that attach to the armor. I never thought about the webbing! I agree though, the webbing needs some extra care the heavier your armor is. And make sure to seal your ends so it doesn't fray!

I buy my Line 24 heavy duty snaps from Tandy. They have packages of various sizes and, depending on what options you have and how many you need, might be more cost effective.

For an undersuit that you get a long use out of, I highly recommend reinforcing your fabric where the snap will be inserted. This is especially true if your suit has any stretch to it. Make sure to get the correct iron on interfacing for the fabric you are working with. I just use an inch square piece to the inside of the suit and insert the snap through that.

You may also find that your snaps aren't closing at all or are very difficult. In my experience this is generally because when using the heavy duty snaps you need to have enough fabric on the post or too much will be left to fold over causing the snap to not close. This is also easily resolvable by adding in a little spacer, like felt for example, to give more bulk.

In the end, just treat the snaps a little delicately. Don't yank them apart, but rather sort of pry them apart and you'll get all kinds of life out of them. More than one snap definitely for larger pieces builds in some redundancy that helps should one of your snaps on either side come loose. As well, keep some heavy duty stick on velcro in your kit to do quick repairs until you can properly re-glue or re-set the snap at home.

Similarly this can be done with magnets, but that does require some hand sewing to sew little pockets to your undersuit to hold them. Otherwise it's a very similar process for marking etc.
 

PerniciousDuke

RXO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
FANGS , I've done snaps into webbing by using a very small hole punch then a lighter on both sides to seal the hole. Then super glue (which is essentially liquid stitch) around the hole before setting the snap. This really ensures the snap doesn't stretch itself out of the webbing.

Great tips!
 

Elcorio

Active Member
I used velcro throughout my entire suit. Well, more specifically, the thighs and the shoulders. I sewed (2) 1.5" strips about 10 inches long to my pants and contact cemented the opposite ones inside the thighs. Slide them up your leg and press them in. I walked all over the place and never had them shift or move. I would recommend a set of suspenders though being as your pants essentially become load bearing with the thigh pieces attached.

For the shoulders, I modeled the real life tactical armor shoulder sleeve that SWAT teams use, sewed velcro onto that and the other side to the the shirt near the shoulder seam. some more velcro on the outside of the tactical cuff and then the opposite piece to a beveled spacer to keep my shoulder from hitting my chest piece. Spacer was then mounted to the shoulder piece using contact cement.

It may sound confusing, but it really is simple in design and I have pics in my build thread of it. In fact, when at a con and people ask what the suit is made of, it is not uncommon for my wife to rip off one of my shoulder pieces and hand it to them. When they're done looking at it, she just sticks it back to my shoulder cuff am I am like "really babe!? She usually replies with "Oh Shush, it's just foam."

But never in all the times I have worn my ODST in crowds has any of it shifted or been bumped off. The velcro holds like a champ.
 

Pjork

New Member
I used velcro throughout my entire suit. Well, more specifically, the thighs and the shoulders. I sewed (2) 1.5" strips about 10 inches long to my pants and contact cemented the opposite ones inside the thighs. Slide them up your leg and press them in. I walked all over the place and never had them shift or move. I would recommend a set of suspenders though being as your pants essentially become load bearing with the thigh pieces attached.

For the shoulders, I modeled the real life tactical armor shoulder sleeve that SWAT teams use, sewed velcro onto that and the other side to the the shirt near the shoulder seam. some more velcro on the outside of the tactical cuff and then the opposite piece to a beveled spacer to keep my shoulder from hitting my chest piece. Spacer was then mounted to the shoulder piece using contact cement.

It may sound confusing, but it really is simple in design and I have pics in my build thread of it. In fact, when at a con and people ask what the suit is made of, it is not uncommon for my wife to rip off one of my shoulder pieces and hand it to them. When they're done looking at it, she just sticks it back to my shoulder cuff am I am like "really babe!? She usually replies with "Oh Shush, it's just foam."

But never in all the times I have worn my ODST in crowds has any of it shifted or been bumped off. The velcro holds like a champ.
Thanks!
 

he4thbar

Well-Known Member
In fact, when at a con and people ask what the suit is made of, it is not uncommon for my wife to rip off one of my shoulder pieces and hand it to them. When they're done looking at it, she just sticks it back to my shoulder cuff am I am like "really babe!? She usually replies with "Oh Shush, it's just foam."
that's awesome lol.
 

FoamAndFoundry

New Member
Wonderful technique and tutorial, thanks for sharing it! I'm definitely going to have to use this in the future, I've been searching for new ways to connect my Marine shoulders without straps and I need to start thinking about how to set up my ODST.

Just a thought, but for printed armor, would heating up the snap and pressing it into the plastic like a heat-set insert maybe work to more seamlessly and strongly attach the snap to the plastic? I might have to test that eventually as well...
 

he4thbar

Well-Known Member
Just a thought, but for printed armor, would heating up the snap and pressing it into the plastic like a heat-set insert maybe work to more seamlessly and strongly attach the snap to the plastic? I might have to test that eventually as well...
That would be an interesting technique. definitly worth giving a shot. other have suggested doing the nylon strap and holding it in place with fiberglass. I assume you could do the same with shoe goo since once it dries after 24 hours it's not going anywhere. but you would need the nylon strap so you have a way to glue it down.
 
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