Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FemTK - Legacy Era Female Stormtrooper Build #4 - Upper Arm Pieces

Master List of Linked Build Pages:
#1 Getting Started -sorting armor and getting supplies
#2 The Corset and Butt Plate
#3 Torso and Shoulder Pieces
#4 Upper Arm Pieces and Shoulder Bells
#5 Lower Arm Pieces and Hands
#6 Leg Pieces
#7 Belt and Ammo Boxesand detonator
#8 Helmet

If you haven't already - view the YouTube video by Stephanie that show how to put your corset together. It is very helpful and she covers arms at the end.

At my armor party, I finally got around to working on my arms.

I realized a few tricks and so am passing them on.
*as I am still working on my arms, I will update this as I go

Materials for these steps:
Glue e6000
Lexan Scissors
Self-healing craft cutting mat
Utility knife (uses razor blades) or box cutter
Spare sheet of ABS included in kit
Two Spare cloth scraps or old t-shirts for wiping extra glue and ABS dust from sanding
Protective Breathing Mask
Protective Eye Glasses
Cutting gloves from hardware store
Metal ruler that bends
Small clamps - you pick the kind
Strong magnets or rare-earth magnets
Blue Painters tape
Dremel with sanding burr or sand paper, both medium and fine grit
Craft foam for inside of arms
White Caulk
Black Webbing
Lighter or Matches
Black Elastic 1 inch wide (inside shoulder bells)

Upper Arms or Biceps

1. Trim and Sanding Edges:
I begin trimming extra plastic off of edges, just for initial fitting. Sand after you are sure they are going to fit.

If you notice that there is a faint raised part along the edges of the bicep pieces, these get trimmed off. Your goal is to make a straight edge, so use your metal ruler to draw a line where you are going to cut. I used a clamp to hold one end of the ruler in place so it stayed straight. You need to cut off the weird raised ridge or it will not make that smooth seam you want. Use pencil, I wouldn't use a black pen or sharpie. Pencil washes!

After cutting off smaller sides from A and B they will fit together nicely, with a little sanding. Trim the rest and move on.

I also trimmed my edges, I chose to leave a return edge of about 3/8 inch on top part and less on the bottom, about 1/8 inch. Curved Lexan Scissors makes this step easy.

Top part edges are thicker (above) and bottom are thinner (below)

2. Tape and test fit pieces: 
Once you have trimmed edges, test fit it in your black undershirt. The biceps should fit fine and may even be quite roomy. Mine are and I have bigger upper arms. Don't hurry to trim more off unless you are really tiny, the bigger arms make you look bigger (and stronger) but also you will be putting foam padding in them. The foam will create a snug fit for you arm to fit into and it will stop the bicep part from moving around a lot. But if needed, trim some more off, maybe an equal amount from each seam, and each side! That way one side isn't bigger than the others.

As a note: if they are not big enough you can shim them. To shim, you make ABS paste (google it) from your small scraps in an empty baby food jar. You can then cut a spare piece of ABS, daub a bunch of paste on it. Let it dry, and begin sanding it down. The process is lengthy but at the end you will have an extended piece that looks natural and is your size. I might have to do this on my corset but I may also just make myself lose 5lbs.

Note: The biceps can be adjusted to sit higher under the shoulder bells. Trimming the length should not be an issue.

3. Sanding pieces to fit each other:
Now I took my trimmed bicep pieces outside to sand in my garage. I prefer a dremel, and its a fast, handy tool. Please wear your breathing mask most of the time!

I found my pieces fit together almost perfectly each time. I had to trim a little out of middle of each piece and then the ends, which were always crooked. I also noticed my ends tend to turn up. I plan to use my hubby's heat gun to bend them in when finished. I also plan to sand ends and clean them up after glueing.

Use and old t-shirt cloth to wipe off any dust when finished. Take time to label them A1 and B1, A2 and B2. It would be a pity to match them up, sand them, and then glue them wrong and have gaps because you couldn't remember which A went with which B.

I sanded all the arm openings as well, its easier to sand them now instead of when they are glued together.

4. Creating the Butt Joint:
You will be creating a butt joint. That is where you glue a strip of ABS (cut from your extra sheet) behind the seam to reinforce it.

I started with piece B for my joints. Doing the inside seam or outside seam doesn't matter. So put your A pieces aside and score and snap some strips.

I have created a short video on how to score and snap on my youtube channel. View it here if you like.

I measured and created a strip that was 3/4 or 0.75 inches wide. You then trim it with your scissors to fit the seam you are working on. I made mine just 1/8 inch shorter on each side.

I glued it on with e6000. I ran my sanding burr from my dremel over the edge of my ABS strip just to give it a softer edge. Wipe off the pieces first to remove any ABS dust from sanding. The e6000 did ooze out a bit and I wiped it off with old t-shirt rags as I went. You only need a thin line. Then clamp the pieces together so they cure properly.

I found that clamping caused more glue to ooze so I put all my clamps on, then I removed them one at a time, wiped up oozing glue that was on on the outside and wiped any glue off the clamp. Then I put the clamp back into place. So far, no glued on clamps!

See that oozing glue? If you don't remove it, it will get in the way when you glue on your other piece and they won't line up right. So take the time and remove it!

Use lots of clamps and then let it sit to cure for about 24 hours.

Be careful none of the clamps are touching oozed out glue on the inside (where you didn't wipe), or they will be glued to your armor as well. It is very helpful to have an extra set of hands here so one person can hold one end while you work on the other.

Once you have glued a strip onto the inside of B, then glue a strip onto the outside of B. I found its easier this way. You can glue both strips on at the same time, if you have enough clamps and magnets.

I was glueing legs at the same time and did not have enough.

5. Glueing the Pieces together
So, once our B pieces are cured, you glue them to your A pieces.

Make sure to pick off (with finger nail or guitar pick) all the glue along the seam. It will not allow the A piece to sit properly. See glue blobs below? It happens despite your best efforts to wipe up ooze. So just pick it off.

Put a line of glue on butt joint piece. Place edge of piece A in place. Use a magnet to hold the middle in. And clamps on the edge. Let cure over night.

And put painter tape on your magnets!

Do the other sides and all the glueing is done for these pieces!

5. Sand and touch-ups

Let's be honest - some ends stick out or look funny.

You get to sand these till they match up. And look ok, and all that jazz

I had several edges that one part went straight while the other went inward. Both should have been inward but wonky it is.

I chose to heat them with a heat gun and use a pair of pliers to bend the edge in. This caused the plastic to melt away from my seam, and hence the gap. I chose to fill this gap with Caulk.

Other options would be to sand off all return edges so they line up. This is a good option where return edges won't show or don't matter.

Whatever suits your fancy. You might want to contact your GML who will be approving your costume and ask for specific return edges that he will be looking for. 

Below you can see the first edge all sanded to be even.

In the photo below - the one edge has been bended in (on top piece) but it looks ok.  I then filled my gaps with Caulk. Here the top piece if filled and the bottom isn't. The bottom seam is much more prominent. I will be caulking all my butt joints.

And the Biceps are Done! (well, they have to be attached but mostly done)

If you have scuff marks, use Novus Polishing kit to remove them.

Shoulder Bells

1. Sand and trim (if needed)
No pictures here. I found my bells pretty much trimmed. I just had to neaten the edges, one of them was off. I sanded with my Dremel and then went over the edges with fine sand paper.

The bells have to be symmetrical and interchangeable. So don't go trimming off frontal areas more than backs and such.

I would also suggest working on lower arms at same time, and fitting bells when lower arm pieces are done.

2. Suit up and test fit where to place them. It helps to have a friend mark with tape.

So, put bells on and see how they look. I had my hubby put tape on insides the night before, so I just suited up to make sure it was all good the next morning prior to glueing. The bells hang in the middle but you can raise or lower them to your liking. 

The biceps position depends on the length of your arm, and best placement for movement. Gotta be able to take your helmet off.

So, put your painters tape on, make marks, and glue on a strip of four inch black webbing to attache bicep to bottom of bells. Seal ends of webbing by going over them with a match or lighter.
I used CA glue, and of course, used tape to hold in place for drying. If you hold with your fingers, they get glued too. 

Next cut a 5 inch piece and tape it to your upper shoulder bell. Let two to three inches hang off top. You will trim it later. Seal end of webbing before taping.

Your bells will attach to the underside of the white webbing on torso with a small velcro square. 

So once again, suit up and see where to trim the webbing so your bells hangs just right. There are no photos because my hubby helped me. 

Cut webbing, seal ends.

Put velcro square on end of webbing. Smaller than webbing is preferred so the velcro doesn't stick to other things, like your undersuit.

Mark edges with pencil, remove tape and glue webbing in place. Again, I used painter tape to hold webbing down, and also magnets to hold webbing in the crease.

Put the matching velcro square on the underside of the white webbing strap and press to attach. Put shoulder bell on and make sure its all good. The velcro sticky backing takes an hour to set in fully, easier to remove and fix before it sets in.

And as you can see, I am on the larger side of the build, but it's all coming together. 

Master List of Linked Build Pages:
#1 Getting Started -sorting armor and getting supplies
#2 The Corset and Butt Plate
#3 Torso and Shoulder Pieces
#4 Upper Arm Pieces and Shoulder Bells
#5 Lower Arm Pieces and Hands
#6 Leg Pieces
#7 Belt and Ammo Boxesand detonator
#8 Helmet

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