I have always wanted my own set of armor. I've been drawing and sketching armor designs since I was a little kid. I think I finally have the time, skills, and money to make my own set.
I'd like a set of soft armor, like a studded coat, as well as some hard plate armor to be worn over padding (a gambeson). I think a hard plate, articulated cuirass is the best place for me to start.
- High-Impact Epoxy Resin
- Linen or similar material for exterior finish
- Brass grommets and rivets
- Mushroom velcro - While the aesthetic of leather belts is very appealing, I am aiming for functionality first. I could do leather over top the mushroom velcro.
- Wire mesh ? (Could possibly use as a base-form to provide an initially rigid structure to build upon)
- Rivet and Rivet gun
- Vacuum Bag (for laminating the fiber / epoxy)
The armor consists of rigid plates fastened to one another with mushroom velcro. The plates themselves are laminated layers of basalt fiber fabric, conjoined with high-impact epoxy resin. The top layer is a linen or paint. For plates that should not move relative to one another, the velcro attaches directly between the plates. Where some movement is desired, leather straps backed with mushroom velcro connect them.
- Must be stiff enough to withstand blows and redistribute impact force
- Must be able to withstand repeated blows or slashes from edged weapons
- Must be flexible enough (through articulation) to allow full use of skills/applications of Modern Arnis.
- Must minimize vulnerable points / gaps.
- Must be functional worn by itself as well as over top a padded coat
- Must be adjustable and donnable without assistance
- Desired: bullet proof against 9mm rounds (given the use of basalt fiber and an appropriate epoxy, this should be a gimme)
I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion what I want is impossible and I can only do so much thought-design before I have to start fabricating and seeing what actually does and doesn't work.
I'll need a dress form matching my torso. I'll use the t-shirt + ductape method to make one.
I'll make a test design out of muslin to test how how the pieces fit together and how much material I'll really need (right now my conservative estimate is 0.7 m2 per layer).
If satisfied with the muslin, I'll make 3 or 4 layers and laminate them using high-impact epoxy resin. This will give an idea of how stiff and how hard the final product will be. It will also let me try cutting, shaping, and fitting together the rigid pieces–this is where I'll see how my design needs to be adjusted.
If all the above goes well, I'll replicate the above process with basalt fiber fabric.