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Aluminum Backplate Progress

  1. #1
    Gator Fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    804

    Aluminum Backplate Progress

    As I mentioned in this thread http://forums.thedentedhelmet.com/showthread.php?t=6107 I have started working on my aluminum backplate, which will mate up with my resized collar armor.

    I customized my template, starting with a couple of the templates available on this site, adding in some details from the MOM & ASW reference photos. I then fit the size of the armor to my back, and finnaly tweeked it to match up with my collar armor.

    Using the template I cut a 24"x24" piece of .090 aluminum to the pattern with a metal blade in my jig saw. I then used a bench grinder and my dremel to clean up the edges.

    Next steps are to shape the armor to my back.

    Gator
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback01-jpg   gatorback02-jpg   gatorback03-jpg  


  2. #2
    Jango's kid's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2002
    From
    SW Minnesota, very small town
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    2,517

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    pretty cool so far. How are you planning to do the shaping??? I don't know if its still up, but one of our members, Megalomanicalmandalore ,had a great tutoril on how to shape metal armour using a ball pean hammer and other tools. I think he had links to his own site. Might want to check that out if you get a chance. Keep us posted

    Damian

  3. #3
    Gator Fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    I made some progress on shaping my back armor. I used my pannel beater bag and teardrop hammer to shape the plate. It was alot harder than my collar armor. The combination curves along the collar portion of the back plate, across the shoulders and down under the arms we tough.

    I also had to put a slight crease down the center of the plate, and add some curve through the shoulder blade area to get it to fit correctly. I still have some tweeking to do, but I am happy with how it is comming along.

    My next step is to smooth out the hammer blows with a planishing hammer and steel die. Then cut the JP harnes holes, sand, tweek, and paint.

    Gator
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback04-jpg   gatorback05-jpg   gatorback06-jpg  

    gatorback07-jpg   gatorback08-jpg  

  4. #4

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Excellent work, thank you for sharing your progress shots. Keep posting!

    Alan

  5. #5
    Gator Fett's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    804

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    I started to smooth out the shaping hammer blows with my new fender hammer and dolly set. The set is made for working on auto body fenders, but works just as well on mandalorian armor.

    The steel dolly is held on one side of the plate, while you hammer the bumps from the other side. You then switch from side to side to even out the high and low spots on each side of the plate. An english wheel would have worked great, but I could not get ahold of Jessie James at West Coast Choppers.

    I sanded the outside of the backplate to reveal the high and low spots, then used the hammer and dolly to smooth them down. I think I will repeat the hammer / sanding process a couple more times on the left side, then move to the right.

    Gator
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback09-jpg   gatorback10-jpg   gatorback11-jpg  

    gatorback12-jpg  

  6. #6
    propsculptor's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2003
    From
    Southern California
    Posts
    322

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Gator Fett said:
    I started to smooth out the shaping hammer blows with my new fender hammer and dolly set. The set is made for working on auto body fenders, but works just as well on mandalorian armor.

    The steel dolly is held on one side of the plate, while you hammer the bumps from the other side. You then switch from side to side to even out the high and low spots on each side of the plate. An english wheel would have worked great, but I could not get ahold of Jessie James at West Coast Choppers.

    I sanded the outside of the backplate to reveal the high and low spots, then used the hammer and dolly to smooth them down. I think I will repeat the hammer / sanding process a couple more times on the left side, then move to the right.

    Gator
    Great job on the smoothing of the metal,
    where can I pick up a fender hammer and dolly set?

  7. #7
    BobaFettSlave_1's Avatar
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    Amity
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    awsome!

  8. #8
    Gator Fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
    Posts
    804

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    propsculptor - I bought my pannel beater bag and my fender hammer & dolly set at Eastwood Company Automotive online. There website is:

    www.eastwoodco.com

    The pannel beater bag set is:

    www.eastwoodco.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=1482&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainC at=489&iSubCat=492&iProductID=1482

    The fender hammer & dolly set is:

    www.eastwoodco.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=1704&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainC at=504&iSubCat=505&iProductID=1704

    BobaFettSlave_1 - Thanks.

  9. #9
    BobaFettSlave_1's Avatar
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    where did you get a sheat of aluminum that thick?

  10. #10
    Gator Fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    BobaFettSlave_1 said:
    where did you get a sheat of aluminum that thick?
    I went to a local metal distributor in my area. Look in the Yellow Pages under Aluminum or Metal or Steel to find a distributor in your area.

    For my collar armor, I bought a scrap piece of 1/8" (.125") thick aluminum for about $12. For my backplate I wanted it a little thinner, so I got the next size smaller .090" thick aluminum. They had to cut a 2'x2' pice from a full sheet, so the price was a little more. It came to about $27.

    Gator

  11. #11
    Gator Fett's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Well, I finished the smoothing and sanding. I'll consider any left over rough spots battle damage.

    I stuck the colar armor on with some duct tape, and put both pieces on over my vest, to test the fit. While I had the backplate on, I had my wife mark the location of the JP slots from my vest on the armor. I then consulted the MoM reference photos to get the final location for the slots. I marked the backplate where I need to cut the slots, add a dent, and trim the neck line collar area. But that's tomorrow's project.

    Gator
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback13-jpg   gatorback15-jpg   gatorback14-jpg  


  12. #12

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Like that metal work. Keep it coming

  13. #13
    Gator Fett's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
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    Clarkston, Michigan
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    I got the Jet Pack slots cut and formed, the neck and shoulder area trimmed and the collar plate attached. I gave both pieces a final sanding, so they should be ready for paint.

    Any feedback or suggestions for changes or improvements? All comments and constructive criticisim is welcome.

    Gator
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback16-jpg   gatorback19-jpg   gatorback21-jpg  

    gatorback20-jpg   gatorback24-jpg  

  14. #14
    shortimer52's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    From
    Corpus Christi, TEXAS
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    looking good

  15. #15
    stormtrooper@rushmore's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2005
    From
    Athens, Ga
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    271

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    That's lookin sweet! One question, does the weight of the back plate pull your collar armor into the front of your neck?

  16. #16
    cal196's Avatar
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    Earth
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    looks great, its aluminum what weight?

  17. #17
    Gator Fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    shortimer52 - Thanks.

    stormtrooper - I don't know. I don't have a jet pack yet. My MLC is on the way, so I will let you know in a few weeks. However, my plan is to secure the JP at the top with the two shoulder straps and at the bottom with a waist strap. Similar to the way the real deal is supported. This should take some of the weight of the JP off the shoulder area and move it down to the bottom of the pack. Besides, the MLC is only 5 lbs. so it should not pull to much.

    EDIT: :o Sorry stormtrooper, I should have paid attention to your question. No, the backplate does not pull on the collar. The way I formed the two pieces all the weight is directly on my shoulders.

    cal196 - The collar and backplate together weigh 1.5 - 2 lbs. My scale sucks so I can't be too sure.
    Last edited by Gator Fett; Mar 19, 2005 at 7:10 AM. Reason: Did not pay attention.

  18. #18
    Gator Fett's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
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    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    I painted the collar and backplate over the past few days. I still have some topical damage to apply and I have to weather all of my armor pieces, but here are a few shots.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback25-jpg   gatorback26-jpg   gatorback27-jpg  


  19. #19
    jarodpenn's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2004
    From
    Clarendon, AR
    Posts
    236

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Holy cow, I can't even believe I'm seeing this! You're amazing!

  20. #20

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    With patience . . .

    Comes wisdom . . .

    Good job!

  21. #21
    stormtrooper@rushmore's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2005
    From
    Athens, Ga
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    271

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Applause!!!!....very good paint job on some sweet metal armor...

  22. #22
    Gator Fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2002
    From
    Clarkston, Michigan
    Posts
    804

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    jarodpenn, lilburndiablo & stormtrooper - Thanks guys.

    Well everyone, I think this may be my last update on my backplate. I do believe I am finished with this part of my suit.

    I decided to use the rare earth magnets on my back plate and collar armor. The two pieces are screwed together with the shoulder bolts, and I slip the two pieces on over my head. Once on, the weight of the collar and backplate rests on my shoulders. The magnets are there just to hold the armor in position and hold the vest tight to the armor.

    I also finished the weathering for my armor using the blackwash method that others have used. Black acrylic paint mixed with windshield washer fluid, and misted on the armor.

    What do you think so far?

    p.s. See my other thread for the front side, including my chest pieces.

    Gator
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gatorback28-jpg   gatorback29-jpg   gatorback30-jpg  


  23. #23
    Account Deactivated
    Member Since
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    3,324

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    ......Seriously...you have some SERIOUS skills...:thumbup

  24. #24

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Be proud of your work man, 'cause that looks awesome! Sweet!

  25. #25

    Re: Aluminum Backplate Progress

    Wow !!! ... that is very impressive work !!!

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