Hey guys and gals ... I'm not in a position build a page at this very moment, so I figured I'd post the tutorial here for now since you're already starting to receive your armor and will need it. Tonight I will move it to my own website so as not to clutter the TDH servers. Hope that's ok with the admins ... if not, I'll understand if you need to yank the thread
--------------------------------------------- FP ONE PIECE VAC FORMED KNEE TUTORIAL ----------------------------------------------
So you got 'em? You're saying to yourself ... "No way will these ever wrap around my knees" Well, I'm here to tell ya different. I wouldn't have made them this way if they couldn't Being a one piece design will be easier in the long run. Assembly of the V.1 knees was a hassle. Period. We really don't know for sure if they were one piece or not anyway. At least I don't know if we know yet
First and foremost, you don't necessarily need a heat gun to make this work. It's really not that complex. When they're trimmed properly, they will bend with very little effort. Making them stay in a formed position can be done with a hair dryer as well.
STEP 1. The first pic shows how the knees come to you (generally). They may have a little more flashing on them, but basically the same. If there is more flashing, simply trim the remainder off with a fiberglass cutoff wheel to where your set looks like FIG. 1. And you're ready for the hard part. (Not really that hard )
STEP 2. You will need to trim the inner flashing off of each knee. Trimming it down to about a 1/8 of an inch lip using
a fiberglass cutoff wheel following the rough line illustrated in FIG. 2.
FIG. 3 and 4 simply show what it really looks like when you start trimming and what the piece should look like when done trimming. While you're in this
stage, you could also trim the rest around the rest of each knee. The lip of the rest of the knee varies. Take a close look at the pics to get an idea of what that should look like.
This is the single most important part. You will need to use a sanding drum attachment for best results as shown in FIG. 5. You need to trim this area to where there is absolutely no lip. There will still appear to be a compound curve from the outside. But the inside should look as close to the pic as possible.
Removing this lip will give each knee free flex for bending. Most more importantly, it will keep the plastic from cracking along the top when wearing.
Pay closest attention to FIG. 6 for how far down you take the sanding drum. If you make yours look just like the pic, you're doing great. Just take it slow. Use a medium setting on your rotary tool. If you go high speed, it gets it done faster, but if you're not used to it, the tool can get away from you.
FIG. 7 shows what it looks like from the front of the knee once the lip is trimmed off. As you can see, there still appears to be an accurate compound curve as if there were a lip.
FIG. 8 and 9 illustrate that once this step is done, the knee will already be well on it's way for the bending steps as it already can be bent to it's limit.
STEP 4. Also VERY important. FIG. 10 shows the area that will be trimmed with a sanding drum next. Same principle here, however, you don't need to take it down to absolutely no lip here. More of a taper. From the side attachment to the front of the knee guard, from no lip to some lip (about an 1/8th of an inch of a lip is good, toward the widest point of the front of the knee, toward the bottom of the curve DOWN.
Pay close attention to FIG. 11 and FIG. 12b to get a better understanding of what I'm referring to. Again, make yours look just like the pics provided.
FIG. 12 shows how the top of the knee looks after the lip is completely taken down on the front section of the knee, and how it tapers into the side knee attachments.
STEP 5. Heat gun or hair dryer time. If using a heat gun, like a wagner or something, use the LOW SETTING ! I cannot emphasize that enough. You wouldn't want a meltdown. This should be done in 3 stages. The Stage 1 is starting in the center of the knee. FIG. 13. Heat lightly, until the knee doesn't resist bending any longer.Turn off the gun, put it down on a safe surface (as it's still hot). Immediately bend the knee enough to give the knee the beginning of what will be a full curve, or half circle. Once the plastic starts to seize (hold it's shape), run it under some cold water to lock it in. FIG. 13b shows the slight beginning of the half circle curve I mentioned. Stage 2 will be just like you did in the very center, only off to the left or right (your choice). Same thing, when it starts to give on either side with heat applied, put down the gun, hold the shape, and run under cold water. Stage 3 will be on the opposite side you did in Stage 2. Same drill. As soon as the plastic starts to give, put the gun down, hold the shape (by this time you should be seeing a half circle shape as shown in FIG. 12, except once you put it under the cold water again, it should retain this shape on it's own.
STEP 6. (OPTIONAL) If you're not comfortable with the flex of each knee (being too much) or you would just like to reinforce each of your knees after the bending process, this is easily done with a strip of styrene, and some superglue. I almost included a couple of extra strips of styrene but at the last minute I was sure if anyone would really want to do this. If you would like to, just post here, and I can send those interested a couple of small strips to do this. Basically what you would do, is sand the inside of the bended knee, cut a strip of styrene about an inch wide, by the length of the circumference of the inside of the knee. Sand down this strip of styrene (the side that will mate with the sanded inside of the knee. Then apply the glue of your choice, and place the styrene strip on the INSIDE of the knee, right toward the top, gluing it to the new curve you've put in the knee, making sure to overlap the strip across the junction on both sides where the side attachment appear to connect with the knee guard. Clamp the glued strip in, and let dry for 24 hours. It will be tuff as nails. And most likely never break. But some flex will be sacraficed. I can take a pic later of what this looks like ....
THATS IT ! Do the same thing to both knees. Take your time. You'll be fine. You'll find out real quick, that it's a pretty easy process. Someone with little experience should expect to spend about an hour taking it slow an easy.
The rest of the pictures below are for your reference. How your knees should look during and after the process is complete.
Good Luck ! If you need further assistance, feel free to post here. I will answer your questions as best I can. When I post this
on my own site, you can PM me with any questions if this thread no longer exists.
Alternatively, if you want some more in depth assembly instruction, you can try the V.1 TUTORIAL . Some of the same principals apply to the V.2 one piece design ...
Have a ball !