Metal armor: tools and materialSubscribe
  1. Kasa's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2012
    Sep 15, 2012, 1:46 PM - Metal armor: tools and material #1

    Hello there. For some time, I've been considering making my first Mandalorian armor. I'm determined to use metal as the material and do the most of work myself (I don't think I can handle the helmet given that I've never worked on prop-making, but chest armor etc. seems within my range, though not without some serious toiling). I've already done some research on TDH but before I start building, I'd like to ask more experienced forum members about two important technical issues:
    1. What kind of metal would you recommend for a beginner? I've seen that lots of people work on aluminium but some choose other materials [tips about the thickness will be appreciated too].
    2. I found a nice youtube tutorial for dishing the plates (linked here: - I think it helps a lot!) so I know in short what tools are needed for this task. Still, I'm not sure what to use best to 'simply' cut those plates out. One of the most obvious solutions may be the angle grinder, but it isn't the best choice for precise work, is it? (I base my assumption on this thread: - a plate in the 7th post seems a little rough...) Are there any alternative tools? If not, how did you deal with those jagged, burnt edges?
    Thank you in advance

    Last edited by Kasa; Sep 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM.
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  3. Member Since
    Jun 2011
    Dec 27, 2012, 4:11 PM - Re: Metal armor: tools and material #2

    Hope this isn't too great of a necro bump, but its been a while since I've been on the forums, and I just saw your post.

    I used to make armor for my medieval stuff many moons ago, and while I was never as good as Christian Fletcher, I could make some basic stuff.

    I recommend starting in steel. Its heavy, and you may not want to use it for the final product, but its cheaper and easier to work than aluminum, and far easier to find replacement if you really screw up a piece. Its also fairly forgiving if you do make a mistake and have to work it back out. I also don't know much about annealing aluminum, but from what I recall you have to be a lot more careful with it than you do steel.

    What you'll need:

    2 cross peen hammers, one unmodified, one you round the face off with a grinder to be your dishing hammer.
    1 ball peen hammer
    1 Planishing hammer
    Recommended you have rubber or steel mallet on hand as well
    Several sets of vice grips, or if you are feeling fancy, blacksmithing tongs.
    Eye and Ear protection. Smacking on metal is LOUD, and over time can be just as bad on your ears as gunshots.
    Either a swage block, a dishing stump, or a rounded metal surface to dish on.
    A butane torch, or other heating device capable of heating steel to cherry red. This is for annealing the steel.
    Some device capable of cutting the steel. Tin snips, metal shears, band saw, dremel attachments, whatever.
    Metal File

    A guy I know uses an 8lb steel shot put ball welded onto a 1" steel bar stock to dish on. I used a dishing stump. I recommend a dishing stump or a swage block, as forming down into a cavity is a LOT easier to do than forming over a projection. Especially if you are free forming the piece.

    Anyhow, that's more or less the basics.

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