ABS positive to a clay positive?


New Hunter
Hello everyone my name is Lia and I have to say I am very happy that I came across your boards! I have been looking for awhile for some help on this topic but have yet to really find an answer.

What I have is a suit of armor that is made out of ABS plastic or PVC I'm not sure. The armor was made by my father from scratch back when he was a prop builder with my grandfather for MGM. Anyway my father died some time ago and I found this armor among his things and wanted to use it for various costuming events but there is one problem, it was designed with a 6'6" man in mind so needless to say some of the pieces don't work on my 5'6" female frame especially when you consider certain female traits.:eek: So what I would like to do is keep my fathers design intact but modify it so I could use it.

What I want to do is take the 'positives' (the armor pieces), and make a negative out of something that I can then make a positive out of clay using the negative molds so that I can modify the clay to my measurements, and then thermoform new pieces in plastic for trimming and detailing.:confused

Does this make any sense or am I going about this the wrong way? Or should I get a life? :lol:
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Don't know much about it. But what I do know is that this post has been here for a while and nobody has jumped in. C'mon guys, I know there are some skills out there that can help answer this question. I know what some of you are thinking about here, but there are other ways of answering questions and welcoming new members. You'd want the same thing for your questions. Yet here's a link with some good info on various topics, http://www.studiocreations.com/howto/index.html
Welcome Lia
Lia welcome.

I'm no expert but you should be able to just make a cast of your armour from ultracal or other plaster. You would have a negative to put your clay in. Search for casting or molds might help you out. I'm not sure if this will work for you because what you really want is to shrink the original pieces not just cut them to make them smaller. Follow me. Good luck.
If you're worried about potentially damaging the originals, it may be better to create a new sculpt from scratch and just carrying over the same design language from the originals.

If you're determined to do a mold, you can make a single use mold with dental alginate. Then make a clay copy by doing a hot pour of oil-based clay into the dental alginate.

Alginate is good because it won't have any lasting effects on the originals. That is unless you get the mint-flavored stuff, which will make the originals smell minty fresh for a while.

Alginate is bad because if you don't use the mold right away it will begin to shrink and distort in wierd and undesirable ways.

Oil-based clay is good because you don't have to worry about it drying out and when it gets warm enough it can be poured into a mold.

Oil-based clay is bad because by the time it's hot enough to pour it's also hot enough to splatter all over the place and burn mean blisters into your skin instantly. It also gives off some pretty nasty (read: painful headaches and eventual death) fumes. You'll need to use a double boiler and a well ventilated workspace to avoid killing or seriously damaging yourself.

Without seeing the parts in question, that's the best advice I can offer. That and to tell you that you need a copy of Thurston James' "The Propbuilders Molding and Casting Handbook."

If you could post pics, this would be easier to figure out.
Hi Lia,

If the armour doesn't have bad under cuts,you should be able to take a plaster mould of it.Without know what specific armour you have it's hard to say really.

When I want to modify any of my parts,I make a vac pull from my master and fill with plaster.Then I usually use polyfiller to sculpt the extra bits or reshape it,and when it's hard I can take a pull from that.

As you are wanting to make your armour smaller,you'll probably have to shave/file plaster off it to reduce the size.You could always drill holes all over the peice to a determined depth,then file down till it's smooth again resulting in the same part,only smaller?

What type of armour do you have?

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