My Dumb Projects
Monday, September 10, 2007
  Boromir's Shield: Shield Body
The shield was constructed out of two 3/4" MDF pieces, cut to 27" square.

I cut the circles with a jigsaw and glued the two pieces together.

My cheap-o lathe only turns over the bed but it has a disk sander on the outside. I suspect that this was stupidly dangerous BUT I took the sanding disk off the machine, drilled holes in it and mounted the MDF to the plate.

I started turning the outside of the shield first. Since my lathe doesn't have a cast iron base it will flex if there is too much weight on it. The MDF weighed about 20 lbs. I spun it by hand to get it going to take stress off the motor but once it got going at top speed (of the lathe's lowest setting) the weight made the ENTIRE LATHE wobble and shake! I used a foot switch to kick off the power and then lathed like crazy while it slowed down. This put a lot of stress on the motor and it would heat up fast. I only lathed for a few minutes at a time and then let it cool off. I expected at any second the whole thing would come flying apart, sending heavy chunks of MDF and broken lathe in all directions!

I was able to successfully turn the outside of the shield so I flipped the MDF on the lathe and started the inside. The shield had shed about 5 lbs so it was a bit easier to handle. I still worked the lathe the same way so I didn't ruin the machine. By the time I was done the shield dropped to about 8 lbs.

Here is the finished outside with the plate still attached. I brushed both sides with a generous coat of shellac to seal the MDF and then removed the plate and cut out the center hole.

The rim has four triangular pieces on each side. I used Aves epoxy putty to form the ones on the inside.

The rivets along the edge just happened to be the same size as ordinary thumb tacks!

I used an Xacto knife to cut the planks into the inside of the shield.

Unfortunately I found new reference that showed the planks at a different angle. I filled them with wood putty and then re-cut them.

I painted a base coat of black to the wood areas.

And then, using an old tube sock, brushed in the wood grain highlights.

I know you've been asked this a lot but, before you vaccu-formed, how did you make your props. What kind of plastic do you use, and where do you get it? Is it easy to use and how do you seal it? Sorry for all the questions, I'm just curious.
I actually have done very little vacuforming as I haven't had a project that demanded it. Most of what I've done is using a heat gun and forming plastic that way. I buy regular styrene plastic from a plastic supply house in 4' x 8' sheets (Usually around $25, depending on thickness). My favorite glue is Weld-On #4 but laquer thinner works almost as well.
Thank you for the information! When you layout everything, then glue it together, how do you then get that smooth look? Is that just from paint primer?
I always cover MDF with a few coats of shellac and then sand it smooth. Before painting, I use Automotive Spray Filler Primer and wet sand between coats.
Awesome, thank you so much!
Awesome work dude! I was wondering what styrene thickness is the easiest for heating and bending when you make armor? I'm trying to make my own master chief armor and would appreciate your input, Thank you!
Generally the thinner the styrene, the easier it is to bend. For the MC armor I used .090. This is probably as thin as you want to go for durability's sake.
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These are all the dumb things I find myself obsessed with building when I SHOULD be doing something more productive.

As a kid I built lots of plastic model kits, never knowing that one day those skills would actually be of use.

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Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States
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