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 Post subject: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:43 pm 
Slayer
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Favorite Fighting Styles: Red Sword - S&B - Florentine
I'm going to be ordering some 2# MC from foamforyou.com, and am debating on the best way to "skin" it. I've seen that some people have used packing tape on the blades with some success, and others have used a thin layer of plasti-dip with similar results, but what I was wondering was if anyone had used a layer of foam on the outside that already has a skin, such as blue foam, or PE?

My main concern is how this affects the hit of the weapon, while still keeping it lightweight and lower in profile. Would, for example, building a 32" blue sword with a 4# box, a 1/2" layer of MC, and a top layer of 1/2" blue foam, still hit in an acceptable range? I've gotten away, as have many others, with swords that have 1" of 2# foam, but seeing as blue foam is, roughly, 2.7#, how would this affect the hit of the weapon?

Furthermore, would it be worth it, considering the lower durability of the blue foam, to build in such a manner, or does the difficulty of properly applying packing tape outweigh the decreased longevity of the blue foam?

While we're at it, does clear strapping tape on the blades work better than strapping tape with vertical fiberglass reinforcement? Does it affect the hit of the weapon, and the durability of the foam?

Sorry for the question overload, and thanks for the assistance!

-Thurat-

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:53 pm 
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
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You can take a serrated knife or hacksaw blade and scrape the skin in the direction perpendicular to the blade (like you're spreading butter, not cutting). This should tear up the skin nicely and will provide enough points where the glue can get in and under the skin and really grab the foam well. In fact, it's my opinion that you can actually get a superior hold by using foam with a skin that has been properly scraped.


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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:04 pm 
Slayer
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:21 pm
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Location: Carbondale, IL
Started Fighting: 02 Apr 2006
Realm: Carthage
Unit: Clan of the Hydra
Favorite Fighting Styles: Red Sword - S&B - Florentine
Thanks for the reply, Brutus, but I'm not trying to remove skin, but am actually trying to add it to MC, which lacks the skin that PE and blue foam have. This lack of skin makes the MC much more prone to tears, especially when catching on armor and the like. These tears then spread through the other layers of the blade, significantly decreasing the longevity of the weapon.

So, my inquiry was into alternative methods of adding an outer skin, such as tape (what types), plasti-dip, and using alternative types of foam on the outer layer, or perhaps something along those lines that I haven't thought/heard of.

-Thurat-

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:01 am 
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
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I've always had awesome success with fiberglass reinforced "strapping" (clear) tape. It seems to have really good adhesion, and DAP loves it. It's also the best way to add a biscuit to a core because if the fiberglass strands are virtually untearable.


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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:05 am 
Slayer
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Favorite Fighting Styles: Red Sword - S&B - Florentine
I use the fiberglass reinforced as well for just about all of my projects. My only concern is how it will affect the hit of the weapon if applied to the blade's edge.

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:28 pm 
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
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I wish electrical tape had a little better adhesion. It might be just stretchy enough to replicate the "skin" that MC is missing. Plastidip just seems like it might be too hard, but I don't have a whole lot of experience with it.

Maybe your idea of using a different type of foam for the outer layer is the best idea. Have you noticed this problem with MC in all applications, or is it just when the MC is under tension, like at the tip of a sword when using the MC like a "fry" that wraps over the whole weapon?


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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:15 pm 
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I tried doing a 2# MC outer layer on a sword and the MC promptly sheared on me. It hit great but had no shear resistance. I took a strip of Target fabric material cut to the width of the blade edge (a rotary cutter works wonders for this!) and spray glued it onto the foam. That stopped the foam from tearing so much.

One construction design I've been pondering is the 1/2" 4# box, 1/2" 2# MC, and then an outer layer of the military foam. An all-military foam sword hits like a brick but has extremely high shear resistance. What I'm hoping is that the 2# will soften the hit but the military foam outer layer will improve the overall durability and resistance to foam shearing.

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:04 pm 
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Hmm, by military foam do you mean the military-surplus camp mats, or is this something else?


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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:08 pm 
Hero
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Dmitri wrote:
Hmm, by military foam do you mean the military-surplus camp mats, or is this something else?


Yes:

Image

As mentioned earlier, I wouldn't recommend building a weapon just out of this due to foam's stiffness but I think it could work very well in a composite foam build.

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:08 pm 
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I've built a few weapons with the military mats (properly known as iso mats). The weapons are sturdy, but it it difficult to build stab tips on them because the resulting blade has a somewhat smaller profile.

IMO, the best use for them is the 1st layer for low-pro spear pre-compressed cylinders a 'la Arrakis, and spiral wrapped base layers for round weapons.

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Thurat wrote:
I was wondering was if anyone had used a layer of foam on the outside that already has a skin, such as blue foam, or PE?


This is a a tried and true method of giving MC a skin. All my reds have a routed 4# fry, a 2# MC fry, and a this layer of volera that is both softer than blue and has it's own skin. Some things I've noticed with my reds:

:sword: The stab tip "edges" will rip the foam, as will the edge of any tape used in the stab tip construction.
:sword: If your cover is too stretchy or too loose, particularly meaty hits to the tip (i.e. swinging for a shield just out of range) will pop the foam skin own like a hotdog in the microwave. Be sure to have a very tight fitting cover out of sturdy material like canvas or duckcloth.

Quote:
My main concern is how this affects the hit of the weapon, while still keeping it lightweight and lower in profile. Would, for example, building a 32" blue sword with a 4# box, a 1/2" layer of MC, and a top layer of 1/2" blue foam, still hit in an acceptable range? I've gotten away, as have many others, with swords that have 1" of 2# foam, but seeing as blue foam is, roughly, 2.7#, how would this affect the hit of the weapon?


My I've built reds with a 4# fry, 3 layers of blue and zero problems on hit. I've built reds with a 4# fry, 2#MC fry, and a single layer of blue with zero problems. I've taken my reds all over the country and never had one fail. Will will say again that putting a single layer of strapping tape over the entire striking surface increases my sword life extensively. With no tape, I get probably 3 months out of a red, while with tape I can get up to a year.

Quote:
Furthermore, would it be worth it, considering the lower durability of the blue foam, to build in such a manner, or does the difficulty of properly applying packing tape outweigh the decreased longevity of the blue foam?


Once you learn the trick to adding strapping tape to foam, it's not difficult at all. The best way I can describe it is like this:

:sword: Put the sword on the ground, laying on one of it's striking surfaces

:sword: Hold the roll of tape with one hand, with the other, pull out a little bit of tape and secure it to the base of the weapon. Place your thumb on the secured tape

:sword: As you unroll the tape down the blade, your thumb should glide along the tape as you are securing it to the weapon. The only difference is you're putting a LOT of pressure on your thumb so as you're securing the tape, you're compressing the foam. It sounds complicated but it's actually quite simple.

:sword: Basically, instead of just smoothing tape flat like you normally do when putting tape on anything, you're pushing as hard as you can as the tape comes into contact with the foam.

Quote:
While we're at it, does clear strapping tape on the blades work better than strapping tape with vertical fiberglass reinforcement? Does it affect the hit of the weapon, and the durability of the foam?


Stay away from the clear packing tape, or any tape without the fibers. You want strapping tape. Fiberglass filament. That's the real strength of the tape, not the wimpy plastic or the stupid adhesive that gets brittle in the cold and gooey in the heat. The filaments are what keep the tape in one piece. Every time I've seen someone use the clear, filament-less stuff, it ends up popping open near the tip like an overcooked sausage. Don't waste time or money on anything but strapping tape.

Hope this helps! Add me on facebook if you want to talk further. Maybe I should make a video and post it on here.

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 Post subject: Re: Material Inquirie
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:05 pm 
Slayer
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:21 pm
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Location: Carbondale, IL
Started Fighting: 02 Apr 2006
Realm: Carthage
Unit: Clan of the Hydra
Favorite Fighting Styles: Red Sword - S&B - Florentine
Thanks, Fayne, that's exactly the info I was looking for. If I have any other questions, once I start building, I'll hit ya up.

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