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 Post subject: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:29 pm 
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I'm brand new, and have made a few basic weapons before I found this site.

First off, for the foam, I was just using a pool noodle. Is this acceptable?

Second, I was using 1/2 Inch PVC pipe as the core. Apparently this doesn't hold together well? Admittedly, none of the swords I've made are longer than 4 feet, and none have gotten much use. Are there any hazards I should be aware about from using PVC pipe?

Lastly, I found out that I'm supposed to use a cloth covering. What should I use for that, and why can't you just use duct tape?


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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:41 pm 
Brute
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Arsteel wrote:
I'm brand new, and have made a few basic weapons before I found this site.

First off, for the foam, I was just using a pool noodle. Is this acceptable?

Second, I was using 1/2 Inch PVC pipe as the core. Apparently this doesn't hold together well? Admittedly, none of the swords I've made are longer than 4 feet, and none have gotten much use. Are there any hazards I should be aware about from using PVC pipe?

Lastly, I found out that I'm supposed to use a cloth covering. What should I use for that, and why can't you just use duct tape?

Hello, and welcome to Belegarth. Where are you located?

There is a pretty wide variety to pool noodle, but most people find that the foam is porous and breaks down quickly. Some of the tougher brands do last quit a while.

PVC pipe will work inititally, but it doesn't stand up the rigors of our combat and will wear down inside the pipe (flexing out) or snap.

Most any cloth will work, there are some simple tutorials available on the site for making covers. Duct tape is not allowed on the blade of the weapon without a cover, and rarely passes a hit test even under the cover. It is defnitiely not friendly on full strength hits.

Do you have a local realm nearby? Have you tried using our realm map tool to find a group? Its available here:

http://www.belegarth.com/getting-started/realm-locator/

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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Nope, no nearby realms. I already checked. Highest populated state without a Realm (Pennsylvania). There are two about 3 hours out, and about 20 within 6.

If PVC pipe won't work well, what can I use to replace it, how much does it cost, where can I get it, etc.? Same for foam.

What exactly is the hit test?

And if duct tape is not allowed on the blade, does that include handles?


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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:53 pm 
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Cores: SCH40 and SCH80 PVC will work fine for basic weapons. Sometimes it lasts for years; sometimes it lasts for six months. It all depends on how often you fight and how hard you hit. The trick is that you can't build long weapons with it. For one handed swords, which is all I advocate using it for, you shouldn't cut the core any longer than about 30".

A better alternative would be fiberglass. Solid fiberglass can be bought from electric fence stores, and some farm stores such as Rural King or Farm and Fleet. The most commonly encountered fiberglass rod is 3/8" round. This is okay if you cut the core at no more than 28", but otherwise risks flexing out beyond that. Additionally, because it has such a small surface area you have to be very careful when gluing, as any weaker area is just going to detach.

1/2" round fiberglass is the gold standard for weapons ranging from 26-48". It usually isn't found in most stores, but can be ordered online from stores such as Grainger or Kencove. If you don't have a few people going in on an order, it can be a bit cost prohibitive. However, a single handed weapon built on it will practically never break or flex out.

There are tons more cores and materials, but that's well beyond basic.

Foam: Some types of pool noodle, as mentioned, will work okay for a short while, but they typically don't handle full contact well. Your best bet, if you don't want to spend a lot of money getting started, is to use blue foam. Blue foam refers to Ozark Trail Blue Camping Pads. You want to make sure you get this smoother looking one, not the bubbled one; two rather different materials. This foam works just fine for pretty much all types of weapons. It requires more padding than more expensive foams, so weapons tend to be a bit heavier or unwieldy when you start making bigger items, but it's economical and definitely has its uses. You can build a basic sword by following the directions found on http://www.geddon.org, the Belegarth wiki.

Cloth covers: as said, any type will do, really. You can even use some thick pantyhose or dress socks (though they don't look great).

Tape: Duct tape on the handle is fine. Due to the full contact nature of our fighting, duct tape on the blade tends to hit too hard and sting a lot.

Hit Testing: This is really hard to describe online. We test all weapons to ensure that when used in full contact fighting, that they will not cause undue injury or pain. Striking the outside of your calf, strike in a light, medium, hard pattern. At no point should the weapon actually hurt. If you get hit and go "holy **** I never want to be hit with that again," then it isn't safe for full contact. If the impact causes you significant distraction for more than a few seconds (e.g., you're still shaking your head going "oooh, man. Oooh man that sucks), then it's probably too hard.


If you want to build your own gear but don't have access to the materials you want, try ordering the materials from a foam supplier such as Forged Foam, Foametheus, or Warlord Sports. It'll cost more, but you'll get quality materials that you can depend on, and it'll give you an idea of what most weapons in Belegarth look like.

Hope that helps. If you want some videos on some building basics that focus on Belegarth, check out Boffer Basics on Youtube or Facebook. I don't have tons of videos up yet, but it can help you get started.

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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:13 am 
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For 1/2 fiberglass rods, is up to 48" you mentioned. What do you do for longer than that? (class two)

Also, how many layers of blue foam should be used on a weapon?


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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:21 am 
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For anything longer than 48" or so, you can step up to thicker fiberglass. 5/8" for shorter Class II weapons, and 3/4" is common as well. For very long weapons (7-8 ft), something called Bandshoppe pole is most common. It's a hollow fiberglass tube that is basically indestructible.

As for layers of foam, it of course can vary depending on how heavy your weapon is, but typically three layers for a one handed weapon and four (or more) for a two handed.

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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:23 am 
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Also, if you browse around sites that make weapons like forgedfoam.com and foametheus.com, they will both list the cores that they use in their weapons along with dimensions. That can give you a good idea what kind of cores can be used for varying lengths of weapons, however, these are both premium kinds of things and often use more exotic cores (Foametheus especially).

Edit: you can also buy cores directly from each of these vendors. I'll also throw out Warlord Sports (http://warlordsports.com) as well. They make some very high quality weapons as well, however not all of them are legal for Belegarth usage (due to not meeting weight minimums). They are generally focused towards high tech lightweight type things and may not be the best choice for a beginner.

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"An octopus has eight arms, three hearts, five *, two Super Bowl rings, a beak, and the power to solve crimes."


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 Post subject: Re: Foam, cores, and cloth coverings
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:54 am 
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Favorite Fighting Styles: Red Sword - S&B - Florentine
The most commonly available core for longer weapons would be 11/16" fiberglass. It's too stiff for 48-54" weapons, but it's good for weapons from there to 6'. Beyond that it will flex too much, and shorter than that and it hits too hard because it won't flex. The next step up for 6'+ weapons is bandshoppe poles, which can be ordered from stores such as these. Please bear in mind that no metal cores are allowed in Belegarth, including aluminum, so if you decide to order one make sure you get a fiberglass pole. These are a bit pricey, but pretty much will never break and are great for spears and glaives. Anything smaller than 6' for swung weapons with bandshoppe pole will probably fail, however, as it doesn't really flex at that short of a length.

For a broader look at core types and their usable ranges, check out Addakan's chart here. It isn't 100% accurate or absolute (cores vary from manufacturer to manufacturer), but it's a good ballpark.

As far as foam needs go, it depends on the size of the weapon. Great weapons can be kind of finicky, but for a basic blue a standard build would look like this:

Image
Original here.

Image
Original here.

You can find a video on biscuiting here.
If you're interested in foamsmithing I highly recommend joining the Foam Fighting Weaponry and Design page on Facebook.

For adhesive, I recommend using DAP Original Contact Cement. If you can't use that, then outdoor double-sided carpet tape will work, though it's more expensive and adds more weight to the weapon.

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