Don't like ads? Help support the Mercs by becoming a Supporter or Auxiliary Member today!
Official Members also get to use the forum ad-free - so kit up and join us!

 Armor Parties

  • 0 Replies


  • *
  • *
  • 7526
  • I probably have a link for that.
  • Awards Celebration Anaheim 2022 6 or more Education Points in a single year. Award for 10 official invasions. Order of the Ori'Ramikad Celebration Orlando 2017
Armor Parties
« on: Jun 22, 2018, 02:41 PM »
Guide: Armor Parties: SAFETY FIRST!
Lead Author: Kruser
Edited by:  MMCC Education Team

The focus of this guide is to act as a safety primer for anyone working on their armor, chiefly attendees of armor parties.  Please read this carefully before using any sort of tool to manipulate your armor. And please always use appropriate safety equipment.

It is very important to cover safety first.  Make sure everyone there is comfortable with the tools they will be using and have been instructed in their proper use before they pick them up.  It's a must that everyone wears the appropriate personal protective equipment necessary for each tool.  Dust masks or respirators must be worn at all times when sanding, painting, or heat shaping.  Once particulate gets into your lungs, it doesn't come out.  Eye protection must be worn when operating any power tools including rotary tools/Dremels, band saws, belt disc sanders, etc.  According to OSHA hearing protection is not required for anything under 90 dB.  Most shop tools do not reach that volume, but if you have uncommonly loud tools or a recruit that is sensitive to noise, you may want to keep hearing protection handy, or encourage them to bring their own.  Have a first aid kit on hand and make sure everyone knows where it is located.  Not only do we want to help them make awesome Mandalorian armor, but we want everyone to go home exactly how they came to the party.  Same number of toes, fingers, hands, and eyes.  Should an accident occur where minor first aid is needed, ensure that a first aid kit is available and that everyone is aware of where the first aid kit is located.

Safety Equipment
  • ANSI Z87.1 approved safety glasses
  • Respirator / Dust Mask
  • Gloves
  • First Aid kit

Not everyone is familiar with how to use power tools.  Therefore it is highly recommended that all recruits and newcomers attending an MMCC Armor Party demonstrate a basic level of proficiency before using any power tools and appliances, or non-powered cutting tools.



Power tools and appliances typically used at Armor Parties:
  • Rotary Tool (Dremel or comparable)
  • Band Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Scroll Saw
  • Bench Sander
  • Mouse Sander
  • Orbital Sander
  • Bench Grinder
  • Drill Press
  • Power Drill
  • Heat Gun
  • Hot Glue Gun

Non-powered cutting tools typically used at Armor Parties:
  • Exacto/Razor Pencil
  • Razor Knife
  • Box Cutter
  • Various Hand Saws
  • Metal Snips/Shears
  • Scissors

Clans are also encouraged to form an "Armor Team" of highly knowledgeable local MMCC Official Members who can work with recruits at MMCC Armor Parties to ensure each one produces their own set of armor.  Clan Ruus'alore should normally serve the function of "Armor Team Leader", and guide their teams accordingly to help recruits at Armor Parties.  Having these teams available helps equalize the amount of work required to properly outfit a recruit attending an Armor Party

Armor Parties

When hosting an armor party, make it known that you are there to aid the recruit in making their armor.  You are not there to make it for them.

Always encourage recruits to purchase and bring their own materials.  Don't get in the habit of providing materials for free.  Doing this sets a precedent and level of expectation from the recruit.  If a recruit is not invested enough in the idea of becoming a Merc to at least purchase their raw materials, then they likely will not finish their kit. 

If you choose to have sheets of Sintra or ABS, keep your receipt and offer it to anyone willing to purchase it from you for what you paid.

Encourage current OM's in your clan to join, participate, and help out.  It is not a fun experience for the host of the AP, nor the attendees, when there is only 1 person on site who knows how to help. 

Set up stations to keep the work space organized and free of clutter for safety reasons.

  • Template station

A safe place where recruits can trace their patterns out on their sheets of Sintra/ABS.  123 blocks are great for this.  They can be used for a multitude of things,and are superlative at holding patterns in place while tracing around them with Sharpies.  That way you don't have to mess with tape which can rip your templates.

Template Station

  • Cutting station
    • Suggested safety equipment:  Safety Glasses, gloves, Dust mask/Respirator

You want to set up your cutting station using a stable folding table or workbench in an area away from a lot of foot traffic to maximize safety.  Bandsaws are an excellent time saving addition to any AP.  If you have one, make sure that only those people who are COMPLETELY comfortable around power tools and are intimately familiar with them are allowed to use them.  Safety first.  Glasses required.

Cutting station PPE

For the tables using retractable knives, consider investing in a blade sharpener.  People are more likely to cut themselves with a dull blade than they are a sharp one.  It sounds counter intuitive, we know, but it's true.  A sharp blade requires less force and pressure to make a cut.  When a blade dulls, more force is required.  When more force is used and a smooth blade glides along a slick semi hard surface (like Sintra) it is far more likely to slip right into a meaty palm, finger, thumb, thigh, etc... Trust us... we know.

Retractable knife

A popular blade-sharpener is the Kershaw Ultra-Tek Blade Sharpener.  It can often be found online for less than $15 and extends the life of your retractable blades.

Blade sharpener

  • Sanding station
    • Suggested Safety Equipment: Safety Glasses, Dust mask/Respirator

Set up your sanding station in a well ventilated area (preferably outside) so you don't fill your work area with dust.  A belt/disc sander is another huge time saver.

Belt sander

It will make very short work of rounding off edges and beveling edges to the armor plates.  We highly recommend you do all your beveling before shaping.  Also, encourage recruits to sand both the front and back of their Sintra before shaping it because it is exponentially easier to do when it is still flat.  Some 180 grit sandpaper on a palm sander or wrapped in a sanding block makes quick work of the super slick surface and will prepare the sintra for the primer to adhere and bond to the piece much better.

Hand sander

Dremel/Rotary tool

  • Heating & Shaping Station
    • Suggested Safety Equipment: Respirator, Gloves

Heat gun

Set up in a well ventilated area with gloves and respirators handy.  Heating Sintra creates dangerous fumes if inhaled.  Safety first.  A handy tip for your safe use of your heat guns is to have a ceramic tile to rest them on.  The last thing you want to do is set the hot end of a heat gun down on the pieces of sintra you've already cut and sanded, or burn a hole in something important.  Have gloves on hand as well.

Keep in mind that this should be a fun experience!  Have music playing in the background.  If you have a TV in your shop, throw on a Star Wars movie, or put The Clone Wars animated series on Netflix in the background.

Feed your recruits!  It doesn't have to be fancy.  When preparing for the armor party, don't be shy about asking the attendees to volunteer to bring food.  Crank up the BBQ and grill some hotdogs or burgers.  Something quick easy and that doesn't require a lot of cleanup or dishes.  Breaking bread with friends creates a bond.  “Sharing food cultivates community because the implications of the meal extend beyond the time of eating together.” - Rebecca Katz 

Armor parties are a perfect opportunity for your clan to grow closer.  Working together to help others creates a positive culture within your group.  Take advantage of that time.

Teaching Suggestions

When helping a recruit, there are multiple teaching styles you can employ. We've found that the most successful style is the “ I do.  We do.  You do.” method.

It's fairly simple and is exactly what it sounds like.

The "I Do" phase of teaching a recruit how to work on each part of their kit involves you telling the recruit what they need to know first, then showing them how to do the things that they need to be able to do.

"We Do" is the second phase.  By working together, you help the recruit perform the steps you did in the "I Do" phase.  Watch them and guide them making sure they use the steps you laid out to complete their task.

The "You Do" phase is the recruit working on the portion of the project primarily by themselves.  They can ask from time to time to make sure they are still on the right track, but they should be self sufficient by this point.

When you give clear, concise, easy to understand instructions, it empowers a recruit and builds their confidence to potentially attempt more without your direct supervision.

Additional General Safety Guidelines

These are not comprehensive guidelines. They are just tips and general guidelines. The best thing you can do is educate yourself. Read instructions. Ask Google. Ask the Forums.

The first and best method for protecting yourself is education. Read the material safety data sheet (MSDS) on any material or product you are unfamiliar with. These can almost always be found online.

  • Always work in a space that is safe for the task at hand.
  • Always be aware of others around you, as they may not be wearing/using the safety equipment you are.
  • Always read the warning labels.
  • Always use products as directed. Look for guidelines for additional protection if necessary.
  • Always wash your hands after working with materials.
  • Do not touch your face with your gloves.
  • Always keep a First Aid kit on hand.

Safety Equipment

You can buy a basic safety kit from Lowes, Home Depot, or most any hardware store for under $10. It comes with ear plugs, safety goggles, and a dust mask. Leather work gloves cost about $10, and respirators run about $30.

  • Gloves
    • Leather is preferable because it will not melt when touching hot surfaces and protects against abrasions.
  • Eye Protection
    • Safety glasses, safety goggles, and face shields are the three types of basic eye protection. Safety glasses offer less protection than goggles. A face mask should be worn when grinding or whenever large particulates may be moving at high speeds.
  • Disposable Respirators and Dust Masks:
    • These only protect against macro particulates. If you smell fumes, your dust mask will not protect against the more harmful micro particulates present. For an AP, we strongly encourage the host to get a box (usually 10 masks)  of disposable respirators from their local industrial supply store (or online) and keep the cartridge respirator put away. Using cartridge type is a recipe for someone getting sick. Not to mention you can have more people properly protected at the same time, for less money.
  • Reusable Cartridge Respirators
    • Respirators protect against both macro and micro particulates - and make you sound like Darth Vader.  Cartridge type Respirators MUST be sanitized every single time a different person uses it. Because any minor bug a person has (and doesn't even know they have it) will stick to the inside of the mask, and everyone else that uses it will be exposed to that bug. They are also more expensive up front then the disposable ones. The cartridges use the exact same rating system as disposable respirator masks, though admittedly are a bit easier to find.
  • Ear Protection
    • Ear plugs are probably fine, but you could invest in a nice set of earmuffs if using heavy duty power tools frequently, or if you want to be more comfortable. They are more expensive, however.  OSHA recommends that hearing protection be worn when noise exceeds 90dB.  Rarely will you find that at an AP from a tool, but just in case, you might want to have it available.


When heated, releases toxic fumes and harmful dust particles that can irritate your lungs, eyes, and skin. When cutting or heating plastic (Sintra, Kydex, PVC, ABS, Styrene) always:
  • Work in a well-ventilated space, preferably outdoors. If not outdoors, open doors and windows and use a fan to pull the air out of the room.
  • Wear a dust mask (if sanding or cutting) or respirator (if heating).
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Wear gloves, preferably leather, as synthetic materials could melt.
  • If using a dremel or other power tools, use ear protection.

Metal particulates can be just as harmful as plastic fumes and dust. When cutting or grinding metal always:
  • Wear a dust mask if cutting or sanding.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Face shields are recommended if grinding.
  • Use ear protection when using power tools.

Leather is pretty safe, but if you have a metal or nickel allergy, it can irritate your skin, so wear gloves.

Fiberglass and Resin:
Both of these materials produce particularly dangerous particulates, and fiberglass can cause immediate and lasting harm. It is glass, after all. Always:
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Wear a dust mask or respirator.
  • Use hand protection with fiberglass.
  • Resin should be washed in warm soapy water BEFORE cutting, sanding, or painting to remove harmful chemicals in releasing agents.

When using spray paint or airbrushing, fumes are the biggest concern. Always:
  • Work outdoors in a well-ventilated area. If you can’t work outdoors, open doors and windows and use a fan to pull the air out of the room.
  • Wear a respirator.
  • Wear eye protection.

Do NOT use treated lumber, as it has been saturated with poisonous chemicals intended to deter living things. When using untreated wood, always:
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Wear gloves.
  • Wear a dust mask when sanding or cutting.

Tool Safety

Read and observe the instructions on your power tools.  Always cut AWAY from yourself and others.  Use a clamp or vice to hold any material you are cutting, drilling, dremeling, etc.

Protecting Others

If you are cutting, observe the Blood Circle Rule: Hold your arm out while holding your tool straight out; no one should come within that circle.

If you are heating plastics, spray painting, or anything that releases fumes or particulates, make sure no one comes into the space without adequate safety equipment.

For additional information and for instructions about what to do if exposed and general first-aid, look up the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for whatever material you are using, especially if you are not familiar with the material.

These are not comprehensive guidelines. They are just tips and general guidelines. The best thing you can do is educate yourself. Read instructions. Ask Google. Ask the Forums.

In summary

In summary, kit work and armor parties are a great deal of fun.  Just make sure everyone follows the proper safety procedures and wears the appropriate personal protective equipment.

--MMCC Education Team--

« Last Edit: Jul 16, 2022, 05:12 PM by Havelock » Logged
"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness."  - Terry Pratchett
Have you explored all that the Royal War College of Mandalore has to offer?

Don't like ads? Help support the Mercs by becoming a Supporter or Auxiliary Member today!
Official Members also get to use the forum ad-free - so kit up and join us!

Powered by EzPortal