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Armor : PVC Pipe Vambraces

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: PVC Pipe Vambraces
« on: Aug 06, 2018, 02:16 PM »
Tutorial: PVC Pipe Vambraces - "Because technically they're vambraces, not gauntlets"

Lead Author: Kuu
Edited by: MMCC Education Team

You're putting together your kit, you know you need gauntlets (yes, we know they're technically vambraces since they don't have armor for the back of the hand attached) and you see a bit of PVC pipe that you can fit your arm through.  You might be wondering if you can use that pipe to make gauntlets for your kit. 

Yes, you certainly can, and this tutorial will show you how.

If you don't have any PVC pipes on-hand, run to your local hardware store.  The guinea pig for this tutorial, the author's wife, used 3" pipe.  Find the size that works best for you; as strange as it might look to passerby, the best way to see what size is the most suitable for you is to start sticking your arms in the pipes.

Imporant note: The principles of this tutorial apply to ANY cylinder, it doesn't have to be PVC pipe.  Feel free to use old 44 ounce cups, toilet brush tubes, or any plastic tubes.

Scrap piece of 3" PVC pipe

The recipent of these gauntlets wanted them right at 6"inches tall... so the author added 1/2" (we'll get to the explanation for that in a bit) and cut them down.

Trimmed to size

Cut in half lengthwise

We recommend that at this point you put distinctive symbols on the gauntlets so you don't forget which halves go together.  This saves a lot of frustration later.

Symbols added

The next step generally entails a bit of trial and error. Basically you're leaving the top the same diameter but the wrist area you're going to cut down. For this build he went with 3/8" inch on each side (so 3/4" total reduction in size.  He could have used 5/8" with no problems.)

It's a triangular wedge shape.

It's zero at the top of the vambrace (your forearm) and in this case 3/8" at the wrist (remember he could have done 5/8" no problem). We recommend for your first time out to do all the cutting on the "bottom" of the vambrace so that the "top" (back of the wrist) is as straight as possible for greeblie and/or weapon mounting). You're of course welcome to change this up, but for your first effort, it might save you a bit of frustration to make sure the top is flat.

(If your eyes got crossed with all the fractions up there here's the summary: You're drawing a triangle. The point of the triangle is at the top. How wide you want the triangle to be depends on how much you need to reduce the size of the circle.)

Marked and ready for trimming

If you want to cut the wedge on BOTH sides rather than just one, make sure to plan accordingly.

Wedge removed

If you recall, the author cut the pipe a 1/2" longer than needed? At the back of the bottom piece, the one you cut the wedges off of, you should now trim off the 1/2" extra. This squares up the back.

Squaring off the back

You're welcome to use a rotary tool or other sanding device to the inside and remove some of the burrs and sharp edges.

Rounded edges

Note the overhang on top. If you don't like it, just trim the 1/2" off the top as well, but we recommend waiting until after the hinge is mounted. (Note that the author put the circle back as he had cut half of it away when cutting out the wedge.)

Ready for the next step

Some additional hardware you'll need for this project:

Quarter inch Chicago Screws

Piano hinge

Use the shorter piece (the underside) of the gauntlet to see how much of the hinge you need.  You'll be cutting it at the "seam" closest to the length you need, and you'll want to ensure you don't cut off more hinge than you need.

Measuring the hinge

The hinge is easily cut using a pair of tin snips, and the rod can be easily cut using a cut-off wheel for a rotary tool

Sized to fit

Jagged edges smoothed

At this point you'll want to decide which gauntlet is for your right arm and which for the left.  You'll also want to decide where the hinge is going to be and mark it.  The arrows in the following photo point to the end around your wrist.


Mark it and mount it

All one side

Some people prefer to place the middle screw first, and drill the rest of the screw holes with the hinge in place.  Other people prefer to hold the hinge in place and mark all the holes, remove the hinge, drill the holes, then replace the hinge and start putting in the screws. Feel free to go with whichever method makes you more comfortable.

Using the hinge as a drill guide

This build was too big by about half an inch at the wrist (the triangle cut-outs were not wide enough at the base). The solution was to create an insert. Take a scrap of the same PVC and trace the inside diameter to some Sintra (6mm sintra was used for this).

Move the scrap pvc 1/2" and trace the outside diameter.

The result is 2 crescent moon inserts.

Cut them out, sand them smooth, then glue them in place.  For best results, you'll probably want to use PVC cement, since sintra is a type of PVC.  Other glues do work, though, if you'd prefer to use something else.

Clamped for the cement to cure

The spare hinges will be used for the gauntlet closures.  Note that the holes are centered in the measured sections.

Hinges cut and added a hook to the central pin using needle nose pliers.

If you want to get a little fancy, you can turn your rectangular hinge closures into diamonds.  Whether you leave them rectangular or not, make sure you grind the edges smooth.

All that's left is mounting the closures onto the gauntlets.  Okay, okay, vambraces.

Done with basic build. Ready for greeblies, weaponization, or just a paint job.

In Summary

Many people, when building their first mandalorian costume, get a little anxious over trying to scratch build their own gauntlets.  Hopefully this guide will show you an easy way to make your own.  The gauntlets seen above were created in just a few hours, from start to finish.

The CRLs don't require gauntlets to be weaponized or have greeblies, so you're welcome to use your freshly-made PVC Pipe vambraces just as they are, or add blasters, rockets, flame throwers, comm units, or whatever you like.  Just keep in mind when putting on additions for your gauntlets that they need to look functional and integrated, and not just glued on top. 

Whether you weaponize these, or use them as basic and smooth, simple pieces of armor, we're confident you'll be happy with how easy these are to make, and how durable they'll prove.

--MMCC Education Team--

« Last Edit: Jul 23, 2019, 09:04 AM by Raestin Ke'Varek » Logged
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