DEI 613: Design Project (1): Foam Armour

For this process I used a foam mat, glue gun, glue stick, hair dryer, candle, screw driver, brown spray paint, yellow spray paint, canvas board, portable heater, paint brush and a friend to model

Follow me as show you step of my prototyping process.

This is my friend/model Jason. This armour was built to fit his body size. When I saw him holding the foam pad I’ve realized that I would not be able to fold the pad in half to cut the neckhole. I originally wanted to do this so I can create a front and back size but the problem was that I would compromise the size of the armour and also was not able to guarantee that that armour shape would come out perfectly with the awkward fold.

So instead of folding the foam, I’ve decided to draw out the neckhole where the head would go through and cut it out with scissors. In this case the depth of the neckhole was based on Jason.

Once I’ve cut the neckhole and made sure it fit Jason well. The next thing I did was cut the top corner in a less than 90 degree angle in order to create arm space. An armour that does not enable mobility would be a horrible armour. The Line that you see just below Jason’s hand is the waist line for the armour. Otherwise this would be a ridiculously long and ineffective piece of equipment.

This is what you are left with once all the appropriate cuts has been made. You may be wondering how I was able to take a straight foam pad and make it curve like the way it is in the image above. This is when the hairdryer comes in. I used the hairdryer to heat the foam in order to manipulate its form. This process took about 20–30 minutes of constant heat throughout the foam. Since a hairdryer is not as powerful as an heatgun, the process took as long as it did.

This is when the candle and the screw driver comes in. I used the flames in the candle to heat the screw drive up. Then I used the heated metal to pierce through the foam in order to create the holes I would need so I can put straps through the shield and also use that same heat to engrave a design into the shield.

The rectangular design at the top of the shield is the result of heated screw driver piercing through the foam. As you can see there are white lines in the bottom of the shield. That is the result of the glue gun. I use heated glue to create my design on the shield. Once I start painting the design from the white glue will standout, like the design painted in brown on the top of the shield. I used diagonal lines for the shield in order to match the war paint of the Na’vi people.

This is also the part when the portable heater comes into play. Spray paint does not work well in musty wet and cold areas. Because it is winter no matter how much I sprayed the paint didn’t stick on to the foam well, so I had to use the floor heater to help dry the paint on to the foam more efficiently.

Although I painted in the garage, the fumes of spray paint traveled through my vents and all over my house. Let’s just says it was a very cold night because I had to leave all the windows open till the next day so the fume can air out ( Thankfully I had the house to myself so no one else had to endure the cold). A fun trick to speed up the process of ventilating the house is to leave a bucket of water around because it helps by absorbing the solvent vapors left over from the paint.

After several layers of paint, and a cold night, the results are quite satisfying. Now it’s time to paint the designs.

I took yellow spray paint and sprayed it into a plastic container. Then I used a brush to highlight my designs. My only regret is that I didn’t buy a thinner brushes. I overestimated the thickness of the glue gun result and purchased a brush that was slightly too thick.

Finally the end result of my painting:

But we are not done yet. We also have to create the straps. Like the saying goes, Hindsight is always 20/20. I found out I could purchase canvas material a bit to late into the project. So in order to create my straps I bought regular canvas.

I purchased canvas boards like the image above, and removed the stables. Then I used scissors to cut my sheets of canvas paper in to strips and sprayed painted it brown.

This is what you are left with . Now you take these straps and super glue it to the shield.

Then you take the strap and tie it through it’s designated hole.

Walaa! You now have an armour that the Na’vi people can proudly use.