Here’s How You’d Make a Suit of Armor
If ever there were a time to consider wearing a suit of armor, it must be following the events of 2020. Maybe it won’t protect you from minute viral particles or overblown politics, but it will ready you for other types of battle.
Types of Armor
Unless jousting is actually on the agenda, you may not need a suit of armor made from steel. For example, if your five-year-old is looking for a Halloween costume, get out the box knife and a cardboard box to create a lightweight version.
Chainmail is another suitable armor that can be included in conjunction with a metal exterior or as a protective dressing of its own.
Then there is the iconic sheet metal option that allows for full body coverage and mobility, as well as personalized finishing touches.
Step 1 - Make the Chainmail
This is detailed and time-consuming work, however it’s not difficult. Start by removing insulation from your copper wire, if necessary. Then wind the copper wire around a threaded rod, either by hand or with the help of a power drill to auto-rotate the rod. Once the rod is full, remove the spring-shaped copper and cut all the way down the length, creating dozens or hundreds of copper rings with an opening.
Work in squares or rows to build your chainmail from the bottom to the top, by looping rings together and closing the opening on each. Be sure to measure the size frequently for a good fit.
Step 2 - Make Your Chest and Back Shields
Note: Use extreme caution when dealing with the sharp edges of sheet metal.
To make your chest shield, measure your body carefully. Armor should be custom made since each body is shaped differently. Create a pattern for your shield and allow a few inches of extra around all sides when you cut your metal to match the pattern. This will give you room to make adjustments.
Be sure to include a tab portion that will go to the top of each shoulder. Then fold the sides in towards your body. Next, create a back shield using the same procedure.
Drill a series of holes next to each other to create a slit in the top of all four shoulder tabs and along the sides of the front and back. Use belts fed through the slits to hold the armor in place.
Step 3 - Cut Your Pauldrons
To make your shoulder protection, create a pattern that is wide enough to protect the shoulder while narrowing a bit on the lower portion. Then, using a rubber mallet, anvil, or the edge of a workbench, shape the pauldron as desired. From there, cut strips of sheet metal as wide as the pauldron that you will attach to the bottom.
Use rivets to connect several strips of metal to the bottom of the pauldrons. Narrow each strip as you move down the arm and be sure to round the corners of the piece above it so there are no sharp edges remaining.
Step 4 - Make Leg Protection
The leg protection pieces will be made in a similar fashion to the pauldrons. Start by cutting several strips of metal, contouring the lengths to correspond with the width of your leg as it moves from top to bottom. Use rivets to attach the overlapping strips.
Step 5 - Decorate
It’s time to add your family shield, tree design, or weapon imagery. To personalize the finishing touches on your suit of armor, find a paint that is labeled for use on metal. Use a stencil or freehand your designs up the chest plate, on the back, and on the arm and leg pieces.
Alternatively you can engrave your metal suit of armor or use etching paste to complete your work.
Step 6 - Make a Shield
No suit of armor is complete without a shield to take into battle. At this point, you’re a master of cutting and shaping sheet metal, so simply apply the same techniques to your shield. You may want to use a stronger sheet metal for your shield than the type used for your armor. Use brackets to attach an arm bar for holding your shield and paint or otherwise decorate your shield to accessorize your armor.