I want to get into making armor and such for cosplay purposes. Im good with papercraft and can carve foam decently, but my biggest obstacle would be preserving my creations. How do I make them hard? I don't mean invincible, just something to make them more plastic like.
Whenever I ask the question, I get a million different answers. "Oh use Bondo!" "Use fiberglass!" "Papermache it!" "Use this 50/50 mixture!" So which is the best? I guess I'm more interested in how to make foam (styrofoam, spray foam, etc) last rather than paper but any advice would help. I have zero experience with this stuff.
Price is not a concern, but if I can save money then great.
If you have the budget, worbla or a similar thermoplastic would be good for finishing the props. If you have the know how maybe filling the underside of the workpiece with foam or something for stability and vacuum forming ABS to use as a mold. A basic vacuum forming set up is fairly similar to diy
Maybe not the best answer, but I'm thinking epoxy. Not the 5-min locktite epoxy that you see at home depot, but rather the kind of epoxy that you would use for casting.
I bought 2.5 gallons of casting epoxy to fill a couple of home made tables, and it was about $100 for the 2.5 gallons. I'm pretty sure you could go far with 2.5 gallons if you're just using it to coat things.
The thing about casting epoxy is that it starts out very thin, like water. That means you can make very smooth layers with it. I would suggest doing 2-3 coats to get a thickness that would be durable enough for cosplay and even light battle. Add an additional coat for heavier battle. All you have to do is secure the piece and pour the epoxy over it, let it completely dry, then pour another coat. The only thing you really have to control are the drips around the edges.
That sounds like a good idea. My local hobby shop sells it in much smaller quantities which may be what I'm looking for as I only need it for a few pieces. If you're saying a few coats is good enough then this is what I'm looking for. I'll have to give it a shot, thank you so very much.
Use resin first, then fiberglass(the mail thingy is the best), when it gets hard, use bondo to mold
Foam is a bit different, most foam patterns you get come already in shapes where you don't need anything to make them stronger, or to mold them in a better shape, buuuut, you can plastic coat it so it looks better(see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDwQg6CX25A)
You can find A BUNCH of this stuff on the rpf forums, and there's always youtube videos(volpin always does great videos)
Apparently a friend was using flooring foam to make cosplay suits. If you heat it up with a heat gun, you can press it into a bowl and form a dome.
I've been meaning to form some styrofoam into molds for aluminium casting, but I can't get the right powersource for a hot wire cutter. I shorted out twelve 9v batteries trying to cheap it out as a temporary until I can get better ways of powering it. Pic related.
Professional prop artist here. This is what you should use to coat foam.
If you want something ridged use stucko.
I made a few pepakura helmets and armors, yo should use polyester resin (in a well ventilated area), it's approximately 16€ here in France, add fiberglass cloth with it, it will even more solidify it.
Polyeser resin smells, if you have the money, you can replace it with epoxy resin (~40€ here)
I take it the finished product is more solid? Because if you're making like scale armor, just use like thin metal, I made samurai armor out of soda cans in high school, only won 3rd place, probably because I had to paint it because half the cans were beer cans