Tips & Tricks Vacuume forming vs. Fiber Glass.... discuss

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by Darthshoppingmall, Jul 4, 2005.

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  1. Darthshoppingmall Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2001
    star 1
    I saw a site where someone used fiber glass to cast a mold and attached some modifications to an existing pilot helmet, and it looked pretty good, which is something I am thinking of doing. While there are others who used Vaccuum formming to do their projects. I am new to this costume thing. And was researching some, and wanted some input from the more experienced.
  2. studiocreations Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2000
    star 3
    Fiberglass is a bit more messier, generally off-gases fumes for a few months after being made, but captures details waaaay better than vacuumforming plastic. Vacuumforming is cheaper, can crank out more parts in less time, but generally does not hold up to a beating as well as fiberglass. When deciding which technique to use to get the results you want, you have to weigh in all these factors. Alot of people find that vacuumforming is better for them due to the fumes and living in tight quarters like apartment buildings, while others love the detail they get when they use fiberglass.

    Anyone else care to pipe up about the differneces of the two techniques?
  3. Darthshoppingmall Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2001
    star 1
    How big an object can you vacuume form? I want to do an object shaped like Lobots head set thing. Will it be best to do it in parts? OR can that be done in one piece?
  4. studiocreations Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2000
    star 3
    You can vacuum form parts 12 feet by 12 feet if you have a big and powerful enough table. :)

    My largest molds are usually 15 inches by 17 inches.

    Lobots headset parts would be perfect for vacuum forming.

  5. Lord_Gita Former TFN FanFilms Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 2000
    star 4
    Personally, I am a much bigger fan of fiberglass but it's definitely not a good apartment or garage type project. Especially considering many of the chemicals are quite flammable and put off an awful lot of fumes. Even in a shop type environment you must have open ventilation and it never hurts to wear a mask.
  6. Darthshoppingmall Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2001
    star 1
    I checked out the Studio Creations site, and found the link for teh place that sells the Plastic is not working. Can anyone point me to another source?

    Well "High Impact Polystyrene HIPS Sheet" work for vacuume form?
  7. BroodMcEto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 14, 2002
    star 4
    Yes. HIPS tends to take details better. Most clonetrooper armor is made from HIPS (my understanding.) ABS is good, but it doesn't take details as well. ABS has a natural shine to it, but HIPS has to be painted for the shine. I think for the belts, many of the clone armor makers use the .060" HIPS.

    So, depending on your application either type of plastic is fine. My recommendation is that if you're painting the armor after you make it, go for the HIPS. I think it tends to be a little cheaper and takes details better. If you're making Stormtrooper armor, then use the ABS, as there aren't as many small details with that armor, and you won't have to paint it (necessarily) when you're done.
  8. Darthshoppingmall Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2001
    star 1
    Lord_Gita said that Fiber Glass witll Off Gas for several months. Will I have to wait several months before I can do anything with it? Maybe its a stupid question, but, How long before I put a coat of primer on it and paint it? Days? Months?
  9. electrakitty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 2
    From what I hear, fiberglass is quite heavy as well, and will make your neck tired (if a helmet or headpiece) after a while (another thing to think about)
  10. VillieGee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2002
    star 3
    You can paint it as soon as it's fully cured. Any lingering fumes won't do anything to the paint.
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