Making Lamellar Plates

I am trying to get into hard suit.  To do this, I need armor!  I happen to have access to the school metal shop, so I figured I can make some of my own stuff.  I decided to get started on some lamellar to go on the bottom of my chest piece (which I will get proper pictures of and put up here at some point).


So first I started with a sheet of mild steel!  Not one of these big ones, I think I used one half or one fourth of a sheet.
Sheets of Steel 

This is a shear machine.  I love it, because I thought I would have to use the jigsaw to cut the lamellar pieces out, which would have been a pain.  This made the project much easier and faster than it would have been otherwise.  It makes long choppy cuts, across the entire width of whatever you put in (I think we only use steel or aluminum in the shop, so just those two metals).  I was able to cut my big piece of steel into thin strips, and then cut those strips further until I had a bunch of rectangles.
The Shear 

Here’s some of those rectangles.  The corners are rather pointy, and the edges where the shear cut are very sharp.  I ended up with two ‘paper cuts’ because of those edges, so be careful if you are going to do this.  Or just wear gloves I guess :)
Fresh from the Shear 

This is a belt sander.  That blue thing on the right is the sandpapery belt part.
Belt Sander 

The machine is off for the sake of taking pictures safely, but imagine that it’s moving downward very quickly.
Removing Corners 

Taking the last corner off of this piece.
Rounding off. 

Now I have a pile of them, all with rounded off corners!

You can’t really see it, but those freshly sanded corners have sharp angry burrs on them, and the edges are still sharp. 
Angry Rough Edge 

So I used the belt sander again, smoothing out the edge all the way around on both sides of all the plates.  Now I have a pile of smooth plates that don’t bite my fingers when I pick them up :)
Cleaned Up Edges 

Here is a finished plate I already did and am using as a template for the others.

I lined up the unfinished plate under the template.
Lining them up 

Then I marked in the center of each hole.
Marking Holes
Marked Holes 

Then I have a bunch of marked plates!
Lots of Marked Holes 

Next, I punched over the marks using a metal awl.  I didn’t grab a picture of it, but it’s a little spike thing that you can mark important spots with.  Just one quick tap with the hammer for each hole.
Awl punched holes 

You can see here that the awl makes a mark all the way to the back side, where it got pushed out.
And the other side too 

This is the shop’s hole punch!  I love it, also made my life easier, since I didn’t have to drill each of the holes like I thought.
Hole punch! 

See the open space in the middle?  That’s where the metal goes, and you put the little pointy bit you see at the top into the hole you made with the awl.  You don’t have to use an awl, you can just mark it with sharpy and then locate where to punch visually, but I found that the awl made it go much faster, I didn’t really have to look super carefully to make sure the punch was where it was supposed to be.
Closeup of Bit 


And then you have hole!
And theres a hole now! 

And then a bunch of holes!
Finished Lamellar  

They are not 100% identical, but they are close enough to work I think.
Mostly even

Part two with them being put together is next.

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