Instructables

Maille and Plates Armour

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For my second instructable I'll be making some Maille and Plates armour.
I've chosen this style of armour due to the fact that it requires only a couple more tools than maille, goes together fairly fast, is easy to make, and i think it's pretty damn awesome looking.

For this project you will need....

Maille supplies
-THIS covers making maille better than i ever would in here.

Plate supplies
-fabric measuring tape
-tin snips
-a metal punch
-as much 1 1/4" pallet banding as you can get your hands on.
-something to curve plates with (rubber mallet, soup can, chunk of pipe... it just needs to be round)
-duct tape
-a sharpie

and that should about cover everything you need.
 
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Step 1: Making the plates 1

Step one is working out how big to make your plates.

I did that by using a fabric measuring tape to measure my chest at nipple height, make sure you're taking a deep breath for this measurement or it will end up too small.
got that number? great. now divide it by how many columns of plates you will have.
I'm doing 8 in total so i wound up with plates that are just over 4 inches long.

step two will be prepping your pallet banding.

the first thing you'll want to do is cut your banding into manageable size. I usually cut mine down to lengths around 3 or 4 feet. if you want to cut down on waste then cut them to the circumference of your chest plus 1//2 inch.
after you've done that you'll want to bend out any kinks as best you can. this batch of banding was around small bundles of pipe at work, and is in worse shape than i usually find.
Now that you have manageable lengths of banding it's time to clean them. Fortunately I clean metal for a living, so I have access to all sorts of fun machines to do this for me, odds are you'll have to do this by hand.
I'd recommend just hitting them with some emery cloth or sand paper and sanding them to a nice satin finish to remove the rust and paint on them. it's easier to sand a bunch of 3 foot lengths clean than to sand hundreds of 4 inch plates clean.

Ok, so you've got a bunch of shiny strips of metal now, right? Good.
now measure out the length of one plate, mark it, then take your tin snips and cut it as perfectly as you can. this will be your template. now just keep using this to measure and cut your plates until your ready to pull out your hair. i usually make my plates in batches of a hundred or so.
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ojochris1 month ago

Very nice! How thick is the steel banding? And where did you get it?

armourkris (author)  ojochris1 month ago
the steel banding is 20 gauge, I scavenged it all, mostly from train yards and lumberyards
Green X2 months ago

cool

curvy771 year ago
wasent the kind of way of armor i was looking for, but still looks really cool. (trying to make custom armor via fire and mold but no clue on how to hollow plates for body.)
armourkris (author)  curvy771 year ago
what do you mean by fire and mold? could you post a pic of something similar to what your thinking?
sadly, i do not have a photo at the moment but i can try to describe.

by fire, i mean im useing a forge (in my case a wood/coal based fire pit, with a metal base.) and melting the metal. unlike what u have done, which isent bad and im not hateing on it, i prefer to use more manuverable ways.

because steel takes a great deal of heat to melt i use aluminum, which can be as strong as med-strength steel and is not only cheaper but has a much lower melting point. i try to melt this and pour into molds made of fireclay, so as too not only keep it contained in a cheapish container but because of the materials it is easliy moldable and dosent explode from extreme heat.

if i have confused or lost u somewhere please just let me know.

armourkris (author)  curvy774 months ago

Hey Curvy, I was just looking over this and realised I never replied, did you end up getting cast armour to work? I think to cast a breastplate or something similar you would probably have the best luck sand casting it, but it'd take a big mould and i suspect that making the positive would be as much effort as just hammering out a breastplate in the first place.

sadly
no, while I was able to make enough ingots to fashion such a piece, i
underestimated the required heat to remelt them. as for sandcasting, that was
my initial plan, however as u said id need a large mould and do not have the
space for it. iv used an assortment of other materials to use instead (minor
projects) but sadly...no winners. (even tried a block of treated wood. worked
surpriseingly well with only slight bursts of flame.) i am now working on other
projects and will come back to this one at a later date.

hasanraza11 months ago
Awsome
you could make some extremely flexible plate armor this way....shoulders, breast, thighs, etc. a full suit even
armourkris (author)  The Metal One2 years ago
Something sorta like this?

Maille and plates V.3.0
YES!!!
Advar2 years ago
Verily, good sir, thou dost have skill! :)
skimmo3 years ago
any one got anyideads on how to make this kind of washer armor?
queen-eleanor-and-william-marshall-robin-hood-2010.jpg
Advar skimmo2 years ago
For a scalemaille look one could overlap the washers from the bottom up.
Go to http://theringlord.com. They sell these rings, or something similar, and it not only looks better, but more effective.
Gryndar skimmo3 years ago
buy a bunch of washers and literally sew them to a vest, it wouldn't be very protective as far as thrusts went, and very ahistorical too. It looks kinda like armour, but is mostly hollywoody.
skimmo Gryndar3 years ago
i think from a thrust you would have good odds of hitting in side a washer which would stop a thrust but chainmail wont stop a good thrust anyway
Gryndar skimmo3 years ago
yes it will, theres been lots of tests on riveted maille, made with period materials, and maille is amazingly proof against swords, not so good against polearms though
skimmo Gryndar3 years ago
riveted maille will stop a sword alot more then if it just open end mail such as this, with out welding or riveting you have to chance the edge will hit the gap in the ring then it just slides open and you have a gut full of knife
That's true, but even with riveted maille there's a chance that the blade could just break the rings apart, whether it be by thrust or through a strike. Everything is completely dependent on whether the competence of the wielder of said weapon.
well yeah is that:P
on most of the tests I've read involving maille made using period techniques and iron wire, not steel wire, the links would deform alot before they broke and then only the one link dirrectly affected by the point would break, thats only speaking of swords and arrows mind you, pole weapons are a completely different story
Aethereal2 years ago
Is there a way you'd recommend to do this without the punch? As in, would drilling the holes work, or would it be better to just buy a punch?
armourkris (author)  Aethereal2 years ago
Drilling the holes will work, it'll just be a whole hell of a lot slower and you may need to de-burr the inside edges of the holes after.
Alright :) Thanks a lot!

Great 'ible, too:)
scalhoun3 years ago
I plan on making some gauntlets and the like, but i was wondering what type of steel you would recommend between cold rolled, hot rolled, or galvinized? I know stainless is probably the best way to go but it is much more expensive.
armourkris (author)  scalhoun3 years ago
I mostly work in cold rolled steel. only because it's less finishing work than galvanized or hot rolled. in either case though once your piece is finished you can strip off the coating by soaking in vinegar overnight. all three are pretty much identical as far as how strong a finished piece is and how hard they are to work with.
stainless is a beast to work with. i try and avoid it, it chews up your tools, work hardens faster, needs to be hit harder, and is just generally more of a pain. the advantage is that you can often get away with using a gauge lighter steel and get similar strength to mild, and it's as low maintenance as armour gets.
pyrorower4 years ago
I'm thinking of making this out of aluminum since I have a forge now. I'll try and post it when I can.
Also, about how heavy is your suit? I want to estimate how heavy my aluminum one will be.
You could use the forge to make aluminum plates from soda cans and transmission cases, which is what a friend of mine does for art projects. But you must be very very careful, it spits, he accidentally set the barn on fire.

DO NOT SET YOUR BARN ON FIRE. Your wife will be really really mad.
armourkris (author)  pyrorower4 years ago
You shouldn't actually need a forge for any of this, also, forges and aluminum don't mix well, aluminum doesn't turn red hot or anything, it just looks like aluminum then looks like a puddle.
as for the weight of my armour, well, i;m not really sure. 15 or 20 pounds would be my guess. it isn't that heavy, certainly no more than 25. In aluminum i'd recommend using 1/8" plates, i think that's 16 gauge in aluminum, and i would guess it would come out in the 10 to 15 pound range.
I actually know that we don't need a forge for this, it's just that we could only find plastic palette banding and we happen to already have the forge and some old kick scooters :P And thanks for the weight estimates. I'll post pictures just as soon as we have it built.
azurelupine5 years ago
how about using "blue barrel" ie HDPE plastic as a plate material?
armourkris (author)  azurelupine5 years ago
In my experience blue barrel plastic varies between 1/4 and about 3/8 inch thick, making it too thick to connect with the chain maille rings. I think 1/8 inch is about the thickest you could get away with. Strips cut from 5 gallon pails would probably work, but i don't know how protective it would be.
Hmmm, 1/4" sounds about right.. would work with 1/2" rings using 14ga. mild-steel rings. As for extra protection, a good arming coat would also soften some of the blows (unless you rhino-hide, and I DETEST rhino-hiding! Please call a good shot a good shot. ;) ) Atlantia, Always! Vivats! Vivats! Vivats!
armourkris (author)  azurelupine5 years ago
I've really got to recommend riveting or welding at least the rings that link the plates together, as I've found i usually have to repair or replace 3 to 5 rings for every shot to the body i receive. I've been repairing my rings with riveted rings and haven't had any problems with them so far.
BTW, Kingdom of Atlantia, Barony of Sacred Stone, Canton of Aire du Falcon. and serving in the household of my master, THL Osric the Pale (Hus Sla' Hamar) and the Lady Una von Shieb (Corvus)
armourkris (author)  azurelupine5 years ago
Kingdom of An Tir, Principality of Tir Righ, Barony of Lionsgate.
Is that SCA?
armourkris (author)  PKTraceur5 years ago
yep. that it is. basically it works out to Pacific north west, BC, Vancouver. I do PK as well.
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