Do you want to make yourself a nice brigandine, in a very easy way?
What a silly question! Who wouldn't you want one?!
Let's start, for less than 60€ you can make yourself one!
Quick list of materials:
Sheets of 1mm thick steel (I bought 2 sheet of 50x60cm for ~30€)
- Strip leather (actually any kind of leather would work, but I wanted a "rough" finish, bought 1 large piece for 20€)
- Rapid rivets (a lot of them, I ended up buying 1K of them for 10€)
(Disclaimer: The following armor is suitable for LARP, cosplay or light combat ;) )
Step 1: Cut the Steel Plates
First get a sheet of 1mm thick steel. I've chosen normal steel, and not inox, for two reasons: (1) it is way easier to cut and hole, (2) it costs way less. The down-cost is that you'll have to check every now and then for rust.
Now trace your plates, with side 5cm. Use a metal snip to cut them (if it's too hard to you, you can use an angle grinder).
Finally with a drill press make four holes on each plate.
Just for safety, sand all the edges!
Remember to always wear gloves; if you also use non-inox steel, this is even more important for avoiding early rust.
For my project I've used 232 square plates (plust 24 half square).
It will take some time, put some nice music while you work!
Step 2: Arranging the Plates
Cut the leather, and start aligning the plates, starting from the top.
Better if you try on the leather shape first, check that it is able to cover all of your torso! (Mine was 60cm large btw).
I've used the tile spacers for nicely arranging the plates, and I've momentarily attached them to the leather with general purpose glue.
(To get a quick estimate of how many I would end up I first cut a dozen pieces in cardboard, to get a quick idea)
Step 3: Rivets, Rivets, Rivets
Time to rivet! This also will take some time. Carry on!
I've used a hollow punch (https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-6588-Hollow-Punch-12-Piece/dp/B000NPPBYC) for making the holes, and a setter for... well, setting them xD (https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Works-Setter-Install-Button/dp/B017DN7KEU/ref=sr_1_7?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1490052120&sr=1-7&keywords=rivet+setter)
In the end attach two leather stripes for the shoulder, and adjust the height. The leather stripe doesn't need to sustain much weight, since most of it will be spread on the torso.
Step 4: Almost Done!
Make two small leather belts and attach them to the torso, when you put on the brigandine you have only to adjust them!