Instructables
Picture of Roman Legionaire
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A buddy of mine and I decided to try to make some Roman "ish" armor out of tin. This whole project was worked cold (no forge/torch required) and everything you need can be purchased at Wal-Mart and Home Depot for around a total of 15-20 dollars. We completed the project in one evening (about 5 hours for two people working). I thought it was high time someone put up a simple way to make really impressive armor on here. Obviously, this armor is made of very thin sheet metal and should not be expected to stop ANYTHING that would otherwise harm you if you weren't wearing it. Also, cut tin and the holes drilled can be very sharp and we cut ourselves more than once so wearing gloves might not be a bad idea. Also, safety goggles never hurt.
 
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Step 1: Materials + Tools

Picture of Materials + Tools
Here's a list of all the materials and tools used, where they were purchased, and the approximate cost:

Materials:
2'x3' 30 gauge tin sheet ("tin" is zinc plated or "galvanized" steel) - Home Depot 8$
Thin Leather Strap - Wal-mart craft section - 3$
Brass (other colors could be used) 7/16 inch eyelets - Wal-mart fabric section -Two boxes at 3$ per box
Eyelet setter tool - 3$

Tools:
18 inch or longer 2x4 with a good sharp edge (or an anvil with a good edge)
Drill press or hand drill (drill press is MUCH better)
1/4th inch drill bit
1/2 inch drill bit
Pretty much any hammer will work
Kitchen shears - best possible tool to use to cut thin sheet metal. we used the ones from Wal-mart
Sharpie
Duct tape
Tape Measure
Needle nose pliers (useful for getting metal burrs off)
Carpenter's Square (optional)
Safety Glasses
Gloves (optional but recommended)





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blkhawk2 years ago
Romans called this type of armor lorica segmentata. Great job!
mharvey23 years ago
Well, I went ahead and made this 'able. What I ended up using was a piece of sheet metal [of a gauge and type unknown to me, but harder and less malleable than the suggested metal] and a small piece of a softer tin to make the shoulders with, for material needs. I went with 20" long plates and that was perhaps a bit much, but all in all okay. I completed the armour over a 5-day stretch with help when it came to drilling. The tunic and skirt of the costume were made for me by my sister, the bracers I made really simply, and the legwarmers came from the dollar store.

I would definitely try this again and have likely an easier time with it provided I got the right materials.
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wiggins8472 (author)  mharvey22 years ago
I like it. I think we got our "tin" from the air duct area of the Home Depot where they have metal parts used in heating and cooling ducts.

To answer your question my understanding is that "tin" is any thin galvanized steel. The confusion comes from the elemental "tin" (Sn) which is actually called "pewter" and really isn't suitable for this project because it is too soft and doesn't come in large sheets. It is also pretty expensive and lower quality pewter generally contains lead. Looks like you found some heavier gauge galvanized steel, and think your costume really turned out well. Thanks for your comments and sorry for the slow reply. :)
Also, the cape was made hastily from leftover material used for the tunic with 2 grommets, some leather cord, paper clips [lol] and a decorative silver-looking cross.
mharvey23 years ago
Hey, I'm loving this instructable and I'm looking to make it my first project from this site. =]

I have a couple of questions, though. What sorts of places might I go looking for the tin sheet, if not Home Depot? I went to the one closest to me, and they told me they have little sheet metal selection in any of their locations. I'm having trouble finding places online at the moment but I'm still looking.

As well, the "tin" also being galvanized steel? I didn't know this, and none of the sales associates in Home Depot, Rona nor Canadian Tire told me that they were the same thing when I asked for tin compared to galvanized. If this is the case, I may actually know where to look [if I can find the 30 gauge]. Can I just look for 30g galvanized steel [to make life easier asking people]?
Cpt. Caleb3 years ago
Pretty good stuff, I took the liberty of adding shoulderbads and the red robes. but thanks for a great 'Ible and a super simple project!
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wiggins8472 (author)  Cpt. Caleb3 years ago
Nice. I like the shoulder pads. And the cape of course.
gchace4 years ago
nice job
 how do i bendit just press it over my chest?
good question, I was wondering the same thing
Although I figure you're probably gonna be able to bend it with your hands
i used abucket it is thinner than my body but the metal popped out a little
sounds like a good idea thx
thoraxe6 years ago
Hmmm....I wonder if this could stop Steel Arrowheads from a 10-pound fiberglass bow.....
A 10 pound bow? TEN? It better...
well the fact that this is very thin metal it probably wouldnt. I shot from a bow with a sharp arrowhead can peice 1/2 in. cardboard, pierce sheet aluminium, and with a large arrowhead pirce through 3/8 plywood.
Yeah, but, a 10-pound bow? I've had toys with suc-cup arrows stronger than that. And it isn't a very realistic test, since any bow reasonably expected to kill anything larger than a dog would be, like, at least 50. But I like how your breastplate sounds (if only I had some aluminum).

Coincidentally, you mentioned being hit with drumsticks. I feel obligated to tell everyone that *PERCUSSION OWNS* and to ask whether or not you yourself are a member of our elite....percusserhood.
 drummers rock best in the band
Apparently you've never seen an accordion.
Accordionists trump all. : 3
you wish
i play drums at school and in a rock band
BASS IS BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it has alliteration!
wiggins8472 (author)  thoraxe5 years ago
DO NOT USE THIS AS ARMOR FOR ANY PURPOSE - COSTUME ONLY
Okay, But can it defend against a bite from a dog or human? That is, if the human couldn't feel pain, and would just continuously chew.

Call me messed up, call me a geek, but seeing as this is in your spirit I guess I can say that i want to make full arm armour (I already have chainmail gloves)
because in every zombie movie, someone sticks their arm in a hole and they get bitten, Not me, I'm sure I'll save some people's lives this way =D
Hehehe, Kinda JK,
i made a breastplate from solid aluminium sheet metal. i used a ball pien hammer to make abs and breast depressions in the armor. the doming dramatically increases the armor's strength. i took it to school one day and let people unleash on me with punches, kicks, chairs, drumsticks, etc. the only thing that almost hurt was a kick from a strong junior, but it stopped it and it make a noticable dent. all i had to do was just hammer out teh dents and i reinforced the main area of the breastplate with 2 more sheets. took it to school again a few days later, not even the kick would hurt (though i stumbled a few steps back) and it didnt even dent it. i fired an arrow from the 10 pounder and it didnt pierce. tried stabbing with a knife, didnt pierce, shot it with an air rifle, didnt pierce and a small dent. the only thing that would pass through it would be a pickaxe or a bullet
temp thoraxe5 years ago
what was the thickness of the aluminium? That doesn't sound like aluminium.
thoraxe temp5 years ago
umm maybe 1 millimeter sheet. one layer of it is pretty weak, but 3 layers is pretty decent. the arrow will penetrate anywhere where all 3 layers are touching, but the ab and breast areas it wont. it's pretty solid because of the doming.
Sypran6 years ago
i made it a little thicker and it's the armor that i use when my freinds and i go bike jousting
wiggins8472 (author)  Sypran6 years ago
I would like to reiterate that this design is for COSTUME USE ONLY. IT IS NOT DESIGNED TO BE USED AS ARMOR IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!
 arent the edges sharp  put hot glue on all the edges to stopit
Make pauldrons Or I'll go shoot up the mcdonalds about a mile from here
no duh
made of steel that is about 3 layers thick... (i know that wcould not deflect much but it can defect cheap cardboard and nerf spears lol
 this thing is a awsome piece of a costume
M3TALMAN7 years ago
The real Roman shield (I have no doubt that someone knows the Latin word, and will let us know too) was a laminated wood with an overlay of metal.
I believe it is 'scutum'.
it is
temp5 years ago
What's the best thing to use to cut 1mm or slightly thicker steel.
Personally, I would use a jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade mounted on it. Use cutting fluid to keep your jigsaw blade sharp, and as always, USE EYE AND EAR PROTECTION. Drill ~1/4" holes wherever the outline takes any sort of corner or tight curve, as trying to simply turn the saw through these areas may snap your blade.
Could you recomend a good jigsaw brand or model. I'm sorta short of cash right now and i don't want to waste my money on a cheap piece of junk or an exspensive piece of worse junk.
If you can afford a Craftsman jigsaw, I would go with that one. My jigsaw is a Craftsman, and it is still kicking at about 20 years old.
ive cut and made armor out of 2mm thick stainless steel and it is heavy but cool
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