Introduction: Metal Armor on a Budget -or- Lowe's Lamellar

Hello and welcome to my tutorial!!

I am a huge fan of historical arms and armors (armours?) and have been wanting to build a suit of armor for a very long time now. But if you are like me (live in an apartment...restricted to a very slim access to tools) you find yourself with a whole lot of desire and information but not a lot of armor.

This can be frustrating beyond belief!! However during my research I discovered a way for someone to make a piece of armor for under $200 depending upon their particular size and weight!!

That's when I discovered LAMELLAR!!

Step 1: What Is Lamellar?

SO what is Lamellar?

Well according to Wikipedia:

Lamellar armour: a type of early body armour, made from small rectangular plates (scales or lamellae) of iron, leather (rawhide), or bronze laced into horizontal rows.

Who used Lamellar Armor?

Mongols, Turks, Avars, Byzantine, Rus', Japanese, Chinese, Norse, etc.

Now that the boring stuff is over with...


Step 2: Tools and Supplies

Tools (poor guy version):

*A drill

*Phillips Head Drill Bit

*Metal cutting drill bits

* A piece of wood

*A marking device(pen, marker colored pencil)



Rich Guy Tools(if ya got em):

*Drill Press



3.5 x 1.5 in Mending Braces (mine came from my local Lowe's Home Improvement store)



Scissors or Knife

How many plates do i need?:

I don't know. that's something you will have to figure out on you own.

What I did to figure out the number of plates i needed was the following:

1) Buy ten packages of Mending Braces

2) Measure from nipple to nipple on the chest you will be making the armor for

3) Lay enough plates down in a row to equal or exceed the measurement...depending on your desired area of protection

= Write down that number and don't lose it=

4) Measure from nipple to waistline on the torso you will be making the armor for

5) Lay enough plates down in a vertically overlapping column to equal or exceed the measurement...depending on your desired area of protection

= Write down that number and don't lose it=

Multiply your two numbers and that will give you your base line

Multiply that number by 2 and you have your front and back plate count

Do the same thing for your sides then add them all together and you have your plate count

Mine came out to 168 plates


At this point you will have purchased your plates and congrats for getting this far

==BUT WAIT!!!===

The plates you bought have holes in them.... but they don't tie together!!


In order to have them tie together properly you will have to add some holes...hence the drill and bits

Now feel free to add your holes where ever you want, however you way is not the only way

Also feel free to modify your plates

round tops, fluted tops, d shaped sides, fish scales....whatever you want it to look like


Just do ONE PLATE the way you want your holes, that one will become your MASTER PLATE

1) Place your plate on the wood... bumps up

2)Using your marking tool, color in the holes

3) Remove plate

4) Drill small hole in each spot you colored

5) Mark plate for new holes

6)Clamp wood to stable surface

7) Place marked plates back onto the wood

8) Drill screws into holes, securing plate into place

9) Drill new holes through marked area on plate

Step 4: Lather, Rinse, Repeat =or= Hand Held Mass Production

You just completed your Tem-plate...get it?

Now remove the screws, stack up 5 plates with the master on top, and replace the screws

Using your Master Plate as a guide, drill through the stack

Do this Ad Infinitum or untill you run out of plates


Stack your plates, Clamp your plates, place your plates in a vise, put vise in drill press, drill holes, remove plates.

Rather, Rinse, Repeat

Step 5: Step 5: Panic

The title is a joke, please don't panic.

Now you have all your drilled out plates, time to lace them up.

Grab your para-cord and head on over to youtube!!

Ells Fjorde prepare para-cord for lacing here

The rest of his videos are for two different types of plates

This video works for the way i did my plates in the pictures horizontally

To attach rows together using my plates, just apply the same logic...but start loose in the beginning and tighten it at the end.

Now i know you are wondering : how did you get the stair effect on the sides of your armor?

Just add two plates to every row after the top row

Step 6: Conclusion

At this point you have what i call raw armor

Why is it raw?

Much like a piece of paper, this armor has only basic personality and shape

So, what to do about that?

The answer = what ever you want

Back it with leather, top it with a few coats of lacquer, rivet it to something...

Whatever you want it to look like, do it!!

I hope you found this tutorial helpful or at the least informative.