Hey all this is my first Instructable and I take no responsibility for people who decided to try this at home and break some thing, or hurt them selves or others. Follow any processes I discuss at your own risk. This is one of several walk through tutorials on how I work Kydex® in my living room with basic tools (a heat gun is the only non-standard tool or item that is used and can be supplemented with a small heater or the oven if you work quick enough). I’ve seen lots of great how too videos and articles about forming Kydex® but most of the ones I’ve seen operate under the premise that you have as shop of some kind. I don’t so I had to find another way to stage the process.
The process and the tools I use to make clips are pretty basic and allow you to do this while watching a movie on the couch.
The things I use include: Kydex® (.093 thickness or thicker for clips), a straight edge and or tape measure, a knife and pliers (multi-tool), a heat gun, gloves, a pencil, sand paper (200-600 grit), a drill and bits, and heat gun.
Step 1: What Size Do You Need?
The first thing I do is finding out how wide I will need my clip to be. The current clip we're making now is for an Esee 3® factory sheath. Due to trial and error then opening my eyes to see what was right in front of me I try to keep my spacing ¾” on center (sheaths too) this falls in line with several knife makers’ factory sheaths and some current after market clips.
Step 2: Getting Your "blank"
For the width of my clip I use 2 ¼” to provide enough with to stabilize and provide 3 horizontal mount points.
To cut the Kydex® I use a knife/multi-tool (Leatherman Sidekick® pictured here great value imho) to score my cut lines until I’m able to bend and break the piece I need off the primary sheet.
Once you have the sheet scored deep enough you should be able to start bending it and it will pop or snap. Then you can place the bulk of the sheet back for future use
Step 3: First Bend
The next thing I do is prep the 2 ¼” wide strip for bending I normally relieve the corners and sand the edges as it will be difficult to access once the bends are done. Normal sand paper works great.
Now we make our first bend using our heat gun, a glove (or not depending on how much you like your fingers) and a spacer of some sort (the spacer is optional)
In heating the Kydex® with a heat gun I find it’s the heat source or Kydex® moving. When I didn’t keep the heat or Kydex® moving I noticed that the Kydex® would burn quick (it will turn shiny and get more brittle and no my heat gun isn’t adjustable). After evenly heating the end of the strip I fold it over my spacer/mold piece (I use a scrap of plastic salvaged from a jogging stroller).
Step 4: Last Bend
Once your first bend is done move on to the second which makes the clip look well kind of like a G. I normally try to adjust the clip size based off the belt most likely to be used with the sheath/holster. For the second bend you repeat the heating process again further down the flat of your strip. Once it allows the bend fold it over to the desired size.
Using your knife score and snap to remove the rest of the strip you cut (I normally get two clips out of a 12” x 2 ¼” section).
Step 5: Setting Your Holes
Now we get to mount points. Again I have gotten to where I try to keep my clips, sheaths and holsters at a ¾” on center hole spacing as it is the most compatible with commercial options Large Tec lock® and all the sheaths they fit.
Drill your holes to fit either a rivet or the Chicago screws you will use to assemble
Drill as you did before. You have the option of going through both sides of the clip or just one. I normally base this on the length of Chicago screw I’m using and if it would be manageable to put the base in the clip or if the base is too long I add and extra exterior hole.
Once my holes are finished I go back and round the corners and sand the edges to try to reduce the amount of snagging that will occur. Once completed to your requirements attach it to the sheath or holster its intended for.
Step 6: Attach It an Go.
Here it's mounted on the Esee 3® sheath. Hope this helped or gave you ideas on how to make the clips or process even better.