My goal with this project was to create Link’s shield from the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. I created a 3d model that I used to draw the components that would be CNC cut with precision. I was able to combine my model and design with many hand skills including painting and assembly. This was my first major cosplay and I wanted to be as accurate as I could afford. This project can be scaled up or down depending on your budget. I will walk you through the steps that I took. Leave any questions in the comments. If you would like the vector files that I used, leave a comment or message me and I will gladly send them to you.
Step 1: Prep Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Do yourself a favor and prepare your work area for the work to be done. I am going to be drawing on top of a 3d render that I created. This tip applies to anything you are going to be drawing on top of in Adobe Illustrator. I like to work in a clean well planned out set of artboards. It is like doing math....Show Your Work. If you save every step of the process then you will save yourself time and energy if and when anything goes wrong. I have the render that I want to draw on top of knocked down to 50% opacity. This will help you see where you are drawing without be distracted by the image that you are trying to draw on top of.
Step 2: Pen Tool, Learn to Love
If you don't know what the Pen Tool(P) is or how to use it, then I suggest you start now. If I could only choose one tool to design with, it would be the Pen Tool(P). It has had many fantastic updates throughout the years and I use it all the time. I rendered the shield in CAD so that I could draw on top of it in Illustrator. There are many ways to do this, but I enjoy redrawing with the Pen Tool(P). CAD and Illustrator don't always play nice when transferring vector, plus I draw quick enough that this is the faster method for me. I drew on top of the 3d rendering to get the shapes that I wanted to be cut out of 3mm PVC. I choose the wacky colors so that I could easily grab each component later on if needed.
Step 3: Mirror Tool
More often than not I am drawing or creating art that is symmetrical. It is just in our nature to create symmetrical objects. This is great since I can draw half the art and then mirror it using the Reflect Tool(O). Select the tool, put your anchor point on the center line to be reflected, then hold shift and option (alt) and drag to the opposite side of the center line to reflect a copy.
Step 4: Prep Parts for Cutter and Get Slicing
I nested all of my parts to utilize the material so that I had minimal waste. I cut the dimensional parts out of a 3mm PVC sheet of material. I printed the Navi on a sheet of .030 PETG. Both of these got CNC knife cut.
I cut the main part of the shield and the forearm shield cut out of a composite material called DiBond. It is light and very strong which is perfect for this application. This was CNC routed.
Step 5: Rock and Roller the Metal
I ran the DiBond shields body through the metal roller pictured. This gives a curve to the shields as shown.
Step 6: Paint and Hot Glue
I hand painted each part with acrylic paint the appropriate colours. The PVC is porous, but I primed the parts to insure the paint would adhere properly. I spray painted the back side of the main body of the shield with silver paint and hand painted the front a lovely shade of royal blue.
After the parts set up for several days, I used my hot glue gun to adhere the PVC parts to face of the shield. I also hot glued button covers that I purchased at the craft store to be the "rivets" on the shield. Pretty clever if I say so myself. I chopped up an old belt and glued it to the back of the shield so that I could strap this to my arm.
For the forearm shield, I used hot glue to draw decorative lines on the DiBond. I used Super 77 spray adhesive to apply fake leather. The forearm shield is actually quite functional, although I not dare battle the likes of Ganondorf. I also used hot glue to keep the material from peeling back.
Step 7: The Grand Finally
Here I am all suited up and ready to go. I put NAVI in a little bottle and I only take her out when I am feeling low on energy. All in all this project was a blast to make and it came out really neat looking. If you have any questions, please fire away! I will be off trying to help Princess Zelda. I hope that you enjoyed this Instructable. I would love to hear any feedback! You can also find me at CurtosNoir.com. Cheers