I am personally not a fan of a clasp and tongue type buckle and plastic clasp sort of have a cheap feel to it self.
This was the reasons that I made myself a buckle for my own everyday webbing belt some time ago. The buckle is made to a design similar to the Soviet Military belt buckles but was redesigned so that it would work with webbing. http://warrelics.eu/forum/equipment-accessories-personal-items/soviet-belt-buckle-naval-25936/
My first buckle was made from stainless steel plate that had been polished and TIG welded together but since not everyone has got access to a welder it has been redesigned to be no weld and made with basic tools.
This is also the same buckle that has been used in my Adjustable Paracord Belt instructable. https://www.instructables.com/id/Adjustable-Paracord-Belt/
So basically this buckle is made to be used with a paracord belt or 35mm webbing
Step 1: This Is What You Will Need.
The most important part of this build will be the plate for the belt buckle body. The plate that can be used can be ether Stainless Steel that can be polished, Brass of Copper that can be etched or Mild steel that would be the cheapest and most available option. I am not sure about aluminum plate because of it's softness and I am afraid that it would weaken if bend in a 180o degree angle. The plate and rod that I have used is 1.7mm Stainless Plate and a 2.4mm Stainless Steel TIG welding rod.
The part and tool list.
- Plate (Your choice, Stainless Steel, Brass or Mild Steel)
- 2.4mm Stainless Steel TIG welding rod(Steel wire would also work)
- Belt Buckle Template(Printed to on A4 and check for scale)
- 2.5mm Drill bit and Drill
- Wood glue
- Hammer and small center punch
- Brass drift
- Various metal Files
- Bench Vice
- Metal polish and cloth
- Masking tape
- Scrap steel with flat sides(will be used to get neat bends)
- Sandpaper 1000 grit and 100 grit optional for brushed finish.
- Elbow grease
- Grinder(Option but will save time and effort)
Parts for the webbing belt
- Belt Buckle
- 35mm Webbing
- 35mm D Ring.
- Sewing kit
Or follow my Adjustable Paracord Belt instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Adjustable-Paracord-Belt/ for the paracord design.
Step 2: Getting Started
First start by printing out my template that I have included in the first step is a bit different from the one show in the photo but its the same design. Use scissor to cut it out and mark it out on your plate.
Once the template is marked out roughly cut out the shape with the hacksaw. The reason the template is not glue on before hand is mainly because the hacksaw leaves a rough burr and if you cut past the marked out area the template can only be shifted so that the crossed mark can be left out.
Once the piece is cut, file the edges down and sand both sides with the 1000grit sanding paper. The it will help the glue stick and ease up the polishing later on.
To apply the template to the plate squirt some glue over the plate and using your finger spread the glue so that the whole plate is covered. Add the template and work out the unneeded glue.
Step 3: Clean Up Done
Once the glue it dry enough, use your file/grinder to remove the excess exposing metal around the template so that all the outside borders are neat and flat. At this point, it is also wise to round off the sharp tips.
The glue will also soften the paper that will make it more likely to rub off the plate. That is why there three template per page as a buck up.
Next step is to drill the holes to where the adjustment will fit and the buckle to the webbing. To drill the holes, first use a fine punch a punch a center on the four crosses. Once the crosses are punched drill the holes in the plate.
Again use the fine sand paper to smooth out the burrs of the holes at the other side of the plate.
The bending will be next and to avoid deep scratches especially in brass, tape up the plate so that where it will be held in the vice, it will not scratch.
Step 4: Bending
To get nice neat bends, the plate has to be bend around a sharp 90o degree. To do this I clamped my plate between a piece to angle iron and flat bar that I keep just for these kind of bends. The vice jaws will not give the same results.
I you are using either method clamp the plate down so that the line running down the long side sits flush on the bending plain.
I also uses a hammer and a brass drift to hammer down the edge since the brass is a lot softer than the stainless steel, meaning the brass is a lot less likely to leave marks on the plate. Repeat the bending on the other side.
The last bends that has to be done is the three bends to the catch of the buckle. The catch can only be bend so that there are two flat 90o and the third rounded bend. First bend should be the middle line and the second should be the inner most line. The last line should be the outer most line making it a rounded bend. The tape should be removed before the plate is completely flattened to the body.
Step 5: Finishing Off
All that is left to do is to add the two adjuster pins and to do a bit of polishing up.
To install the pins, cut a the pins about 3mm longer than what the body of the buckle is wide. Insert the pins thought the hole drilled in step 3 and using a hammer to round off the tip of the pins on both sides. Repeat this step for the second pin as well. If the pins feel a bit rough, use a file just to remove the sharp ends.
If you prefer a brushed look, use the 100grit sand paper on a flat surface and pull the face of the buckle in one direction to give a brushed look but if you prefer a mirror like shine, the buckle needs to be polished. There is a photo to compare the results.
To polish the buckle give it a other fine sanding with the 1000 grit sanding paper and use a good metal polish and elbow grease to get the desired results.