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how do you make body armor? Answered

how do you make ballistics Armour plates similar to plates used in the military for personal home protection. Is there a material I can purchase over the counter that would be light weight and have similar ballistics protection?


My idea would be to get large amounts of woven UHMWPE, such as dyneema or spectra shield, large amounts of Kevlar, some boron carbide ceramic, and a 1/8" thick titanium plate. If you have some large barbell weights, make a mold for the plate so that it will attach to the weights. Take some epoxy resin and spread a small amount of it evenly across all of the fabrics. Layer the sheets one by one with Kevlar, then UHMWPE, then Kevlar and so on in a pattern. The Kevlar should be on the top of the plate. The reason for this is because Kevlar does better against heat than UHMWPE. Put those sheets on top of the born carbide, and continue making the pattern of layers. This time put the layers under the boron carbide(don't forget the epoxy). You should have at least 20 layers combined. Place the entire thing on the steel plate, place it in the mold, and add pressure so that it conforms, and squeezes out the excess epoxy. To keep the plate from sticking to the mold, put plastic rap around it. Wait 24 hours and your plate will be complete!!!

not to renew a dead thread but your stamen on putting the Kevlar in front of the titanium is ballisticly incorrect the purpose of any body armor with a soft and hard layer is to break up and deform the bullet so that it dumps as much energy as possible so that when it hits your Kevlar its surface area is greater and it then (hopefully) will dump its remaining energy in the Kevlar and (hopefully) the Kevlar will stop the projectile. putting the Kevlar in front of the titanium will actually make it easier for the bullet to penetrate the Kevlar for a reason similar to hammering a nail into wood on a soft surface vs hammering it on a hard surface, on the soft surface the nail will penetrate less because the soft surface behind it is absorbing the force you put into the nail, put the wood on a hard surface and the nail goes through much easier because nothing is absorbing that force. think of your body as the soft surface and the titanium as the hard surface, if arranged properly the bullet will hit the titanium which takes some force away from the bullet (even if it doesn't stop it fully) the titanium will then take that force and disperse it evenly through the surface of the plate. from there the force the titanium absorbed is being transferred to the softer Kevlar which is soft so it absorbs a lot of that force, then the force of the impact will be directed into your body at a much lower amount then when the round initially impacted, its still gonna hurt like hell but you shouldn't die. if you do it the way you said to do it the round will go straight through the Kevlar it its an kind of medium to large caliber, with much of its energy still focused on one small point it will hit the titanium and probably penetrate. let say however that the round by some miracle didn't penetrate the titanium all of the force of that impact is going to be sent directly into your body and its going to create a lot more trauma. in short you want your hardest surface in front to slow down the bullet and your Kevlar in back to catch it.

Your idea is actually ballisticly incorrect. Titanium may be strong, but if the bullet penetrates, you would be better off dead. The point of putting the titanium behind the Kevlar is so that it disperses the force over a larger area. The Kevlar is there for ballistic protection, as it is 5 times stronger than steel. If the Kevlar stops the bullet, the titanium will spread the force out so that you don't break your ribs, sternum, etc., or burst any of your internal organs. If the Kevlar was placed behind the titanium, larger bullet calibers would easily penetrate, causing the Kevlar not to rip, but collapse on itself leaving a sinkhole in your chest. Not fun.

Cheers, JacobB57

have you ever worn a bullet resistant vest? More specifically have you ever worn one that had a SAPI plate AND a Kevlar insert?

Again, I don't need to get shot with body armor on to know how to make it.

not it's not incorrect how many time have you worn a ballistic bullet resistant vest made to take rounds up to an AK?

Anybody can wear bulletproof armor and get shot, but it takes intelligence to design it.

Here are photos of my United States Marine Corps issued bullet resistant vest. I will be showing you the side protection because it's easier to show. As you can see it has a pocket for the SAPI plate that is IN FRONT of the Kevlar panels which you can see is clearly strapped into the back of the vest. This is the most advanced bullet resistant vest and plate carrier system available to the United States military and I think they know a thing or two about the proper orientation of body armor and it's components.


But this doesn't help your argument at all. I was explaining my idea for a ballistic plat, not carrier. The vest alone will not have as much protection. Also, you do know that those plates are made mostly of Kevlar right? This only proves my point that you should have something to disperse the force over. A modern type IV ballistic plate, the most protective plate available, is made of ceramic on top, to flatten the bullet due to it's compressive strength, Kevlar under that to slow down the bullets velocity, and some type of metal backing to disperse the force. The Kevlar the vest is made of is for backup protection when the SAPI plate breaks after the first few shots. SAPI is made of plain ceramic, which will break easier then type IV plates.

I would mix 12 mm lexan with kevlar. Then it is light but resistant to bullets. And put something similar like d3o rubber as the the bottom layer to protect the person...

Body armor is not illegal to own, buy or posses only illegal if yiu use for illegal purposes. I would try steel and or silk. If you can make hardened steel in small dragon skin ish domed plates and then cover it in silk (they say 34 layers will stop a bullet but I would use a lot more) that might work. You could also look into ceramics. Either way, wear a vest underneath it like we did when in the military. First armor used by u s was ballistic cordura to protect from shrapmetal. Like the silk you would use, it is tightly woven. I've heard something on goat milk but if I were u, I would start safely shooting things and see what happens. A phone book will stop certain rounds, layers seems to be the key. The Marine Corps Security Forces stopped using slugs in 2002 or something due to too many slugs bouncing off windsheilds when hit at an angle. Maybe plexiglass would work? The N fluids might be good also. I would start w steel and silk myself or go buy some if you though it was illegal. Bulletproof me dot com has decent prices, us palm has some nice and inexpensive plate carriers that come w plates for under 400. They are not stand alone. Body armor can seem extremely heavy the when you first start wearing it. Are you in decent shape or are you used to backpacking?

Please refrain from giving legal advice; especially when you do not know what you are talking about. As a lawyer and an academic (LL.B, BCS, ME, MS, J.D.) and having spent most of my life learning I would even feel uncomfortable giving my 'professional opinion' on such topics, especially given that you can be held liable even for a random quip on a blog or forum these days.

The fact of the matter is that body armor IS considered an illegal and prohibited WEAPON, yes, weapon in many countries and states. Where I live possession of body armor is the same as possessing a machine gun or handgun (both of which carry a 15-20 year maximum custodial sentence which is almost as high as that of premeditated murder), and there are many other nations where anti-gun nuts outnumber gun nuts. Well, to clarify, there are less than 100,000 gun owners in Australia (where I live) and there are at least threefold that of batshit insane meddling middle aged mums and nanny staters who cite US crime statistics and ignore that countries like Canada or ... well, ALL of Europe have more guns than people and gun crime is unheard of and entirely ignore the fact there were 3 gun crimes per year in Australia for the last century which starkly increased when legal guns were confiscated off legitimate owners (because criminals will NEVER surrender their guns, they're not stupid, and gun crime is rarely if ever committed by legal gun owners (besides suicides which are still counted as 'gun crime' idiotically, which made up most of AU's gun crime where old farmers with terminal cancer or what not decided instead of suffering incredibly to pop themselves in the barn)) just as in the UK when they outlawed pistols gun crime spiked.

So never underestimate the stupidity of nanny staters and people who feel that they have every right to tell you how you can and cannot live your life. These cancerous folk are everywhere, and will do anything to restrict your ownership of anything fun. In Australia fireworks are illegal, porn is illegal, high powered cars are illegal, some motorcycle imports are illegal, basically if it's fun or awesome it's illegal and the nation revolves around special licenses and fines (what I term 'surprise tax' in a nation which is already the highest taxed in the world).

Please remember that telling people what is and isn't legal should be left to legal professionals, and even then it varies from place to place so you cannot definitively say X is legal and Y isn't. I mean everything is illegal somewhere; if not in nanny states like Australia think of sharia governed nations (although I'm sure the religious nuts would LOVE to see Australia a sharia ruled nation at some point) where checking out a good looking bin liner covered woman's ankles is a crime.

You are certainly not a lawyer and if you are, my compassion to your clients as you have ZERO CLUE. -Z-E-R-O-

As a retired US soldier, one who knows the law, IT IS ABSOLUTELY LEGAL TO OWN, MAKE AND USE Body Armor. It is unlawful in some states, such as Conn. and Washington DC. Most states not aforementioned, it's totally legal to have body armor and it is NOT illegal as this academic donut stated.

NOR IS IT categorized as such. It is however an ITAR item, if it's level IV armor it cannot be imported outside the USA.

If your a convicted felon, it is illegal to own and use body armor of any type. This guy above just goes to show you how stupid academics can be. Put that guy in a survival situation and he'd probably be the first to resort to cannibalism.

PS< To the OP who wanted to turn a flak vest into a ballistic vest. Just know a FLAK vest alone will not even stop a .22 bullet. Its a fragmentation vest. Just three weeks ago two imbeciles nearly bought a flak vest and one of them tested it. He ended up killing his cousin. A moron like the lawyer above.

You could however, buy soft level IIIa inserts and swap them out from your flak jackets fragmentation panels. It would then be able to stop most handgun rounds.

"...refrain from giving legal advice..." Seriously?

"...possession of body armor is the same as possessing a machine gun..." Hmmm, sounds like a nice place to live!



When people start throwing their C.V. around like it's a fu@#!ng Frisbee, it is a really (really, really) big turn off (in the US, at least... as I am only an American... an ignorant fool, as I haven't traveled to 37 countries... Though, I guess 37 countries is a little easier when all of those could fit inside Alaska...) Ya see, we don't really care about C.V.'s or status, or "royal lineage" and all that nonsense. Yes, it is important... for a job interview... but when we read about it in a place like this, it immediately screams "fraudulent claim". Just don't do it.

Yes, I'll get "yelled" at for not being "nice" on this pseudo-forum, but that will be measurably more tolerable than the heinous penis-measuring going on and rampant nannyism displayed.

Y'all have a good day now!

My guess is that the person you responded to lives in the US. where steel ballistic armor is fairly common. It might require some paperwork in some states, but it's perfectly legal on a federal level, just like machine guns, suppressors, SBRs, and grenade launchers, though the four latter items all require a 4+ month background check process, a $200 USD tax stamp from the BATFE, and a small fortune.

Some cities have regulations on who can have armor and when, but that's fairly uncommon. We're not a police state yet.


2 years ago

I have a German flack jacket I want to reinforce with kevlar cloth,

any recommendations of type and how many layers to use?


There is bulletproof polycarbonate available for consumer purchase. It is very expensive though.

how do i get this stuff

I've been kicking around the idea of attempting to create some form of homemade body armor capable of defeating a .308 caliber round, seeing as if it can defeat that it can defeat just about anything else. My idea is to take the same principle as the dragonskin of overlapping plates but to decrease the surface area of the plates immensely. In doing so making it incredibly difficult to have direct contact with a single plate, decreasing the chance of shattering the plate by dispersing the force over a larger area. As well as making it more flexible and easier to conform I plan on creating a full coverage system covering every inch of the torso, with this tiny plates, and on top of that adding up to 25 layers of heavy kevlar on BOTH sides of the plates providing the best protection available I believe. Please let me have some feedback on what you think of this idea, as I am a young man and I don't know nearly as much as a lot of you all and would love some feedback.

So a total of 50 layers of Kevlar? For reference 30 layers will stop a 44 Magnum at 436m/s. Resin impregnated Kevlar will be stronger than dry Kevlar (imagine coating it in super glue, that will give you an idea). Now there are two types of Kevlar, ballistics grade, and aircraft grade. Obviously ballistics grade sounds better for this application, but aircraft grade is about 1/5 the price, and when they are resin impregnated they are equally in strength.



decreasing the surface area of the plates would make the vest harder to move, because you cant decrease the thickness needed to stop a bullet. not only that, but it decreases the area of protection because there are more gaps.


3 years ago

You can buy Alumina (artifcial saphire) spheres quite cheaply - they dont need to be precision spheres.

Lay down some women kevlar sheet, add a layer of spheres, add more kevlar, more spheres, and so on. Then use a resin to bind it all together.

You will need to experiment to find the right size of spheres, the number of layers, and the number of layers of kevlar to lay between the spheres, but the composite should be very effective. You can also add hollow microspheres as a filler to reduce the amount of resin needed.

That makes no sense.. youd basically be making kevlar sandpaper. what happens to sand paper when you try to tear it, or if you poke it? it tears.

The spheres might be 5-10mm diameter, and would need to be crushed by the bullet in1 order to penetrate. The resin and fiber hold the spheres in a matrix, preventing the bullet from pushing the spheres apart, or at least absorbing energy as they are pushed apart.

Here's an example https://youtu.be/eLNjgsh5HOg

also adding hollow microspheres thickens resin, which is terrible for ballistic composites. You want a thin resin that inpregnates the fibers in a way that can be controlled as to have a much higher fiber to resin ratio, this also in turn reduces the thickness of the composite. Your idea is cool and all, and I commend you for thinking outside the box, but this is impossible with today's tech that a normal civilian can obtain, and that someone without proper scientific training, and a vast understanding of multiple disciplines of engineering.

I'm sorry but that is a completely different concept what you're referring to would not work that only works because it's using large diameter spheres of extremely hard ceramic (aluminum oxide is not artificial sapphire by the way) incased in a structural material with high toughness (it will not break apart and shatter after multiple impacts) the spheres only work because after impact they rearrange due to being free flowing like sand. If you incase them inside a resin and fiberous material then they completely lose that property, and they essentially become sand paper on strong fabric. This concept you are drawing inspiration from is impossible to use on a scale small enough for personal body armor. That is why it is used as structural ballistic armor.

Try using some non newtonian fluids
mix 1part polyethylene-glycol to 5 parts silica powder.
Then permeate pure ethanol on woven kevlar. Then glue on silica powder with culking silicon. Then evaporate the armor in an oven at 100'c. Then cover it in silk.
It should even stop a .44 magnum

Could you elaborate more on te step by step? Why glue the powder on I thought it would be mixed with the polyethelene glycol.

dont pay attention to him, hes repeating vaguely what hes read on a website. the materials you would buy to make this would cost a lot of money, and it is much more involved then he is saying, and a different process, albeit similar.

my theory is when you make it try using epoxy, and slow drying gorilla glue, layer it onto a mold, use 3 thin and 2 thick layers of both one after the other, till you get to the last layer. Test it first with a dummy..

I hope you know that absolutely makes no sense. glue isn't anywhere near strong enough to even slow down a bullet.

FYI 20 +
years ago a father and son I worked whith who reloaded their own hot rounds showed me some 3/4" steel with holes clear through it from hot loaded .280 rounds. I was simply amazed. The plate had craters of different depths till they got their rounds fast enough to penetrate the steel. I don't remember what sort of projectile, solid copper, bronze, or lead core, they were shooting. What became apparent to me was that if the velocity was really high it would penetrate things I wouldn't have imagined.

usCrow has a nice tutorial for two models of steel trauma plate: http://uscrow.org/2013/05/22/how-to-make-ballistic...

Ideally you want a durable carrier, either canvas or several layers of kevlar if you've got the budget, and a plate that can withstand at least six rounds of the largest style of ammunition you want your armor to face. Alternatively, you can install a series of thinner plates made to the same standard that act like a whipple shield and break up or deform heavier rounds to be absorbed by a backstop of kevlar while defeating pistol munitions. IIRC, the nastiest penetrator in small arms outside of the .50BMG would be a steel, tungsten, or depleted uranium core 7.62mm. I'm not even sure if you can buy the steel-core penetrators let alone get somebody in the military to test your plates with DU since uranium of any sort is a controlled substance.

Literally, the least you need for make body armor are some steel-working tools for cutting bending and grinding/polishing your plates, used motor oil for quenching and hardening after heating, bending, and cleaning your plates (ask your local auto shops if you can pay them to collect the stuff from their customers during regular oil changes), and 2/8" to 3/8" thick steel sheets.

If you want to get fancy, try the alumina beads idea or figure out how to cook up boron plates in your backyard, I've seen the industry vids on how they do it and it's like melting a fine sand of boron into one solid piece with a very high-temperature press.


5 years ago

The ballistic plate the military uses are made by subjecting boron, I think. to high pressure and Heat. However, they are only good for about one hit from a snipers rifle.

It's not bullet proof, but I use it at home incase of tool malfunction, exploding drill bits, etc.. Take some cotton upper garments, sew 2-3 layers of silk on them and glue 5cm X 5cm squares of plexi glass onto the silk right next to eachother, until you cover all the area you want protected. Next, take some tightly woven silk sheet, and wrap about 5-10 layers over the plexiglass. Wrap in leather and sew to prevent fraying. The more times you add layers of plexi and silk, the more resistant it becomes. This stuff saved me from an exploded 0.9 mm drill bit to the heart. A shard lodged in the plexi-glass about 0.2 cm from my chest. =)

Ok, just a concept, but could your idea be used in creating seperated plates? I had the idea when I read your comment that, with a bit of shaving and shaping, the plexiglass plating could be shaped to be more form fitting. I ask because I was originally thinking of creating a batman costume for Halloween, but then I started thinking of how it could actually be protective as well, in light of the Colorado shooting last month. It seems like your design, attached to a kevlar and nomex body suit, could provide a decent ammoun of protection, with everything from paintball to preventing injuries on a motorcycle. Just some thoughts.

im making this currently, best options would be expensive but if you want to be a tank like batman make boron carbide plates, if you send me a message I can get back to you with some prototype applications and about what youre gonna end up paying for D30 shock absorbing panels, boron amorphous powder to make the panels, Kevlar, and anything else you may need

Your "armor" sounds a great deal like the old Mongolian armor, they used silk to keep arrows from killing them... should they get hit they could pull the silk and the arrow would come cleanly out ^.^


5 years ago

uhmwpe, ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is supposedly more than 8 times harder than carbon steel and much lighter, you could get several 5mm thick sheets and layer them together until its a about an inch thick but make sure you alternate how the grain runs as this will make the bullet change direction more as it passes through the layers. wear this in a plate carrier over a Kevlar vest, just in case. The real uhmwpe ballistic plates are made of multiple very thin layers, but thicker plates 'might' work, no guaranties though (the thin fabric is harder to get hold of). I have seen normal inch thick HDPE stop some handgun bullets but UHMWPE is much harder so should work better. not good in very hot climates however as it has a fairly low melting point, probably why the army don't use it in the Middle East. Carbon fibre isn't ideal as although it has a high tensile strength it's probably not that good at stopping bullets.

Why is every body so hung up on silk man made single filament thread has been around for yonks you would be just as well putting your grannies opaques on

Evan the military haven't got the perfect solution yet a gold bullet from a magnum at point blank can penetrate a tanks Armour same with depleted uranium
But for a basic DIY home protection I would think carbon Kevlar laminate with a silicon backing should be enough 28 layers of DuPont Kevlar in the 706 style weave if you can get your hands on it 11 layers of carbon twill one top and one bottom then evenly distribute epoxy resin with poly/cotton or alu thickening agent and silicon molding resin for backing material Remember if the penetration doesn't kill you the blunt force will so about two inch thick and a vacuum molding system for your laminate to get a even consolidation important note about twill rotate the warp/weft first 90 degrees then 45 and so on

To make extremely advanced armor capable of turning someone into a walking tank at the cost of a LOT of money, you will need several thin layers of silicon carbide, AR-500 steel, and depleted uranium armor alloy. Place all of these into this layers, sandwich them together extremely tight and use the strongest resin/glue you can possibly find to attach them, use a glue meant for military use if you can. But assuming you don't have access to the depleted uranium, the AR-500 steel and silicon carbide along with possibly any other armor you want to throw into the mix should be fine. For far less advanced non-composite armor, a simple 1/4th sheet of AR-500 steel will easily stop hundreds of rifle rounds, which is why they use it for targets.

so much derp in this thread
I'm going to go ahead and assume you are thinking about "rifle plates". These are different from kevlar in that kevlar bulletproof vests are made to stop most handgun rounds but NOT rifle rounds. These will stop anything from .22lr and .380ACP to everything up to and including .357 SIG and .44 Magnum (depending on grade of vest). While vests are made that are designed to stop rifle rounds, they are prohibitively expensive. If you want rifle protection, 3/4" hardened steel plates will stop steel core 7.62x39, the round used in many AK pattern rifles such as AK-47s and SKSs. (AK-74s shoot 5.45x39, which can be stopped by 3/8" steel). It will also stop normal .223 and 5.56, the standard rounds AR pattern rifles fire, such as M-16s, AR-15s, and M-4s.
most pistol rounds will be stopped by 3/8" mild steel plates, but will deform with higher powered rounds. 1/4" is far more durable.
3/4" hardened steel plate for most common rifle rounds
1/4" mild steel for pistol rounds
Kevlar, not "kevaler". I SEROIUSLY doubt chain maille would do anything to protect against firearms. It's called a SAPI plate for "Small Arms Protective Insert" and you can buy them on amazon.com, quit pretending you're in the military. 8mm and .308 are two entirely different rounds, there is no such thing as a "8mm .308". Kevlar vests work because the kevlar is in many layers of very tightly woven kevlar. My backpack is kevlar, but it won't stop a bullet, be wary of kevlar that isn't tightly woven/layered thick. The same principle applies to the "lets wear a bunch of silk shirts" idea. This worked for Capone-era gangsters because 1. They layered many high quality (tightly woven) shirts made of silk, a strong fiber and 2. Cops in that era usually had revolvers chambered in .38spl, which is a low powered round by today's standards. Most cops and gangmembers today carry 9mm, 40, and .45, which would tear through the silk shirts (with the possible exception of .45).

The .45 has more inertia than the 9 mm. As long as it is not hollow point it will penetrate better. You are completely right about the silk being ineffective.


6 years ago

Ok, Here is my straight answer: You will be unable to make ballistic armor.

The materials are expensive and regulated, not to mention need special tools to work with.

I am in the design process for an armor suit that will be for close combat. This means hand-to hand, falls, slashing attacks, and maybe rock or baton attacks. Merely designing a light armor suit is pretty impossible. What I am saying is, if it is hard to make a fully realized suit to protect you from an unarmed person punching you, forget ballistic armor.

Also, for even having ballistic armor, or even fake ballistic armor, you will probably be arrested, or searched, or any number of other forms of legal asskicking.

Ballistic armor is impossible to make effectively in a home environment.

Even if you can stop the bullet, you will probably suffer internal bleeding, broken bones, or general pain and disorientation. That is with a small bullet, too. Large bullets will just ignore the armor. The best protection I can advise is to stay out of situations where you might get shot at.

well a carbon fiber plate covered in kevaler and a layer of chain maial and some d3o would make the best armor however my idea is to have ballistic foam in a fullsuit then have stratily placed carbon fiber plates covered in a tiatum coat with goralla glass on the helmet whew ok so yeah it would be time cousming hey if you wanted it quck peprakua is a good start

Carbon fiber has an extremely poor shear modulus, making it one of the worst materials for armor.

carbon fibre or thick foam may be good for this