Sith Acolyte Belt

This part of the build started out as a belt buckle that I wanted to make separately from everything else. My original thought was that I would create the buckle, and then purchase a belt to affix this to. However, after making it, I realized that doing it this way would not work, and create the problem of figuring out a way to affix my buckle to the buckle of an existing belt, which would add bulk to the costume. So, I decided that it would be better (and not to mention more accurate) to make the entire assembly as a single piece out of rubber. So that’s exactly what I did. But, in that Mynock's Den spirit of things, I documented both versions in case it somehow helps others in similar projects.


Version 1: Belt Buckle

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After setting up the printer and doing a trial print of one of the preloaded 3D files, I got to work on my very first 3D computer model ever: the Sith Acolyte belt buckle! I figured the buckle's fairly uncomplicated shape would be a good first project to undertake.

Buck

After about 8 hours of poking around in Cubify, with various help files and YouTube videos open in the background for easy reference, I had my model.

Sith Acolyte Belt Buckle

I generated an STL file, imported it into a program called ReplicatorG, and generated another file that the 3D printer can understand. I uploaded this onto an SD card that came with the Creator, put the card into the built-in SD slot, initiated the print, and watched in fascination as the printer went to work!

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And after 3 hours and 17 minutes, the printer successfully completed the build!

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Because the plastic is deposited in thin lines, the model ends up having a rough, striated feel, with mild imperfections here and there. This required me to sand the surface smooth, and use a bit of Bondo to fill in a few trouble spots on the master.

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Next, using Rebound 25, I created a negative mold of the master...

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… and cold cast the buckle using aluminum powder and Smooth Cast Onyx resin as discussed here.

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Having done only one 3D model and one print, I can say with absolute conviction that 3D printing has become an integral part of my prop making! :)  

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Version 2: Rubber Belt

After about a year, I decided to revisit this part of the build, and make the buckle and front belt assembly as one piece that would attach to the cod plate. I had the idea of 3D printing this assembly, and much like the cod plate, casting it out of Task 16 rubber, for flexibility. 

Given how simple these pieces are in the reference material, it took about 30 minutes to create the CAD model, and prep it for 3D printing. 

belt 1-1
belt 2-1
belt 3-1
belt 4-1

As the pieces were being printed, I noticed that a few spots were troubled by breaks and bubbling in the surface layers. I am not certain as to the cause of this, though I suspect the nozzle may have gotten clogged temporarily, leading to a brief stoppage of extrusion. 

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Whatever the cause, the pieces were soon finished, and ready for assembly and smoothing.

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I then sanded these parts down, and used Bondo spot putty to smooth out the surface.

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Once dry, I sanded these down, spray painted them with automotive primer, applied more Bondo Putty to any areas that needed to be touched up, and repeated the process until everything was as smooth as could be.

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I then superglued all the pieces together...

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… and used more Bondo spot putty to fill in the seams where the pieces were joined together.

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I sanded these areas down, and primed over them to make everything a uniform colour and texture.

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Next came molding. I set out to build a mold box into which i would pour the liquid silicone to clone the belt. For this step I used some ABS plastic sheeting of which I have plenty from other projects.

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I superglued the belt down - which is very important, as 3D printed parts, being mostly hollow on the inside, will float up to the surface of the silicone if not secured - and hot glued some freshly-cut ABS strips around the perimeter to act as boundary walls of the box.

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(In the next photo you can see some blue painter’s tape; I used this to position the ABS strips so that they would not move as I applied hot glue.) Next, I used SuperSeal sealing agent and coated the entire part. This is also a very good idea when working with potential Sulphur containing  silicone-inhibiting substances like Bondo spot putty, and let this sit for an hour to air out.

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Normally a less viscous silicone (such as Mold Star 15, which is designed for pour molds) )would be used for the next step, however since I did not have any at the time, I opted to use what I had, which was Rebound 25. Measuring enough of this stuff (mixed in a 1A:1B ratio by volume), I mixed it together...

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… degassed it using my vacuum chamber in order to get rid of most of the air trapped inside the liquid during mixing,

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And poured this into the mold. I threw the whole thing on top of my dryer, threw some freshly washed laundry in there to not be wasteful, and turned it on.

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The shaking of the drying droid had the desired effect of dislodging any air not removed by the degassing (since Rebound 25 is quite thick and doesn’t degas easily), as is evident from the single bubble visible in the next photo. 

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Next, I sprayed the inside of the mold with mold release, whipped up some Task 16 rubber (which requires a gram scale to be properly measured in a 1A:2B part ratio by weight)…

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… and added a few drops of So-Strong black pigment and a small drop of white to turn the rubber grey.

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I mixed part A and the coloured part B together, and cast the belt. I actually did two trials, mostly to test the strength of the piece before committing to this material fully. 

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The end result turned out to be quite nice! Not only is this thing super flexible, being rubber, it’s also quite strong! I have zero doubts that this piece will stand up to the rigours of battling Jedi on the steps of the Coruscant temple.

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Next, using a Krylon-brand stainless steel paint, I painted the belt and let it sit for a day to fully cure. I had some success painting the rubber COD plate, so I was willing to try my luck painting the belt, too. Once dry, to attach the belt to the COD plate…

… I used two wood screws with some washers (in the middle of photo), and drove them through the COD plate into buckle section of the rubber belt. And that completed the work on this piece!

Thanks for looking!

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© mynocksden.com 2017. Disclaimer: This website's purpose is to showcase my personal projects, explain the steps, tools, materials and techniques involved in creating my props. The articles I have made are "fan made" props only, made for myself as a hobby. All copyrights for the characters or parts and components thereof which have inspired the work documented here are the sole property of their respective owners.