Weapon Materials Guide

Building a weapon? Have a new design or helpful hint you would like to share? Please ask advice or give advice here!

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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby mattsevvy » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:05 pm

Has anyone tried the walmart [glow=red,2,300]yoga mat foam[/glow]? not the thin ones the really thick squishy ones. They feel like they would work, but I don't know of anyone that has used them. I found a site that sells them for around $12 a roll but before i commit to them I'd like to know of anyone elses expierience with it. :)
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Cailte an Croeb Ruad » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:26 pm

I use the thick yoga mats for a multitude of uses from solid glaives to a little extra cush on a falcata that would brick otherwise. it may need a tiny bit of stabilization in some instances such as minimal ( not ultralight - *ptew*) weapons and bulky stabby tips.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Rythorn Kildor » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:21 pm

Are there any good companies on the west coast I could buy foam from that you guys know of?  All the links I can find are for companies on the east coast and most of them want to charge a couple hundred in shipping to Alaska.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Ryees » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:59 am

No idea about the west coast.

What do we know about Catch the Wind? I did a search and couldn't find anything. They sell kite spar, and it appears to be on the cheap. Their hover-over text in Google Chrome's tabs even says, "Kite Making, Sword Making, Epoxy Tubing, LARP Supplies," so they may in fact be making kite spar specifically for weapon building.

http://www.catchthewind.com/framework.html
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Uhm... » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:32 am

Hello,
  I'm looking to make my first blue, but I'm not sure if this is the right foam.
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product. ... gMethod=rr

The other foam I saw looked somewhat similar to pool noodle foam (vaguely shiny/bubbly) and was called Lightweight, I believe.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Jari Kafghan » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:59 am

[img width=800 height=600]http://i661.photobucket.com/albums/uu339/wahilde/IMG_6115_1.jpg[/img]
[img width=188 height=400]http://drentha.com/images/supplies/blue_foam.jpg[/img]
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Falgor Irthune » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:00 am

Which is this.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trial-C ... e/16783660

Sleeping bag not included.  I don't know why it is in the picture.
Last edited by Falgor Irthune on Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Twolf » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:29 am

Updated the Weapon Materials guide.
-Promoted Minicell.
-Added 4 lb. foam.
-Added electric knife to tools.
-Cleaned up Marine Foam (it was there before, but under a different name).
-Cleaned up the links.

I was sorely tempted to remove pipe insulation, but couldn't quite justify it yet, as some polearms and javelins may still be able to reasonably use it.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Ryees » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:21 pm

Aye, it's still okay for courtesy padding. I don't know of anything off the very top of my head that both comes in convenient tubes, and is commercially available at your local hardware store.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Skorm » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:40 am

you should add the other spelling for marine foam, Insulite i think it is.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Ryees » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:48 pm

Close. Ensolite.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Skorm » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:28 pm

there is two types thats what im explaining.. its the same foam/similar foam, spelt 2 different ways
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Twolf » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:30 am

[quote="Skorm"]
there is two types thats what im explaining.. its the same foam/similar foam, spelt 2 different ways
[/quote]
I've only seen it on a couple online foam stores, and I get the feeling that they're spelling it incorrectly.  Even a Google search for "Insulite Foam" suggests that I want "Ensolite Foam"
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Tooka the "Phoxly" Goblin » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:42 am

http://www.foamforyou.com/out_door_foam.htm

Read: "More Info On Insulite, Flotation Foam"

It's likely Ensulite, and a typo on FoamForYou's part, since that is the only occurrence of the word on their site.

Unless you think it's this: http://www.triliteboard.com/insulite.html (which is not for stabby tips)
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Alric » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:28 am

Foamforyou's Insulite is the same as Ensolite is the same as 'marine foam.'
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Twolf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:30 am

One week after I write about it, Foam by Conbuilt goes out of business.  Any recommended 4 lb foam suppliers?
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Anvildude » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:31 pm

I'm terribly apologetic if it's been brought up here before (I've skimmed the forum, so may have missed it) but I do believe this is the appropriate thread to add to for my 'topical question'.


I'm looking into getting more serious with Foamsmithing.  I've read up on basic techniques, boxes, cores, adhesives, all that.  My first Blue (a hammer/axe with a stabby tip) passed readily.  But I'm looking at bigger and/or better things.  Cores, I get.  Grips, hilts, hafts, I understand.  But the Foam remains somewhat opaque to me.

I don't want to go about this with guesswork and 'Well this worked for me, so I suppose it'll work for you'.  I was thinking it could be helpful to all Foamsmiths here, amateur and otherwise, to have a discussion (and possibly added to the first post) on the sort of 'hard results' of foams, binding techniques and cores, and their interactions.

For example- I see people talking about Ensolite, or EVA, or 4#, or Blue Foam.  The OP has descriptions of what each of them are, and general properties.  However, here's some questions that I haven't really seen answers spelled out to.

1:  For each foam type, what is it optimally used for?  (e.g. Bluefoam for striking, or the first box, or courtesy padding, vs. Ensolite for those purposes)

2:  Is there a unified way of describing each foam?  Half of them are known by Brand name, half by one physical descriptor or another, and a few, from what I can tell, are known by the place that most commonly sells them.  What's the poundage of EVA, when comparing it to 4#, and how do the properties change as you go up or down the scale?  What kind of foam is "Camp Pad" or "Seat Cushion"?  This question is partially answered, but again, it's not really clearly lain out.

3:  Related to above; what are the physical properties of each kind of foam, in relation to each other?  Which is harder than which, which is denser than another?  This could be solved if each foam was described commonly using only physical or industry descriptors, instead of colloquializms and brand names.

4:  Which foams provide what properties to which striking surfaces?  I hear talk of using Open Cell foam on stabby tips- first off, how (as asked above) does Open Cell differ from Closed cell, in tangible physical properties?  Why is that type of foam desired for a stabby tip?  Does Bluefoam provide better backing?  Are certain foams more durable when used as underlays, but less durable when on the surface?  How would I layer, what materials would I use, to get a specific kind of hit from a weapon?

5:  Which foams work best with which construction methods, and why?  I know that a lot of people cross strapping tape over stabbies, and some people wrap cloth tape around blades or whatnot, and that you're not supposed to use Duct Tape on certain things, or in certain orientations.  Why?  Do they cause tears?  Why not have the strapping tape straight up and over a stabby?  What's it there for, exactly (does strapping tape in that configuration provide lateral, planar, or linear support?) and which foams/adhesives need the extra support, or would tear worse from it?



Sorry if that's a lot of questioning, but I'd like to be able to say "I need a hammer that hits solidly but feels soft, and a sword that can hit hard but will last a long, long time while being very light" and essentially 'look up' the foam or foams, along with construction methods, to get that result.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Vestial » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:52 pm

Although I agree that it would be nice if more info/emphasis was placed on where each of these materials are used specifically I have found most of these answers within individual tutorials. But I've also gone through close to 50 or so tutorials over the last month trying to figure these things out as well. 
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Twolf » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:42 am

I tend to drop out of the boards for long extended periods of time, so I don't check this thread very often.  So I apologize for responding to posts that happened 3 months ago.

First to answer Anvildude:
1.  All the foams in bold, except for maybe the pipe insulation, can be considered a general purpose foam.  You can use them for striking & non-striking surfaces, pommels, shields, arrowhead bases, and even helmet liners.  The "Other Foams" catagory addresses specific use foam.

2. As far as I can tell, there is no universal foam descriptor.  I've tried to make the OP as accurate and accessible as possible.  With respect to EVA, I clearly state that the reference is 2lbs/ft3. When comparing it to 4lb, it is lighter and softer.  As for the other properties, I have no idea, except that there is a growing theory that the heavier stuff is less likely to break and tear (something, I admittedly should add to that entry).  It's really difficult to say, since well made swords WITHOUT 4lb foam tend to last a year or two anyways, and a lot of the swords WITH 4lb foam have been made in the last year or so.

"Camp pad" generally refers to a Polyolefin foam that is sold through walmart (and the very first entry on the foam list), and "Seat Cushion" is generally Marine Foam a.k.a Ensolite.  I don't like the term "Seat Cushion" and will generally use the term ensolite or marine foam instead.

3. If there was a good physical or industry descriptor, I'd use it.  Sadly, there is not.  If you KNOW of such descriptors, please don't hold out on us.  Let us know!  But because of the lack of physical descriptors, it's difficult to look up or research the various properties that you might care about.

4. The phrase "Open Cell Foam" is about as generic as you can get, and pretty much the least helpful descriptor you can give to foam (aside from soft or hard).  The properties of open cell foam differ wildly, and since sources vary wildly, results vary wildly.  It'd be nice to know what best open cell foams work.  The only consistent answer I've gotten is Unicell and Charcoal Computer packing foam (which may be the same thing).  To this day, I still don't have a better descriptor or industry identifier for it.

5. The point of this guide is to focus on the material and not the construction method.  It'd be nice to note what works better for certain construction methods (or worse), and I have done so where applicable, but my own personal knowledge base is pretty limited.  I rely on the knowledge of others, especially those that come back and tell me what's worked and more importantly, what DIDN'T work.  In this game, almost everything will work for a while, so I tend to be skeptical of anyone that tells me that doing something worked.

The better approach to take is to look up the construction method, look at your bank account/wallet, and then look at the foams.  They're all generally interchangeable, except when a tutorial guide says they're not.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Skorm » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:21 pm

4# tech has been around a lot longer than a year, i believe even bestdagstuff, amung others used the style at one point.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Brox Doomhammer » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:25 pm

As a newcomer to Dagorhir, I really appreciate this guide. Now I know exactly what to look for. Thanks!
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Twolf » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:07 am

Updated with brief info on Tyvek Tape (the secret is out :D) and Carbon Fiber rods.
The sources for a lot of these materials REALLY needs to be updated, but I don't have time to figure out where people have been getting their stuff.  Anyone want to weigh in on favorite sources that aren't listed?
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Jari Kafghan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:44 am

Tyvek can be gotten at Home Depot.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Ragefire » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:32 am

There's nothing about hockey or grip tape on there. I'm not too knowledgeable about such things, but it might not be a bad idea to put up.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Enzuru Tetsukaze » Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:58 pm

Also, there are a nice variety of weapon handle materials out there as well. Such as nylon rope, paracord (Parachute cord), Leather wraps, tennis racket handle wrap, golf club handle wrap, etc.

Then there's the different materials for counter weighting such as carriage bolts, bar stock, lead tape, pennies/quarters, Etc.

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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby siddhartasam » Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:13 pm

Does anyone have any thoughts about using shinai as weapon bases? They have been used in very active Japanese full-contact-vs-metal-armor sparring for over 150 years, and can be gotten for a reasonable price compared to some of the graphite/carbon stuff. Alternately, you can use similar techniques to strengthen something as weak as pvc.

(see this video for details: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tjFqOwaTUg

I think that the cap and string method should be really nice and strong and would be fully hidden underneath the foam. My only real concern is how to give the string some room to move with each strike without loosening the grip strength of tape used to hold foam blocks in place.

For context, I have done kendo and built basic boffing weapons before, but never anything to the specs used by Dagorhir.Any feedback or thoughts would be quite welcome.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Arrakis » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:01 am

[quote="siddhartasam"]
Does anyone have any thoughts about using shinai as weapon bases? They have been used in very active Japanese full-contact-vs-metal-armor sparring for over 150 years, and can be gotten for a reasonable price compared to some of the graphite/carbon stuff. Alternately, you can use similar techniques to strengthen something as weak as pvc.

(see this video for details: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tjFqOwaTUg

I think that the cap and string method should be really nice and strong and would be fully hidden underneath the foam. My only real concern is how to give the string some room to move with each strike without loosening the grip strength of tape used to hold foam blocks in place.

For context, I have done kendo and built basic boffing weapons before, but never anything to the specs used by Dagorhir.Any feedback or thoughts would be quite welcome.
[/quote]

I wouldn't do it. Fiberglass cores will produce slimmer, better-fighting swords which will hold up better to our style of heavy fighting.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Swindapa » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:40 pm

Hey folks,

Bought most of the supplies to work on my first weapons this morning, but sadly couldn't find the right foam.  I'm turning to the internet.

I tried to pick up the blue camping foam from walmart, but the two closest to me only carry a camping mat which is lumpy.  It seems to be the same material outlined in the links above, but the foam mat itself is textured to have bumps on it.  Not ideal for foam swords.  Has walmart discontinued the usual blue mats?  On their online store the links posted above are considered "in store only", but the stores I checked today only had the molded kind. 

But, I think I found a suitable foam online and wanted to check with you all before I place an order.  Is this: http://www.foamforyou.com/minicell_foam.htm the correct stuff?  If I were to buy a sheet of the half-inch minicell foam (a bit over halfway down the page), would that be the same stuff outlined in the OP? 

And while I'm asking questions, does this same site sell a foam which would be good for the stabbing tip on a sword?  Which would you all recommend?

Thanks!
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Anvildude » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:01 pm

Didjoo ask an employee about it?  Often there's more Dagorhirrim in an area (or Belegarthers or whatever) than you realize, and they tend to snap up the stuff you want relatively fast- stores only tend to restock that sort of thing once a week or once a month, since it doesn't sell that fast.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Swindapa » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:36 pm

Ahh, no I didn't ask anyone.  Day before superbowl and all that, stores were crazy packed. 

Anyway, is anyone able to give confirmation that I found the right foam?
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Arrakis » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:07 pm

[quote="Swindapa"]
But, I think I found a suitable foam online and wanted to check with you all before I place an order.  Is this: http://www.foamforyou.com/minicell_foam.htm the correct stuff?  If I were to buy a sheet of the half-inch minicell foam (a bit over halfway down the page), would that be the same stuff outlined in the OP? 
[/quote]

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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Reptar » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:13 am

Hello all, I am looking to make a 50in red to replace my current one. I have all the foam I need for it but I need to know where I can get square fiberglass tubing for the core of the weapon. Any information helps.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Whisper Moonson » Wed May 07, 2014 11:33 pm

I was at Academy Sports the other day, getting some kettlebells, and I stopped by the camping section on the off chance they might have any useful camp pads. I found two varieties.

One was a sort of olive color 1/2" cross-linked PE. It felt like it'd make a good outer layer foam for weapons, but I suspect it may wear out quickly. It seemed to have a little bit of a crush memory, and my napkin math says it's only 1 oz./sq. ft. density. On the other hand, it's cheap ($9.99 for a 20"x72"x1/2" pad). Except for color, the 1/2" cross-linked PE looks very similar to foams I've used with success in the past. The stuff I've used sucks as a core box, but it makes a decent surface layer as long as you don't abuse it.

The other was about 0.6" thick, similar color, but coarser grained and with a bit of a marine foam squishiness to it. 24"x72"x0.6", heavier density, slightly firmer, and slightly marshmallowy (but not as much as typical marine foam). Not sure what the chemistry is, and no clue about cold performance. It's also twice as expensive, at $19.99 per roll. It looks like it'd be a good mid-layer and outer-layer foam, at least in warm months. I can't help but wonder if it'd harden up in the cold, though.

Anyone have any experience with either of these types of camp pad? Do I need to go back when my budget recovers from the kettlebells and do some science?
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Jinxerina » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Does anybody have experience in using hollow carbon tubes for cores? While Bandshoppe is nice, my local chapter is both small and very strongly oriented towards one-handers with a very strong Iberian influence. Which means I have to go through the $20 bump on it being a solo order and a 6'+ rod.
Story aside, I can get hollow carbon for about the same price as hollow fiberglass and want to know how thick I'd need it for a six footish pole weapon.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Valius » Sun May 03, 2015 10:27 am

I am sourcing the fiberglass rods for a 5 foot red. My question to the group is which vendor seems to be better than others, I have looked at the websites from the original post, and they all seem to be the same ballpark for pricing. My other question is I have heard people talk of using 1/2" square fiberglass solid rods? where can I find those, the suppliers from the original post don't carry solid 1/2 by 1/2 square rod?

Time for backstory, I built a 5 foot red, that turned out pretty awesome, but it bent the first time I used it. the core I used was 4 of the driveway markers from Tractor Supply. Everyone was baffled that it bent, so when I got home, I took off the pommel and cut about 1/2 inch off the ends of the rods, much to my surprise, only 2 were fiberglass, the other two were solid aluminum. So now I have an amazing weapon that I cant fight with (metal core). Im hoping I can carefully remove the blade from the core and install a proper core.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Cassin » Sun May 03, 2015 6:30 pm

Some corrections and updates I'd suggest reflecting in the first post, written in order of confidence & importance. In general, I think I'd normally rate foams based on their tear resistance, breakdown resistance, and hit quality

Minicel: It's popular because it is very smooth for Plastidipping and lasts longer than camp pad.
-Highbreakdown resistance, lasts long if it doesn't tear
-Starts off stiff, but breaks in nicely
-Similar tear resistance to camp pad
-Roughly double the price of camp pad per square foot

Anti-fatigue EVA floor mat. Commonly called puzzle mat by crafters. It's a popular source of crosslinked 4lb foam. Says EVA on the label, at least. I'd wager that most of the new swords being made this year incorporate it somewhere. Home Depot sells colorful 1/2" mats (actually a little thinner). Harbor Freight and 5 Below sell gray 3/8" mats (these ones are actually a hair over their nominal thickness).
Pros: It's the only source of base/structural foam available in stores
Cons: One side has a skin that usually needs roughing up

Volara: distinct from Minicel, has larger cells.
-High tear resistance prevents catastrophic failure. Makes a great skin.
-Similar hit to camp pad
-Similar breakdown resistance to camp pad


EVA: Softest popular blade foam, but is prone to tearing.
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Bro'gar » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:24 am

The first post has this for PVC:

PVC pipe - Found in any home repair or plumbing store.  Usually measured by INSIDE Diameter.  1/2" is good for up to about a 40" weapon. 3/4" is recommended above that up to about 6'.  1" or more is recommended for polearms.


I'm helping a new fighter make a ~5ft red weapon, and I wanted to verify the right size PVC to use. This is suggesting 3/4", but that sounds wrong. I'm pretty sure 3/4" is only good up to a min red (~48-52" core) and beyond that you need 1", but 1" won't do you any good past 5 feet or so unless it's a stab only weapon.

I'd probably say for rule of thumb:
1/2" PVC - max 36"
3/4" PVC - max 48"
1" PVC - max 60"

with a +4" margin if you are ok with your weapons failing flex sooner as the PVC gets broken in.
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Bro'gar
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Re: Weapon Materials Guide

Postby Twolf » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:36 am

Updated the guide.  Cleaned up some links.

I'm trusting Bro'gars PVC suggestions, because my own experience is well over 7-8 years in the past and is vaguely in line with it (i.e. I had a PVC weapon many years ago fail for flex after a few events).

I added anti-fatigue EVA mats and split up Volara and Minicell based on Cassin's suggestions, which make sense.  I don't have a good sense of tear resistance on all of these foams, so I don't want to write too much about it.  I went through the boards for the last year and haven't seen too much talk about it.

Also added a quasi-source for square rods.  Good luck with it.  And I mean it.  I can't help but wonder if the manufacturer would be willing to reduce the minimum order size if they get enough people requesting quotes for it.

And finally, I added a warning to the top that hopefully describes the common opinion of the guide which is usually "It's good, but.......".  It also covers my butt until whenever I get around to the next update.
I'll check on here for the next week or so.
Regardless of your skill, make the game better by action and concern for your fellow fighter.
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