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Homemade comm pad

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orvol ()

Joined: 01 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:29 pm    Post subject: Homemade comm pad Reply with quote

Did anybody ever do their comm pad at home, without using a 3D printer? If so, feel free to post a photo of it or give us a tutorial on how you did it.
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DroidWelder ()
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't finished a compad this way, but I have made several other items and Droid parts using different sizes and thicknesses of PVC pipe.

You could probably make a compad using a 4 inch long piece of 2" diameter pipe with one layer of thick ( schedule 40 ) pipe, and two layers of thin ( schedule 80 ) pipe.

I will make a cut along the length of the pipe piece and then use a heat gun to either unroll and flatten the pipe, or change the curvature to what I need.
When PVC is heated it gets really flexible and rubbery (behaves like a sheet of rubber).

TAKE NOTE: Only heat PVC in a well ventilated area!!!
The "C" in PVC is Chlorine and it may release a small amount of chlorine gas when heated.

Wear work glove when heating and shaping PVC!
To heat the PVC, you start on one end of the piece and keep the heat gun moving at all times until the PVC softens. Either in a small circle or back and forth.
Then slowly widen out your back and forth movement of the heat gun, heating more of the piece. Every so often go back to the spot you started to keep it heated, soft and flexible until you have heated the entire piece thoroughly. It's difficult to heat large pieces, but making each layer of a compad should be pretty easy to do. If you stay too long in any one spot while heating it will start to burn the PVC and turn it brown.

Once the PVC is pliable and can easily be bent, folded, ext. you have to control the shape you want it to take and hold it there until it cools and hardens.

To flatten it, put it between two pieces of 3/4 inch thick smooth MDF board and hold it down tight for 2 to 3 minutes until it cools.

To make a curved piece, lay it over a smooth cylinder of some sort that matches the curvature that you want, and hold it until it cools. You can use PVC pipe or couplers in any size available as your form, though you probably won't find anything larger than 4 to 6 inches in diameter at your local home center or hardware store. A plumber may be able to get you scrap pieces of larger diameter pipe. (often for free)
(Remember that pipe is measured by the inside diameter, not the outside diameter. So if you buy 4" diameter pipe, the outside diameter will be approximately 4.5 inches or more depending on wall thickness.)

To achieve the proper curvature of a compad, you would need to wrap your soft PVC over some type of cylinder about 6 inches in diameter.
Heat and shape the thick base first, and then heat and shape the first layer over that, and then shape the second layer over the first layer, so they all nest together perfectly with no gaps. Then cut out the detailed pieces from each layer.

For much of the cutting needed, I use an oscillating multi tool from Harbor Freight with a half moon cutting blade.

HF is always putting out tons of coupons, including 20 percent off coupons in newspapers, mailout flyers, ect..

I also use hand files to clean up and shape the cut edges of the plastic.
After filing to your satisfaction, sand the edges with sandpaper or a sanding sponge.

Once all the detail pieces are cut out and finished, glue it all together using a cement for PVC pipe. An all purpose "clear" color cement made for PVC, CPVC, and ABS is preferred but the regular stuff will work too. brush it on with an acid brush. Don't use the brush in the cement can.
If you take your time, and pay attention to detail, you can make a really nice looking compad, or many other items this way.
But it will probably be much cheaper to buy a ready made compad from one of the approved suppliers.

David L.
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michmalo (Michael Maloney)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could probably use styrene or another heat moldable plastic as well. Check out local polystyrene suppliers but for the size you need you can probably just order sheets from Amazon in a few different thicknesses and you can score and snap styrene with a razor and the curve you need is so subtle you can heat it and mold it to the shape of your forearm. It'll be a lot of work but if you want to go for it it's always worth having something you made yourself on your costume. You'll be proud of it and show it off more than anything else on your costume!
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