So here's what I ended up doing. I drilled holes in the scales to make a different kind of weave. Much, much looser, but we both like it. It's tough because I don't have a full studio to create the perfect jig for the scales. Because they are curved, it is hard for me to make them stay still while I drill the holes. Through trial and error, lots of error, I found that 4 scales at a time is about as much as I can do.
I bought a dowel the size of the main hole to help hold things in place, drilled holes in a blank piece of wood and for the main dial and some to hold the sides in place. Drill one scale as a template and then use the holes as guides and do about 4 at a time. Sometimes I get cocky and try 6, but always end up ruining them because they slide around under the drill. I can only use my template so many times because the drill will mess with the holes. You can see that in the first picture.
If you are trying this, a variable speed drill is a must, because you want to start slow so the scale doesn't move as much. The nice thing is that the little plastic burrs around the holes just pop off when you rub them with a finger, so the scales are nice and smooth.
The weave is really loose, but that's fine for us. It's going to take awhile to make the outfit I want, but may post pictures when I'm done with it. The weave is really easy, but it is boring to make the scales. Hah!
Finally an update to my armor! This is what I have done so far.
I definitely faced some confusion with the joining technique between the two weaves, although using @Paladin's image gallery and posts, I managed to find a way to join them. It's not entirely ideal or matches his technique, but this was easy enough for me to replicate and integrate into the maille. I wove rings into the collar to create half Persian 3-1 strands to stabilize it atop the maille and scale maille, and right now I'm grinding out units of chain maille to make the back and armpits of my shirt. As soon as I'll do this, I'm going to start work on the sleeves, which are going to be scale and share the same inlay design as the chest, and then finally attach the side armor panels I made, and fill in the front and back. After that it's a matter of extending the front and back of the shirt down a bit more, and possibly adding some fancier details there.
Here's all three panels that I currently have done, not draped on my dummy that I made. As soon as I finish my armor stand, it should be quite a bit easier to manage and work on. Here's the link to the blog where I've been posting updates: https://paladin-of-the-cosmos.tumblr.com/tagged/lunar-paladin-project
So I saw that the machine cut AA is being phased out in favor of something else, but there is a particular color of Machine Cut 18g 1/4 that is not available in the saw cut colors that I love... so I'm wondering- will the violet AA will be possibly done in saw cut eventually, or should I just buy a bunch of it now?