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Rob MacLennan

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Everything posted by Rob MacLennan

  1. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    I find that completing the top/neck area of a shirt and then working down from there allows me to do so far more easily. You can't hang just the front or back on yourself, or a mannequin, so working with only one side is making it harder for yourself. Having proper tools is always a good idea. For now you could just go to Home Depot or a hardware store, and find something that feels right in your hands, and works with the size of rings that you're using. I like Linesman's Pliers with a return spring, but that's just me.
  2. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    When you fill in the rest, they should lie the same.
  3. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    Assume that the angle of hang will ultimately be 45 degrees and you'll be "close enough for government work." If you have enough rags, sheets, or blankets around you can use them to stuff the duct tape mannequin full enough to support the weight. If you want to get *really* creative and plan on using it going forward, you could seal up the bottom and fill it with 2 part foam. Making sure that it fills fully would result in it spilling out the top, while it's expanding, so you would both need to make sure that you did it in a well ventilated and easy to clean up location, and you'd have to cut off the excess.
  4. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    I appreciate it when you come around. I almost always pick up some little tidbit I didn't know, or hadn't thought of. And I agree about the "production line" comment. I like to just work on projects that I have a passion for and have made props for a few actor/Cosplay friends. One friend is trying to convince me to make welded chain shirts for the local HEMA community, because he figures I could make bank at it, but I have a feeling that he's over estimating the market's willingness to pay for the time, and I'm sure that turning out a dozen or more shirts would kill my desire to do more.
  5. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    It depends on the material I'm using but, generally speaking, for smaller rings I've been using the "chisel nose" light blue handled pliers at the top of the pliers page, on the TRL website.
  6. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    Looks like it to me. If not, then it's a good starting point anyway.
  7. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    Not knowing sizing or body shape, I'd just be guessing. Work in stages and check against yourself frequently. Generally speaking you may need a couple of contractions, below your chest, as you move down your body. This will become more evident as you get some length on the piece.Don't be afraid to go backward a bit as you go, in order to modify the piece. I've got an entire scale shirt that I'm going to be taking apart and reworking, at some point. Skills improve over time and sometimes I just can't look at something I've done before and *not* fix it
  8. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    I'm not following on the "when I fold them" comment, with respect to the scales. Are you bending them when you're assembling? I went looking for my split ring pliers and some split rings/scales, but I have no idea where I've tossed them. It's unfortunate that the video for split rings is done in a face-to-face manner, rather than an over the shoulder view. I can see how it makes wrapping your head around it difficult. I doubt that there's anything in the works to redo the videos. Putting the scales back-to-back, then running a split ring through them, insures that the orientation will be right when they're flipped back. I tend to do mine front-to-front, but the result is the same. I'm not set up to do any recording at the moment but I'll try to keep it in mind, if I manage to get things organized enough that I can. I would suggest that you try doing just the four scales in a diamond pattern, as I mentioned before, so that you can see how they end up laying when done. It might help you to picture doing the whole sheet of scales better.
  9. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    It's one of those things that takes practice and finding a technique that works for you. Try holding the ring parallel to the two scales you're currently dealing with and thinking about how the split in the ring needs, to open around them, in order to have the right orientation. Slip it over the first and continue straight on to the second, then worry about getting the ring turned to lock them in place. The rare times I've worked with split rings, that seemed to work best for me. I did, however, eventually give up and just started using regular jump rings instead.
  10. Rob MacLennan

    Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

    I don't work with split rings, but let's start with something simple and then go from there. Rather than working with straight rows of scales and trying to keep them organized, try working with sets of four scales, connected in a diamond pattern, like on the third page of the scale tutorial. Just four scales, joined by four rings. After that you can begin joining groups of four scales, diagonally. That way it's almost self managing and the piece doesn't get constantly yanked out of line, while you're working on it. From there it's just a matter of filling in the gaps across the edges of the groups of four, in order to make a straight line. Once you can easily make a sheet of scales, the rest becomes easier to accomplish. Just take it one step at a time.
  11. Rob MacLennan

    Seeing what works for others

    TRL is still the best supplier I know, even with current stocking. I try to buy ahead and make my own bright aluminum rings for costume grade work, in 18 through 12 gauge, in various sizes. There's a group called West Coast Chainmail on Facebook that does limited stuff (anodized rings in various sizes), but I've never bought from them. I only know about them because of some Youtube videos and my powered coiler is based on one that they use in their shop. Etsy can be helpful in a pinch, as there are many people supplying jump rings and fasteners there. Some of the hardware on Tandy Leather's website can also be helpful. I've found, however, that TRL tends to have the best prices, overall, and fortunately haven't needed to make any 'emergency' purchases.
  12. Rob MacLennan

    Types of Material

    I would think that a pulse arc style welder, like the one sold by TRL, would get the job done if it had a gas shield. I bought a similar (if not identical) unit through Amazon and made my own electrode base using a TIG welding handle. If I'd used a copper tube instead of a simple bolt, I could have set it up to allow for gas flow. After that I'd just need a gas source, valve, and pedal to sister up with the welder's pedal.
  13. Rob MacLennan

    Types of Material

    I was wondering how anodized Ti would react, so I bought a small amount (some 16 gauge and 20 gauge). Tried them with both resistance welding and pulse arc welding. I was rather amazed that the resistance welding produced anything at all, as I figured the anodizing would be resistant. Both produced incredibly brittle and unusable welds.
  14. Rob MacLennan

    Types of Material

    I'd love to make an anodized Ti shirt, but just can't justify the cost. I would also want to weld it which would incur the cost of an inert gas rig, that I don't currently have.
  15. Rob MacLennan

    Types of Material

    I like working with Jeweller's Brass, but not everyone can tolerate it against the skin. My favourite piece was a simple Dragon Scale necklace using jeweller's Brass for the large rings and bronze for the small. The yellow and redish tones worked well.
  16. Rob MacLennan

    What's everyone doing?

    I've been doing a little chainmailing recently, but have mostly switched to leatherwork over the last couple of months. What's everyone else up to?
  17. Rob MacLennan

    What's everyone doing?

    If you're not using something like Scrivener, then Google Docs is your friend. It tracks revisions, does live saves, and can be accessed from any connected computer on multiple platforms. Makes losing that manuscript a lot less likely, next time
  18. Rob MacLennan

    What's everyone doing?

    You might enjoy checking out David Guyton's Youtube channel, while waiting for some time to actually start crafting again. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkoYXnhsEbfvlreCoRf49mQ
  19. Rob MacLennan

    What's everyone doing?

    I'll second that. I'm 5 years away from being able to retire at full pension, due to the 20 (years of service) + 60 (years of age) policy where I work and I'd like to take it that early, but fiscal realities will make it otherwise. I can do the basic fabrication for many things but I need to develop the artistic side, like leather tooling, to punch-up things like simple bags into something more. Ultimately combining leatherwork and chainmailing is my aim.
  20. Rob MacLennan

    Does Anodized Aluminum Fade in Sunlight?

    Not specifically with respect to the TRL products, but anodizing in general. Many custom motorcycle parts are anodized. It generally takes a few years of being exposed to the elements for such parts to show obvious fading. Sun, alone, would take far longer.
  21. Rob MacLennan

    Ready to go pump?

    Interesting that the cutting lube is gone. Good thing that I bought 3 or 4 last time and have a few left. Seems that I'll have to work on the Mk II sooner than I would have liked and will need to mock-up the bracket with 8020. Might have to get some local tool & die guy to make the cutting block out of billet aluminum, so it will take tougher metals than brass/bronze like my current one does. The sort of cutting oil that I'm talking about can be found at this link. I generally hear people talking about mix ratios of 10:1 or 20:1, when cutting metal. https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/cutting-oil-coolant/A-p8034012e You can see what I did to make a rig in this video, if you're patient enough to make it through the hand worked windlass part https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psIGKM4TD-Y
  22. Rob MacLennan

    New to this looking for pointers

    On the plate thing here's an interesting Youtube page though not a historic, nor really combat related one: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkoYXnhsEbfvlreCoRf49mQ
  23. Rob MacLennan

    Ready to go pump?

    Like @lorenzo said, a wax based lubricant (TRL sells this) or simple gravity feed should work fine, unless you're doing some serious high volume, or high hardness stuff. I've been using wax lubricant for quite some time now. Also, when talking about cutting oil, you're likely in the 10:1 (or lower) water to oil mix ratio. I don't think that would be an issue for a fish tank pump. I've got such a pump currently sitting in a box, waiting for the Mk II of my current cutting rig to be made. (It's been a while.) If it does eventually fail they're fairly cheap, so no big deal.
  24. Rob MacLennan

    New to this looking for pointers

    The elephant analogy is an apt one. Also, with a resistance welder that is, unfortunately, no longer sold by TRL. Even a tack weld increases the strength of the ring immensely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgMM8VTGgDY
  25. Rob MacLennan

    New to this looking for pointers

    I tumbled my welded stainless shirt in ceramic, a couple of square feet at a time, then joined the pieces with saw cut rings to minimize the burr after welding. Worked pretty well overall. As you say it's OK for smaller pieces, but problematic and prohibitively expensive for larger. My larger rotary tumbler is only a 15 pounder.
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