Monday, 28 May 2012

How to make a curved larp boffer sword.

Straight flat blades are well and good, but at one point a time comes in a man's life, when he wishes for something with some curves....But don't worry that's perfectly natural as you grow up. Okay jokes aside.

Now making a real curved sword, a saber, scimitar, shashka, yatagan or whatever, would require a bit more than just fancy cuts on the foam. You need to bend the core. Now that's not as impossible as one would think.

Here is how its done.

Curved larp swords

Budget: Same as for normal one.

Materials: Same as for normal one. Use a polypropylene pipe!      Here we are making use of the specific properties of polypropylene pipes - PVC, bamboo or fiber glass simply won't do - in fact don't even try or you might hurt yourself or set something on fire. Also pick a thinner one - I used F20.

Tools: The usual for making a sword - in addition on that :

Hot iron - just be careful not to burn yourself - get some leather gloves or mittens. If you do burn yourself don't come to me crying, its your fault.

Spare set of hands. That is - call a friend to help you out with this. You can do it on your own, but it will be much easier to do it with someone else to hold either the pipe or the iron.

Here we go!

 First we let the iron get hot. What we are going to use here, is the polypropylene pipes elasticity.

As you can see, I've fixed the pipe to a small vice - you can improvise here if you don't have one around. I've selected enough for the sword handle and started heating up the pipe right after that point.
 There is no need to melt it - just heat it up, once the iron starts leaving a mark, move it to another side.
 Once the pipe gets hot its stops being elastic and you can make a bend at the desired location - in this case just after the handle section.
 Once you bend it - keep it like that - here a friend can hold it for you while you concentrate on the hot iron.
Keep the area that's getting a curve reheated so that the plastic resettles in its new shape.

 Eventually, it will stay as it is - curved. Thats a good start, but only the start. Now we have to curve the blade.

In the second step, a helping hand is invaluable. Don't ask me how I managed to both work and take pictures, because I did not - there are only a few photos so read through what I say to avoid blisters.

Now curving the blade is best done on a flat surface - namely the floor. I used an old cardboard pizza box to make sure the carpet is undamaged. The reason for this is that we want to achieve a curve on the X and Y lines, we don't want to add Z in there - that is we only want to curve the blade in two dimensions and if you keep it in the air while bending its easy for it to bend sideways as well.

The markings on the pipe are useful here for making sure its flat on the ground while you are working.
Start heating the whole length of the blade that you want to get curved. If you have a helper - divide labour - one will hold the pipe, another the hot iron. If you don't have a helper - put some boots on because you will be using your leg to help you hold the pipe in place.

 The more you heat it - the more it will bend. You will probably have to repeat the heating and bending until you achieve the shape you want and the pipe stays that way.

 After it does, wait for it to cool down and you are ready to make your sword.

DON'T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE HOT IRON! We got enough house fires as it is!

I'm not going to show you the whole process of making a sword again.
Here's just a few photos until the final result was achieved.

First a counter weight, similar to the one used here.
 Then a blade is cut and attached.

Here it is finished.

Finally the sword is finished. In this particular case I made the shorter sabre. The longer cavalry sabre I made earlier. 

6 коментара:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I use a heatless method on PVC. I get a nice even curve too, rather than two sharper ones like you have here. What's the advantage of your method, and why do you seem to recommend polypropylene pipes so much?

Buskador said...

I cannot say whats the advantage of my method, until I see yours :) For now the only one is that it works.

I keep recommending polypropylene, because its cheap, extremely sturdy, does not shatter leaving jagged edges like the thinner PVC, and can be easily heat treated. I'm using a heat gun now, which allows me to get better and faster curves myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to all of this weapon making and was wondering where you get your pipe. Is there an easy way to differentiate between PVC and polypropylene at a hardware store? Or do you buy it online?

Unknown said...

How did you make the crossguard please?

Adam Baji said...

Alright, I have used this method and I love it ! My first sabre looked almost like real sabre... people asked me how did I make it... and it was a really good weapon although little bit weak against weapons with wooden core... but fighting with 85cm sabre against one and half hand or even two hand sword wasn't ideal. Thanks for the know-how!

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