The belt was perhaps the hardest part to make, as I wanted it pre-curved when finished so it hung round the waist better, instead of the normal straight belt you have to bend to fit, and it never sits quite right,This means it was going to have to be made curved so the cast came out curved and no bending would be needed.
The first thing to do was make the five sections. For this I cut up a strip of MDF, as this is easy to work with and cheap. The next thing to do was, make a strip of fibreglass curved to be the base to work from. This meant laying out some non stick plastic on the bench. Laying up a fibreglass strip, and then transferring it to a pre-waxed drum to give it shape. Once set, it was removed and work could begin on assembling it.The five sections were stuck on the fibreglass strip, and then filler applied to the edges to fill any gaps. A lot of sanding and smoothing was needed to get the MDF up to mould taking level.The MDF was actually painted in fibreglass resin several times, as this soaks into the fibre and can then be sanded and buffed to a smooth shiny finish.
To make a mould of the belt took perhaps as much time as making the belt itself. It couldn't be made in one piece as the angle would mean it would never come out, and a two piece equal half mould would not work, as the front detail would prevent it from coming out the mould as well.In the end it finished up as a two piece equal split mould, with separate front section which bolted on. This meant the front section could be taken off, then the two halves separated leaving the finished belt.
As you can see the finished belt holds it shape just as planned. By having it pre-curved means when trooping, the belt doesn't have to be really tight to hold it in shape, meaning itís far more comfortable to wear for long periods. Even without straps it stays in place just fine.The thigh boxes were made during when my camera was not to hand, but a simple MDF box was made, and shaped, then the detail added, then a mould made. That was perhaps the simplest part to make, evening out the complexity of the belts construction.
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