Book of Maker DIY Builder Fabrication

Submitted by reb on Fri, 01/13/2017 - 19:05



Introduction to Book of Maker DIY by Royce Edward Barber

This rough-draft book is about Royce's personal notes on fabricating simple, medium-durability clothing, costumes, accessories, shoes, and some home modifications. Always link to this article in a highly noticeable way, when quoting/citing this content. 

Cautions: These tools and chemicals can easily harm you, cause blindness, quick flailing death, shred your spine into bacon bits, more death, lots of death, squirting blood, screaming like a howler monkey, make you look like a circus clown, etc. 

This article contains no professional advice. 




Fabrication Means...

* Fabricate means to construct or manufacture, especially an industrial product, from prepared components.

* To make by art or skill and labor; construct.

* Synonyms: DIY - manufacture - invent - make - concoct - forge - make up.

* In this article, it means to build hobbies, costumes, home furniture, or anything you can do yourself in your home.





What gets fabricated?

* Hobbies. Consumer products. All technology. 

* Product concepts and rough drafts. 

* Movie props and special effects. 

* Cosplay costumes for trade shows and hobbies. 

* Runway fashion lines. 

* Etc. 




Lightweight  Fabrication Materials

* Hot Glue

* Foam Urethane  Use Two Equal Parts in one gallon bags, shake and cut off a small corner to pour into a mold or cardboard shape. Sets quickly, dried within 20 minutes. Rises tall. Pour in more later as needed. Two part urethane foam comes in blue and yellow jugs. Color is black and clear.

* expanding foam in a spray can

* Parowax Household Wax (used for canning, candles, soaps).

* foam board

* Paper Mache

* Foam Peanuts
* Bubble Wrap



Midweight Fabrication Materials

* Fabrics and Cloth: Cotton. Nylon. Mesh.

* Paints

* Acrylic Paints

* Window Screen.

* Fiberglass: Create a car body, a hot tub. 

* Armature Wire

* Fishing Line

* 3D Printed Objects.


* Worbla Thermoplastic from Europe: Looks like brown laminate flooring. Comes in roles, 30x40in. Pliable via heat gun or water or steam, can be reheated. 200 degrees F min. Solvent free. Shape it like clay.  Coated with glue for easy adhesion. Multiple layers are sturdy. Seal surface first with gesso or another sealant, then prime, then paint .


* Acetal Plastic: Thermoplastic for precision detail in carving or melting. Can be large or tiny as a zipper. Okay on human skin. Used in many consumer products. High stiffness, low friction and excellent dimensional stability. Easy to carve or lathe. High abrasion resistance. Low coefficient of friction. High heat resistance. Good electrical and dielectric properties. Low water absorption. Used by Mythbuster's Adam Savage. Hard and regid to −40 °C, but not as rigid as metal. Starts white, comes in all colors. Often sold by  Delrin, Celcon, Ramtal, Duracon, Kepital and Hostaform. Science name is Polyoxymethylene, POM, polyacetal, or polyformaldehyde. A sharp cutting tool and cutting lubricant helps, but is not necessary. Large pieces may warp very slightly. Difficult to bond with glue, so solvent welding is typically unsuccessful on acetal polymers, due to the excellent solvent resistance of acetal, while spray paint is typically okay. USA Food and Drug Administration has approved the Delrin variety. Sensitive to acid hydrolysis and oxidation from Chlorine or extremely-hot boiling water. Do not use to store extra hot water, chlorine, or hydrogen chlorid. 





Heavyweight Fabrication Materials

FiberglassFiberglass is a bit tricky, and also comes in fabric form. Fiberglass resin is a foam-eater, but doesn't eat Expanding Foam. 

* BONDO Car Body Filler: Goes over carved foam to create a smooth hard shell. 

* aluminum sheeting

* Chicken Wire

* wd40

* steel bars, poles, 

* acids, industrial chemicals

* gravel, concrete





Adhesives, Glues, Caulks, Bonding Agents, Fasteners

* Velcro

* Leather

* Zippers

* Buckles

* Clamp

* Rivets

* Adhesives

* Caulk

* duct tape

* Twine, Rope, Cable, Wire, Pull Ties, Pipe Cleaner

* Rubber Cement.

* Gorilla Glue.

* Crazy Glue.

* Wood Glue.

* 3D Fabric Gel: Easy to use. Drys like rubber. Good friction. Washing machine compatible. Can add water. 






Other Fabrication Materials

* Lettering stamps of various fonts and sizes.

* Paint used is acrylics brush on over a spray painted base color.

* armor pieces are wonder flex and foam for lightweightness.

* make molds for the torso pieces which are all urethane.

* 14 days of non-stop patterning, surging, applique-ing, embroidering, sewing, hand beading, hand-stitching, sculpting, molding, casting and painting.

* cook-able clay

* home made cook-able clay

* Dyes




Powertools, Machines, Cutters

Common Power Tools: Reciprocating Saw. Osculating Vibration Cutter Multi-Tool. Drill. Drill bits. Screw bits. Ratchet. Needle nose pliers. Channel Wrench. Metal File. Dremmel Rotary Tool. Router. Saws All  Reciprocating Saw. Table Router. Drill press. Drill Lathe. 

* Sewing Machine and Serger.

* Leather Tools.

* Pipe Bender.

* Welders.

* Etching and Cutting: Laser Cutter, Water Cutter, Plasma Cutter, Laser Cutter. CNC Machine. 
* 3D Printer: Melts spools of various plastics, into a 3D shape you design on your PC.

* Orbital sander.





Inspirational People and Groups in Fabrication

* Jim Henson Company

* Walt Disney and Disney Land Builders

* Yaya Han, an Asian artist and model.

* Adam Savage of Myth Busters TV show. Creates movie prop replicas. Inventor and movie special effects. 

* Lucas Arts during filming of Star Wars.

* Adam Savage, is an American industrial design and special effects designer/fabricator. Co-Host of MythBusters TV show.

* Frank Ippolito, is a multi-talented celebrity and YouTube host, casting movie props and 3D designs. Enjoys teaching his trait.





Traditional Painters Supplies


Acrylic Paint


Model Paint


Pen, Sketching Pencil, Colored Pencils, Crayon, Markers

Calligraphy Pen


Card Stock

Paint Brushes


Paper Towels

Modeling Clay

Paper Mache


Box Cutter

Thread Puller

Cutting Board


Cardboard for templates

Clothing Patterns






Industry Role Models & TV Shows

* Adam Savage of Myth Busters, creates and collects authentic and remixes of movie props. 

* TV show Face Off.

* TV show Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

* TV show How Stuff's Made

* Industrial Light & Magic






Digital Artist Software

Adobe's Flagship Products: Photoshop. Bridge. Illustrator. Audition. Prelude. Premier Pro. InDesign. After Effects.


The Gimp: Free

3DS Max:


Sculptris: Free

SketchUp Free



Blender: Free

CAD Softwares:


CNC Machine Interface Software:






Misc Notes to Sort



Construction Chemicals and Materials (As opposed to ready-made products like rope or bricks);


* Wood Variations: Oak. Cedar. Sawdust. Timber. MDF (Medium Density FiberBoard) and LDF (Light Density FiberBoard). Hardwood vs Softwood. Fibrous plants. Douglas Fir (extremely popular). Composites. 

* Paper, CardPaper, Cardboard: 

* Glass, Porcelain, Ceramics (see metals).

* Plastics: ABS Plastic. Nylon. 

* Wax (often plastic based).

* Vulcanized Rubber:

* Foams: Sprayfoam. Styrafoam. Foamboard. 

* Lubricants, Soaps, Paint Stripper, WD40, WD40 White Lithium. Thin Sewing Machine Oil. Thick Machine Grease.

* Adhesives: Caulk. Gorilla Glue. Wood Glue. Clay/Adobe/Mud. Plaster. Bondo. Processor thermal grease. 

* Metals and Alloys: Steel, stainless steel, tin, iron, aluminum, solder, pewter, ceramics. Copper. Titanium. Platinum. Gold. Silver. Brass. 

* Granite, Stone, Rock, Sand, Pebbles. 

* Paints, Sealer, Chemical Coating, Tint coloring.

* Related Keywords: Faux Finishes. Artificial stone. Recycled materials. Petroleum products. Natural organic vs non-organic. Knit. Mesh. Fabrics. 



All About Paint!

Paint Defined: Pigmented (colored) adhesive. Often applied for look or to protect an item. 

Latex-Base Paint







Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint


Similar: Sealants. Caulk. Glues. Wood Stain. Polyurethane. Bondo. Caulk. 2-Part Epoxy Glue. Instant Cement Glue. 

Containers Standard Sizes: 1 Quart Bucket. 5 Gallon Bucket.

Colors, Effects, & Properties: Transparent, translucent, opaque. Flat Matte. Shiny. Metalic. Neons, Pastells, Neutral(natural) colors. High Gloss, Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Flat. Aged crack look, Glitter. Interior, Exterior. Water resistant. Mildew resistant. Acid free. 

Basic Painting Accessories: Foam Brush. Paint tray. Paper towels. Mixing Palate. Paint stiring stick. Sand filler for texture. Painters plastic sheets. Bristle brush. Foam brush. Foam roller. Textured rubber roller. Arisol Spray Can. Electric Paint Sprayer. 

* If Clogged Arasol Paint Can, soak it 45min in a bucket of hot water; (Adam Savage). 


Plastic Coat Lacquer spray paint, is one of the best ways to color an object; (Adam Savage). 

"3M 77" is an all-purpose high strength Spray Glue. 3M 74 is more for adhering two foam blocks; (Adam Savage). 



* Cow Hide Leather

* Vinyl

* Velvet

* Cotton

* Nylon

* Thin Rubber sheets. 

* Properties: Stretchy. Stiff. Netting. Weave Style. 


* Plumbers 2-Part Epoxy: A two part clay, when mixed will harden over time. Mix by rolling it. Wear gloves because Epoxy has no smell but is a toxin to the skin. (says Adam from MythBusters). 


* Aluminized Tape: Emulates metal at a low cost, can be buffed by 000 steel wool. 


* Oil Paint Wash: Weathering, which hides newness, adding grime to seams. Smear black paint to small areas at a time, not allowing drying until you go in with a rag and wipe off as much paint as you can. Leaving the paint only in the crevices and cracks. Giving the effect of aged grime and grease in machine parts. Different colors layered on give an aged look. (Adam Savage painted his T-800 Terminator this way. His favorite weathering colors are Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Burnt Cienna, Raw Cienna, White, Black, Red, Yellow.) 



Common Arts and Crafts Components

* Tile grout.

* Popsicle sticks.

* ribbon.

* hole punch.

* Math Compass.

* Ruller aka straight edge.

* Rubber Stamps.

* Cotton batting/sheets/swabs

* Q-Tips

* Synthetic silver or gold silk looks like metal.

* Crafting Foam: Cardboard thin, squishy sheets of foam.

* Dollar Tree Accessories: Beads, foam blocks, rolls of paper, art supplies. 

* Release Wax: Prevents materials such as Worbla from sticking to other materials. 

* Chizzle, Tin Snips, Hammer, Rubber Mallet, Box Cutter, Butane Torch, 

* Full Safety Gear: Coveralls, Face Shield, Eye Protection, Gloves, Breathing Mask, Ear Protection, Knee Pads when kneeling. 

* Curving steel/aluminum sheets: Place sheet over end of anvil (the horn). If you don't have an anvil, place a ball peen hammer in a vice, with ball upward. Tap steel sheet with a normal hammer while moving steel sheet around. For a long bend in a steel sheet, put a long pipe in a vice and the sheeting over the pipe.

* Foam Board

* Kinds of Wood: Balsa (light, easily cut). particle board. oak. cedar. 



"Cost about $1 a sheet if you have deep enough pockets to afford the minimum order. I say "Worbla" because that's not what it's really called. It's normally for lining shoes. I have been researching it a lot and trying to find a better supplier with a low minimum order. The only place that anything pulls up is Alibaba and Rhenoflex but rhenoflex refuses to sell it themselves for prop/armor, but through cast4art as "Worbla"." -I forget the source, I think Kamui Cosplay on Facebook. 

Worbla doesn't imprint the fine details that plaster does.


Use spray filler for filling in minor dents or imperfections (minor, for big ones you use a different filler, like putty). It is mostly used in automotive industry and therefore should be looked for in stores that contain car primer and paint.




Use Rebound 25 for casting. (I think it is epoxy resin.)

Use white silicone for a mold, apoxie sculpt for the original form of the gem stones. 

Use an electric vibrating Mouse Sander to vibrate air bubbles out of liquids in a mold.

Make a negative mold with plaster, then you fill it to create a positive. A positive is what comes out of your mold. You can fill a mold with wood glue called Ponal Express, which also fills in small holes in WorblaFinest. Your wood glue positive can be coated with acrylic varnish and acrylic paint. 

Plain white "school" or "Elmer's" glue is the same substance as wood glue. It just lacks the yellow coloring. Wood glue applied with the fingers smooths out every bump and crack, repairing cracks. 


Shapely curved elf ears can be made of a fabric-like material called Kobracast, and covered with white fur. 


Multipurpose Tools

Horizontal Electric Drill makes a great lathe. A vertical hand drill makes a great drill press. An electric drill can drive numerous projects such a water pump attachment. 


Considerations in Selling Inventions

* Cost of research and development stages.

* Replacing worn out parts over time.

* Weight.

* Efficiency.

* Portability.

* Durability.

* Clone-ability.

* Writing a user and safety manual.

* Does it fit in an airline suitcase.

* Multipurpose.

* Can the masses use it? 

* Marketable?

* Too labor intensive to mass produce? 



Kinds of Clay
* Ceramic clay:
* Oil-based clay:
* Polymer clay:
* Paper clay:
* Cookable Modeling Clay: 
* Home Made Clay:

* Papier-mâché (not actually clay). and Sculptamold Modeling Compound (similar to Papier-mâché but more durable).



Clay Tips

* Clay can simulate wood, glass, metal, plastic, etc.
* Try to sculpt some basic geometric objects, such as a ball, a box, a pyramid.

* Costume Props can be sprayed to look like a clay sculpture. 

* Texturing Clay: Toothbrush. Hairbrush. Toothpick. Gritty sand paper. Stamps. Objects around your home can be pressed into clay. 
* Figurines: Often there is a skeletal structure inside a clay statue, to give it support, such as light chunks of wood and a wire frame, and or just a thin wire where needed.



Projects to Try

* My First E-Z Bake Indie Film. Stop motion claymation with full editing and sound track.
* 3D Scanning Project: Using a laser and two webcams, and a lazy susan, to scan a clay sculpture or scene into the PC and animate it.
* Project: Sculpt the New York skyline on a shoe box lid. Staring with the stereotypical famous architecture, and guessing on the smaller buildings/etc.

* Buy any simple modeling clay. Rub it in your hands to soften it up. Try to quickly sculpt your friends, this is called failure and it's healthy! It may not look real until the one thousandth try. Keep playing and reading about the process. Keep it fun. 



Real Life Examples of Clay Sculpting


* Wire frame optional: Make basic shape of object with heavy gauge wire. That wire wrapped with light gauge wire, to give the clay something to stick to. Now use cook-able clay (Sculpty), flatten clay into sheets, cut desired shapes, role and flatten clay sheets into desired swirls of color, cut or manipulate to desired shape, attach it to your project. Texture with a brush, cook, paint, primer/seal, and unlike cooking food you can keep the product forever. 


Flattening Sculpty clay is very hard on the hands! So you have to kneed small marble size portions at a time, or keep them in your knee pit to warm them up, and not let the clay touch nice clothing or you may have discoloration.


Qualities of Sculpty Cooking Clay

* Sculpty doesn't dry out. It has no water. You can't add water to it.

* Sculpty needs to be warm or it wont stick to itself. It's VERY hard if it's cold.

* Sculpty cooks fast if it's thin. So you put filler in your objects, which won't melt in oven. I put wrapped up wire balls in objects I sculpt.

* Sculpty does not stick to wire unless the wire is scrunched up. Sculpty doesn't stick to much at all, but that's how most clay is.

* If I remember right, Sculpty cooks for 15 minutes for every One Fourth inch of thickness. So if it's pinky finger thickness, it'll take 30 minutes to cook.

* Rolling pins help flatten Sculpty, but if it's cold it'll still crack when you knead it. 

* Some important clay sculpting tools: Toothpick for making detail. Spoon for smearing out roughness or cracks. Toothbrush for splotching on texture or stroking on texture. "Extruder" is a pipe with different shaped ends, you push the clay through. Kitchen rolling pin to flatten clay. And finally, "Pasta Roller" makes flat sheets of clay, but you have to get a really GOOD one. 

* Sculpty can be expensive, so use a $50.00 Off coupon from Michaels or JoAnns fabrics. 


If you wish to make a pen, you can wrap clay around heavy gauge wire, bake it, then remove the wire. There are chemicals to keep the clay from sticking to objects, but sometimes all you need is a bit of wax paper. Clay doesn't stick to wire very much anyway.





Internet Resources

* Wikipedia Articles on Fabrication:

* Wikipedia Article on Modeling Clay:

* Wikipedia Article on Building Materials:

* Wikipedia Category List of Construction Articles:

* YouTube. How It's Made channel:

* YouTube. How It's Made Movie channel:

* YouTube. Costume fabrication:




Cited Sources












To Sort into Article...


* EVA Foam (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) can be heat mouled, is soft and bendable, easy to cut, can come very thick, can come in large rolls, and is fast to carve using a Dremmel rotary tool. Easy to glue. It can be heat embossed (textured) with a heat gun then a wad of crumpled tinfoil. It's never hard. Used by many Cosplay artists.

* Led Light Strips and repurposed LED Toys from Goodwill. Light and diffused light can be routed with anything clear such as optical cable.

* Duct Tape Suite. You can put on thick sweaters, and then wrap yourself in duct tape. Cut off the duct tape, and you have a template of clothing for yourself. You can adhere your costume directly to the duct tape.

* High-heat HotGlue gun can adhere nearly any objects, and industrially if you then hand-sew the objects together using craft wire.


Other books I'm writing can be tracked here.

End of article.