Seat belts

Discussion in 'Building Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by Sweb, May 10, 2009.

  1. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    I have seen some seat belt work here and thought I'd give my method. I use that aluminum dead-soft duct tape, cut it into appropriately sized strips and fold the strips back onto themselves adhesive sides together. Because it is aluminum it retains any conformity desired and double-backed onto itself gives a suitable scale thickness. It is also good for making faux panels on airframes and is superb for adding fastener detail too. The adhesive is pretty aggressive and, again, being aluminum is can be burnished into compound curves using a little finesse. Food for thought.
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great tip there Joe! I'd like to try that myself, especially on 1/32nd scale models, but I don't know if my hands would cope, lacking dexterity these days, due to this stupid disease. I'll have a good try though, as it sounds ideal material to replace the type of soft, matt vinyl I used to use years ago. can't seem to find any nowadays.
    Another good material is the very fine weave linen, used on window 'roller' blinds. I've still got an off-cut I've had for about twenty years or more, as I only use it for certain styles of harness on the larger scale models. It's a light beige colour, not unlike the lighter colour on the background of the forum pages, which is virtually spot on for WW2 Luftwaffe harnesses, and can, of course, be painted easily in any colour if required. Anyone who builds large-scale model cars, especially those 1/12th scale and larger, racing cars , ought to try it - it really looks the business when painted.
     
  3. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I agree with Terry but a few pics of the gained effect would be really appreciated.
     
  4. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Terry or Sweb, how do you make the buckles on the ends of the seatbelts/harness? Also, what other house hold items are easily made into harnesses? I'd like to make some for my Spit without spending the money on buying PE.
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    It depends on the scale Andy. In 1/48th I normally use thin paper, the type that sometimes covers decal sheets is ideal, when painted, as it's not too thick for this scale. I also use ordinary copier/computer printer paper, especially for 1/32nd scale; 80 gsm is about right for 1/32nd, but just getting towards being a little thick for 1/48th. Again, scale governs what I make the adjusting buckles and fastening buckles or lugs from. In 1/48th, I normally just paint or draw them straight onto the painted belt, but sometimes use thin plastic card, depending on style etc.
    In larger scales, depending on the design of the adjusters in particular, I'll use thin plastic card, stretched sprue and, rarely, thin fuse wire or copper or brass wire. I say rarely as it's difficult for me these days due to the Arthritis!
    A good material for the harness itself in both the above scales is thin lead foil, the type you get around the necks of wine bottles, although it can be bought for silly money from some model shops/companies. This can also be used to shape and cut for the buckles etc. Recently, some of my pain killers have been packed in foil sleeves, which is like a much thicker form of baking foil, although I suspect it's not ally, as it's pliable, like the lead mentioned above. This can be easily cut into strips, and can be used to fashion buckles etc, either separately, or as a profile on the end of each strap for example.
    The downside of this stuff is that, once painted, it has to be handled, or shaped, fairly carefully, or the paint will flake off! It also takes a little more effort to glue of course, and Superglue or an epoxy is a must. But it works well and looks the biz!
    If you want some let me know, and I'll save the strips carefully and send them to you. I've got bl**dy loads! It's printed with the name etc, but that'll be covered by the paint anyway, and part of each 'envelope' is textured around the edges. Each 'envelope' thingy is about 1.5 x 1.5 inches, so if opened out is obviously twice that. Just open it out, roll or press it flat, and cut into strips. It can be bent to any shape, and will stay there, unless moved of course. I've used the stuff for ammo belts, folded it to double thickness for those ammo 'flexi feed' chutes, like on B17's and into the breeches of Mustangs and so on, and all sorts of other little nick nacks.
    Once you experiment with various materials, you'll find you don't really need aftermarket belts. OK, they look great, but they cost a bit, and need some work, and, after all, it's not YOUR work that's produced them. Nothing wrong in that, but the cost, and waiting for delivery, puts me off them!
    Bit of a long answer, but I hope it helps a bit mate!
     
  6. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    Buckles-Clips-Harness Sections:

    I've done this for years just... because

    I take a piece of plastic sprue from a kit. I save that stuff. It has to be a couple inches long minimum. Holding both ends I heat the center of it over a candle flame. As soon as I see the center go soft I remove it from the candle flame and pull the ends away causing the melted center to stretch into a filament of a size I want. I don't stretch it any further. I wait a few seconds for it to cool and then cut out a section of uniform thickness. This sounds simple enough but it takes a few attempts to learn the amount of heat and speed of stretch before the technique is learned. BTW, antenna wires and tubing of scale representation can quickly be done this way too.

    First, the adjustment clips that allow for length adjustments of the harness: I take a couple of straight pins and firmly embed them into a piece of wood. The piece of wood doesn't need to be large. A small block from a 2"X4" about 6 inches long will do. If you have a building board that will be best. I place these pins together at a distance needed to form the buckle. I wrap the sprue around the pins and back onto itself creating a small oval. Be careful and delicate. Think of building a ship in a bottle. Where they overlap I touch liquid styrene glue. It only takes a very, very little bit of glue similar in method to dry-brushing paint. The glue is very aggressive on such a small filament and too much can turn it into goo. I let it work for a couple seconds and then remove the pins to release the clip. I repeat for as many clips as necessary. I carefully cut away the remaining free ends of the sprue leaving the oval. This will actually be attached to the visible top side of the belts rather than the belt slipping through it. You will need 5 of these for a 5-point harness: 2 for the lap, 2 for the shoulders and 1 for the crotch. Some birds didn't have all these features of a harness so make as you need.

    The same method is used for the triangle section that attaches the shoulder harness to the seat or seat armor. Set the pins in the wood forming a triangle and repeat the method above. You'll need 10 of these; 2 for each section of the harness.

    The center quick release buckle is comprised of 5 triangle sections attached to a center round plate. The plate is made by heating one end of a piece of sprue and gently pushing the soft end vertically onto a cool surface. It will mushroom out in a pretty nicely shaped circle and remain that shape after cooling. Hold it against the cool surface until it cools. Holding the sprue shape the circle to the desired size and carefully thin it to the desired thickness. Now cut it off the sprue just a bit away from the shaped circle to a thickness that just exceeds the thickness of the clips. This will leave a smaller diameter section immediately beneath the larger one. Carefully notch the smaller diameter section only where the 5 triangle harness clips will attach. In situation, these attach points will conform to the points of an upside-down 5-pointed star ( approx. 72 degrees apart). Once the 5 triangle sections are attached to the center buckle make another small circle the same size as the larger diameter of the buckle center button but this time cut it off without leaving a smaller diameter section. It's just a small disk, if you will. This gets glued to the back of the buckle where the triangle clips are attached. The end result is 5 triangle clips sandwiched between the 2 disks.

    I now fold a piece of metal tape back onto itself and cut it into strips corresponding in width to the openings in the clips. I cut a length that suits each position of the harness. I fold each strip again back onto itself ensuring the length is good enough for the section of the harness I'm making. I slip one end through one of the triangle clip on the center buckle and nest the clip into the fold I made. I repeat this for each of the 4 remaining triangle clips on the center buckle. The portion of strip that lies beneath I snip off just a bit away from the clip. I will very carefully touch a little CA to each of the triangle clips ensuring that I hold the strips closed where they slip around each clip. The CA will quickly wick into the area and immediately seize the strip to the clip. This can be a real mess if you're not ready for it. I use a small bottle of thin CA (looks like water in the bottle) and fit a small capillary tube to the spout of the bottle. This tube gives great control and really turns a possible mess into a controlled procedure. The capillary tube can be purchased from your LHS. Or, alternatively, you can use a thin single strand piece of wire like a straightened out paperclip. Dip it into the bottle of CA and touch the wetted end to the desired area. Practice a little on something inconsequential.

    Now the center buckle and harness sections are assembled. Establish the proper length of the lap, shoulder and crotch sections and, as before attach the remaining triangle clips. Glue the adjuster 5 clips to the proper locations with thin CA. The harness can now be carefully shaped, painted and installed.

    Note: If you have a hole punch and thin styrene you can make the circles mentioned above. You'll just have to sandwich the 5 triangle clips without the smaller diameter notched center bit.

    That is the realistic looking harness. There's a quicker method and is as follows:

    1. Make the same buckle center quick release button as mentioned above.
    2. Fold the foil tape back onto itself and cut out a strip suitably wide and long enough to make (X) harness sections.
    3. Establish the length of each harness section and cut to suit.
    4. Cut both ends of each strip to identically shaped points like an arrow.
    5. Because it's foil tape it can be nicely embossed. So, emboss a line perpendicular to the length of each section at their ends right where the arrows start. Don't push so hard as to cut through. This will create the appearance of a triangle fitting attached to the ends of the sections.
    6. Attach the respective sections to the center quick release button by touching the pointed ends into the notches and securing with thin CA as mentioned previously.
    7. Make and attach the adjuster clips as mentioned above.
    8. Paint and install the harness.

    Or, you can get an aftermarket seat and forego the fiddly bitting.

    Hope this helps somewhat,

    Your friendly masochist.
     
  7. FatMart

    FatMart Member

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    It's great to see all of these different ideas and methods for harness's bu here's one that I have used for economy and easy (if you are a smoker of the roll up kind) for materials to hand. I use Rizla (or other brand rolling papers) for the straps and very fine wire wrapped around a triangular needle file and twisted until really tight and the snipped off. The belts are cut from the side of the Rizla with the glue on to the right length the insert your wire fitting and lck to secure then paint with water paint, well more sort of just colour or even a felt tip pen for ease. They can be made to loop around each other or around a pilot and stick with a small amount of spit, gob, greenie, hack or loogie or whatever your national equivalant is.
     
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