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A Beginers guide to shaping and molding kydex

How to get started working with Kydex.

First you must obtain the Kydex Plastic - Check out our Suppliers Page to find a place to order it from. Kydex is pretty inexpensive, and you can get a square foot for roughly 5 to 9 dollars, depending on what thickness you are looking for.

Thicknesses

Kydex comes in a few thicknesses that are commonly found for holster projects, knife sheathes, and the like. This standard Type of Kydex for this application is Kydex T and the standard thicknesses are .060 and .090 inch.

Concealex

Concealex is another popular Kydex, it has a carbon fiber looking outside, and runs a bit thicker at .093 inches thick. Concealex is a bit tougher to work with, because it has a finished side that scratches easily. It is also more expensive.

Fastening

Once you have the Kydex, formed, you will need some type of fasteners to join pieces, or keep tension on whatever you are forming the kydex to. This is done with a few common fasterners, Chicago Screws, Eyelets and Rivets. You can check out the write ups on those as you like. The important part about selecting fasteners is to make sure that you are selecting something that will work with the thickness you are working with. You will also need to make sure that you have whatever necissary tools for installing the fasteners such as a screwdriver for the screws, or a eyelet setter, and hammer for the eyelets and rivets.

One advantage of rivets is that you can string things through them, for example if you are making a neck sheath, you can string a chain through them and hang it around your neck. Remember to select somthing that will break before it hangs you if it gets caught on something!

Molding

There are essentially two ways of molding Kydex:
  • Heat the entire piece in a toaster or oven, and then form it all at once.
  • Heat parts of the kydex with a heat gun, and shape each part as you go.

For complex projects you will find that you need a heat gun to properly form beltloops that are integrated into the main piece of kydex. One advantage of going with integrated is that it saves on thickness, but it is more difficult to mold.

Ok, so now you know what you need, where do you start?
The best place to start is with a plan. Draw out on a piece of paper what you want to do, and do it to scale by wrapping the paper around the object you will be forming the kydex to. Although kydex isn't super expensive, you don't want to cut it and try and shape it only to find out that the piece is too small.

To be continued - In the mean time, check out the site as much of this information is distributed amoung the other articles.

tags • beginner • kydex • shaping • molding • supplies
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