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It seems my modifications to the Schutt XV chest protector have popularized a trend, and inspired several others to join in. I now have 4 CP's here that I'll be making a variety of modifications to so as to extend and improve their usefulness.

  • Schutt XV – This will be using a ULFH from @Razzer (which I've taken to nicknaming RayFlex or, in this case StingRay) in the 3-strap variant. Instead of utilizing the existing yoke – as we did with @D62 blue http://umpire-empire.com/index.php?/topic/65283-ump-life-delta-flex-style-harness/&do=findComment&comment=303927 – I got my hands on a few of these yoke-point parts, and we'll be using one of them instead.
  • Douglas WestVest – This will be using either a DeltaFlex or a Force3 NRH. The wearer has a slim body frame, so I might go with a DeltaFlex, but the NRH might be the better route with its longer straps and less cost. This has also been cleaned (needed it), received new hardware (black T-hooks, nylon buckles and tri-glides instead of corroded metal), and some rivets are being replaced with aluminum Chicago screws.
  • Honig's K-1 CP – A new harness will be a massive improvement, and will be getting one of the three Flex-style harnesses, depending on cost, of course. It will also see its shoulder plates bent and shaped to arch much truer and more conforming. The primary task will be determine a means of fastening the straps to the harness; the current method uses not much more than velcro and is annoying and ineffective.
  •  Schutt AiR Flex I – Instead of using the TPU-EVA foam bricks the XV relies on, the AiR Flex uses Brock Beads (which I'll explain during my rebuild of the unit). This aside, the two are are nearly the same, using virtually the same parts. I would truthfully take an XV into any level of baseball, but the thinner AiR Flex might give me pause at the adult-level stuff. That's not to say that it's still not a viable CP, as I've witnessed umpires do adult-level ball with softshells and Davishields. On the AiR Flex, we'll be cutting away the yoke and employing a 4-strap Flex harness once again. I'll also be repositioning the ailettes from "on top" the shoulder – where they bely their football pad origins – down to somewhere more forward.

If I had my druthers, I would actually try to put together a closet/garage service on refitting CP pads ala what Team Wendy's offered. I'll update this thread as work progresses!

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I am interested if you ever decide to get into the retrofitting business. I have two WV Golds that are at least 7-10 years old each.

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So this is a follow-up to the 4 CP Improvement projects I embarked on in 2016, as well as a stepping-off point on the two Schutt XV modifications I will be doing in a week or so. A thousand pardons, please, I don't have photos at this time, because it was more important to get the CPs back to their owners/users to be, well, used.

  • The Schutt XV with the previously purchased 3-strap RayFlex harness got exactly what I estimated to do. While I had previously partnered with and advised D62_blue on how to modify it by using the existing yoke, that yoke is a pain in the a$$ to work with if/when you have alternatives available to you. It just so happened I had the yoke-point from a Honigs K-1 (see below), with the sizing straps still intact. So, I proceeded to remove the Schutt's yoke (by rendering (killing) the stitches holding it on) like I do on any other project, and then installing two anchoring D-rings. Run the sizing straps of the (new) yoke point through these D-rings and double back through triglides, and we've got a new yoke. Then, the primary strap from the harness goes up, through the yoke-point and double back down through a triglide. Put the T-hooks on the RayFlex's torso straps and done.
  • The Douglas WestVest received my previously used DeltaFlex harness. The anchor D-rings were rather beaten up, so I changed them out (killed rivets and used Chicago Screws) for new rigger straps and D-rings, swapped in two new (black) T-hooks, and reassembled the WestVest complete with the DeltaFlex harness. The thing fits its user so well, it doesn't even look like he's wearing a CP.
  • The Honig's K-1 was a bit a of a challenge. Not only did I have to bend, shape and train the shoulder plates into arches (by default, they are as flat as boards) by heating them up, bending them, and then placing them in my freezer (no joke), but I had to figure out a completely custom way of fastening a Flex-style harness to the CP without the ability to sew / stitch it. The existing method is one of the most ridiculous and ineffective employments of velcro I've ever seen. So, I removed the harness and yoke-point (see above) completely, and figured out my options. I needed long torso straps, so that ruled out the DeltaFlex. Because we were on a bit of a budget (I mean, it's a Honig's K-1, enough said), it put the RayFlex a little out of reach. The Force3 NRH at $20 became a good option, and by default, includes a set of 1.5" side-release buckles (male side; the female side is on the Force3 UnEqual). That got me thinking, and so I anchored the female side of a side-release buckle to the front of the CP on each side, through the use of Chicago Screws, 1.5" nylon webbing, some nylon fender washers, and a heated-up awl (to plunge through the CP, lancing a hole for the Screw). Anchor the buckles in place, attach the Force3 harness, reattach the now-curved shoulder ailettes, and we now have a CP that fits beautifully. 
  • The Schutt AiR Flex I received the same treatment I have given to XV's before and will again with future XV's. In this case, I used the more generic Force3 NRH as the harness, and swapped out the side-release buckles for T-hooks. I didn't bother to move the ailettes, but what alteration I did perform to it dramatically changed its fit. I removed two of the rivets on the main spines of the CP and pivoted the shoulder assemblies out and up, then re-anchored them (in new holes on the spines) with Chicago Screws. This widened out the neck opening so it was finally wearable without pinching in on your neck. In doing this, it also reduced the angle of the shoulder plate assemblies so they now sloped down instead of up, and it looked less like hulking football shoulder pads (I'll get photos of this one sometime soon). The junior umpire who now uses this really favors it because of how light and well-ventilated it is. He's a fellow (former) catcher and says he doesn't necessarily notice the difference in bulk protection (he's 23, and his prior CP was a softshell).

The next two projects will both be Schutt XV's, and will include an (un)Official Review, on-par (hopefully) with @Scott Kennedy's example.

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@MadMax, or anyone that knows, is it still possible to retrofit a CP with Team Wendy pads ourself? Or is there no way to get a hold of those pads to use for the retrofit?

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18 minutes ago, alex7 said:

@MadMax, or anyone that knows, is it still possible to retrofit a CP with Team Wendy pads ourself? Or is there no way to get a hold of those pads to use for the retrofit?

I've been looking into it – lightly because most of my time is spent at work, sleeping, or calling baseball games – but it comes down to locating / sourcing an equitable foam material and then contracting (or learning how to do it ourselves) someone who can properly stitch the components together. Team Wendy developed and owns the rights to Zorbium, a particular formula of foam. Finding the other fabrics – the technical wicking mesh and lining membrane – isn't the problem; the foam, and the labor, is.

Now, Schutt debuted their EVA-TPU foam variant called D3O. I heartily believe this is an option to consider too, but again, it comes down to where to source it from, and most importantly, the labor involved in constructing an assembled pad unit. Find me a garage / basement / spareroom / small business entity itching and dying for work who will charge us a fair and reasonable price, we're set. Take it to an established business that has OSHA, Labor Laws, and/or the EPA* looking over its shoulders, we're not going to get anywhere.

* - The work itself isn't shady or unsafe. It's the fees imposed for regulation and oversight by those entities that fiscally prevent that work from being undertaken.

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Photo time!

. o O (This will really vex @BT_Blue because these are not quite his hotly anticipated XV modification, which I can't do until I get a camera this weekend... maybe I shouldn't think this out loud?)

These photos are of the Schutt AiR Flex I modification I banged through so as to get it back in the use of my colleague, who I gave it to. This was the first CP I ever bought as an umpire (prior to this, in my first year of umpiring, I merely used my catcher's CP under a black or sky blue polo / golf shirt), but the highest level of ball I was doing with it was 18U. With the debut of the XV (and its much more advanced D3O foam), I bought that immediately and have used it nigh-exclusively. When Teeg (my colleague) showed up at CDP with a simple soft CP, and started getting plate games, it just made sense to bestow my AiR Flex to him. He's used it ever since, and in the meantime, I've modified my XV to sport a Flex-style harness and reap the benefits of a better, truer fit.

With Teeg now here in Phoenix and engrossing himself in the overwhelming mass of games we have around us, I took the opportunity to get this modified (as per the updates above) and it dramatically changed the fit. In lieu of getting a custom RayFlex for him, I just got the simple, $20 Force3 NewFlex. Now I can sleep somewhat better at night knowing that my good friend and colleague isn't going to get killed using this thing... or at least he'll look better while doing so.

IMG_2784.jpgIMG_2785.jpg

As mentioned, these modifications dramatically improved the fit. Chief among them was the pivoting of the shoulder arch plates outward. For some reason, Schutt canted the shoulder arch plates in, converging the trailing edges of the plates into a narrow shape and creating a very tight neck opening. Even the existing yoke harness bunched up and laid wrong on the wearer's back. As with my XV modifications, I removed the yoke (by rendering or unstitching it), and then looked at what it would take to widen the arch plates themselves. It turns out that Schutt left plenty of material to do a pivot with, so I killed the two corresponding rivets, pivoted the plates down and outward, and then lanced new holes in the PVC stays so as to insert new Chicago Screws. This "flattened" out the shoulders so it didn't look so hunched either.

IMG_2786.jpg IMG_2787.jpg

Here you can see the addition of the anchoring straps that I call "rigger straps". On AiR Flex's, there is an annoying rivet that sits on the trailing edge of the shoulder arch plates, holding the padding vest to the carapace. I killed that rivet, freeing up the vest, but like I do on XV's (in XV's, the vest is not held to the carapace by this rivet), I used the resulting hole to run a Chicago Screw through and secure the rigger strap. On XV's, I do two screws... On this here AiR Flex, it seemed like overkill... and besides, I only had two screws left. The washers are there more for gap sizing than for fear of the bolt head going through the nylon.

IMG_2789.jpg

The completed back, equipped with a Force3 NewFlex harness. Now Teeg doesn't have to constantly shift and adjust it after every pitch.

IMG_2788.jpg

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3 hours ago, MadMax said:

Photo time!

. o O (This will really vex @BT_Blue because these are not quite his hotly anticipated XV modification, which I can't do until I get a camera this weekend... maybe I shouldn't think this out loud?)

These photos are of the Schutt AiR Flex I modification I banged through so as to get it back in the use of my colleague, who I gave it to. This was the first CP I ever bought as an umpire (prior to this, in my first year of umpiring, I merely used my catcher's CP under a black or sky blue polo / golf shirt), but the highest level of ball I was doing with it was 18U. With the debut of the XV (and its much more advanced D3O foam), I bought that immediately and have used it nigh-exclusively. When Teeg (my colleague) showed up at CDP with a simple soft CP, and started getting plate games, it just made sense to bestow my AiR Flex to him. He's used it ever since, and in the meantime, I've modified my XV to sport a Flex-style harness and reap the benefits of a better, truer fit.

With Teeg now here in Phoenix and engrossing himself in the overwhelming mass of games we have around us, I took the opportunity to get this modified (as per the updates above) and it dramatically changed the fit. In lieu of getting a custom RayFlex for him, I just got the simple, $20 Force3 NewFlex. Now I can sleep somewhat better at night knowing that my good friend and colleague isn't going to get killed using this thing... or at least he'll look better while doing so.

IMG_2784.jpgIMG_2785.jpg

As mentioned, these modifications dramatically improved the fit. Chief among them was the pivoting of the shoulder arch plates outward. For some reason, Schutt canted the shoulder arch plates in, converging the trailing edges of the plates into a narrow shape and creating a very tight neck opening. Even the existing yoke harness bunched up and laid wrong on the wearer's back. As with my XV modifications, I removed the yoke (by rendering or unstitching it), and then looked at what it would take to widen the arch plates themselves. It turns out that Schutt left plenty of material to do a pivot with, so I killed the two corresponding rivets, pivoted the plates down and outward, and then lanced new holes in the PVC stays so as to insert new Chicago Screws. This "flattened" out the shoulders so it didn't look so hunched either.

IMG_2786.jpg IMG_2787.jpg

Here you can see the addition of the anchoring straps that I call "rigger straps". On AiR Flex's, there is an annoying rivet that sits on the trailing edge of the shoulder arch plates, holding the padding vest to the carapace. I killed that rivet, freeing up the vest, but like I do on XV's (in XV's, the vest is not held to the carapace by this rivet), I used the resulting hole to run a Chicago Screw through and secure the rigger strap. On XV's, I do two screws... On this here AiR Flex, it seemed like overkill... and besides, I only had two screws left. The washers are there more for gap sizing than for fear of the bolt head going through the nylon.

IMG_2789.jpg

The completed back, equipped with a Force3 NewFlex harness. Now Teeg doesn't have to constantly shift and adjust it after every pitch.

IMG_2788.jpg

Funny you should mention me.

When I saw you commented on this thread I was like ":yippie:." Then saw that it was an Air Flex and not my MaXV. So I was all ":crybaby2:." But then I saw the photos and am getting excited now. So I am totally ":rock" again.

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3 minutes ago, BT_Blue said:

Funny you should mention me.

When I saw you commented on this thread I was like ":yippie:." Then saw that it was an Air Flex and not my MaXV. So I was all ":crybaby2:." But then I saw the photos and am getting excited now. So I am totally ":rock" again.

If I was home I'd post pictures of my MaXV with its newly acquired Force 3 harness, but alas. And I know @gnhbua93 might give me crap for this but....... the F3 harness is awesome. That Teeg fellow is in good hands. 

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On 1/28/2017 at 4:03 PM, MadMax said:
  • The Honig's K-1 was a bit a of a challenge. Not only did I have to bend, shape and train the shoulder plates into arches (by default, they are as flat as boards) by heating them up, bending them, and then placing them in my freezer (no joke), but I had to figure out a completely custom way of fastening a Flex-style harness to the CP without the ability to sew / stitch it. The existing method is one of the most ridiculous and ineffective employments of velcro I've ever seen. So, I removed the harness and yoke-point (see above) completely, and figured out my options. I needed long torso straps, so that ruled out the DeltaFlex. Because we were on a bit of a budget (I mean, it's a Honig's K-1, enough said), it put the RayFlex a little out of reach. The Force3 NRH at $20 became a good option, and by default, includes a set of 1.5" side-release buckles (male side; the female side is on the Force3 UnEqual). That got me thinking, and so I anchored the female side of a side-release buckle to the front of the CP on each side, through the use of Chicago Screws, 1.5" nylon webbing, some nylon fender washers, and a heated-up awl (to plunge through the CP, lancing a hole for the Screw). Anchor the buckles in place, attach the Force3 harness, reattach the now-curved shoulder ailettes, and we now have a CP that fits beautifully. 

Photo time again!

As mentioned, I had performed a significant retrofit on a Honig's K-1. At the time, I neglected to take photos of the work-in-progress; yesterday, though, I worked the same complex as the owner of the K-1 and I got a chance to take photos:

IMG_2799.jpg
IMG_2800.jpg
IMG_2801.jpg
... this last photo shows the detail of how I anchored the female end of the side-release buckles. That's a 3/4" Chicago Screw in a hole that has been lanced through all the layers of the CP – outer nylon, inner plastic plate, inner plastic padding, inner nylon – by a white-hot awl. The nylon webbing you see is doubled back around the side-release buckle and then melted (cauterized). I'm definitely using nylon washers, too, on both sides to lessen the chances of the nylon spreading and the screw wearing through.

While I did use the Force3 NewFlex harness, which comes equipped with 1.5" side-release buckles (male side only), I instead swapped out the buckles for a complete set I purchased.

If you have any concerns about the placement of the screw, I addressed them by positioning the hole on one of the peripheral sections of segmented plastic plating, which happens to be covered (on the inside) by one of those "kidney bean" velcro'd pads.

Lastly, I really want to emphasize how much better the fit is once you heat-shape the ailettes and shoulder plates. Out of the packaging from Honigs, the entire CP is as stiff and rigid as a board, and so many guys wear it without contouring the plates. They look like characters out of Minecraft, are forced to struggle in and out of shirts (or, worse, forced to purchase shirts that are unnecessarily oversized), and aren't being properly protected. Honigs really should have put proper directives in place to the manufacturer in China or had better quality controls over its production.

Strangely, the older K-1 has none of those problems the new one possesses. The new one features ailettes (great, but not helping when they are as stiff as brake pads), a larger neck billow, increased "vital" pads on the inside, and better peripheral protection. It even has arm guards (which, once the shoulders are re-shaped, actually feel kinda nice)! The old one lacks these amenities, but its shoulder plates are already shaped and... ready for this?... it has the side-release buckles already stitched in and ready to accept a better harness!

IMG_2798.jpg
IMG_2797.jpg

And lacking those ailettes, the Old K-1 achieves a very slim, low-profile appearance on par with a Douglas. Collarbone protection and ailettes are necessary, but there has to be a better way to attach them.

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Wilson WV Platinum Owners – you'll want to read this. I, the site-avowed adversary to Wilson, just bought... a WV Platinum.

Ah, now that I've got you reading this post, let me explain. It's not for me, it's for a rookie umpire. I was browsing through a graveyard Play-It-Again Sports yesterday, inspired by @BT_Blue and his lucky-ass fortuitous finding of a Nike Titanium mask on the cheap. The only mask this location had, ironically, was a +POS SUL. So, I went round the corner and started parsing through the CP's and what do I come across? A Wilson WTA3217 CP, the non-WestVest model. Heavy'ish, cumbersome, clunky. This one was in good condition, missing its bicep guards, and was priced at $59. But look what's behind it...

A Wilson WV Platinum 12", intact, (reasonably) clean, and $45. I held it up like an angler who caught a carp when he was fishing for a trout. I looked it over. I tried it on. The foam vest wasn't compromised, nothing was rusted, and the harness sucked (no surprises there). I warbled and waffled about it. I messaged @Stk004, just to get his opinion, but to also perform an impromptu, ad-hoc confessional. The condition it was in, at that price, was too good to pass up, so I purchased it... and ran out of the store.

Once home, I took the thing apart and started to sanitize it. Here's where the fatal flaw of the Wilson units comes out, figuratively and physically, especially when you compare it to modern CPs from Schutt, All-Star and Force3. Using SportWash, I attempted to cleanse the foam jacket, but while I did get the stains out, what also came out was the smell... of wet cigarettes. Yup, the previous owner was a smoker. That sweat and stink gets into the sofa-cushion foam Wilson uses and never comes out. Furthermore, the wetter I got the foam vest, the heavier it got, since it soaks up and retains moisture in its open-cell sofa cushion foam. I was tempted to put the foam vest in the dryer, but decided not to, and instead hung the vest on my porch in the dry Arizona air. That smell never quite goes away, despite my use of SportWash and OdoBan.

My opinion of the CP has... matured. The design makes complete sense – the carapace plates are laid out in a highly effective (and protective) manner, the shoulder plate-ailette-pauldron assembly is surprisingly robust and articulate. The manner in which the foam jacket is attached to the carapace is ideal, too. It's a very good CP! However, the vexing things about it, and Wilson's resistance to address and/or rectify them, are what stokes my disdain:

  1. The sofa-cushion, open cell foam inside a nylon casing that constitutes the foam vest; upgrade it to a modern hybrid or reactive foam, such as D3O (Schutt) or Zorbium (TW) lined with a wicking microfiber.
  2. The pronounced billow; remove it completely.
  3. The stock-flat shoulder arch plates; pre-curve them.
  4. The surprisingly brief height and lack of abdominal coverage; add an extension anchor point or method, even if you don't produce the extension itself.
  5. The contemptible and woefully inadequate harness; would it kill ya to develop and include even a X-cross harness?? Buy @Razzer's planform from him and license it, so you've got a better product and Ray can retire in style.
  6. The $200 price tag, for a unit that hasn't changed beyond cosmetic placement of the silk-screened logos, in 10 years; You want to win the market over? Make those upgrades, and sell it for $100.
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Someone needs to go check on Max and make sure he didn't hit his head....did you take a 90mph FB in the grill last night Max?

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Someone needs to go check on Max and make sure he didn't hit his head....did you take a 90mph FB in the grill last night Max?

I'm willing to check to see if he's concussed. The problem is, how will he be any different then normal?

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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22 hours ago, KenBAZ said:


I'm willing to check to see if he's concussed. The problem is, how will he be any different then normal?

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

Offer to buy his gear from him at a significant discount to you.

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Alright you guys, I remembered I did take photos of the Kevlar-retrofitted WV Gold we had here in Phoenix. My umpire colleague (and now good friend) was here for a USA Baseball tournament, and came prepared with two CPs. One was a stock-standard Platinum, the other this one-off Gold. He ordered two RayFlex harnesses thru me, and I rigged them up as soon as the harnesses arrived.

IMG_2835.thumb.jpg.8a62d0560cee42179b1b671f21c4818a.jpg IMG_2837.thumb.jpg.6f2b4cbb33847a2199a09417feadaad5.jpg
IMG_2838.thumb.jpg.7000715810c38f12f786431695cd6043.jpg IMG_2839.thumb.jpg.9b2efeeff3bac522188b1c864028cf1e.jpg

Notice that the new Kevlar padding vest is one-third to one-half the thickness of the sofa-cushion foam Wilson normally uses. The artisan also made liberal and effective use of technical wicking mesh other breathable fabrics (on the pauldrons, pectoral wings, and rib wings. It's a simply marvelous CP to wear now.

 

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1 hour ago, MadMax said:

Alright you guys, I remembered I did take photos of the Kevlar-retrofitted WV Gold we had here in Phoenix. My umpire colleague (and now good friend) was here for a USA Baseball tournament, and came prepared with two CPs. One was a stock-standard Platinum, the other this one-off Gold. He ordered two RayFlex harnesses thru me, and I rigged them up as soon as the harnesses arrived.

IMG_2835.thumb.jpg.8a62d0560cee42179b1b671f21c4818a.jpg IMG_2837.thumb.jpg.6f2b4cbb33847a2199a09417feadaad5.jpg
IMG_2838.thumb.jpg.7000715810c38f12f786431695cd6043.jpg IMG_2839.thumb.jpg.9b2efeeff3bac522188b1c864028cf1e.jpg

Notice that the new Kevlar padding vest is one-third to one-half the thickness of the sofa-cushion foam Wilson normally uses. The artisan also made liberal and effective use of technical wicking mesh other breathable fabrics (on the pauldrons, pectoral wings, and rib wings. It's a simply marvelous CP to wear now.

 

That looks like a team wendy to me. 

IMG_2174.PNG

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Anyone have any ideas on how to "clean up" the plastic on an old Platinum?

I'm okay with it if not, but I thought about trying to make it black, but trial and error proved that black spray paint is not an option. :lol:

FullSizeRender.jpg

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@wolfe_man...

That's ABS plastic as the carapace plates. Of course, you'll want to separate foam vest and harness straps from the carapace, but what you'll want to use to paint it is a series of steps:

  • Make sure to use a degreasing cleaner, rinse, and thoroughly dry the plastic parts. Use 220 (or finer) grit sandpaper and "rough up" the plastic, then wipe or blow off the residue completely.
  • Lay out cardboard that you can spray upon, and commit to spraying in "sessions" – this will require several coats, at different angles, without trying to cover the entire piece in one go.
  • If you don't want to paint the hardware, use cheap lip-balm or vaseline to cover it – this will be rubbed off later when completed. Wrap the nylon splines with masking tape.
  • Use Valspar plastic primer, especially if not using a for-plastic spray paint.
  • Recommend Rust-Oleum for Plastic spray paint. Better coverage and penetration than Krylon.
  • Let dry thoroughly.
  • With a rag, rub wax / vaseline off hardware.
  • Use a clear (satin or semi-gloss) sealant as a finishing layer.
  • Remove masking tape from nylon splines.
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16 hours ago, MadMax said:

@wolfe_man...

That's ABS plastic as the carapace plates. Of course, you'll want to separate foam vest and harness straps from the carapace, but what you'll want to use to paint it is a series of steps:

  • Make sure to use a degreasing cleaner, rinse, and thoroughly dry the plastic parts. Use 220 (or finer) grit sandpaper and "rough up" the plastic, then wipe or blow off the residue completely.
  • Lay out cardboard that you can spray upon, and commit to spraying in "sessions" – this will require several coats, at different angles, without trying to cover the entire piece in one go.
  • If you don't want to paint the hardware, use cheap lip-balm or vaseline to cover it – this will be rubbed off later when completed. Wrap the nylon splines with masking tape.
  • Use Valspar plastic primer, especially if not using a for-plastic spray paint.
  • Recommend Rust-Oleum for Plastic spray paint. Better coverage and penetration than Krylon.
  • Let dry thoroughly.
  • With a rag, rub wax / vaseline off hardware.
  • Use a clear (satin or semi-gloss) sealant as a finishing layer.
  • Remove masking tape from nylon splines.

Thanks for the details!

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I love these threads!........in one of them I saw the use of the "wrap" like is used on automotive applications.........I've got to say that the carbon fiber wrap makes an impressive appearance........ 

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      With this last order of nine harnesses arriving on my doorstep this morning, fresh from @Razzer in Maple Syrup-land, this makes 20 harnesses I've commissioned from him in the past year. Sure, there've been one or two Schutts that these have gone on, and the occasional Force3 UnEqual, or Douglas, or Champro / Champion, even. Out of the 20, can you guess where 14 have gone?
      Yup, freakin' Wilson CPs. 11 Platinums and 3 Golds.
      Oh sure, you can easily (and lazily) point out, "But Max, that just indicates that Wilson CPs are more popular and numerous!", but it also indicates just how plain awful and ineffective the Wilson units are with their stock harnesses. Each umpire supplied with a Flex -style harness (preferably Ray's) experiences a dramatic improvement in fit and protection. Many suddenly become very aware of how brief the coverage is on the Platinum, especially, as it doesn't provide much in the way of abdomen protection, nor does it natively allow an extension to be added...
      ... but that's another discussion, for another time.
       
    • By MadMax
      I'm sitting in a Texas Roadhouse after calling 9 baseball games over the past 3 days in 117°+ Arizona heat, watching the Mets get shellacked yet again by the Dodgers, when I notice the camera zoom way, way, waaaaaayyyyy in on Travis d'Arnaud and the Force3 Defender mask he's wearing. Travis is new to the Defender TM, having previously used the Mizuno Samurai HSM. The Samurai is one of the most thoroughly padded HSMs on the market, but doesn't get enough play besides the sleeker, more sculpted All-Star System 7's and Easton M-series.
      With the camera zoomed in on the telltale, trademark springs of the Defender, I begin reading the closed captioning of the two ESPN broadcasters discussing the details of the mask, and how it is progressively suited to reducing impact force and the likelihood of concussions. The camera pans to show all three spring points, and even shows the profile shape, with the broadcasters pointing out the standoff distance. They go on to say several catchers in the league are now using it, and there is now a hockey-style version on the market (the Defender HSM).
      In a move of directorial brilliance (the guy in the truck should get an Emmy nomination), the camera then pans to zoom in on Lance Barksdale as PU for tonight's game... wearing a Wilson Titanium Low Profile... with Wilson leather wraparound pads...
      Sigh. Facepalm.
      The broadcasters then contrast the Defender TM against the Wilson TiLP, and how little protection it affords the umpire. Barksdale's nose is on the verge of poking out of the eyeport, and the mask is nearly flat on his face. One of the broadcasters laments, "I never saw the point of that mask".
      #TimeForChange #GetWiseOffWilson #OtherOptionsExist #HeadInTheGame


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