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Discussion in 'Sheaths & Other Leather Projects' started by John Noon, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Some days it is amazing what you find like the original company for Kydex is Interstate Plastics and they have a kydex sheet you can send to a print shop or sign shop and have your own pattern applied.


    See near the bottom of the page.

    Next up while reviewing holster retention categories and working on a similar idea for knife sheaths, primarily for guys in the Military who parachute into trouble but usable by all front line troops.

    Original Kydex holsters construction method:

    Advantages of SafariLaminate™ over Leather In the early 1970s Rogers pioneered the use of synthetics to build his holster designs. Leather did not provide the strength necessary to survive the destructive security test. Rogers developed the patented process known as the thermo-laminate process.
    In the process, a thermo-formable plastic material known as Acrylic PVC (commonly known by the name brand Kydex), the suede lining and the outside finish material were all coated with a liquid Nitrile rubber compound. Once the rubber cured it could be handled without bonding to itself.

    The big pieces of coated material were then die cut. The cut parts were assembled together with T-nuts inserted along with any additional reinforcement material. The assembled part was heated to about 300 degrees F and pressed together vulcanizing the entire part together. The final laminated part was bonded so well that the strength of the part was significantly greater than the sum of the individual strengths.

    This same phenomena is well known with materials such as plywood and fiberglass, but had not been discovered in the field of holster design until this time. The laminated part was then die cut to an exacting pattern and stitching was added for aesthetics. The part was then re-heated to 350 degrees F and placed on a metal mandrel, which had the general shape of a weapon. This unit was then sandwiched between two layers of foam rubber and pressed until the material cooled. Once stabilized the part was removed from the mandrel and finished.

    Bonding Kydex to other Materials:

    Liquid Nitrile rubber compound:

    sheet product for molding: http://www.warco.com/sheet-rubber/nitrile/premium-nitrile/
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
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  2. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    Thanks John!

    Very interesting. I was (in the back of my mind as if I don’t have enough projects on the go already o_O) thinking about setting up a hydro-graphics tank in the shop to dip kydex sheaths. But if you can print straight onto the material itself maybe it’s more cost effective? Probably depends on the cost of making a small DIY hydro-tank vs the cost per sheet a sign shop would charge you.

    I was considering going the Hydro-graphics route because building a small tank for knife sheaths would be fairly inexpensive compared to the dedicated hydro-tanks they sell. Plus my background in the collision industry means I would be very comfortable prepping the Kydex and spraying it. I have access to all compatible primers/ base coats and clear coats (especially scratch resistant clears) for treating the sheaths after they have been dipped.

    Ahhhh more research...love it...never a dull moment lol
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  3. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    That should work better than jamming into a desktop printer:D

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