make your own
SCA armour 2019
This is an economic and engineering thought experiment to try and calculate the cheapest price at which a relative newcomer could make their own armour. This assumes 2019 prices and parts availability for my home town of Canberra, Australia. As I move through the parts, tools and skills I will asterisk them and add them to the lists at the bottom.
The helmet would be a riveted construction spangen style helmet. This would involve jigsawing* some helmet grade 2.0 mm mild steel* and shaping* with a heavy ballpein hammer*, then some basic planishing* with a small ballpein*. This would be done using a stump hallowed with a chisel, or a sledgehammer head* with one face hollowed and one face domed with an angle grinder* and set into a vice* on a workbench*. The shaped pieces will be drilled for riveted* with soft iron galvanised nails* and clipped with snips*. The shaped peices will need to be filed* smooth. The helmet will need padding*, a chin-strap made from leather*, and lacing*.
Thinner steel would need to be shaped and have a top rolled edge* on a brick bolster*. It would then need to be padded*, and strapped. Strapping* involves punching holes* in leather* and sewing* in buckles* with linen thread* and riveting these leather pieces.
Elbows, Knees, Forearms and Thighs
All of these pieces would be made from thinner steel. Elbows and knees would be fold and rivet construction*. Padded and strapped.
The cheapest would be sandwich construction. Purchase two non stretch shirts*, and rivet 'sandwiches' of cloth, padding and plates.
Steel and leather Finish
Steel and leather need to have a finish to stop it rusting or breaking rapidly. This finish might either be high hand sanding* or painting*. Leather and sanded steel needs oiling*.
With judicious padding with foam no soft kit is required. Hose* and a cotton shirt* are an
Your first armour is likely to be basic, and best covered by a commercial tabbard, or you could sew* it yourself.
steel for the helmet, 2.0 mm mild steel, Herzogs steel, $50
Thinner steel choice of 1.6 mm or 1.2 mm steel, Herzogs steel, $75
leather, Leflers Melbourne, $50
foam mat for padding, K-Mart, $15
drill bits set, Bunnings, $15
galvanised roofing nails for riveting, $25
gaffer tape for padding, K-Mart, $10
shoe laces - K-Mart - $20 for various
buckles, Lelflers Melbourne, $40
linen thread, Leflers Melbourne, $10
two non-stretch shirts, K-Mart, $20
Hose and shirt, K-Mart, $20
sewing machine oil, K-Mart, $10
sand papers set, Bunnings, $20
spray Paint, Bunnings, $10
cloth for tabbard, Spotlight (or Aldi drop cloths) - $20
Parts Total = $410
jigsaw and metal blades, Bunnings, $50
large ballpein hammer*, Bunnings, $30
small ballpein hammer*, Bunnings, $15
stump - tree stump found item by forage $50?
chisel for wood removal, Bunnings, $10
sledgehammer, Bunnings, $40
angle grinder, Bunnings, $40
Vice, Bunnings, $35
workbench, Green Shed, $30
hand drill, Bunnings, $25
snips, Bunnings, $20
craft Scissors, K-Mart, $5
brick bolster, Bunnings, $15
sharpie metal marking pen, K-Mart - $5
leather workers needles, Leflers, $5
punch - sharpen a nail
file, Bunnings, $10
sewing needles and thread, K-Mart, $10
Tools Total = $395
shaping = curving metal with a hammer
planishing = removing larger dints by hammering with a smaller hammer
chiselling = hitting a chisel into wood to remove wood. Normally not done with a ball pien, but this is the lost cost case.
angle grinding = grinding and cutting steel with this powerful rotational disc tool.
drilling = using a hand drill to drill small holes in metal or wood.
riveting = joining plates of metal by placing a nail or rivet and clipping and doming the head.
rolled edge = putting approximately 2 mm of steel over a sharp edge and hammering it over flat to increase the strength of the steel
strapping = the skill of cutting leather and attaching buckles, then attaching these straps to armour.
fold and rivet constructions = this method allows deeper dishing by bringing large movements around and riveting the edges together
sewing = attaching fabric together with needle and thread
hand sanding = you can polish your armour to a very high level by hand sanding. Gently work your way through the grits while gently rubbing the steel. Oil at the end.
It seems that you might be able to put together armour for about $400 if you have a decent workshop, and about $800 if you need to fit out a workshop. I would also guess you would need about four hours watching YouTube, Four hours being taught by an armourer, and I would hazard forty hours of construction (thank you for the suggestions of others, edited up from my initial guess of twenty five hours).