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My Duct Tape and PVC Pipe Mannequin (WIP)

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Hello all. I have decided I need a mannequin, and they can cost upwards of $100 US so I decided to build my own from PVC, Duct tape and expanding Foam.


Here is the parts list:


1x Old thermal underwear (top and bottom)

3x + rolls of duct tape

Truck bed spray liner or undercoating

PVC 'Purple Primer"

PVC Cement

Ratcheted PVC Pipe Cutters (Wish I had this when I was making my blasters!)

10' 1.25" PVC pipe (legs, hips)

3x 1.25" PVC 4-way connectors (pelvis/ torso connector)

2x 1.25" PVC 90 degree bends (hips)

2x 1.25" PVC "T" connectors (ankles)

6x 1.25" to 1" connectors (ankle to feet [4], hips to torso[2])

10' 1" PVC pipe (torso, arms, neck, feet)

1x PVC 4-way connector (neck )

2x 1" PVC "T" connectors ( neck to shoulders))

2x 1" PVC 90 degree bends ( shoulders)

2x 1" PVC 45 degree bends (elbows)

An Assistant (my Wife, the geek/make-up Blogger, Pink Sithhttp://www.pinksith.com)

I also used a Heat gun to bend some of the PVC Pipe, but you can do that however you choose...


All of this (except my wife, of course, and the heat gun which I already had) was had for under $35 USD. The most expensive item was the Ratcheted PVC Pipe Cutters at about $16 or $17, but worth every penny! Although labeled 1-5/8", they will quickly and cleanly cut any PVC Pipe up to 2" with little or no mess!



you WILL need an assistant for the first part. To get started I had my wife wrap me in duct tape, bottoms first, then top. This is self explanatory and somewhat uncomfortable.You need to wrap tight enough to get an accurate copy of your body shape, but not so tight that you cut off circulation or restrict your breathing. You should have scissors handy in case you need to be cut out quickly due to a loss of said circulation or breathing , preferably EMT style like the ones below to avoid scrapes or cuts, and, of course, to be cut out when you are done. I had her wrap me at least two layers all over with a lot of crossing over and spot filling with smaller pieces of tape. The more you use, the stronger your mannequin will be. you then have to your assistant cut this thing off of you. I personally preferred to have my wife cut the top from my neck to my waist in the back so I could pull it off in the front (easier IMHO). You will also have to cut the wrist up to just under the elbow. Then the legs from the ankle up to just below the knee and down from the waist to the crotch. I cut that in the front like a zipper, as I was cutting that myself for obvious reasons...


I then went back and closed up the cut areas with a good amount of duct tape. All said and done I completely used three rolls of duct tape.




I then moved on to the frame, some of which you see in these pics above.

I started by putting the hips and shoulders together. you can see what i did in these pictures below. note that i used small pieces of PVC between the connectors, even where you can not see it.

Shoulders__in 1"PVC and connectors_____________________________________________________________________Hips in 1.25" PVC and connectors



I then added legs by placing the PVC "feet" on the bottom of the leg pipe and putting it in one leg, cutting it so the hip was at the right height, then repeating with the other leg, and loose fitting everything. I added duct tape "suspenders" to position the legs correctly.



I then added the torso to the hips by sticking the 1" pipe in the hips with the sizing connector on one side and cutting it so that the shoulders would line up with my shoulders, then repeating with the other side. I then heated the PVC with my heat gun and bent it to spread the shoulder out a bit, allowing one to cool and harden before adding the shoulders and then heating, bending and fitting the other side. here it is all test fitted.




Now I got sloppy with the camera and forgot to take pics of the arms, but here is what I did. I held the 1" pipe against my arm and cut the biceps and forearms to length, then stuck the together with the 45 degree angle 1"connectors for elbows. I then put the duct tape top and bottom on the frame to make sure everything was the right size and angle. Once I was happy with all the test fittings I used the purple primer on all the tube ends and inside all the connector collars. I then glued the legs followed by the torso. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR FITS BEFORE YOU PULL THE SECTIONS APART TO PRIME AND GLUE. I used 'registration marks" I made with a sharpie at all the connections to make sure I lined them up correctly. once you push the glued pieces together, you will have a very short time to make any adjustments!


Now, I chose to leave the torso and body as separate parts so I can disassemble the mannequin for easier dressing in the future.


Next up I will tape off the openings, fill it with expanding foam, and then trim it to my preferences and fill the base with sand...All this on the next episode of "What The Heck Did I Get Myself Into!?!"

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'll post some pics later. It is functional, but not as nice as i would like. I am going to do a second one with some improvements taken from what I learned doing this one...

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