Friday, June 12, 2009

The Fake Axe

This was written over the course of 3 days, from
Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.

I'm sort of writing this as I'm working on it, so it might seem a little disjointed and whatnot.

The idea behind this is that I wanted something else besides guns for one of the girls in Bimbo Zombie Killers! to use. And something relatively safe and easy to handle. So I decided to try to make my own fake axe, much like the weapons I used for the big medieval battle scene in Malice. Problems was I had no idea how to do it.

I eventually found on a website that I get most of the molding materials a step by step set of pictures showing how these weapons are made - more or less. They left out a few details I think in order to protect some trade secrets or something, I don't know. Overall I figured this looked like something I could do.

And nearly the same time I managed to suss out the materials needed as well, so it seems like it was coming together really well. I even managed to get a decent, but cheap, airbrush so I could paint the thing (it needs special paint, same as ones used on fabrics I guess). So I was all set.

The first problem was how to mold it, as I'm learning these materials are not cheap. It would've cost me about $200 just to make the mold - which would've been fine if I had to make several duplicates. My budget didn't really allow for it, so I figured I could just use the massive pile of UltraCal 30 that I have.

It seemed to work alright, I've got one side of the mold made right now. Demolding the axe was a huge pain in the ass and damaged the mold in a few places, but it should be easy to clean up. That's the next part.


Well, that wasn't easy at all. The problem here, and I knew this before I started I was just hoping I could do it, is that the mold and the object are rigid - this never makes for a great combo. Had I modeled the axe in clay, I probably would've had a much better result. I just didn't have enough on hand and was a little impatient, it's still an option though.

Having said that, I did get it to work alright, there's some problem spots where the mold broke away in a couple tight areas. That was to be expected and should mess up the final product too much. I'm hoping I can trim away any excess material.

Next step is making sure when I do the 2nd part, there's no obvious undercuts, otherwise the axe get locked into the 2nd half of the mold. Looks like there might be a bit of a problem there, but I'll try to fix that first.

Meanwhile I've got the fiberglass rod for the center of the axe ready - although it's going to be tricky since the handle has a bit of a curve to it.


And I've done my first test with the Flex Foam-It, as it's called. So far it seems to be great, although what oozes out of the mold is rather disturbing looking. Kinda like a little brain. It takes about 2 hours to demold so I'm just waiting for about another hour before I can see how well it worked. Luckily, it slides right off the silicone mold - however, the axe mold isn't silicone as you might recall.

The Flex Foam-It Voodoo Spirit Bomb was a success. I noticed that the excess material, that oozed out of the mold, had a much thicker, tougher skin then what came out of the mold. It demolded incredibly well too, it actually just slide out with very little effort, almost none in fact.

The Flex Foam-It one is in the yellowish one in the middle.

So that's looking promising. Right now I've got the 2nd mold of the axe done, just giving it some time to fully harden before I begin the painful task of trying to pull it from the mold and see just how horrible it is. I'm going to leave it for another hour or so.


It came out not too bad, there was a bit of a struggle at first and I really thought a whole chunk of the mold was just going to break right off, but it didn't. In fact the 2nd half turned out much better then the first.

I'm taking a break and I'll clean the mold up later. I might actually get around to pouring the Flex Foam-It tonight and just leaving it overnight and if all goes well I'll have myself a rubber axe in the morning.

I just poured the stuff into the mold. I'm not entirely confident this will work. It's not a huge mold, but I didn't get much of the liquid in before it started foaming and it became impossible to keep filling it. The good news is I don't think it takes much of this stuff to go a very long way so I can try again if this doesn't work. I think there's definitely a technique to it that I'm not sure of just yet. I'll find out in the morning I guess.

Very professional looking.

I guess I was wrong, that stuff works brilliantly. I used way too much, I wasted quite a bit, I kinda wish I had another mold ready that could've been filled - doesn't even matter what it was, just so I didn't end up with a cup fill of wasted material. Funny, I originally only intended to use half the amount, and that's pretty much exactly what I would've needed.

It was a little tricky to demold - it's pretty grippy to most surfaces. Looks alright though. The blade of the axe is a little floppy because there's no support and very little material it being so thin. But otherwise I'd say with worked alright. I now have a safe, lightweight rubber axe. Needs to have some excess trimmed away, that's about it.

Now I just have to paint it. I got an airbrush a couple weeks ago knowing I'd have to do this eventually. I'll probably take a stab it later today, I'm kinda not tin the mood since I have to do a few tests first and probably need more another air canister for the brush - I don't have an actual compressor just yet.

So there you go, that wasn't too bad at all. Aside from already having the UltraCal 30, I bough the axe - $25, the fiberglass rod - $7 and the Flex-Foam-It - $45 ($60 with shipping). Not too bad. Next up, the moonshine jugs. I will defintely need silicone to mold those bad boys, but not too much probably. We'll see how it goes when I can afford to get more in.

UPDATE, June15th, 2010:  I've noticed this page of the blog alone has well over a thousand hits from folks looking to make or buy foam axes. This wasn't meant as a tutorial, because it's not done properly, but should someone stumble upon this and have questions, by all means feel free to email me and ask me something - I might be able help, you never know.


  1. The Flex Foam-It looks like a little brain. The axe turned out awesome!

  2. I read your reply you made a year ago on the effects lab about the support of the sword. Me and my buddy have been looking for months on what to use and tonight we had a breakthrough and found flexfoam-it but the tutorial on the site was aggravating in the sense it did not say how to suspend the support. I found the effects lab then found the comment you made. Just want to let you know you were a big help and we both thank you greatly.

  3. Chuck, I've found most tutorials leave some information out and you're just left guessing half the time. It does take a lot of work to figure this stuff out. I'm not a professional, I just make it up as I go and sometimes I get lucky - it's a lot of trial and error. Even though this wasn't meant as a tutorial (because I don't claim to do anything properly) I'm still glad it helped you figure it out.