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  1. #1

    Default Homemade backplate

    Trying my hand at casting and forming Aluminium and thought a great first project would be making myself a new backplate. Obviously a backplate is a simple thing but the difference between it works and it’s great is in the details. What are must have features for a backplate that you look for? Once I get my first one made would anyone be willing to dive it and provide feedback? I?m thinking I should be able to produce one for around $30 so I might even make a few and sell some for $60 if there was any interest.

    Last edited by Joe10540; 05-13-2018 at 06:59 AM. Reason: Spelling errors

  2. #2


    I have 2in steel rings on the bottom corners that I use for stage bottles, so some kind of loop is what I would say

    Richard Blackburn
    All comments are my own.

  3. #3


    Great idea! That’s the kind of ideas that I don’t see from this side of my first attempt

  4. #4


    I'd be happy to test dive your plate

    Richard Blackburn
    All comments are my own.

  5. #5


    Hopefully I’ll be casting it in the next few weeks I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.

  6. #6


    I'd advise keeping the "forming" option percolating in your thoughts, I suspect it will be tricky making the casting process work well for backplate production. Thin uniform thickness could be tough to pull off. You'll want to check for strength afterward. You need something that's reliable to hold the heaviest set of tanks someone might walk around in, plus some extra in case they trip and fall and put some extra G's on the shoulder strap slots and the wing nuts. Another concern is: in general cave divers are obsessively picky about how their gear looks. That thickness, for instance- there's a gauge thickness people are used to on backplates. If you can make one thinner that works, wonderful. It's doubtful that going thicker would be accepted though, it will be hard to convince people that things need to be heavier than they already are. People are used to a satin-smooth surface finish, with precision laser cut slots. A rough surface finish, detectable misalignment of slots and holes, variations in thickness, left over marks from risers & gates, etc., probably won't go over well with your target market. As an alternate thought: mills churn out cold rolled aluminum sheet by the acre. Surface finish, strength, and thickness issues that might take a fair bit of development time and cost sunk into solving with a casting pattern, could come to you as a commercially available raw material... Castings are fun though, I am sure you'll learn a lot.

  7. #7


    This is a cool idea, but make sure you do your research on different alloys before you try this. It would make for a bad day if your backplate snapped in half in the back of a cave. I agree with kotik, milling it out of cold rolled aluminum would likely save a lot of effort, and probably end up with a better product.

  8. #8


    +1 to what kotik and Steve_ said.
    In general, cast metals would more brittle than rolled metal plate which would be tougher material.

    Milling it out of plate would be strong, but lot of machining time & scrap material.
    Forming/bending rolled plate probably best bet, but might have to make a few to get it just right.

    If you want to go that route, I could (for fun) Solidworks 3D model it & make shop drawing with flat pattern & bendlines, etc.

    Probably is not worth doing all this, unless you enjoy it from hobbyist point of view.
    DGX has generic AL backplates for $75.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Arizona or traveling


    Casting is the wrong type of manufacture for a backplate, but from a purely academic point of view it would be fun. Plates are formed from sheet on dies. That's the right way to make them for a number of reasons.

    There are plenty of better things to cast if you want to give it a try. Lost wax casting a spool could be a fun little project, or aluminum line markers. They may be impractical, but it should be fun. I just don't see trying to cast a plate as being very successful.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyC View Post
    Lost wax casting a spool could be a fun little project, or aluminum line markers.
    +1 on looking for a better fit for a cast project, but please----- no metal line markers. There's almost guaranteed to be some sharp edges somewhere, just 'cause Murphy.

    The general direction sounds good though, a smaller piece is going to make a better introduction to learning the art.


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