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I'm currently working on making a cosplay prop of a Fallout 4 Laser Rifle. Much of it I'm 3D printing due to easy access and quite frankly a lack of spare time to really handmake much of it. One thing that I'm curious about now is the barrel of the gun itself, a very segment of square tubing with rounded corners, preferably around ~4.5" in width based on how I've modeled the back of the gun so far.

Fallout 4 Laser Rifle

The first thing that came to mind here was some sort of prefab tubing, either like metal ducting or a PVC/plastic pipe. However, these either proved to be prohibitively expensive or nearly nonexistent in the size I needed.

Does anyone have suggestions on where I could get/easily manufacture a square tube like this with rounded corners?

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You didn't specify what you considered prohibitively expensive, so I would suggest something like vinyl fence posts. They come in sizes close to what you need, and you get quite a lot with one purchase, giving you room to make mistakes and experiment.

However, finding your exact dimensions is going to be difficult. To do that, I think you'd want to make your own. The cheapest and lightest (since you'll be carrying this around) way I can think to do that is to get some lengths of hobby wood. Balsa is cheap and light, but absorbent so it needs paint primer. Basswood is more expensive and a bit harder to work with, but is far less flimsy. I'd construct the tube out of 4 pieces, and probably glue them to blocks of styrofoam at the ends and middle. The foam will give the wood support and make it easier to glue the edges of the wood together.

Then, I'd just sand down the corners of the "tube". It'd be time consuming, but not too bad, since balsa is so soft (basswood a bit less so).

It's also possible to just use styrofoam, cutting sheets or blocks to size. Affordability of any of this will depend on your supplier.

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  • At work we have steel (it rusts) tubes like the one asked about but that is very heavy. (It is standard for sale in the Netherlands, I do not know where work buys it.)
    – Willeke
    Oct 28 '18 at 10:49
  • Vinyl fence posts are a good idea, I like that. Link is broken but I was able to find it on Home Depot's website anyways (I've had issues with Home Depot links myself so I don't blame you). "Prohibitive" from earlier was putting it in the ~$75 or more range because I think it was custom made or similar. You're right that the tubing might be slightly hard to find in the right size, but I think it's close enough that I can make it work well. And thank you for the wood idea, I'll keep that in mind as a secondary option. Oct 28 '18 at 17:57
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    I'll second wood as a solution, as someone who works in a convention setting, and frequently directly with rules for cosplay weapons. The less it looks like it can fire a projectile, the less trouble you'll have bringing it into a convention space.
    – Allison C
    Oct 29 '18 at 20:55

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