CosplayCraftingGeekeryScience Fiction

Making a Replica Discovery Combadge

I was pretty whiny about the costumes in Star Trek: Discovery last week. There is a part of the uniform that I didn’t talk about at all, though: the combadge.

The original series didn’t have combadges, but crests that showed their department on the ship: command, operations or science. The Next Generation kept the symbol, but used the chest crest as a communication device. They also introduced pips on the collar to indicate rank.

The Discovery badges bring the ideas together to create a badge that through material, pips, and insignia, shows rank and station on the ship in a single emblem. They kept the distinctive federation swoosh logo but gave it a couple new lines to keep it interesting.

Star Trek: Discovery Combadge

It’s lovely and clean and, unlike the rest of the uniform, I can actually make this.


  • 1″x 3″ of 20 gauge brass sheet
  • 1.5″ x 3″ of 1/8″ brass plate
  • 3″ of 1/8″ brass rod
  • 2 neodymium magnets 1/2″
  • Sticky backed vinyl
  • Brass etchant, (I used ferric chloride, but there are other less nasty ones)
  • Lead-free solder and flux
  • E 6000 Glue

The rough process:

  1. Cut out templates (I used a Silhouette cutter)
  2. Apply template to 20 gauge brass (front plate)
  3. Cut and grind front plate to size
  4. Cover the exposed metal on the front plate in spare vinyl, leaving only the crest visible. Make sure the seal is water-tight everywhere.
  5. Submerge front plate in etchant (check progress regularly as you work on the back panel)
  6. Apply template to brass plate (back plate).
  7. Cut and grind to size
  8. Bevel edges and tips of back plate with a file
  9. Wash front plate and remove vinyl
  10. Solder front plate to back plate
  11. Locate and drill 1/8″ holes 5/32 from the edge and 3/16″ from each other
  12. Sand and polish
  13. Cut 1/4″ pieces of 1/8″ rod. (Cut larger and grind to size)
  14. Solder rod into place from the back
  15. Glue 1 neodymium magnet to back
Replica Captain’s combadge from Star Trek: Discovery


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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