Iron Man costumes have been extremely popular lately and the number one question I am most often asked is "How can I add animatronics to my suit?" My friend Greg wanted to add animatronics to his MkIII fiberglass suit so he asked for my help and for this suit we went all out.

We wanted to add as many functions as seen in the movies as possible, which wasn't easy given that most of those sequences were not done using practical effects. The other issue was how should all of the functions be actuated? After considering several options we used RFID tags in the gloves to trigger the shoulder rocket pods, hip pods, forearm missile, back flaps and helmet. The helmet has wireless control via XBee radios. The boots light up and make sound while walking by using an infrared distance sensor in the boot to trigger the effect.

Here's a video that shows all of the suit functions-



This is certainly not an easy project but if you know your way around an Arduino and can wield a soldering iron this instructable will show you how to do it.

Be sure to click on any picture to get a larger version.

Update: I've also created an animatronics forum where people can go to get help with their costume and prop projects. I get so many messages for specific project help from people that I decided to create a dedicated forum where everyone can get help and share ideas!

Let's get started!

Passo 1: Build design/details

The suit is basically broken down into three systems: left side, right side and boots.

The left hand has two RFID tags that trigger programmed sequences for the helmet, hip pods and back flaps. The right hand RFID tags trigger programmed sequences for the forearm missile and shoulder rockets. The boots have an infrared sensor that triggers the boot lights and sound effect as soon as the boot is lifted from the ground.

The single most difficult thing about this build is that the suit fits like a glove- there's no room in it! The helmet has less than 1/2" of space around the head, there's about 1" depth for the shoulder rocket pods and the hip pod area has less than 1" depth available so the packaging of the mechanics and electronics is really tight. Another issue is that there's almost no flat surfaces so mounting servos and hardware gets really interesting.

The system is Arduino based and uses four ProMinis- one for each side, one for the boots and one in the helmet. Since we wanted the helmet to be easy to take on and off we decided to make it wireless using XBee radios to send the control signals. For the point to point wiring running from the electronics mounted in the back to the arms and feet we used Ethernet cables and jacks so they could be easily disconnected. The sound effects for the boots are handled by a WaveShield that sits on a Arduino Pro.

If you are not familiar with Arduino and XBee radios then please read through this instructable. It will explain a lot of the basics and you'll be up and running in no time!

Another issue with systems like this are the different voltage and current requirements so we thought it best to power the servos separately using AA batteries, primarily for ease of availability if the suit is to be worn at conventions.

<p>This is sick!!! Nice job man!!!</p>
<p>How much did it cost?</p>
I honestly never added up the cost of all of the parts for the animatronic system. The cost could range from several hundred to over $1000, depending on what materials and tools you have on hand.
<p>Totally epic. I love that you made this animatronic.</p>
<p>Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi Honus, </p><p>I forgot to put this on here, but I manage to finish the helmet in time for Halloween. Here's the wireless helmet working: http://instagram.com/p/u1NE-3JAGx/?modal=true . Thanks for the awesome instructable!</p>
<p>Awesome!</p>
<p>hey guys learn how to make your own iron man costume here: http://895d510gl8149w3cvboa9-akeu.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=IRONMAN</p><p>thumbs up so others can know...</p>
<p>hey guys learn how to make your own iron man costume here: http://895d510gl8149w3cvboa9-akeu.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=IRONMAN</p><p>thumbs up so others can know...</p>
<p>Is there any chance that you could up load video of the suit in action while being worn? Looks great on the bench but can it be done and controlled while wearing it on stage?</p>
Once my friend has finished repainting the suit there will be a new video of him wearing it and operating all of the suit functions. The animatronic system was designed so everything can be operated while he is wearing the suit- we had multiple test fitting sessions in order to make sure everything would fit and operate properly.
Hi there<br>How much would it cost me to get you to constuct a suit for me please ?<br>Regards<br>Eddie Cruz from the UK
Sorry but I don't sell them!
<p>do you think that the designs from http://www.instructables.com/id/IRONMAN-2-suit-mark-6/ will be able to work just like your suit , like if I make the pieces from this other instructable, could I take the electronics from your instructable to make one just like yours?</p>
I think most of it would work but honestly it's hard to say just by looking at the photos. I think the hip pods would be tough to do since there's not a lot of support material around them from what I can see. The real trick is making the suit and helmet rigid enough so you need to reinforce the inside of the suit and helmet with woven fiberglass cloth.
<p>Thank you, i'll try it. I'm doing this for a school project</p>
<p>Hi Honus, </p><p>I wanted to share the code with you for the 3v arduino. This code allows the user to swipe their rfid once to get their helmet to open, then swipe it again to close it. Credit goes to Wildbill from Arduino's forum for the help :): </p><p>#include &quot;Servo.h&quot; // include the servo library</p><p>Servo faceplateServo;</p><p>Servo chinServo;</p><p>int ledPin1 = 4; // control pin for LED eyes</p><p>int servoPin1 = 2; // control pin for face plate servo</p><p>int servoPin2 = 3; // control pin for chin</p><p>bool FacePlateOpen=false;</p><p>void setup() </p><p>{</p><p> faceplateServo.attach(servoPin1); // attaches the servo on pin 2 to the servo object</p><p> chinServo.attach(servoPin2); // attaches the servo on pin 3 to the servo object</p><p> faceplateServo.write(30); // rotate face plate servo to 30 degrees</p><p> chinServo.write(95); // rotate chin servo to 95 degrees</p><p> pinMode(ledPin1, OUTPUT); // sets the LED pin as output</p><p> digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH); // turn on LED eyes</p><p> Serial.begin(9600);</p><p>}</p><p>void loop() </p><p>{</p><p>// look for a capital A over the serial port and turn off LED</p><p>if (Serial.available() &gt; 0) </p><p> {</p><p> if(Serial.read() == 'A') </p><p> { // reads tag over XBee</p><p> digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW); // turn off LED eyes</p><p> delay(500); // wait half a second</p><p> FacePlateOpen=!FacePlateOpen;</p><p> if(FacePlateOpen)</p><p> {</p><p> chinServo.write(20); // rotate the chin servo to 20 degrees</p><p> faceplateServo.write(95); // rotate the face plate servo to 95 degrees</p><p> }</p><p> else</p><p> { </p><p> chinServo.write(95); // rotate the chin servo to 95 degrees</p><p> faceplateServo.write(30); // rotate the face plate servo to 30 degrees</p><p> }</p><p> digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH); // turn on LED eyes</p><p> }</p><p> }</p><p>}</p>
<p>Awesome! Be sure to post a video of your helmet working!</p>
<p>Hi Honus, </p><p>I have a question regarding the face servos. I've created the left side and helmet set up. When I place my rfid chip to the reader, I see a red light turn on on my helmet xbee yet none of my helmet servos seem to move. Would you have any ideas why that might be? Thanks!</p>
Have you tried operating the servos outside of the helmet? Do the servos make any noise or chattering sound?
<p>I have the servo programmer, and the servos work with that. When I connect them to the pins they do make a little noise. It's almost like they are constantly making tiny adjustments. When I stick my rfid to the reader, it's hard to tell if the movement is tiny, or if it's just noise. </p>
<p>It sounds like the servos don't share a common ground with your Arduino. Is the RFID reader working- can you see the reader working if you connect the Arduino to a computer and open the serial monitor?</p>
<p>When I turn on the serial port I see the first 7 numbers of my RFID tag ID pop up when I put my RFID near the reader. The ground to my servo is connected to the ground of the battery. My Arduino is also connected to that same ground slot on my breadboard. The batteries are 6 AAA connected in a circuit. </p>
<p>That's strange. When viewing the serial monitor you should see the letter 'A' every time you swipe the RFID tag- that's what is in the code. The serial output is sent over the XBee radios and the letter 'A' is received on the helmet side and then the helmet code is run. </p>
<p>I reconnected all my wires and I manage to make the servo move when I place my tag by the reader. The only issue it has now is that it repeats the open close cycle about 3 times lol. Any suggestions for that? Thanks again for all the help Honus! </p>
<p>Are you keeping the tag near the reader or only swiping it once? If you're only swiping it once then check through your code again as it would appear it is repeating the loop. Sometimes when you copy and paste code strange things happen and it doesn't get copied exactly line for line.</p>
<p>Hi Honus I found out the problem. I left the tag on the reader for a couple seconds, which sent the code over multiple times. If I do a quick swipe it goes through the cycle only once. Out of curiosity is it possible to have the same tag open it and keep it open, and another swipe to close it?</p>
<p>Cool- glad you figured it out! I believe you could do that as it essentially would work the same as the push button example where you push it once to open it and then push again to close it. Unfortunately I haven't done anything like that with RFID tags.</p>
<p>I turned on the serial monitor from the Arduino again and this popped up. I don't see my ID tag like last time, just commas every time I put my tag by it. The red led turns on still though on the xbee connected to the other arduino. </p>
<p>how much would all of this cost to make, and what would be the cost for you to make it for me and shipping? just a thought I would really like to have one.</p>
<p>I honestly don't know the exact cost to make this suit. My friend brought me his suit to add the animatronics. Unfortunately I don't see myself making another one as I already have too many other projects waiting in the wings.</p>
<p>Ok this is super cool :D. I really wish I was able to make something like this. Let me just say this You are a GENUS and I bow before you lol </p>
<p>SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!</p>
<p>:D</p>
<p>Hi Honus, I wanted to say what an awesome build this is! I'm currently trying to use the left side schematic on my IDE and I keep getting the error &quot;NewSoftSerial&quot; does not name a type. Do you know why this may be?</p>
Which Arduino version are you using? I think I was still on version 0022 when I wrote this.
<p>I'm currently using 1.0.6 on a mac. Should I try and download the earlier version?</p>
<p>I would definitely try that and let me know how it works out. I think I used 0022 for all of the code I wrote except for the boots (which were done using 1.0.5) since I did those much later than the rest of the suit. The suit was built over a two year span so it's tough to remember everything- LOL!</p>
<p>I think I got it working. Thanks for your help Honus! Really appreciate it. I'm trying to implement your system on a suit I made last year. I'm in the process of making a new helmet, and I'd like to make this one wireless. Here's my MkVII:</p>
<p>That's awesome! Also be sure to check out the animatronics forum I set up here- <a href="http://diyanimatronics.freeforums.net/" rel="nofollow"> http://diyanimatronics.freeforums.net/</a></p><p>I'm frequently on the board there and I'm always happy to help or answer any questions.</p>
<p>Great! I will definitely check that out. I'm still new to using arduinos (I used a pololu chip on my last one), so I'm learning as I go along lol. </p>
<p>Honus would you be interested in selling the suit?</p>
Sorry but the suit belongs to my friend and I don't think he has any intentions of selling it.
<p>That suit is sexy. I'd wear it in a heartbeat.</p>
Thx again I'll check back with anymore ?s
Thx again I'll check back with anymore ?s
Did you use an Apple or Microsoft computer to program
Both! Arduino is cross platform compatible with Mac, PC and Linux so you can use whichever you want.
Thanks so much I love electronics and I'm just getting started on arduino so thanks so much
Hi @Honus I was wondering if you could possibly add all the links for each one so they are separate and upgrade the links to the most currently available ones. For example <br>Shoulder rockets.....<br>Forearm missle.....<br>Helmet......<br>Back flaps.......<br>Boots........<br>Thank you so much and this instructable is amazing I will definitely be building thx again this is amazing<br>

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Abr 28, 2014

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Honus 1561
Bio: I'm a former bicycle industry designer turned professional jeweler. I like working with my hands and am happiest when I'm in the shop ... Mais »

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