Instructables

Arduino-controlled, Aluminum Archangel Costume Wings

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I have always loved the Marvel character Archangel. When my brother, (Shameless plug alert) budding comic book artist David Fernandez, showed me pics of a cosplay convention he went to I thought "wouldn't it be awesome if someone made life-size archangel wings?".

The idea sank into the depths of my mind and had a death grip on my brain. I searched around to see if anyone had attempted it before and all I found were a few guys that made wings out of cardboard, while some went far enough to use aluminum foil. Someone had to do justice to the character! Someone had to MAKE IT REAL! So, I took it upon myself to do so. 

In order to make them to scale but not too heavy to move around, I made them from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum sheets that were 1/32" thin. I have to say, that stuff is awesome. It's a bit pricey, but so strong and resistant to deformation is unbelievable.

I didnt want the wings to just be static or flop around on my back, so I decided to add in some gizmos to make them move. I wired up some gloves with push-button switches in the fingertips that controlled 4 continuous rotation servos which would in turn wind up a high strength fishing line to pull the wings closed. To open them back again, the wing panels were connected with spring hinges.

DISCLAIMERS 
This is my first Instructable, so please forgive me if I dont have super detailed photos of every step. If anything is unclear just ask. Also, I'm pretty new to the maker scene so these wings were built entirely at my home where I have no shop or the tools found therein, just a dremel and a basic power drill. In hindsight, there are at least 972 things I'd do differently if I could go back. I dont claim that anything here is the best way to do it, its just the way I did it. With that said, I'd love to hear what you all think! As there are a lot of details in this project, I'll assume for this instructable that I dont need to be super explicit about things like stripping wires, soldering, connecting the arduino to a computer, etc.

More documentation and photos of the actual build process can be found here on my blog: http://adielfernandez.blogspot.com/

Finally, here's a video of them working. This was taken before they got the last bit of polish and detailing they have in the photo above.

 
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pimbvlo3 months ago

You're the man, this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen

lmanga4 months ago
This, dear sir, is truly the pinnacle of perfection and mastery. I cannot congratulate you enough on these and I cannot thank you enough on the instructions to make these! I will most definitely be trying to recreate a pair of my own, however I might need to find a bit of help to work with the Arduino. I would greatly appreciate if we could exchange emails so that you could monitor my process. Once again, true talent.
clampant9 months ago
This is pretty amazing...any plans to do the (classic) purple-and-blue suit from the Fall of the Mutants storyline? http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/3209_4_0024.jpg
VERY cool wings! I could see someone modifying this to go with a steampunk costume. I hope you dulled the edges so they aren't sharp!
Steampunk. Awsome idea. It would be perfect!
AMAZING!!!!! Well done :0)
BrokenTrace9 months ago
In a future build you might look at either carbon fiber tube or fiberglass tent poles. Then stretch a silver Mylar blanket over it. Serious weight reduction.
Advar10 months ago
Not one of my fav xmen. That being said...
Frelling AWSOME!!!! :)
'Nuf said.
If your etched lines are basically straight, you could also have used a "carbide tipped laminate scoring knife" (Google it) and a straight edge. Cuts a small, clean groove depending on how hard you apply pressure (and how many passes you make, if you want it deeper)
duckie681 year ago
Do you recall how thick the aluminum sheets were?
WUN-DER-BAR!!!
ecsaul232 years ago
congrats on the arduino challenge
Ryutso2 years ago
Is this the 5V Arduino Pro Mini?

Also, could I get a picture of the back of your protoboard so I can see how you soldered all the connections together.
COVET!
Very interesting. If you doubled the wingspan and maybe cut out some of the extra weight, and put it on a relatively light person, it would be enough for flight, at least for shirt periods of time. The only problem is support then, but I think that would be solved by thick wire armatures.
Ryutso2 years ago
So you just wear the harness and all on the outside of your clothes, or is there some clever trickery here?
AdielFernandez (author)  Ryutso2 years ago
Nope, no trickery. Just a black harness that camouflages with the black vest :)
Is there a way to hide the harness under the clothes and still have the wings move?
lherbert22 years ago
This is realllly cool. How much did this cost you?
AdielFernandez (author)  lherbert22 years ago
WAAAAAY more than I thought it would, lol. The raw sheet metal alone was almost $300. With all the other components, hardware and miscellaneous items Im sure it was close to $700-800 over the course of about 8 months.
adaobi2 years ago
I saw you with the wings in person at the 2011 Maker Faire . Very awesome indeed.
MarcosC2 years ago
Very cool!! It also makes me remember that old cartoon, The Batfink!! I am thinking about to make the wings to Halloween Party at my college. Great job!
hammer98762 years ago
Bloody awesome!
Angelbane2 years ago
I bow to the awesomeness. I remember the issue that Archangel came to be and instantly thought that was the most awesome comic character ever... still do.
If I could pull of spandex id make 2 sets of these one full set like this and a stubby set (the completely folded up version).
lordcaradoc2 years ago
Warren Worthington III would be proud. :D

Really nice job and I'm jealous.
egodsky2 years ago
Pretty cool!!
ironman01042 years ago
I have used Future floor polish as a protective coating on models and on Aluminum. I think it could work to protect the wings but it would give it a gloss coat and you can use a flat paint (acyric) in the future to make it more flat if desired. You did a great job and I hope this might work. You could try it on a small test piece of aluminum to determine if it would work for you. You can airbrush the Future without thinning but clean with windex after you spray because it will clog up the airbrush.
ZachFejes2 years ago
Well done sir. This is amazing.
de_evans2 years ago
WAY awesome. And I love that you used mostly Stuff That Is Lying Around Home Depot.
10er5122 years ago
Sorry for a dumb question, but do you really always need the arduino board to be able to construct prototypes? or can the software be used to program a custom circuit?

I'm new with this arduino thing.
AdielFernandez (author)  10er5122 years ago
Hey,

Its not a dumb question, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean. I'll try and answer it best I can (I'm a novice too!).

The arduino just makes it easy to go from idea to working prototype, particularly the Uno because it has the headers that allow you to just plug wires into each of the pins quickly without soldering anything.

If you are more experienced with circuit building and fabrication, you can potentially use the same microchip that the arduino uses (usually the atmega328 - they sell it by itself with the arduino program or "bootloader" on it already, its only like 3 bucks) and integrate it into your own custom circuit board.

I'm not that experienced so I tend to go from using the Uno to something more sleek and permanent like the Arduino Pro Mini. I hope this answered your question.

I'm sure someone else more experience than me can chime in :)
As a fellow Archangel fan, I have to say this is pretty amazing. Good job!
LucDaRocka12 years ago
my little brother wants to know if u can fly with those......
AdielFernandez (author)  LucDaRocka12 years ago
Not quite, lol
oh, hes dissapointed now...... hes only 4
if only we could fly with thought then we would enter a knew renaissance of technology (fruck)
facklere2 years ago
I'll never make this, but I definitely want to now. That is awesome.
megaduty2 years ago
Pretty cool indeed!
ezarate2 years ago
that is really cool, nice instructable