The day has come, the year is here and the future is now. In Back to the Future Part II, Marty and the Doc travel to the near future, what date do they arrive on? October 21st, 2015.
My love for dynamic wearables and the movie Back the Future Part II sparked the desire to make Marty McFly's auto-adjusting jacket a reality. Taking a glimpse into a future where auto-sizing garments can exist, the jacket sleeves start off too long, then go up as if they are auto-adjusting to the correct size. This happens by using a 3D printed pulley mechanism and micro gearmotors. When a button on the jacket hem is pushed, cables are wound around a pulley, drawing the sleeves up. The cables are threaded through a simple tube system built inside the jacket and sleeves.
I started with a bought jacket as a base to build on. Any jacket can be used that has sleeves. It's best to start with one that is made from heavier material, such as real or faux leather. The mechanism will be sewn to it and a bit of force will be applied. A thin material may sag and not perform well under pressure from movement.
The gears are left exposed, if I were to design a garment from scratch a place for them to be hidden could be designed in as well. For this project, something would need to be added, such as a hood or maybe a back pack. In my opinion, adding a cover to the mechanism would add unnecessary bulk plus the gears look very cool on their own.
Jacket and Sleeve Materials + Tools
- Halloweencostumes.com BTTF 2 Jacket : Mine is a size Medium
- 3 yards of grey polyester poplin
- 5 to 8 yards of medium weight black fusible interfacing (yardage depends on width).
- 2 yards of stiff fusible, the stiffer, the better. I found some that was a non-woven and was laminated. It felt like plastic and worked very well.
- Ribbed black vinyl runner : Get enough to cover 2.5" x 40" (jacket hem) and 1.25" x 20" (jacket cuffs). It can be found at a local hardware store in different widths and sold by the foot.
- 3 yards of 3/16" clear vinyl tubing : I found some at my local hardware store.
- Strong braided cord : I used fishermen sinking braid called TUF- Line
- 2 red square tactile switches (one is just for show)
- 1 DPDT rocker switch
- 1 yellow or orange LED
- Heavy-duty red thread
- 1/4 yard of black eye tape (you do not need the hook side)
- Small piece of red and grey leather
- Heavy-duty hand needles
- Seam ripper
- Sharp scissors
#96415K71 316 Stainless Steel Precision Ball, 1/8" Diameter
#94150A305 Metric Type 316 Stainless Steel Hex Nut, M2 Size, .4mm Pitch, 4mm Width, 1.6mm Height
#90116A007 Metric 316 Stainless Steel Pan Head Phillips Machine Screw, M2 Size, 3mm Length, .4mm Pitch
#90116A020 Metric 316 Stainless Steel Pan Head Phillips Machine Screw, M2 Size, 10mm Length, .4mm Pitch
#92000A001 Metric 316 Stainless Steel Pan Head Phillips Machine Screw, M1.6 Size, 3mm Length, .35mm Pitch
2 #1097 150:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor
- 3D printer
- Sewing machine
- Laser cutter
- Walking-foot sewing machine for sewing on black vinyl hem and cuffs.