Introduction: Build the H.U.L.C Suit From the Movie Elysium

After seeing the movie Elysium, with Matt Damon, I knew I had to do the costume for Halloween! This was a challenging build and my first time working with foam. This build took a month and over 100 hours.

I'm a huge fan of Neill Blomkamp, I also did a District 9 costume some years back.

https://www.instructables.com/id/District-9-themed-...

The cost was surprisingly low though. PIC HEAVY instructable! Enjoy guys! PLEASE be sure and VOTE!

Step 1: Inspiration

After scouring the internet for every screenshot and piece of concept art I could find, this is what I came up with. I did not do any mock ups or drawings of my own. I measured on my body relative to the pictures and drew on the foam.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

Tools:
Hack saw, scissors, pipe cutter, sander, band saw, pliers, hot knife, soldering iron, xacto knife, drill press, hot glue gun, high heat


Materials:
4pack garage floor foam mat, various thickness craft foam, metal wire coat hangers, high heat hot glue, various nuts, bolts and washers, 1/2" PVC, wood dowel, elastic string, nylon straps, velcro, needle, thread, eye screws, paint..... Lots of paint.... Spray on plastidip, old phone (for blue back lit LCD), 9 volt battery, led light, spare wiring.

Step 3: The Chest

I started by tracing out my chest piece on the thick foam mat and cutting it out with an exacto knife. I reinforced it with metal coat hanger wire from behind. Cutting a slot and use high strength hot glue to secure. I then added detail with a hot knife and layered thinner pieces of foam. I "weathered" it to make it look beaten and scratched, by melting the foam with the hot knife.

Step 4: The Arms

I used the same method as be for, cutting and strengthening with wire, to form the arms. I made loops with the wire to reinforce the holes where the points would be located. securing the joints with washers as well. I also used thick aluminum bar for the very top joint, as seen in the picture. I also glued on nuts to give it that industrial look. I cut out and attached the fore arm guards to corrugated plastic, attacking with aluminum plating. For the final touches, I coated with the spray plastadip, black paint and silver on the edges to make the metal look worn.

Step 5: The Back

After cutting out the parts, I added a joint in the back to give better mobility. I used one long, thick piece and attached all of the back segments to the strip. accenting with thin foam and large washers, detailing with a hot knife. Almost all gluing was done with high strength hot glue. In hind sight, the joints and thinner areas could have done with a stronger adhesive. I used the same paint method as before, plastadip and painting

Step 6: The Legs

The legs proved to be a greater challenge, needing a high range of motion and still looking the part. The same construction and paint process as detailed in the previous pages. I used a ton of straps and Velcro here!

Step 7: The Pistons

The biggest issue I ran into was the fact I used hot glue to build the pistons, attaching the washers to the PVC. Had I used epoxy instead this would have held up better. but I was in a time crunch and rushed it! I used PVC and wood dowel to form the piston body, capping it with a washer and using eyelet screws to attach. the pistons were held in place with a piece of string elastic. They worked really well and looked amazing!

Step 8: Head Piece

This was tricky, I took apart an old land line phone and used the LCD for the back panel. wiring it together with a blinking green LED to a 9V battery. Same construction process as detailed before. I attached it to my head with hair clips. this proved difficult to say the least!

Step 9: Putting It All Together

I attached everything with nylon straps an Velcro, most of which I hid under my blood stained shirt. I cut holes for the straps to go through. Most of the joints were attached with plain nuts and bolts, with lock-tite. It's easy to see in the pictures how this thing went together, then trying to explain in text!

Step 10: Final Thoughts.

I was really pleased with the outcome of this costume, people were blown away! mobility was great and everything actuated as it should have. As I said before, the biggest mistake I made was using high strength hot glue as my only adhesive. This was the first time I have ever worked with foam, so please be kind! I also made a pistol form the movie to go with the costume, but that's another episode ;-)

Comments

author
Antzy Carmasaic (author)2015-07-12

Nice work. The LCD head looks great. Voted for you

author

Thanks for the vote and the complement!

author
AreThreeSeaTea (author)2016-09-01

Nice build, best cheap exo suit I've seen. Would you be able to attach a full list of the materials and tools used as well as downloadable schematic files, that would be awesome!

author
diybomber834 (author)2016-01-21

could you make a vault 111 suit how to im a big fan boy of fallout4

author

I plan on doing some fallout related stuff, just not sure when I will get around to it! thanks though!

author
diybomber834 (author)2016-01-21

is it a prop or a real exo suit?

author
RianC1 (author)2015-09-10

plz make 1 with less requirements or tell me other materials I could use to make this cause this looks super cool!

author
desertsniper (author)RianC12015-09-14

Well, I think this is about the most simple (and cheap) way to make a convincing exo-skeleton. What issues are you having with this build? maybe I can help?

author

Really intereting, how much does foam cost?

author

Thanks, I think I got 4 large 1" tiles (24"x24"?) for 20$ and at craft/ hobby store its around 50 cent for a thin 1/8" sheets. the only down side is you have to coat in plastidip spay before you paint, or normal spray paints will eat the foam. hope this helps!

author
Louietactical (author)2015-07-19

Awesome! I want to buy it how much?

author

Unfortunately, the suit only lasted about 4 or 5 Halloween parties. The hot glue I used to hold the piston together gave out. It is no longer usable. I do custom work, if you would like something commissioned please PM me. thank you for the intrest!

author

Thank you for replying! You are very talented! I'm working on a new shooting vid for my yt channel and really want to end the vid with an exo suit in action blasting away. I would buy the one you made if you change your mind. Just give me a price. Maybe you can reglue the Pistons. Anyways keep up the awesome work brother! Here's my yt channel if you're curious on what kind of vids I do. The suit would be epic in my new one! Best regards,

Louie

www.youtube.com/louietactical

author
MadMike3 (author)2015-07-16

well, very interesting, when I first saw the instructable, I thought some one had created a real cheap exo thingy, then the word foam cropped up, lol, looks good/great even, not seen the movie however, but as got me to thinking, along the lines of someone else who seems interested in a real world unit,. When carbon nano tubes go mainstream, thats the weight sorted, fluid for hydrolics, soz my spelling. pnematics, may not be up to the task, newer tech batteries supply what ever we can come up with, I have not yet hasd the privalage of seeing ur iron man suit... 3d printing is abot to take off big time in all of various materials ,,, titanium being one, the future is looking scary........................................

nice one though

author
desertsniper (author)MadMike32015-07-16

Elysium is a great movie, check it out! The future definitely have some amazing things on the horizon. thanks for the complement!

author
Honus (author)2015-07-10

Awesome job!

author
desertsniper (author)Honus2015-07-14

Also i'm a huge fan of your work. My fiancé and I made our own wedding rings. I studied your posts thoroughly, your ironman suit is amazing.

author
Honus (author)desertsniper2015-07-14

Thanks! That's really cool that you were able to make your own rings!

After Elysium came out I immediately wanted to make a H.U.L.C. suit but I never thought of using eyelets for the ends of the actuators- that's a super cheap solution as the Igus rod ends Weta used aren't inexpensive.

author
desertsniper (author)Honus2015-07-15

We ended up using "a wedding ring experience" a site dedicated to just such a venture. they provided a class and all the tools. I used a silver and gold Mokume Gane billet for my ring and she used white gold. ill post a pic when I can.

I had contemplated doing a better build, using poly or pvc sheet, aluminum rod/tube and the actual rod connectors. but it would end up costing about 1.5k. plus I had less then a month for the build. I though of this way, I even used foam plugs in the eyelets, washers and springs in areas that needed greater mobility. the entire project cost around 100$

author
Honus (author)desertsniper2015-07-15

That's awesome. Mokume is really neat. I have a funny story about it but it's too long to post here... :)

Yeah the identical rod ends for the suit would have cost around $200 so that wasn't going to work for me either. I thought about taking one and molding it so I could cast duplicates.

author
desertsniper (author)Honus2015-07-14

thanks!

author
pjhrtr (author)2015-07-13

Awesome job! Great eye for detail. Much kudos for your tenacity to research all the design elements, & I'm very impressed with all of your work that went into developing the look. Though it appears metallic, all the foam must be generally comfortable (if not somewhat warm in the contact areas) -as opposed to a full on enclosed costume which would become stifling to walk around in! **And this is one that (like many artists) you can just continue to add to & improve (or move on to the next challenge!). -Had you ever considered using real "pistons"? You may be able to acquire a surplus of (benign) single-use medical syringes of wide diameter (I have a box of these from a friend who takes insulin) -and actually capture the expansion/ contraction energy with (clear, flexible) surgical tubing routed to a manifold (centralized container with valves) & produce power from body movement!

Just a thought. Of course, this is clearly the opposite of the intention of this strength augmenting design, but in my book, once you get it air (pneumo)-tight and the system shows itself to be useful, this may embolden one to look into coordinating micro valves with small "jelly adhesive" electrodes that would actually amplify one's movement.

ok, found a few examples to consider:

Muscle sensor circuit: https://www.instructables.com/id/Muscle-EMG-Sensor-...

Air muscle controller: https://www.instructables.com/id/Air-Muscles-Make-a...

(further)

Neurofeedback with Arduino https://www.instructables.com/id/Control-any-gadget...

3d Print An Artificial Muscle Robot Hand https://www.instructables.com/id/3d-Print-An-Artifi...

Mind Control of motors via Bluetooth: https://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Bluetooth-t...

Position sensing flex-sensors https://www.instructables.com/id/Soft-Circuit-Posit...

And lastly... maybe add an assisting robotic arm... made it this far!

https://www.instructables.com/id/Proof-of-concept-R...

(ok, got a little carried away with what was relevant in the search for "neuro")

With such an array of sensors & valves, I would recommend a panel of variable resistors to adjust the signal (and strength or reaction time) manually, until time you're able to integrate this baby with some kind of bio-feedback suit with potentially a programmable multi-channel arduino board to coordinate different modes or settings. Sound too involved for a beginning entry in realistic costume art? Going practical mechatronics? My friend, I'm not the expert here, but many others are. I just wanted to offer some inspiration that if you are this motivated to get the thing produced this far.... a little further may yield something actually useful!!! History is replete with sci-fi moving the bar of what humanity can accomplish.

*And I saw this movie 2x in the theater... which never happens. It was a very realistic possible future, in my book. Also, one aspect of the exo-suits resonated with a very useful concept I had a few years ago, which I believe your work is relighting my motivation to develop!

Why not?

Love to hear some of your thoughts on this.

My Best,

Phil

author
desertsniper (author)pjhrtr2015-07-14

Thank you! yes the suit turned out really well. as far as a usable exo-skeleton, that would be awesome, my electronics skills are a bit lacking. My workshop is also pretty limited, as is funding. It would be a worthy challenge though! let me know what you come up with and thanks for your intrest!

author
Georgeh3 (author)2015-07-12

Now to make something from some air pistons that will actually allow lifting :)

author
desertsniper (author)Georgeh32015-07-14

now that would be something! I think id need a better shop lol.

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nickton (author)2015-07-10

so dorky it is kool. wow.

author
desertsniper (author)nickton2015-07-14

thanks!

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Roshan the innovator (author)2015-07-10

nice work..!

author

thank you!

author
Ginko Balboa (author)2015-07-12

Please send some schematics how did you connect the Suit to the Cerebral Cortex. Just kidding, but looks pretty real almost as it only lacks a connection to the brain. Keep up the good work!

author

thank you very much!

author
TracRat (author)2015-07-12

very impressive. I like the way you made the pistons. Using the elastic string was a great idea. Thanks for the share!

author
desertsniper (author)TracRat2015-07-14

The pistons were very tricky, I had tried a few different versions before settling on this one, thanks!

author
riocruz (author)2015-07-12

wow! wish I could be that detailed! this is insanely awesome!

author
desertsniper (author)riocruz2015-07-14

Thank you!

author
MichaelR5 (author)2015-07-12

Very nicely done. With your creative adaptability, you could do costume design work. They're all about making things look good enough for film, without spending too much time or money. I think you have a great balance between them.

author
desertsniper (author)MichaelR52015-07-14

That would be my dream job! I have some other projects to post for up coming contests, stay tuned! and thank you!

author
wallaby84 (author)2015-07-13

GENIAL!!!! Asombroso!!!!, congratulation my frend, is a good job realy!!!

author
desertsniper (author)wallaby842015-07-14

Thanks!

author
jkieler (author)2015-07-12

It doesn't look right on him

author
liam.plybon.3 (author)2015-07-10

That's cool!

author

Thank you!

author
alltrades72 (author)2015-07-10

Very very impressive... your ingenuity and attention to detail are amazing! you have a true talent, looking forward to seeing your future creations. Very well done

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desertsniper (author)alltrades722015-07-10

Thank you! I have some awesome posts coming soon! please favorite and vote.

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yavr (author)2015-07-10

really very nicely done, just one thing some pictures gives the idea that left and right drawings and cutting are not balanced or equal. But you have done a very nice job. good luck.

author
desertsniper (author)yavr2015-07-10

Thanks! It was a really tough build and I was some what rushed. some parts were not exact copies, but was later fixed.

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