Displayed here is my halloween 2012 project. After tinkering with Arduino for a few months and needing a costume for Halloween, I decided to mix the two. I didn't just want to make any Iron Man suit though. I wanted this suit to be as technologically functional as possible.
I tried to make this project as cheap and easy for the beginning DIY hobbyist/hacker as possible (being one)!!! The tools required are a hot glue gun, soldering iron, and a dremel tool (and a hole punch lol). Basic electronics knowledge will be required, like knowledge of resistors, servos, circuits, Ohm's Law, and how they all work together to make the unified circuit that powers the suit.
The method for making all the armor parts is the usual pepakura method. My modifications were the use of foamcore as a material, and papier mache as a finish (dont use a papier mache finish! it really doesn't work well!) and then spraypaint in metallic gold and red.
Electronics wise, I used an Arduino Uno R3 as the controller, along with a few servos (~$2 each), LEDs (~$5 for 50), resistors, microswitches and some wire. Basic soldering skills will be needed to put all of these together. (It's really not hard to solder I promise. Just read up online, start with a cheap iron and upgrade once you start loving this hobby, because you will).
This project took me about three months due to its simplicity, but could've been shorter if I hadn't started from scratch regarding the wiring and programming.
Good luck and happy building!
Step 1: General Framework of the Suit Using Foamcore
- Foamcore board (you could use rolls of plastazote foam)
- Pepakura print outs
- Hot glue gun
- Masking tape
- X-acto knife
- Dremel tool (optional in this step)
OUTLINE (should not be used as a substitute for reading actual steps)
1) Download software and files
2) Cut out pieces for the parts
3) Hot glue together
4) Use dremel to smooth down
1. Download Pepakura Designer, a useful piece of software that allows you to convert 3D models into pages of 2D shapes that can be cut out and glued together to recreate the 3D models. The free alternative is Pepakura Viewer, which allows you to view conversions done by others. This is our starting point. Download all the .pdo files from this forum and open them in the viewer.
(credit goes to Dancin_Fool for creating these AMAZING files for everyone to use. thanks!)
NOTE: You can also find files for other versions of the Iron Man suit.
These files work well when you're about 6' tall, but if you want to resize them, use the scale function in Designer to change their sizes. You might need to try a few parts to find the right scale.
2. Cut out a shape from the page, use the masking tape to hold it on the foamcore (buy them 2-3 at a time as you go), and then cut it out with the X-Acto knife. Do this for all the pieces on each part. Curve and bend the parts to the required 3D shape and then, use masking tape to tape on each part to the previous one. You will see the general shape of the part begin to form and this will prevent confusion later on.
Work on one part at a time. I find it easier to work on mirrored parts simultaneously (like the becep, forearm, shoulder, thigh, shin). Basically, after cutting each part from the foamcore, flip the piece over and trace it out again to make the mirror image. Cut out the mirror image and use it to make the mirrored version of the part for the other side. This is very efficient to quickly make right and left side parts at the same time.
3. After you are satisfied with the shape that your part has taken on, you can hot glue it together. Add a continuous and thick line of hot glue along the edge of the foamcore piece. The pieces will hold their shape because of the masking tape. Try not to agitate the glue while it is cooling because this really does affect the strength of the bond. After you are done gluing it all together, let it sit for a solid 2 minutes or so before touching it again.
DO NOT TOUCH THE PART UNTIL THE GLUE HAS COOLED AND SET! I cannot emphasize how important this is!
4. After step 3, the joints between pieces should have some hot glue that has oozed out of the joints between pieces. Use a disposable cutting wheel on a rotary tool and gently run it along the edges to smooth down the glue. This will probably mess up the cutting wheel, but you should need only 1-2 cutting wheels for the whole build.
If this entire step was done well, you will have a good foundation to work off of. Try not to keep test-fitting the pieces until they're done as this will wear them down. Foamcore parts are not very flexible, so they represent rigid armor better, but decrease the amount of allowed movement. Go with plastazote foam, found in rolls at places like Home Depot, if you would like a more flexible material.
I will also cover some of the parts individually in more detail, as far as wiring, fasteners, and painting go.