Stealth Iron Man With Electronics and Servos




Introduction: Stealth Iron Man With Electronics and Servos

About: - Nerd, exercise/nutrition enthusiast, amateur cosplayer and armor maker =) Gotta use my electrical engineering degree for something!

This outlines everything I did to create my first Iron Man suit with a mechanized helmet.  I have always loved the look and concept of Tony Stark's Stealth armor.  This was the first serious costume I ever made and it was a lot of learning through the entire process.  Start to finish took me about 8 months during my free time.  I'll caveat that all these techniques or methods are by no means my own and I have learned from many great people out there.  I am simply documenting the methods I used from all the wonderful resources out there on there net.

Here's my facebook page and my cosplay blog with more WIP pictures:

Here is also a grainy video of moving around in the armor.

And my friend and I running aroudn in Iron Man suits during Halloween 2012

Photos courtesy of:
1 - David Lee, Popular Mechanics
2 - Caitlin Holland
3 - Aaron Berkovich Photography
4 - Aaron Berkovich Photography

Step 1: Form Paper Base

Materials I used for this stage:
-110lbs cardstock
-Graphtec / Silhouette SD Craft Cutter (formerly CraftROBO)
-Printer that can accommodate 110lbs cardstock
-Low temp hot glue gun + glue sticks
-Pepakura Designer
-Pepakura Viewer for Craftrobo

1) Find 3D model of the file you want to build.  Google does wonders.  The model I used for my Stealth Mk VI was made by robo3687.  These 3D models will serve as a rough geometric base of what you are trying to build
2) Download required software to open and print your paper model.  Software will show you how to glue pieces together to form the base shape of your model.
3) Cut 3D model pieces with Craftrobo
4) Use Pepakura viewer to assist you in glue required tabs together

Step 2: Harden Paper Base

Materials I used for this stage:
-EpoxAmite 100 Laminating Epoxy by Smooth-On
-Fiberglass cloth
-Chip brushes
-Disposable cups
-Organic vapor respirator
-Disposable gloves
-Disposable spoons for mixing
-60 grit sanding attachment for dremel

1) Next, I hardened the paper base with EpoxAmite 100 (while wearing gloves and an organic vapor respirator) which is an epoxy resin that is mixed in 2 parts and applied with a chip brush.  I prefer using this over polyester resin.
2) I let the resin on paper cure over night to be safe.  Once cured, the paper will be a tad bit more stiff, but will require fiberglass reinforcement in order to increase durability.  Cut strips of fiberglass cloth, and use the epoxy resin to wet out the area on the inside of each piece to where you will lay the cut pieces of cloth.
3) I covered the entire surface area of the inside of each piece.  Overlapping the outside of the piece is okay.
4) Once the fiberglass cloth cures over night, I cleaned the stray edges with a dremel with a 60 grit sanding wheel.

Step 3: Shaping With Bodyfiller

Materials I used:
-Rage Gold body filler
-U-Pol onion board
-Bondo body filler spreaders
-Bondo spot putty
-Soft Sanders sanding blocks
-Need files
-Sand paper (60 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit, 400 grit)
-Flat (matte) black spray paint
-Automotive primer spray cans

When the fiberglass stage is complete, you will have a strong piece but still geometric looking. Below is the basic process in a nutshell of how I shaped each piece and gave it more roundness:

1) Apply body filler
2) Apply matte black spray paint dust coat (basically you spray your piece lightly with black paint as a guide coat when you sand... while your sanding, you'll know where your low spots are as they will be dark)
3) 60 grit sanding
4) Repeat 1-3 until shape is appropriate (I took careful attention to add body filler to the low spots first which will be obvious because of the matt black dust coat)
5) Dust coat
6) 180 grit sanding (this will smooth out the scratch marks from the 60 grit)
7) Filler Primer (This will fill minor scratches and reveal further imperfections)
8) Added detail lines with a needle file.  These are lines that are not a part of the original 3D model that need to be etched in
9) Use bondo spot putty to fill small imperfections on shape
10) Dust coat
11) 220 grit sanding
12) Reprime to remove scratches
13) Light Dust coat
14) 400 wet sand

Step 4: Painting and Weathering

Materials I used:
-Automotive spray paint
-Automotive clear coat
-Detail paint brushes
-Black acrylic paint
-Rub N Buff pewter

1) After each piece was primed and wet sanded with 400 grit, the piece is ready to paint
2) I applied 3 cost of spray paint, 10 minutes between coats (photos 1, 4, 5)
3) 30 minutes after the last coat of colored paint, I applied 3 coats of automotive clear to protect the paint and give it some extra shine (photo 2)
4) The next day, I used a small detail brush and acrylic black paint to “dirty” up the armor.  I would apply the acrylic paint, then wipe off the excess with a wet rag. (photo 3)
5) The last part to give a damaged look is applying some Rub N Buff with a small detail brush and carefully rubbing off the excess to give a scratched metal effect (photo 3)

Step 5: Flexible Pieces

Materials I used:
-EVA foam
-Exacto knife
-Exacto board cutter (for angled cuts)
-Automotive Adhesion promoter
-Automotive spray paint
-Krylon Low Oder Clear Finish (gloss)
-Chip brush

1) I used form for pieces that I felt would need more flexibility.  I used the foam method for the hands, abs, neck, and codpiece.
2) You can google foam templates for various pieces which you will print and cut with Pepakura Viewer.
3) Once I printed and cut the template, I traced onto my foam pieces.
4) Using references pictures of the part I was trying to build, I varied the angle of cuts in order to get the appropriate shape for when the piece is glued together.
5) Once the flexible pieces were build, I sealed the foam with a layer of modpodge, then 3 coats of black plastidip
6) Automotive adhesion promoter was then applied in 3 coats, then the sprayed with color within10 minutes of the promoter drying
7) After the color paint was dry, I used the Krylon gloss to give the pieces some shine
8) I then weathered the pieces as previously described

Step 6: Mounting

Materials I used:
-Backpack strapping
-Backpack clips
-Rare earth magnets
-Dremel grinding stone
-Hot glue gun with hi temp glue stick
-Elastic straps

1) For the flexible parts, I used a combination of Velcro and rare earth magnets
2) I used a dremel with a grinding stone attachments in order to create a space where the rare earth magnet can fit (photo 1)
3) I used hi temp hot glue in order to hold the magnet in place (photo 1)
4) For the elbow joints, I hot glued elastic straps for more mobility (photo 5)
5) To join the shoulders to arms, I used hot glued backpack strapping  to easily hook the pieces together.  I did the same with the chest and back pieces. (photo 3)
6) In order for my helmet to fit, I dremeled the rear piece out and then attached magnets to the inside with Apoxie Sculpt clay. (photo 4)

Step 7: Electronics

Materials I used:
-Helping hands
-Soldering Iron
-22 gauge wire
-9v battery holders
-Scrap foam
-Hot glue
-Mylar folder
-Reed switch

1) For the gloves, I had a 9v battery holder which contained a switch.  I wired and soldered this directly to my LEDs and hot glued the LEDs to the glove
2) I cut out pieces of a mylar folder in order to diffuse the LED.
3) For the eyes, I made eye boxes out of scrap foam and attached LEDs to the inside.  More folder used to diffuse the light
4) LED eye boxes are then wired to a reed switch and a 9v battery holder.  The reed switch closes the circuit when a magnetic field is present (facemask open, eyes off – facemask closed, eyes on)
5) For the chest piece, it was more or less the same with LEDs wired and more red folders to diffuse the light.

Step 8: Mechanizing Faceplate

Materials I used
- Small servos from hobby shop
- Push rods
- Pololu Micro Maestro 6 microcontroller + Users guide
- Wire
- 100 ohm resistor
- Soldering Iron
- USB cable
- 2 x 6v rechargeable batteries
- Chicago Screws
- Sintra
- Hi temp hot glue
- Apoxie Sculpt

1) I purchased hinge plans and installation guide from another Iron Man maker to save me the time of designing hinges, although there are a lot of other good sources on the hinge topic out there
2) I made the hinges out of sintra.  I cut them to shape then sanded down the rough edges.
3) I glued Chicago screws into place for the hinges, and then used Apoxie Sculpt to fixate them in place.  I sanded down the excess as well.
4) One I had smooth movement of my faceplate, I began the installation of 2 servos in the helmet.  I experimented with different positions of the servos, but ultimately the initial suggestion of having the servos in the back of the helmet became the best working.  I hot glued them which seemed to hold fine
5) I then measured and cut down pushrods to connect the servos to the hinges.  I manually tested the motion in order to determine that the placement was satisfactory
6) I then followed the manual for the Micro Maestro microcontroller in order to wire a button to one of the chip’s channels.  This will be the button that activates the servos
7) I followed the example script in the manual in order to have a push of the button activate servo movement.  Once understanding single servo movement, I modified the script to move both servos
8) After having both servos in motion, I carefully modified the script in order to obtain the proper servo movement for my helmet.  I noticed there was a point where the servos would rotate the hinges too far, thus warping the helmet.  Once I reached that point, I returned it to a point where it would not warp.

Here's a short video of servo action on my second helmet using the same method:

Step 9: SUIT UP!

Action mode!  Thanks for reading!

Photos courtesy of:
1) Keigo Mak
4) Me =P

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    Question 3 years ago on Step 9

    Hi, great job! How arms and legs joints are made (images please)? Thanks.


    Question 4 years ago

    How big is it? Can I buy it from you?


    6 years ago

    How do you see out of the helmet?


    6 years ago

    Seen this ages ago and once again dude amazing work


    7 years ago

    Would you make and seek it to me? This is so awesome!!


    Reply 7 years ago

    Sorry typo sell


    7 years ago

    Yeah how much would all this cost


    7 years ago on Introduction

    what scale did you use? I'm scared that my suit could be too big in the end


    8 years ago on Introduction

    do have to use rage gold or can you use another body filler


    8 years ago on Introduction


    I was able to make the first Cut out model however its too big, can you teach me how to re scale the size? I already have all the PDO files from head to foot of the armour, I just like to make an armour fit me. I am 5 11" height also the foot dimension too. please email me at


    8 years ago

    Here's an older ad

    14, 12:25 AM.jpg14, 12:25 AM.jpg14, 12:25 AM.jpg14, 12:25 AM.jpg

    8 years ago

    Did you know theres a guy in NJ posting he made your Iron Man & scamming ppl?


    Reply 8 years ago

    Oh wow, no I didn't. Do you have a link you can send me?


    8 years ago on Step 9

    wow.. awesome.. i unable to finish this project of mine.
    Wish i found this earlier.