Author Topic: Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build  (Read 11590 times)


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Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build
« on: October 11, 2012, 01:02:25 PM »
I want to share a project I'm working on. I'm building an Iron Man Mark IV suit out of foam using a 3D model in Maya, Pepakura to unfold the model, a laser to cut out all the pieces, and a lot time in assembly. I'm not sure how I'll be painting it yet, I've got a ways to go and will decide which method to use after some testing. Some possibilities even include coating the suit with plastic to create a rigid suit. The arc reactor should be a lot of fun to build, and I'll be posting that as well. I'm saving the helmet for last, when my skills using foam are at their peak... I hope. The helmet will also include a microcontroller to control the shield open/close and control the lights in the eyes. The helmet will likely include voice recognition to activate the helmets features.
Here's where I was in the build when it was suggested I create a build thread.

To get started you'll need some foam. I found this foam at Sears to $24.99 a roll.

I found a low res Iron Man 3D model. In Maya, I edited and cleaned up the model, then I started to separate the body parts for unwrapping.

Pepakura is an amazing unwrapping program and it only costs $37. I've been using it for many years now, and it keeps getting better. There are a lot of pep files on the net, and I followed the cut lines from what others have done. I probably won't do this again as it resulted in a lot of fixes in the gluing process. Next time I will probably create my own model from scratch, but with this being my first foam suit build, I wanted a little help getting started.

After unwrapping I calculated I needed four rolls of foam. Here I am cutting the foam into 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets for the laser.


The laser cutting out the foam pieces. The laser cut really fast through the foam, and the most time consuming part was taping the foam sheet down as it had a slight curve to it from being on a roll.

Here's what the foam sheets looked like laid out on the lab floor. These are just for the legs.

Using a Milwaukee Mini Beltsander I'm putting a miter into a piece of foam for the foot. This tool works amazing and you can get GREAT miters.

This pic shows the miters in the foam foot pieces.

I use a dremel with a drum attachment to sand a vee groove into the back of the foam where I want it to fold.

You can see the sanded edges and the sanded vee groove. The little fuzzies on the edge disappear with a heat gun.

I put a thin bead of CA glue on the outermost edge, so I can concentrate on the exact edge when holding the pieces together.

Here's a foot glued together. Looks pretty good but I don't care for the vee grooved edge on the top of the toe. I think I'd like a hard edge here and will just cut it and miter it.

So what I've found so far, at least for me that there are at least two kinds of edges.
1) hard edge miter - done with the milwaukee mini beltsander (most just cut it with scissors)
2) soft round - done by dremeling the backedge with a vee groove
As you progress you'll see how proficient you'll become at creating great edges of the foam.
Here are the back pieces laid out and ready for assembly.

This is the back strap, and you see how I use a combination of edges.

The edges are mitered.

Now the backedge vee groove.

The strap with the two miters, now it time to fold.

Here's the back strap assembled into the back. Sorry,I jumped a bit but I found that by putting a small bevel on the edges of the foam in certain places yields awesome results as you can see in the picture.
 Another picture of the back.

The back nearly completely assembled. Note: the beveled outer edges of the foam.
Here's a picture of the back placed on FamiLAB's mannequin.

Now it's time for the chest front and getting ready for the... Arc Reactor. Stay tuned.
The front of the chest is done and you can see how well the bevels are working.


More to come...
Thursday, October 11th
All systems are at a stop.
Went to the lab to put in a few hours and opened a new tube of CA Glue only to find that Bob Smith brand which is usually sold with local hobby store labels leaves an incredible amount of whiting or whatever you call it. I've been using Zap-A-Gap since the beginning of CA glues, and I love the stuff. My local store didn't have any Zap, so I bought a tube of Great Planes and their local store (bob smith) brand. In this picture you'll see the edges of the foam where I used my last tube of Zap, it's clean and nearly no whiting. Then I used a tube of Great Planes and I started to see a little white starting to happen on the edges, but I could live with that. Then I opened the Bob Smith brand and there was alot of white forming and I stopped. I just couldn't believe the difference, and I even scraped most of it off in the picture. Well, gotta go look for Zap... Pat
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 01:46:41 PM by P47 »


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Re: Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 01:42:43 PM »
Excellent write-up! You should REALLY consider making this into a FamiLab blog post and submitting it to hackaday. People eat this kind of stuff up and it would be great publicity for both you and the lab.  I'm not sure if you want to wait until you're done with the suit to do a full write up or submit it at this stage.


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Re: Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 05:40:54 PM »
Perfect detail -- Thanks for the write up PAT..  you are an inspiration to me.
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Re: Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 07:57:24 PM »
I've decided that anytime I want to build anything, I'm calling Pat first!


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Re: Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012, 02:13:12 PM »
Who's Bob Smith?  :P

Nice project blog thread!


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Re: Iron Man Mark IV Suit Build
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 09:10:22 AM »
Nice write up Pat. I just wanted to share a link with you in case you were unaware of it. This guy has made a few iron man suits and lots of tuts on his site.

Also, off topic, but in regards to the mascot suit you are working on, this site may be informative. ----> [size=78%][/size]

I hope this helps.