With the incredible popularity of Marvel’s cinematic universe, it’s no surprise that people are making Iron Man suits of armour. But most of those are for costumes and cosplay. “Most” is important, because not all are doing that—for instance, Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame, has built a set of Iron Man armour that actually flies.
The project is part of a new show that Savage is working on for the Science Channel about extreme engineering. During one episode, Savage did an appearance at the Colorado School of Mines. The school has a 3D printer that can print in titanium, and they offered to print anything for Savage. Of course, Savage asked, “How about a full suit of Iron Man armour?” The school jumped at the opportunity. They worked with EOS, the company that does the printing. Using files from Marvel Studios, they created printable files, and then ran the print.
The suit came out looking just as Tony Stark would have made it. In fact, Savage notes that, “It sounds like hyperbole, but I swear, if Tony Stark were not fictional and he were making an Iron Man suit right now, this is precisely how he would do it and this is the technology he would be using.” The suit uses pieces made of titanium, urethane, and even nylon.
Richard Browning, founder and test pilot of Gravity Industries, which builds 1,000 horsepower jet suits, came on the project to help Savage gain flight. Savage, who actually has background that includes circus training, was able to pick up the use of the jet packs relatively quickly. Ultimately, however, it was Browning that donned the suit for the flight. Browning’s flight was a success, with Browning achieving a height of around 15 feet, flying from the ground to a nearby platform.
As a proof of concept, the suit did, in fact, fly. Granted, it’s not the sleek armour that Tony Stark wears in the movies and in comic books, but it is a small step toward that. Now we just need a viable power source and repulsor technology.