Adam Savage is working on a new engineering-based show for Science Channel called Savage Builds, and flying a set of real bulletproof titanium Iron Man armor is the subject of an episode of the show. The episode started when Adam visited the Colorado School of Mines, and was told, hey, anything you want to make using our 3d metal printing technology, you let us know.
So of course the first thing that popped into his head was real flying Iron Man armor.
Only Adam Savage could pull off something like this. Pause the Krypton Radio stream using the handy controller at the upper right before watching this outrageous video.
Using EOS 3d metal printers, they created a full suit of bulletproof metal pieces, using a metal powder, 40 microns in diameter. That’s about half the thickness of a human hair when it’s spread out flat, and the EOS printers use a scanning laser to fuse the metal into the finished parts.
The suit is comprised of about 280 parts, all strapped and bolted together. It’s made mostly of 3d printed titanium, but some parts are urethane, fiberglass and other materials. It all goes on more or less like a suit of knight’s armor, and it’s printed up from the original 3d files for the Mark II suit from the movies.
The flight part of the suit, the technology that lifts the whole thing off the ground, is tech created by Richard Browning, founder and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries. The flight pack being used delivers about a thousand horsepower, generated by five engines that idle at 3,800 RPM. It takes about 90 seconds for the engines to reach full power.
After about two days of practice, Adam decided that he was probably unsafe to try to fly the Iron Man suit, so they strapped Browning into the suit.
“If Tony Stark were not a fictional person and he were building an Iron Man suit right now, this is precisely how he would do it and this is exactly the technology he would be using.”
Adam Savage, like NCIS‘ Tim McGee (and all the rest of us) has always wanted to fly a jet pack.
“It’s hot, it’s incredibly noisy, and it’s absolutely magical.,” says Savage of the jet pack in the video. Browning compared the Iron Man armore to “wearing a massive wet suit.”
Savage spent two days practicing with the jet pack, while wearing a safety harness in case things got out of hand.
“I have learned enough about using this device over the past couple of days to know that I should not put on the Iron Man armor and try and do this”, observes Savage, “but that’s OK, we’re prototyping the suit, not my ability to fly in the suit.” That’s when he decided that it should be Browning to do the actual test flight. Therefore, Browning did the actual test flight.
“The number of different things and threads and connections that came together to make this work, including my friendship with Richard, it’s like this perfect kismet,” relates Savage.
To check out the history of jet packs aka rocket belts, watch this extra video. It details the history of rocket and jet packs, and where the technology is going.
All done? You can turn on the Krypton Radio music stream now. The control is where you left it, at the upper right of the page.
So what do you think? Ready to fly one yourself? All you need is a large pile of money and a titanium spine. And probably a few other titanium body parts as well.