How ‘Adam Savage’ Built His Personal ‘Iron Man Suit’

Photo: marvelousRoland | | CC BY-SA 2.0

Adam Savage, a former host of Mythbusters, has successfully created his fully-functioning Iron Man suit through 3-D Printing. This fun project is for his new Discovery TV series titled Savage Builds.

Savage collaborated with Colorado School of Mines for the 3-D printing of the suit, Gravity Industries for the suit’s flight feature, and a whole crew for the assembly of its approximately 280 pieces. Instead of iron, the entire suit was made of titanium.

Savage recounts that the project started when he went to Colorado School of Mines to deliver a speech. Craig Brice, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Program, shared about their campus’ facilities as Savage talked about a new show in Discovery.

“They said, ‘We got these really big 3D printers that can print Titanium,'” Savage recalls, “If you want to print something weird, let us know.” What’s the first idea that popped into his head? Iron Man Suit.

The Colorado School of Mines has the leading program on Advanced Manufacturing and building an Iron Man Suit was just the right type of fun project they were interested in. 

Building the Iconic Iron Man Suit

To start building the Iron Man Suit, Savage needed to acquire design plans. The show has contacted Marvel Studios, and they sought for the design plans for the Iron Man Suit. Savage received the digital model files from Legacy Effects Studios.  

That’s right, Savage’s suit is based on the original Mark II prototype Iron Man suit.   

After gaining the design plans, Brice and Savage started working on printing approximately 280 pieces of Iron Man suit parts. “I swear if Tony Stark was not fictional and he was making an Iron Man suit right now, this is precisely how we would do it and this is the exact technology he would use.”, Savage remarks in his behind the scenes interview with CNET

Assembling the suit was a difficult feat. According to Jennifer Schachter, one of the members from Savage Builds, the Iron Man suit had numerous rivets and bolts that hold the 3-D printed pieces together.

Richard Browning, the founder of Gravity Industries, steps in after the assembly of the suit. He then helps to build the jetpacks for the Iron Man suit. It’s strapped with a total of five jet packs: two jets in each arm and one jet at the back.

Testing the Iron Man Suit

Savage’s goal was to build a fully-functioning Iron Man suit. Minus Jarvis and the weapons, of course. After components of the suit has been created and assembled, it was time to test if the suit can fly.

Savage starts the tests by using the jetpacks without the Iron Man suit. Coached by Browning, Savage is nervous as he wears the heavy jet packs. For safety, he is secured with multiple harnesses to prevent severe injuries during the test flights. After a few attempts, he landed on the launching pad, prematurely banging his legs to the pad’s metal sides.

After some test flights, Savage decided not to test drive the Iron Man suit due to his lack of flying experience. He notes that feeling the power of the jets on his arms were a little disorienting which affected his maneuvering. Browning stepped up and donned the Iron Man suit and flew the suit from outside the garage to a safe landing pad inside.

Next, Savage checks if the suit is bulletproof. Similar to a Mythbusters episode, Savage films as he shoots guns on their newly created Iron Man armor captured with slow-motion cameras. The team went to Alameda County Sheriff’s Shooting Range in California to perform this experiment.

Savage and the team build a remote gun stand that allowed them to fire the guns at a safe distance and from behind bulletproof glass. Their cautionary setup prevents possible bullet ricochets when it hits the suit. Various gun models and bullets were used to check if the suit is truly bulletproof.

More from Savage Builds

Creating the Iron Man Suit is part of the Savage Build’s first episode. Released last June 14, it is available to watch for free on Discovery’s website. The show focuses on Savage building massive gadgets based on comic books, tv shows, and movies.

After Mythbusters, Savage joined Norman Chan and Joey Famili as an editor and host of Savage has a segment titled “One Day Builds” in which he shows viewers how he re-creates movie and comic books props. In his recent video, Savage shows how he built an armor stand.

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