Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview With Iron Man

Yeah, like I really interviewed Iron Man or Tony Stark. And no, I didn't interview Robert Downey Jr (although, that would be pretty awesome if I did.) No, this is an interview with my friend/neighbor Chase Palmer and his extreme awesome costume making skills: specifically, his Iron Man costume.

When I went to Chase's place to learn about how he made this costume, I was hoping to get a little information about how he went about doing it. Instead, I got a great deal of information that I hope will not bore you too much.

First, Chase isn't even your average geek. He works as an account manager for Security Metrics. But he does exhibit something with which I can relate. His movies were in alphabetical order by type (DVDs were separated from Blu-rays.) Who cares? I do! Seriously, my movies are alphabetized. My books have to be in order. Anyway, enough about who Chase is...onto the process.

Chase showed me this special software he uses. (In the 40 times that he must've said its name, I never once wrote it down.) This program has a bunch of user-submitted designs for 3D projects. The first thing he showed me actually was a Batman cowl, which woul be awesome to build. However I do not have 1) the time, 2) the patience, or 3) the skill necessary to cut a straight line in a piece of paper. (Chase used a paper cutter; but still, the one at my works hates me enough that it will never cut remotely close to a straight line.)

What this software does is it prints out an "unfolded" version of the object you are building, in Chase's case, Iron Man. He had various versions of the helmet in his home.Voila!

From right to left, we have a smooth cast, liquid plastic version. Next is a purchased fiberglass mold. The next one is the same thing with something called "bondo" on it and reinforced with smooth cast. The furthest to the left is the completed thing: cast and smooth cast.

You can kinda see in this view the liquid plastic shining at us from the inside.

Yeah, if I even attempted to take the project this far, it wouldn't have looked half as good as this.

Chase was also kind enough to not think I had cooties or anything and let me try his helmet on.

Can you tell I'm smiling under the helmet? No? Oh well. Come on, you know I look tough.

But wait, the eyes are glowing. That's pretty awesome. How are my eyes glowing?

Look at that! Awesome led lights, electrical tape, etc. And you can see the little slits at the bottom giving the wearer the ability to see while wearing the thing.

Now, onto the body armor.

Chase used some foam mat he got from a hardware supply store. 2,000 pieces were used (that's how many were cut out from the foam he bought, not sure how many pieces of foam he actually bought) in order to create the costume. Here's a look at the chest plate.

You can see the foam in the upper pic. In the lower is another light to give that "true" Iron Man look.

So, I bet you're wondering how long it took and how much it cost. I asked those questions. According to Chase, it took 6 months after he REstarted the project. And it cost nearly $300 in materials and supplies. Not to mention his wonderful wife who spray painted the red suit and such. All for this:

 Yep, that's the finished project. So I asked Chase if he had anything interesting about the experience of wearing the costume.
 He said an amazing feat was to actually walk downstairs wearing all this.
But he definitely doesn't want to walk in a parade. He did go to the Avengers premier wearing this awesome costume. I'd be dying from heat exhaustion, personally. But Chase did it.

One final interesting story. There's an autistic neighbor boy who really believes that he's Tony Stark. I bet that makes the kid feel pretty awesome. Chase's co-worker's nephew also tells all his (co-worker's nephew) friends that he knows Iron Man so they better not mess with him. That's pretty awesome in my opinion.

Well, that's it for this. Don't mess with Iron Man. Special thanks to Chase for teaching me why it is I could never build my own costume.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.


  1. What is that program called?!? I MUST KNOW!!

  2. Whoa! That is amazing! I have a friend who would LOVE to make an Iron Man suit like that! :D

  3. Pepakura viewer/ pepakura designer by tamasoft