Exoskeleton Strapping System

The Iron Man exoskeleton strapping system

This page is about the strapping stage of the project for the upper body, check out the main project index for the rest.

My plan is to build a semi-rigid exoskeleton which the wearer puts on before the rest of the suit. This will enable mounting of the rigid outer suit pieces to a frame which will help with positioning the parts, and also make the suit up process easier. The eventual plan will be to locate the armour pieces onto the frame with a series of tapered sockets and pegs, and hold them in place with strong magnets.

Here’s some YouTube videos about this, or scroll down for the written version:

Here’s an overview of the plan. The green parts are made from rigid aluminium strip backed with foam, the red parts are flexible straps. Any rigid parts will open with hinges so they can be worn, and fastened with velcro or webbing straps and buckles.

The chest piece will have a low profile version of the Arc Reactor prop mounted to it, as well as batteries and electronics for the suit. Here are some initial materials – straps and buckles, and some aluminium strip and hinges:

Most of the frame will be riveted or bolted together, I also have a large piece of scrap aluminium to make some parts (and an angle grinder with a metal cutting disc):

The first few bits of aluminium sheet cut out for the shoulders, and front/back of the torso, with hinges over the shoulders so the whole thing opens up. There will be straps between the front and back at the sides as pictured above, and I still need to back the pieces with foam facing inward. I’ll also be using flexible plastic strips instead of hinges for some pieces:

I bought these bolt on loops and some £1 dog leads. I’ve also got hold of some M4 threaded hex spacers:

The hex spacers will be used as latch/buckles for any pieces that need to open. They are screwed to the inside layer/overlap and fit though in a larger hole in the outer layer, the overlap will also be held together with a bit of velcro:

These are the middle and hip sections which are there to hold the various sections of the lower torso and pelvis which will be made in multiple pieces. I still have some foam backing to add to most of the pieces, but it all fits me a lot better than the mannequin which doesn’t really have human proportions. The dog lead straps run down each side where they will eventually meet the legs:

I’ve made the arm pieces, the next step will be to sort out the latching system and fit the upper body sections before dealing with the pelvis and leg pieces, so that I can get the spacing correct:

Here are the tapered plugs and sockets I’ve made, there is a YouTube video that explains the process:

The tapered plugs and sockets are attached to the armour pieces, which I have also modified to fit in some cases. Check out this video for a full explanation:

I have another two pegs and sockets to add to the chest plate, although it holds well enough for now:

Check out the page for the detail of the strapping system for the legs:

Check out page of details of the arm opening mechanism: