July 4, 2015 | By Kira

California-based artist and Avengers mega-fan James Christianson has nearly completed a semi-functional Iron Man armor prototype using 3D printing, CNC, mechatronics and onboard computing. His ongoing two-year project, which has already seen two prototypes of the Iron Man MK 42 boot through completion, is proof that when it comes to 3D printing, if you dream it, you can make it.

Christianson, an artist, animator and filmmaker, has a history of working with plastic, wood, and metal, but it wasn’t until he began considering the possibilities of 3D printing that this idea took shape. “I started dreaming about how something like the boot could work with moving parts, and then the rest of the body’s functionality followed,” he said. “I then talked with a friend of mine who is an electronics engineer undergrad about my ideas and we met up to brainstorm extensive possibilities for wiring up the suit with functions.”

After extensive research on 3D printers, he decided to purchase an Afinia H-Series, due to it being reliable, affordable, and compatible with ABS. Using many self-taught skills as well as his background as an artist he began sketching up and eventually printing the first prototype, documenting his progress on his personal blog. By the time he got to the second prototype, Christianson had recruited something of a ‘team’ to help him see the project through. Cheekily named ‘Jarvis,’ after Tony Stark’s fictional system, the team is comprised of an electronics engineer, an IT technician, a 3D modeler for the suit exterior, a software designer, and an R&D specialist, however despite their combined years of experience, the project is still mostly about experimenting with the technologies on hand and finding out just how far they can take the original idea.

The V2 boot involved electronics and an auto-lock mechanism that allowed the boot to close when a foot was placed inside, as shown in the video below. He also decided to give it a spiffy new paint job. Both early prototypes were shown at the Greenbrae Mini Makers Faire in California, to much success and enthusiasm from both the maker community and Marvel fan base.

The third and most promising version is still in the works, however it will include redesigned plate movements, more expensive electronics (including an Arduino Mini), six different kinds of bearings, and refined skeletal frame. It is currently in the electronics-testing phase, however Christianson has not released too much information about it just yet on his blog, saying that he will only reveal it once it is closer to completion with all the integrated electronics.

In between designing, printing, and assembling, Christianson has also been working in various job positions in both California and New York, often without his dedicated workspace (a.k.a garage). Nevertheless, he and his team are determined to see the project through to completion. Eventually, the goal is to build the full Iron Man armor suit, complete with an ‘e-butler’ system. “We have an abundance of cool ideas for the suits’ electronics, but one thing at a time,” said Christianson. In the meantime, you can follow his progress on his blog and YouTube channel—however don’t expect a full breakdown of the technology and techniques just yet. The artist added that he won’t he won’t be sharing too much of the inner workings of his design just yet. “So you know I’m not ordering things from Shapeways and you can see some of my processes,” he wrote, “[but] I want to hold on to my original ideas for the time being.”

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:


shabeer wrote at 3/14/2017 6:17:18 PM:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive