Adam Savage becomes real-life, 3D printed Iron Man in new TV series

Adam Savage, the American special effects designer and former co-host of popular Discovery Channel Show MythBusters, has (finally) got his own 3D printed Iron Man suit. Seemingly in the works since San Diego Comic Con 2017, the titanium ensemble has been made for a new new TV series, Savage Builds, which airs June 14.

Savage’s Iron Man project however has not been an entirely solo project. In order to produce the suit, the show enlisted the help of Colorado School of Mines, leading 3D printer OEM EOS, ceramic 3D printing specialist Lithoz, Hollywood movie effects specialist Legacy Effects, and Gravity the company behind the original “Real Life Iron Man.”

The final result will be presented in Friday’s show, documenting the steps taken the build the suit, as well as a short flight demo integrated with Gravity’s arm-mounted thrust engines.

The 3D printed jet suit

Richard Browning, the co-founder of Gravity, is the man people are often referring to when they talk about the “Real Life Iron Man.” Since his company started in 2017, the Gravity team has worked tirelessly to create arm-mountable rocket thrusters that can give individuals the power to levitate and travel over land and water. Through countless public appearances Browning has demonstrated the achievements of the Gravity team, effortlessly gliding around parking lots and fields, as well as making a commercial version available to shoppers at Selfridges in London.

In 2017, Gravity earned a spot on Savage’s YouTube channel Tested, which confirmed some of the finer details of the jet suit’s construction. In 2018, EOS also confirmed its involvement with the jet suit project at Gravity, giving visitors of Formnext a demonstration of the technology.

Both EOS and Gravity have collaborated with Mines on this latest project for Savage Builds.

All 250 unassembled pieces of the Iron Man suit for Savage Builds. Photo via Adam Savage
All 250 unassembled pieces of the Iron Man suit for Savage Builds. Photo via Adam Savage

Making the real Iron Man

At the Colorado School of Mines Craig Brice, Professor of Practice in Mechanical Engineering and director of the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Program, led the production of Savage’s Iron Man suit through numerous iterations. Giving his reasons for accepting the project, Brice comments, “Who’s going to say no to Adam Savage making an Iron Man suit out of titanium? I felt like it was a good teaching moment,”

“We took an engineering approach to an entertainment project where we actually built a usable suit.”

Having first developed the correct design, with permission and official 3D models from Marvel, Brice and his team sent the suit for production at EOS’ 3D printing facility in Texas.

The final suit is an assembly of around 250 individual pieces of lightweight, 3D printed titanium. In a preview clip of the suit, it is also shown used in tandem with Gravity’s thrusters, to give the full, Iron Man effect.

The signature “arc reactor” in the center of Tony Stark’s suit is replicated by a ceramic, 3D printed circle making using a Lithoz machine at Mines’ ADAPT lab.

Sneak peek flight demo of Savage's 3D printed Iron Man suit from Savage Builds. Screengrab via Science Channel
Sneak peek flight demo of Savage’s 3D printed Iron Man suit from Savage Builds. Screengrab via Science Channel

The Iron Man episode of Savage Builds will air Friday June 14 at 10pm EDT on the Discovery Channel, following BattleBots, another show which features 3D printing, this time from Markforged.

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Featured image shows Adam Savage standing beside the assembled, 3D printed Iron Man suit. Photo via Adam Savage