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The T60 power armor

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:12 pm
by dragonator
A short first installment into what I have been doing the a lot for the past 3 months. I have been saying I am busy quite a lot on this forum, with other projects (HP45 hacking, Tesseract) running at snails pace. This is what I have been working on. I reveal:

The T60 power armor from Fallout 4.
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For those unaware what a power armor is. It is basically a full exosuit that you ride more than wear. It is resistant to radiation, it is basically a walking tank, and it is awesome. The best thing is that it automatically opens, you can step in, and it closes. See the video enclosed below.

Now I will not make it armor plated, I will not make it radiation resistant, and I will not make it enhance my strength. If I had those capabilities, I would not be making props, I would be Iron Man. I will however, make it fully open and close, fully automatic. The suit will open, I can step in, and the suit can close, and locks all the panels around me. Then I move.

The build consists of 2 parts. First the under frame will be built. This holds all motion, joint lockers, panel movers and gives the power armor rigidity. Then the aesthetic outer shell will be made. All this layer does is look like a power armor. This way I can also change the power armor to a different model (there are 6 models, and dozens of paint jobs).

Frame and joint lockers

The power armor needs to be able to stand on its own when not in use. This is done using a frame and the joint lockers. The frame will be made of aluminium, 3D printed parts, poplar plywood and whatever is required to make this project work. The joint lockers create a rigid connection between the joints. For the knees, this is done by simply locking a single axis joint. With more complicated joints, locking pins are used. Locking pins are pins that slide in bushings, locking that joint in all degrees of freedom except for up. The joint locking has almost no backup systems. I tried, it cost me 2 months of design to get nowhere.

Panel movers and panel lockers

The panel movers open and close the panels on the back. There are about a dozen mechanisms in this category. The panel lockers are the mechanisms that actually have strength. They will lock the panels and tighten them around me. The panel movers have the freedom to move out of the way when not in use, and they are all hobby servo motors (they can be overpowered by hand). The panel lockers have a full mechanical backup. By pulling a few emergency releases, I can completely get out of the power armor. I do not want to get stuck in this thing.

The outer shell is still undecided, but will probably be made with 3D printed parts, vacu formed parts, and foam parts. I first want to get the frame designed.

The total weight I will try and keep below 20kg. It will be made for me, but I will share the design and source files for anyone crazy enough to duplicate this (if it is actually going to work).

This is what I have spent a lot of time on the past 3 months. It has been in and out of concept stage for a few times now. Currently it is in what I call SPA phase. It stands for Single Part Assembly and it means that all parts are designed in big blocks. The design still needs to be converted for assembly, but this way I can design without some of the limitations in Solidworks. This way I have progresses more in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 months.

Design phase is expected to end in 2-3 months.
Frame complete phase is expected in 6-8 months.
Project deadline is March 2017.

And I want a Minigun or Gauss rifle to go with the armor, but one thing at a time.

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:36 pm
by ezrec
So long as in April 2017 we don't read the headline:

"Prop designer found dead in apartment, locked in his own power armor when he fell on his back."

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:47 am
by dragonator
That comment made me both chuckle and think. I was not planning on it.

I think I might just add additional safety in the arms so they can also release the locking mechanisms. With my arms free I can properly release all other mechanisms.

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:20 pm
by ezrec
An 'easy' safety would be to make the locking pins out of a material that will hold the weight of the suit while at rest, but would be sheared by a human exerting force on them.

Like 10mm balsa rods, or hydro-cured ZP150 cylinders :D

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:33 pm
by dragonator
They can always be replaced later if I decide that aluminium is too strong. Designing a controlled failure into something like this is quite difficult, but I hope I can make it safe enough without it. The foot design should be done after this weekend, or at least near completion.

If I get the next powder printer before I get the power armor done, I might just give the ZP150 a try, just because I can.

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:23 pm
by ezrec
The 'ZP-150' is kind of a joke.

Plaster of Paris and two nesting cardboard tubes as a form would be sufficient.

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:56 pm
by dragonator
This project is afoot (get it?)

I worked on the power armor this weekend. The goal was to cut, assemble and test the feet. The mechanisms in the feet will come later. The foot of the armor is a 25(ish)cm thick block under my foot. It houses the foot autolatch and the locking pin that connects it to the leg. The tipping point of the armor foot is slightly behind my toes, allowing me to tip them forward when walking.

A bit of terminology:
Autolatch: automatic latch, used to tighten the armor around me;
Locking pin: locking mechanism to lock 2 armor pieces to each other;

I printed a template on the big A0 printer at work. This template was temporarily glued to a sheet of 9mm poplar plywood. This was cut on a jigsaw table. The whole job took around 2 hours. I am not entirely happy with the finish, but it will get covered up with foam, vacuformed and 3D printed parts later.
20160306 foot template.jpg
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20160306 foot parts 2.jpg
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20160306 foot parts.jpg
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The 2 armor feet were assembled (not that much to tell about it really) with wood screws only. Glue was planned, but it is already wicked strong, and I still need to get in there a few times. Here I discover that the glue to attach the paper is hard to get rid of. The parts are a mess because they remained slightly sticky. Next time I will glue the paper instead of the wood. This should make the wood less sticky.

The toe hinges on a pin. The pin will get ball bearings later, but for now it hinges on an M6 rod. Depending on how it walks, a spring or gasspring will be added to the toe to give the tipping action a bit more resistance.
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20160306 assy 2.jpg
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20160306 assy 3.jpg
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The 4 slots on each foot are for the autolatch belts. There are 2 belts going from slot to slot. The belt is wound on a drum in the foot to latch the armor foot to my own foot. There are round belt guides to make the belt action smooth. Belt guides were cut from 5mm steel and M3 holes were tapped to mount the steel rods too the wooden feet.

Temporary velcro straps are currently mounted to the guides. With this I could walk on the feet. The toes drag a little, but all in all they walk quite nicely for 25cm blocks under my feet. The tipping points are in the perfect place. The toes can tip 30 degrees, and I can rest my full weight on the toes at 30 degrees. These feet are incredibly strong. I will still cut some holes in them to reduce weight when all parts are in.

Next I want to make the last design points to both the legs and feet, and then order the motors. There are quite a few complicated 3D printed parts in both the feet and the legs. All stuff for the coming month or so. The Power armor page will be made in the next few weeks if I can.
20160306 assy 4.jpg
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20160306 assy 5.jpg
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@ ezrec, I know. If I want a designed weakness on some of the locks, I will probably add it to the mounting points of the pins, and not the pins themselves. Designing the pins as a weakness would be quite complicated.

The current power armor (2 bare feet) weighs 1.9kg

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:30 pm
by ezrec
Looking good!

I highly recommend a product called "rubber cement" for attaching pattern paper to objects. It's pretty easy to remove when you're done.

I used it for the sheet metal portion of BrundleFab: ... _Procedure

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:12 pm
by dragonator
Does this rubber cement also work on wood, or did you only try it on metal.

The spray glue I use can be used on one side of the to be glued pieces to get a reusable stickiness or on both sides to get a permanent stick. I hope that if I use it on the paper side, the glue will mostly stay on the paper. If that fails, I will either have to sand the glue off or find something that will dissolve the glue (acetone or white spirit?). If all else fails, I need to find something else. I considered a gluestick (water soluble) but covering 1 square meter with it does not seem like a fun thing to do.

Re: The T60 power armor

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:39 am
by ezrec

Also known as 'contact cement'.

Comes off very easily from almost any material, except for very fluffy fabric.