Don’t expect nanoparticles or an Arc Reactor — at least not yet — but do expect to be impressed by Adam Savage’s newest achievement: a 3D-printed titanium suit that gets airborne, bounces bullets, and looks Iron Man-cool while doing it.
As one of the debut projects to help the ex-Mythbuster kick off his new Savage Builds show for Science Channel and Discovery, Savage says his take on the iconic Iron Man suit more or less “precisely” represents the present-day tech that Tony Stark would be tapping into if he were trying to prototype the whole exo-armor thing in the year 2019.
Savage recently shared a snippet of the suit’s bullet-testing phase as a tease for the full build on the show’s latest episode. As you can see, so long as you’ve got a nice, close-fitting layer of titanium between you and the bad guy, you’ll definitely still be in the fight:
At 20 feet, a .22 caliber direct hit barely leaves so much as a cosmetic blemish, but Savage doesn’t stop there, bringing out increasingly higher-powered weapons to test the boundaries between mere costume and full-on functioning armor. And stopping bullets isn’t all the suit can do. Partnering with aeronautics company Gravity Industries, Savage’s team outfitted the suit with two pairs of arm-mounted jets, which they promptly tested in a brief takeoff and landing.
While it’s not the stuff of lightning-speed superhero chases, the short flight proves the concept that you can take a supersoldier-worthy suit of armor, strap a person into it, and make it fly. Savage teamed with German 3D printing company EOS to fabricate the suit one hair-thin layer of titanium at a time, stacking the layers in a process that begins with a powder titanium base material and melts it into shapeable form with a super-hot laser.
Combined with strategically-placed bits of fiberglass, urethane, and nylon, the weight-saving design not only keeps things light enough for the jets to do their job; it also provides real protection where it counts. If you want to see what happens when a staggering .50 caliber handgun blast meets the Iron Man Mark II (the version of the suit Savage based his design on), you can check out the full episode of Savage Builds for free — at least through the end of June — at Discovery’s landing page.