While it’s known by many names – exosuit, exoskeleton, hardsuit – the sci-fi nature of this idea is slowly seeping into the real world both as a real piece of tech, and as a really interesting novelty like this 3D printed prop.
Thingiverse user Roman13 is the behind this project and was kind enough to speak to us so we can find out how it was made.
They tell us that they got into 3D printing after being stuck at home after surgery with an old printer, some filament, and 123D Design to pass the time.
After a few smaller projects Roman13 and their brother (who gave them that old printer) decided to try to make something more substantial.
The design and planning part of the project took around 500 hours to complete, involving modelling work in 123D Design, lots of test printing and scouring various movies for inspiration.
This was just for the first iteration of the exosuit:
“I ran into stumbling blocks with things like the spine, needing to improve the shoulders and I hadn’t even started the legs. It ended up getting shelved until someone did a remix of my design for part of a leg,” Roman13 says, “It instantly re-ignited my imagination and desire to finish it. I had already learned a lot about how the parts would work together.”
For the new version a complete redesign was needed and another three months were poured into the seemingly endless cycle of remodelling and reprinting test pieces.
Despite difficulties with the shoulder and hip joints on top of many breakages, the latest “V3.5” of the exosuit has been completed and can be viewed on this page.
This version took around 300 hours to complete with the individual pieces not needing much finishing work outside of removing the access filament and the supports, but there isn’t just plastic here.
Around a thousand bearings are needed for all the moving parts, and a dozen Velcro straps attach the exosuit to its wearer.
While this print is purely for aesthetic and costume use, we’re sure someone out there can modify it to have some other functionality.