I'll start off by saying that I appreciate technology. I appreciate how easy the cloud has made my life. I appreciate how well-informed I am because of blogs, discussion forums, and other web 2.0 technologies (by "well-informed", I mean I like the diversity, opinions, and ideas I encounter). And I appreciate how little things - like cars, microwaves, planes, movies - have all been enhanced by technology.
My costume, an Iron Man Mark 42 (as featured in Iron Man 3), is a costume that I could not have even fathomed building ten years ago. But technology has made it possible for anyone armed with a hot glue gun, an Xacto knife, and determination, the ability to make something as complex as this:
I'd like to take you through the entire history of my build, and talk about how technology factors in.
I'll start off by reiterating that ten years ago, I never would have dreamed of creating this. But I had connected with an old high school friend on Facebook, Stan, last Halloween (2012), and asked him for some ideas on how to build a hardcore Batman costume. Check out his scary mask and prop collection:
|I want my mommy!|
Turns out, some enterprising guy from Canada who goes by the name "Stealth", popularized a way to build Iron Man armors out of just foam. Stealth brought high end costuming to the people! What a hero! Check his work out at The Heroes Workshop channel on YouTube. By the way, I spent countless hours on YouTube over the past year educating myself on how to make my costume. There are other foam build superstars out there, too (like XRobots from the UK), that have contributed so much to the foam build community.
I also spent an awful lot of time looking at blogs, Google Images, and other resources to get a sense of the scale of the project I was about to embark on. I was able to aggregate all my online research with Evernote, a tool I strenuously recommend to educators and students alike. It is the industry standard for collecting and organizing research. I will be doing a blog in the future about leveraging Evernote in the classroom (and also comparing it to Microsoft OneNote). For a sense of what Evernote can do, you can see all the information I saved on both my Batman build from 2012 and Iron Man build from 2013.
The actual process of building the costume took about 150 hours, but required not much more than dedication and a tolerance for hot glue burns. The helmet - arguably the linchpin of any good costume - was only the second piece I built. In an effort to show how simple the process is, here is a photo of my helmet.
|You can do this, too!|
|Unfolding the secret to Iron Man's helmet.|
|Pepakura Viewer let's me pretend I know something about 3D modeling.|
|A 3D rendering, converted to 2D, printed on flat paper, will|
then be turned into a 3D model. Mind = blown.
|This $25 roll of foam will someday be an entire Iron Man armor.|
|Pepakura is Japanese for, "Just do what we say and|
you'll get a super sweet costume".
I used the hot glue gun to assemble the pieces. I discovered that it is not necessary to bevel the foam if you want it angled; Pepakura Viewer designs the pieces such that when they are assembled, all curves and angles are preserved. For me, this was a humbling lesson. I tend to trust technology to a point, but in my experience the human intellect trumps the computer. It was hard for me to let go of this mentality but I found that Pepakura Viewer was exceedingly precise when it came to designing the pieces. So precise that beveling the edges actually made the pieces not fit together properly. I cached away the lesson I learned (reluctance to relying on technology) for when I work with faculty - now I will recall the trepidation that comes with learning new technologies.
|Yes. My Iron Man armor was built on Crocs.|
I suspect Tony Stark is pretty jealous.
After I cut out and assembled all the pieces (I'd estimate about 1100 pieces), I coated them with Modge Podge (to seal the open cell foam), then primed and painted them. I used charcoal and paint to give the "battle damage" look to the pieces. This was partly because battle damage makes the suit look more authentic, and partly because the battle damage hid all the imperfections I made in my suit (give me a break! It was my first foam build!).
|Happily, the people I live with were okay with the|
house smelling like paint for a few weeks as the pieces dried.
|EL panels are great for arc reactors, Tron costumes, and raves.|
Photo courtesy of eBay.
There was an awful lot of technology that I used in this experiment. And the technology I mentioned (all in bold) is technology that educators use on a daily basis. Technology we take for granted. Technology that we have customized for our personal selves.
Oh! And the best part of finishing a foam build? You can blog about it.
|Why yes... I did just save the world...|
|After this photo, Whiplash and I duked it out in the streets.|