Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to Build A Power Suit and/or Powered Armor, Part 5: Armor and Weapons

Finally, the cool stuff!  Sorry it took so long to get here, guys, but without the proper framework to strap our armor and weapons on, we're just your average over-geared mall ninja.  We want something awesome here, not just your average bulletproof vest, so we're going to talk raw materials here, as well as "budget" options.  We're going to assume you have the capability to test homemade armor methods and whatnot if you're honestly serious about this, which means access to a shooting range and a variety of weapons/bullet calibers.  If you don't have these, I would suggest going with the premade stuff rather than making your own.

So first, armor-wise, we have the budget option.  Rather than take up space with standard body armor ratings, I'll just link you to the FAQ from BulletProofMe.  I'm going to assume since we're wearing a freaking powersuit we're not looking for concealability, but full-out protection.  So we want level IV armor, with rifle plates.  Steel, ceramic, and titanium plates are all options.  Ceramic plates are the most commonly used, but the issue is they fail rather poorly in multiple-hit situations, so we probably want to opt for metal plates.  Of the two, steel is heavy, but titanium is expensive.  And even these plates won't last under too much punishment, plus the kevlar is useless once it's been fired upon.

But let's be serious here.  We don't just want normal protection.  We want full-body, I-feel-like-a-superhero type stuff going on here.  In this case, I'm going to assume you're willing to shell out the time and money for the good stuff.  Titanium steel is the most popular multi-hit plate out there.  You're going to want to test out curvature and thickness for what you can get, and keep in mind that titanium can be a pain in the ass to work with.  That said, assuming you find a thickness and curvature you like, you need to think about how you want to lay it out on the suit.

Obviously, the parts of your body that don't move that much should be easiest to cover with plate.  Attach it to the outside of your exoskeleton so you can protect the vitals of the suit as well as your own.  Forearms, upper arms, upper back and chest, thighs, and shins can all be "hard shelled" relatively easily.  The titanium hard shell should be lined with weapons-grade kevlar on the inside, to help catch any fragmentation should your armor get penetrated.  Joints and soft-body regions should be covered with weapons-grade kevlar as well, and then I would cover these areas with Vectran, which is stab proof AND extremely heat resistant(kevlar can be defeated by sharp metal such as knives and arrows).

For your head, you can start with a helmet from BulletProofMe as your base, and mod as necessary.  I would recommend at least a custom ballistic plastic faceshield.  Or, if you're planning to go all-out, I would say custom-design a full titanium helmet, attach it to the chestplate with accordion-stitched Kevlar, and mount the camera systems and hearing amplification devices we talked about in our last post.  Then you can run the wires and stuff for the TV glasses down your back and into the control systems for the suit.

As far as weapons go, you honestly can't go wrong with plain old firearms.  They're not the most original in the world, but they're damn effective, and economical.  Energy-based weapons are a long way away from reality, and weaponry such as railguns and gauss guns take a large amount of electricity to fire and quickly deteriorate the materials they're constructed out of.  That said, I think there's a fair amount of playroom for melee weapons.  Keep in mind that you want to take advantage of your amplified strength as much as possible.  While energy swords and whatnot are popular, with as much force as you're pulling it makes much more sense to go with something sturdy and smashing oriented.

Personally, I'd go with something along the lines of a two-handed peasants flail, which we discussed in our Kratos weapons examination.  Something constructed out of solid steel, with a weight on a short chain loop, and a long handle to act as a proper level.  The combined physics of the flail and the handle means you could theoretically be putting out enough kinetic force to bring down a building, which is quite respectable if I do say so myself.

So that's it, folks, we took a pretty fun little look at homemade powersuits and powered armor.  If I had a little more disposable income, I'd honestly start playing around with this stuff sometime.  Who knows, I have plenty of life left to live!  Rest assured if I do, I will post videos and progress as I go.  =D

Tomorrow we're going back to our normal format, maybe a new video game character if I feel like it.  As always, feel free to post character requests in the comments section, or on the Facebook page.  Until then, keep being awesome!

Dan "DaRatmastah" Wallace

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