APOLLO A7L space suit build-any help would be appreciated!

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by Darth 123, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Hi!

    For my next project I really want to build the A7L Apollo space suit (Apollo 11 style)

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    I can´t spent thousands on a finished replica so I have to make one by my own instead.

    I only see problems on the helmet, the boots and the hose connections on the suit.

    My plan is to use two cotton coveralls (white on the outside and blue on the inside), sew them together to get a nice base. And later modify them with new pockets, and other details...

    I´ll have to remove the front zippers and put a new one at the back.

    Some time ago there was a great Blog where someone showed his build of a really accurate suit- however this doesn´t seem to exist anymore unfortunately.

    I really would appreciate any tips & tricks (How to´s) for this project...The suit doesn´t need to be 100% accurate but I want to have a nice display piece at the end.

    Thanks very much for your help!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
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  2. Felgacarb

    Felgacarb Well-Known Member

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    This looks like a fun project- something I might want to try eventually. I think white cotton is a good way to go. You'll need a lot of padding to give it the required bulk (The real thing had mechanical joints and all sorts of cables inside so the astronauts could move the suit even when it was pressurized- to overcome the 'Michellin Man effect') You could probably buy clear acrylic domes to make the helmet and cover them, but I have no idea how to face the gold coating (and be able to see out...)
     
  3. GotWookiee

    GotWookiee Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    "Good luck, Mister Gorsky!"

    Seriously, sounds like a great project.
     
  4. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Ok-thanks!

    Will post pics of my first parts asap!
     
  5. NormanF

    NormanF Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Too bad you didn't post this about three months ago. I went to Kennedy Space Center and I could have gotten some reference photos for you.
     
  6. Captain April

    Captain April Sr Member

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    I have been working a a spacesuit project(Not an Apollo Suit)for almost two years now and I have a lot of reference for the Apollo suit. Here's a great link for hight resolution images of a real suit:http://http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a12/A12Pete-Flown-Suit.html I would be willing to share what I have with you.
     
  7. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    wow! Thank you so much! It´ll help me a lot!
    Just orderd my patches. Can´t wait to start. Ill buy the snap buttons & the white velcro tomorrow.

    @felgacarb: Yes-that´s a good idea with the half acrylic globe. Will see where I can order one. Maybe it is possible to cover the outside of the acrylic glas with a see-through foil.

    I´m curious of the backside of the helmet. I thought to get a 16" bowl, cut it to 1/2 and screw the acrylic glass on and cover it with white fabric.

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  8. asavage

    asavage Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There's really no shortage at all of serious reference out there on the web. PM me and I'll be happy to mail you a thumb drive with my suit reference on it.

    I collected over 800 pictures. I started with an older version of a replica suit like this:
    Deluxe Replica Apollo Space Suit Complete w/Accessories | eBay

    and spent months building the shoulder pen pockets, the leg pockets, and all the other details that weren't originally on it. Their gloves were simple blue kitchen gloves with a cotton gauntlet on it and a white fingerless knit glove over top of it. Looked like crap. I added the gray material you see here (used the bootie gray material from Tyvek coveralls) and came up with a result I'm really proud of. All the labeling was printed on iron-on inkjet transfers that I sewed on. The cuff checklist is entirely accurate (every page of each mission cuff-checklist is available online, including the ones with playboy playmates jokingly added).

    But really, everything EVERYTHING is out there. Space nerds (of which I am one) obsessively collect every single piece of info they can get, and since your tax dollars paid for all of it, much of it isn't hard to find.

    Here's a pic of me in the final suit.
     
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  9. Captain April

    Captain April Sr Member

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    Nice upgrade to the suit but why did you paint the collar ring white?
     
  10. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    A little sad that the RPF space suit expert (IMO) got him self banned. If he was not i would have recommended Larry Young... Maybe you can find a couple of his thread about space suits.
     
  11. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys.

    You convinced me- I´ll print the logos on cotton fabric instead of using finished patches.

    Found this site which is very informative:
    Crew Patch reference guide
     
  12. skiffy

    skiffy Well-Known Member

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  13. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks-will check that out.

    Just worked on the patches today.

    To my surprising I was able to actually print them on cotton fabric. After they were printed I sprayed a clear coat over it to safe the paint.

    Finally I had to fold the edges & hemm them.
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    BTW does anyone have an idea of what to use for the blue glove rubber finger tips?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  14. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Pick up a video called Moon Machines there is an entire episode that show the whole development of the space suit.
     
  15. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Will do that- thanks a Lot!
     
  16. kmc

    kmc New Member

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  17. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Great-thanks! Just ordered a set of these caps.
     
  18. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  19. HaroldVonBraun

    HaroldVonBraun Well-Known Member

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    Wow! that looks great, although you'd need to "bulk" it up somehow, and make the whole suit a lot "fatter" but that color is just spot-on!
     
  20. terryr

    terryr Sr Member

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    Do you mean that you put cloth through the printer somehow?

    Did it stay flat?
     
  21. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. however I had to glue it (with an stick) to an A4 sized paper first. You really have to watch the printing process. I had several useless prints before it tunred out that nice.
     
  22. SampleName

    SampleName Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I never thought about just putting cloth into a printer like that before!
    I'm looking forward to seeing how this will turn out, it should be cool!
     
  23. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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  24. Daemon324

    Daemon324 Active Member

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    It wasn't just the cables and artificial joints that made the things bulky. And bulky by today's standards too, I'm pretty sure. The cables, any metal joints, etc. to help move certainly, but don't forget there's like a 400 degree difference between daylight and night time on the moon, and in orbit, you experience roughly 16 sunrise/sunsets a day, so thermal protection is and was an absolute must.

    BTW, Adam, never wrote you guys on the show this but, nice space suit!
     
  25. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Here is some new update:

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    I´ll work on the top part of the life support system tomorrow. I´m still worrying about the straping...


    Hope you like it.
     
  26. Daemon324

    Daemon324 Active Member

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    It's going to be a very nice replica. I'm going to be wanting to hear more. I can't wait to see the final thing.
     
  27. vincentmcconnel

    vincentmcconnel New Member

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    I do!
    A while ago I was making a suit like this and I ran out of money and ideas for how to do certain aspects. This is an expensive project but also requires a lot of ingenuity. For the hose inputs on the front of the suit, my idea was to cut small wooden squares, screw gas hose inputs into them and then secure those to the suit.

    Here's the backpack measurements for you. I saw you made one, but you can just double check to make sure it's the right size.
    They were 20.5 inches wide by 26.4 inches tall. I asked the question on Yahoo Answers a while ago. This measurement does NOT include the Oxygen Purge system, though. For that, I used a 16x7.5 measurement. Not sure how close that is.
     
  28. vincentmcconnel

    vincentmcconnel New Member

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    An idea for the straps MIGHT be to put a black backpack inside the white one, cut holes and have the straps from the hidden backpack come out so that you just have normal straps on your PLSS. You will figure it out, though.
     
  29. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much for the tips!

    Today I modified my backback to give it a more accurate form:

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  30. Rikarus

    Rikarus Well-Known Member

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    dude! this is awesome!!! subscribed!
     
  31. p51

    p51 Sr Member

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    Good luck!
    Having spending a lot of time looking over (and actually handling one) later Apollo suits for a film project I'm consulting on, I convinced the producers to go a different route because you simply can't make a decent-looking A7 series suit cheaply.
    But for anyone going ahead anyway, I'd say there are two books you simply have to have. One is the Smithsonian book on their collection, as well as The Praxis book on the subject. Between each, you get an idea what you're really looking at.
     
  32. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    That "Moon Machines" episode with the making of the Space Suit is on Monday 5AM PST, Science Channel.
     
  33. terryr

    terryr Sr Member

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    Several years ago I bought a book at a library sale called 'Project Apollo The Way To The Moon', published 1969.
    It has a bit of info on the suits. It may help you.

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  34. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic! Thanks a lot!
     
  35. Joseph C. Brown

    Joseph C. Brown Active Member

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  36. vincentmcconnel

    vincentmcconnel New Member

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    I figured out a strap system for your PLSS (and mine too).
    Before you put the white cover on, use a strap with two buckles or snaps at the end. Secure it to the back middle of the back pack and run it across your lower waist. Now put the cover on (with two holes for the strap to fit through. You won't be able to see the strap at any point, so it will just look like you have a giant white PLSS stuck to your back.
     
  37. vincentmcconnel

    vincentmcconnel New Member

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    Does anyone know what size the OPS was? (Oxygen Purge System). I need to know.
     
  38. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great project. Always wanted to build an Apollo Moon suit. Someday...

    Nick
     
  39. HaroldVonBraun

    HaroldVonBraun Well-Known Member

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    I took a few pictures of it, when i was at the Washington DC space center, i can upload them if you want them.
     
  40. MarleyExum

    MarleyExum New Member

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    I can't wait to see the final result! It looks amazing. I am in the process of creating my own suit. Right now I'm at the stage of gathering photos and reference material and surprisingly, I'm having trouble finding measurements for the patches, hardware, and such. I strive for accuracy so this is killing me! Haha... Does anyone know where I can find this info?
     
  41. Darth 123

    Darth 123 Well-Known Member

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  42. Seatra

    Seatra New Member

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    Hello Folks,
    New member here. I too was bit by the "build a A7L replica" bug and have been doing research and model making for years. I would be happy to share some of my techniques and project photos for my A7L build. Been working for years and still not done. Upgrades always seem to get in the way of project completion. I'll post a little material when I get home today
     
  43. MarleyExum

    MarleyExum New Member

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    Excellent!
     
  44. Ketzer.com

    Ketzer.com Sr Member

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    Here are some pictures of a similar suit (Apollo 7) that I took about 9 years ago.

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    Tim
     
  45. Ketzer.com

    Ketzer.com Sr Member

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  46. Seatra

    Seatra New Member

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    My A7L project, were to begin… I must say I have spent a lot of time doing research, studying photos, reading books, and talking with a few folks in the industry. I have had the good fortune to consult with some pretty dedicated space suit replica people over the years. Their advice has always been helpful and I am certainly willing to share any of my knowledge and experience with you all. First of all I am more of a static replica model guy. I am most interested in the Apollo Program era. Model making helps me get fully immersed in the subject.
    Anyway, when it comes to Apollo hardware, I started out researching the use and construction of the A7L in order to develop a construction plan. By design, the A7L is really a personal spacecraft. Not only was the A7L on the cutting edge of engineering design, its construction was a masterpiece of craftsmanship, some would say even a work of art. My goal was to replicate the A7L in high fidelity. It was not going to be an easy task considering the complexity of the subject. That of course meant making something in accurate 1:1 scale, with the proper shape and texture. From a construction standpoint, I looked at the A7L as three basic assemblies, a pressure garment assembly (PGA, blue colored under suit) and its thermal protection cover (TMG, white colored visible part), and the life support systems (PLSS, OPS, RCU). I quickly realized that decisions had to be made on how detailed my build would be. The PGA is basically covered by the TMG with only a few components of the PGA visible (helmets, glove components) but the underlying PGA (pressurized look or not) supplies the overall shape of the suit. To construct an accurately shaped A7L replica some sort of accurately shaped PGA would need to be built. In my case, since I was building a static display, I decided to construct the PGA from a fiberglass shape. I made the TMG from nylon cloth and installed it over the PGA shape. Eventually I plan to make a PGA from nylon and rubber components.
    As some of you know, accurate scale measurements of A7L suits are not easy to come by. Suits back then were custom tailored to the individual astronaut so suits came in a variety of sizes. However, for the most part hardware components, helmets, and external subassemblies were all the same size. I arrived at my suit component dimensions, pattern shapes, and assembly placement from intensive photo study and measurements of actual suits. I found a decent front and back photo of an A7LB TMG, enlarged it to 1:1 scale and developed pattern templates from it for my soft TMG component pieces. Instead of going into a lot of detail now, I’ll post some photos and answer any questions you may have. Photos in next post
     
  47. Seatra

    Seatra New Member

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    Some photos. Sorry for the quality.
     
  48. Seatra

    Seatra New Member

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    Darth 123, As I look back at my previous postings it looks like I have made a serious attempt at hijacking your thead. I'm sorry as this was not my intent. I will watch your build with interest and help you any way I can.

    R/
    SMG
     
  49. HaroldVonBraun

    HaroldVonBraun Well-Known Member

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    Here's some pictures i took at the Washington Space and Air museum a while ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  50. Daemon324

    Daemon324 Active Member

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    Very nice pics. If you want help picking a patch, personally, I like 13's the best. For never having landing on the moon, they have a very nice patch. More symbolic to the journey they actually went through, which, though more harrowing, was more impressive.
     

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