Spacesuit Glove scratch build

JohnSpaceUK

New Member
I thought I'd share with the RPF community my scratch built spacesuit glove. Various real spacesuit gloves have passed through my possession over the years, with the intention to take to schools so students can see some actual hardware and feel how it feels to work in space.
After a little while I noticed the toll that was being taken on the gloves with constant use, so I decided to make my own.

I'm a huge space nerd, particularly spacesuits. Look me up on Twitter @johnchinner.

This is my prototype model, used to try out ideas.
Inside is a rubber safety glove mated to an aluminium ring, so it actually holds pressure. The finger tips are silicone attached to the pressure bladder with RTV, and the outer shell is machine stitched nylon.

The webbing strap nearest the fingers enables the wearer to tighten the glove around the palm, something that is also used in "flight" gloves. The other webbing strap clamps the glove and gauntlet to the wrist ring, holding the parts together.

I didn't plan too much in advance, I just experimented on the sewing machine, and I'm pretty happy with the results.
I'm now working on the next pair, and preparing patterns before sewing so I can potentially build more if needed, whilst putting in some design improvements.


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lmgill

Sr Member
Good start.
Typically a pressure suit glove disconnects higher up on the wrist. This is to keep the disconnect clear of the wrist joint, so the mechanics (Axial restraints and hoops) of the glove have room to work, as well as keep the "heavy" ring away from the wrist bones, because when the suit is not pressurized, these rings can bang against your arm in zero g.
Also, you generally do not see pleats in the fabric on the palm of the glove, as the glove is not required to bend backwards at this point. You will find a "Palm bar" which is a stiff wire or metal bar that crosses the palm from the thumb to outside of the hand where you palm folds. This keeps the palm area from distending away from the palm when the glove is pressurized, and keeps that area flat and "creased" so the hand can close.
In this x-ray you can see the wrist articulation and the palm bar pretty clearly.
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JohnSpaceUK

New Member
Hi Imgill, thanks for your comments. You have picked up on some of the "issues" I have with this build, particularly the pleats in the palm. This 1st glove was the output of me sitting in front of the sewing machine with just fabric and some ideas.
The x-ray you have posted looks like the internals from an Apollo era EVA glove. I have owned Russian Orlan EVA gloves and Sokol IVA gloves in the past, and my original intent was to replicate an IVA style glove. The restraint and wrist gimbal hardware inside the Orlan is complicated and would be challenging to replicate properly.

The wrist wring placement in my glove was mainly dictated by the length of the rubber glove used as a pressure bladder.

I added the gauntlet some time later and decided I liked it, so it stayed - it really gave my glove the look of the Orlan EVA glove, even if the internals didn't quite match up. Turns out I'm quite a sucker for silicone tips, and I cant bear to make a glove without them!

Right now I'm waiting on some RTV to cure on the next set, photo below, with a longer "pressure" glove to allow the wrist disconnect to be positioned more accurately.
The metallic hardware is what I'm finding most challenging right now!

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lmgill

Sr Member
Yes, this is an X-ray of an Apollo IVA/ EVA glove. (The IVA glove was fitted into the EVA insulator glove)
The Apollo IVA glove above shows the cable tubes and the wire rope cables which allowed the glove to bend side to side and top to bottom, while maintaining consistent wrist length.
The Sokol IVA glove has wrist gimbal bars as well (at least the one I used did) but they are much simpler.

I used electrical insulator gloves for my real pressure suit gloves for Orbital Outfitters. By their nature, electrical insulator gloves can not have any holes, or electricity will find it's way into you hand. They come in a number of "Voltage ratings" (thickness) and the thinnest ones work very well.
Wrist disconnects are an issue if you do not have machining capability. But, the early Mercury glove used a very simple method of two slip fit tubes, one with an o-ring and a circumferential zipper to keep the gloves in place.

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