Steel or titanium?

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I've never attempted anything like this before, but I am goin to try and make my own master chief armor, and I was wondering wether I should use steel, titanium, or a different alloy. So If you know anything about the properties of these two metals, and how much of a challenge this project is going to be, please comment.
Wow, you're going all out!

Let's look at the pro's and con's

Steel: Pro's - It's durable and strong. If it's thick enough, you may be able to stop a real bullet or a plasma rifle burst.
Con's - It's heavy, you'll need to cut it with a torch and did I mention it's REALLY heavy?

Titanium: Pro's - Stronger than steel, and a fraction of the weight. Light enough, you actually may be able to wear it.
Con's - Cost!! Got a big budget? Also, you may need to do some welding and with Titanium, it's a LOT more difficult.

Either way, if you want any detail whatsoever, it will need welding. Which is a lot more work than I would put into it.


If you are looking for metal, go with alluminum. It's light, strong enough and bendable/moldable.
Or, go with plastic. It's light weight, moldable and you can paint it afterward to look like metal. And there is an endless supply. I'm thinking of melting down a bunch of my little kids toys..... hmmm!

Hope that helps.
Yeah, I'll probably use alluminum, because I don't think I could afford to use titanium. But steel would make the armor more realistic, because the master chief is suppose to weigh over 1,000 pounds with full armor on.
Jenken said:
Yeah, I'll probably use alluminum, because I don't think I could afford to use titanium. But steel would make the armor more realistic, because the master chief is suppose to weigh over 1,000 pounds with full armor on.

Steel would be the way to go if you were making, say a coat of arms to display in your living room. However, too heavy to wear.
I personally would use molded plastic painted to look like it were metal. (Think plastic as in soccer shin guards)
If you still want the "heavy" look, go with the plastic, but load your pockets up with 30lbs of marbles. At least when it gets to heavy for you, you could empty your pockets. ;) :lol:
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Yeah, maybe you can make a HELMET for display, out of steel. But seriously, you do NOT want to make a suit of metal. You would NOT be able to wear it. Plastic is the way to go. All movie armor like this, is made of plastic, and they seem to know what they are doing.

Use ABS, or High Density Polystyrene.
Steel's not all THAT bad if you have the right kinda' workspace and know how to work it properly.

I wouldn't advise running in THIS armor afterwards, but it can be done.

What do ya' think the knights of old did? I've worn medieval armour (and made some), and I can honestly say that this suit would be NOTHING compared to those. I'd estimate it'd weigh about 60 - 80 pounds, depending upon what gauge (metal thickness) you used.

Except of course the halo armor is unrealistic to wear unless you mod it a bit. Re-engineer the crotch for one.. also the biceps are too long and would jam into the forearm area.. (you'd lose a huge hunk of skin)

Of course if you want more than one, I strongly recommend something you can cast, like the plastic suggested here, or easier still find someone else to cast it for you... :)
I'd have to say go with plastic. The process for that is time consuming, but you'd be able to make more suits for a fraction of the cost of the first in a snap! Just make your first molds by mdf or clay (with clay, you'll have to make a negative mold to cast up positives to vacform over.) Then just get a few sheets of ABS or styrene, and vacform the armor. A vacuforming machine is quite simple to make and won't cost nearly as much as it would to buy a professional machine.

I plan to use this method to make Helljumper armor, and Mandalorian armor (the armor Boba and Jango Fett wear in Star Wars). This is also how they made all the stormtrooper suits, both the ones in the movie and the FX and other suits people make today.

Here's a great site for vacuforming info:

And instead of vacforming, you could follow the steps up intil casting a positive, and instead cast fiberglass armor, which would be a bit heavier, but you would get more details than with vacforming, depending on how much power your vaccuum source has.
Plastic is much easier and usually safer to use than making a metal suit of armor not to mention it is a lot kinder to you wallet.
I'm going to be making mine out of plastic.
We typically make the molds out of steel and then vaccum-form plastic off of that.

We're more accustomed to hammering steel than we are doing clay work. I can do the claywork but (for ME at least) it takes a long time and the plaster molds you make off of that are forever running the risk of being broken, losing detail, etc.

By making a steel mold it stays consistant, and we can do it at a pretty decent speed because we're used to hammering-out medieval armour.

A metal version of a finished Halo suit is difficult though.. if you're planning to make a suit like that, and have the expertise, you'll find that the way the suit was designed, there's a LOT of weld grinding/polishing that has to happen, in some very intricate areas. If you're just making molds that way, it doesn't have to be pretty, you just put the welds out of the way and trust the plastic to cover small gaps.

However.. the bonus is that you wouldn't NEED rivets for any of it. You could spot-weld strap attachments & stuff, and THEN you could pay to have it powder-coated, or ElectroStatically Painted (called ESP painting).

THAT paintjob could be an incredible way to finish-off the suit..

Currently, I'm working on a suit for Halloween.. I'll post pics on my site when it's finished.
id recomend a thin plastic, maybe with kevlar on the inside to make you feel like you could actually stop a bullet. i also recoment coating the inside with jello, to make it more realistic... you know, the skin-tight temperature controlling gel on the inside of the real MJOLNIR...
true, but if it you ever got hungry... Yumzorz.

as for the actual topic, if you have the kind of money and recources and pacience to get/work with titannium, that would probably the way to go, but otherwise go with steel, if your really gonna be wicked authentic. its gonna be really heavy though...
I seriously doubt that any (normal {yes I'm using the dreaded 'N' word again}) person would have the resources to make this armor out of titanium. No offence to you or anything but the sheer monumental amount of money and time that would have to go into making something like that is astronomical. Just go with the plastic, and save yourself a huge amount of time and money.
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mess with some aluminum or something, make the ATV from halo 3. That'd be sweet!!!!!!!!!
For the record, I was rereading the Halo novels, and the armour is often referred to as being "ceramic plates". When I look at the pics, I can kinda' see it... the stonyness..

Plus it explains the Halo 1 shininess of the suit in cutscenes.. I KNEW the reflections looked familiar, and that's because it's like a ceramic glaze.

Your best best to mimic that, is with plastic that's been formed from molds that were first made in clay.. BUT.. Iron-out the gloopyness..
Flat surfaces NEED to be flat, not inflated.
So many choices, so little time

Just thought I'd put my 2 cents in here as I've got some experience with most of the materials you have all suggested.

Steel would work for this, but the fabrication would drive any sane person nuts, and any of us even nuttier. But I've always thought that the Mjolnir armor looked like press molded steel...which makes sense why so many people are vacuum forming it. But looking at the Halo 3 screens it looks more, an engine block. Problem is you cant cast steel very thin conventionally because of the flow charatceristics and the fact that sand molds aren't terribly accurate in an application like this.

Steel is ruled out, unless you want to fabricate it by hand...and if you do, bless you, and say goodbye to your friends and family because they aren't going to see much of you for a long time. I fabricated my suit out of sheet polystyrene, then reinforced it all with fiberglass resin, so it can be done, it's just not very practical.

Speaking of practicality...why would you really need a Halo Armor suit that could stop a bullet? Planning a heist? Going to test the mjolnir design with real bullets? They'd just shoot you in your plastic faceshield! It just really isn't necessary for a costume.

As far as titanium...maybe if you're Bill Gates. The problem with Titanium is thats it's damned difficult to cut, weld, and cast. It's melting temperature is higher than most ductile metals and it's ungodly expensive and hard as diamonds, but very brittle. But you can get it in sheets, so if you had like 5 years to spare, you could potentially do this. Tig weld everything, and grind and sand it til it looks rounded and smooth. Then call the Guiness Book people.

Aluminum is doable. Cast it in investment molds and sand it smooth. Still it's not very strong or maleable. Better be sure that your patterns are perfect because you're not going to be able to bend it much.

And finally ceramic plates...Ceramic materials can be engineered to be super stong, bulletproof, and lightweight. But engineering ceramic is a hugely expensive process...more expensive than titanium, thats why only the military is really using engineered ceramics to their potential. I can't even begin to tell you of the multiple layers of problems with making something for yourself in this material...and I went to the New York State College of Ceramics. Engineered ceramic is just not doable unless you have access to all the equipment and expertise already.... In which case, could you loan me like $25,000, cause you'd have to be rich and gullible to try this.

Listen to these guys, they know what they are talking about. Vacuum form it in polystyrene or cast it in resin. Doing it any other way is going to cost you like 10 times as much and really won't be useful in any recognizable way.
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