Ironman Teardown

Otherwise known as “the cool Ironman toy I’ll never get to use”


I chose to see what was going on inside this toy I found at a thrift shop. I think it was supposed to be an Ironman sleeve, but there were no batteries inside when I got it and I think it was already partially broken, so I never saw it turned on.

first image

I only used a couple of tools to take it apart: a tiny Phillips head screwdriver, a pair of needle nose pliers, and a sharp piece of metal to pry things apart. Here is what I found inside:

open toy

final spread with labels


I managed to find all of the electrical components online, as well as most of their datasheets. I put all of the information and links in this table, including the purpose of each component!

While many of the plastic parts for this toy were injection-molded, the electronics were sourced from a variety of companies and the entire toy was likely assembled by hand. The palm light was welded closed, while the battery pack was glued (hence the broken pieces in those two circles!). The rest of the parts were assembled with six different kinds of bolts.

The two design elements that interested me most were 1) the conductive strip in the wrist hinge and 2) the fact that the palm light part of the toy is the only part that was welded shut. It took me a little bit to figure out the function of the conductive strip, but I think its purpose was to make the palm light turn on when the wearer’s wrist was bent (flexed) and off when the wearer’s wrist was straight (relaxed). With a bent wrist, the two conductive strips in the hinge would touch, closing the circuit (turning on the light), but when relaxed they would separate, opening the circuit (the light stays off). Pretty neat. As for the one welded part, I suppose it would have been a bit impractical to use bolts in that part of the toy. Perhaps it was more important to keep the Ironman aesthetic despite the required welding equipment.

For more pictures, click here.


Author: Hannah Rudin

MFA Candidate in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Currently pursuing a thesis project on merging design and team-building practices to counter social and political polarization in America.