View Full Version : automail on the cheap (tutorial)

10-24-2005, 08:25 PM
ok heres my tutorial for my cardbored automail it shouldn't cost you more than $6 to make and you should be able to find most of the things you need for free. So when your done you should get somethign like this
http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=507280 when your done
and if you do make one off my tutorial i'd love to see how it truned out
oh and be warned my writing sucks

here it is and and rember this project is cheap not easy

10-24-2005, 10:16 PM
VERY nice! thanks for the post.

10-24-2005, 10:17 PM
Not too bad, nicely done.

10-25-2005, 01:18 AM
cool, might I say in the future you can go to the automotive section of wal-mart or wherever and get some automotive silver/metal spray-paint. It'll make it look 2x as good, and it looks really good already!

10-25-2005, 01:40 AM
That be my only suggestion as well.

10-25-2005, 01:56 AM
that would look realy good but to be honest its really not in my buget the can of paint would cost as much as the whole arm i couldn't even get spanex for the joints i had to use a sock.. But feel free to make any imporvents to the degisn if you make one

10-25-2005, 02:31 AM
Well if the arm is 6 then the paint would be 5. Still a nice automail arm like that for 11 bucks is pretty sweet.

11-26-2005, 03:36 PM
featherweight Why do i feel like this is a rip off, of the "darkknight" worklog's work ?
It feel like u are copy from drakknight in manny way....

11-26-2005, 09:47 PM
featherweight Why do i feel like this is a rip off, of the "darkknight" worklog's work ?
It feel like u are copy from drakknight in manny way....

uhhh no offence but, no. It doesn't look like a copy of Dark Knight in many ways: Dark Knight uses Polyethylene foam and vinyl, not cardboard and it doen't look like he used Dark Knight's pattern pieces, so I don't see how he's ripping off him :confused: unless you mean the tutorial it's self but even then it's just a drawn tutorial, heck i'm making one of Cloud's sword in Advent Children

and great job on the tutorial featherweight:bigtu: I really wanna make some automail now....well I've been wanting to make automail for 2 years now:p but now i'm more inspired lol

11-27-2005, 06:46 AM
uhhh no offence but, no. It doesn't look like a copy of Dark Knight in many ways: Dark Knight uses Polyethylene foam and vinyl, not cardboard and it doen't look like he used Dark Knight's pattern pieces, so I don't see how he's ripping off him :confused: unless you mean the tutorial it's self but even then it's just a drawn tutorial

*here here* i'd say he stated my case well, thanks.
oh and infact i used no pattern at all i just made it up as i went than backwords engeinered it when i was done to make the tutorial ;)

11-27-2005, 02:28 PM
Very nice "cuty things" XD

Oddly enough, the cuty things made my day :D Thank you! *hugs*


blackouts suck
07-12-2006, 10:46 AM
im started my auto mail yesterday and im not even doing a cosplay. its just something to take time off my hands. im using cereal boxes once my moms digital camera starts working ill show you guys results. im gona be eating alot of cereal

11-30-2006, 09:10 PM
I made one but only up to the fore-arm with this,but i think we might be using different card board featherwieght. Because when i tried to bend it, it went into an angle.And in some parts i didnt use comic backs i usethe covers to some strategy guides and my guitar hero box.

Also i started at 7PM and i was done by 8:45

11-30-2006, 10:07 PM
hmm *ponders shoving this on and cosplaying as his redmageness with it XD

12-01-2006, 11:31 AM
Ahhhhhh, makes me want to go back and finish the one I started a few years back! Wishing I had more time... but nice tutorial! ^_^

12-28-2006, 03:53 PM
greatley done but i really cant read the directions maybe u could take pics and type it?

07-16-2007, 09:51 AM
I would reccomend using cheap aluminum spraypaint from Dollar General, I mean, if you have a Dollar General in Canada.

Oh yeah YOU ARE THE CARDBOARD GOD!!!!!! *bows*

08-13-2007, 04:05 PM
do you think that after i made this,i could put chrome spray paint on it instead?
would the cardboard hold it?
just because i kind of want a shiny chrome metal effect?
p.s.you are a god of cosplay.
xoxo katie.

08-13-2007, 04:28 PM
automail for about six quid with the chrome effect? brillant! this tutorial will be ace for ed cosplayers who are pretty skint, me and my nephew will probably try the basics of this out on a rainy day.

thanks alot :toothy:

03-19-2008, 09:51 PM
I just love you right now. I've been wanting to do an Ed cosplay ever since I saw the series, but told myself I can't do it unless I at least have an automail arm. Now...I have an excuse. ^_^ Thank you for the very helpful tutorial!

03-27-2008, 05:33 AM
Hey, Here's how my Automail looks using your Tutorial, it's not finished yet, but this is my frist time doing something like this (just gotta paint it ^_^) oh yeah im only a kid aswell >.<


03-28-2008, 04:57 AM
Well, heres the FINISHED version painted take a look and comment on it ^^


06-04-2008, 08:22 PM
I've never painted cardboard before, but would you need to apply something to it first to prevent the cardboard from going soggy when you paint it?
Or is spray paint so thinly layered that it's not wet enough to affect the cardboard.

Awesome tutorials! My friends and I plan to make bleach sword out of your tutorials for our first cosplay!

06-04-2008, 08:53 PM
Cardboard surprisingly doesn't get soggy., at least, I've never had it get soggy.

06-05-2008, 02:16 AM
Cardboard surprisingly doesn't get soggy., at least, I've never had it get soggy.

Oh, it get's soggy all right!. At Comic-Con 2 years ago the humidity and heat damaged our cardboard Alphonse armor. The cardboard started to fall apart.


In this shot you see the brown cardboard peeling away from the forearm. Just the perfect effect for an interview with a japanese TV crew.

We made new parts from craft foam.

BTW, I recommend sealing the cardboard with a few applications of watered-down glue before using spray paint. Un-sealed cardboard can just soak up the paint. Seal correctly and you end up using less paint.

12-23-2008, 02:37 PM
I must say, this is inspiring! As a fellow costumer with no monies, I tend to also find cheap ways to make stuff. You did a fantastic job! It looks even better than it's more expensive counter-parts. I like the comment about the sock, too. XD

01-02-2009, 09:05 PM
its a great tutorial but i can understand it =[

01-22-2009, 09:05 PM
YEEEEEESSS!!!! finally how to make that dang robot arm!! THANK YOU!!!

05-26-2009, 02:57 PM
Automail is my summer project so any help I can get is greatly appreciated :crylaugh:
I'm debating on what material to use for it but your patterns are a great inspiration.

<3<3<3<3<3<3 Cutty things :) lol awesome <3 <3 <3

06-15-2009, 02:10 AM
I am going to do this also but besides card bord I am going to go fome core with the sheating over it so it can last longer but this is a great start for me thank you for posting it! I am so happy in seeing this once it is done I will show it off :D

07-12-2009, 04:43 PM
A lot of this seems cramped in together and hard to read. Is there a possibility of it being typed out with some clearer drawings? This is an AMAZING tutorial, and I intend to try it out.

08-24-2009, 03:52 AM
cool ;] I'll try make something like that!!^^

09-06-2009, 12:09 PM
I will so try this out over my winterbreak so that I can be Ed in the upcoming summer.
This'll be fun and easy. xD

07-28-2010, 01:00 PM
I'm making mine out of a combination of materials, a paper base/pattern. then HARD cardboard for the grill and transmutated grill. plastic plates for the shoulder plates, and then I'm putting paper mache over all of it and covering it with a shiny cover
it's the least bulky possible, and has a lot of mobility

oh and I'm using the leg from a pair of black tights to go on my arm because it's skin tight

07-28-2010, 01:03 PM
oh and I'll post a pic of it when it's done, along with the Automail leg :D

07-31-2010, 04:16 AM
i am making it as well i finished all exept the hand, i made some little changes which i thought would be closer to the original, i showed it to my friends and they were all like O.O
for me the costs were like zero because we had everything at home, the only thing is that i completely used up all glue and now we have to buy a new one... XD
also for painting i used black and white acrilic mixed with some silver to give it some shine, i do not like the idea of walking around with a super shining arm due to metallic spray paint..

07-31-2010, 05:42 AM
Featherweight, you are a god with cardboard!

07-31-2010, 12:38 PM
yay i am almost finished, i only need to do the fingers...
i will post some pictures soon..

08-19-2010, 02:21 PM
Does anyone have tips on how to harden and seal the cardboard without the use of fiberglass or resin? I just want to know if there is a safer and/or easier way before I potentially destroy/warp my shape.

08-21-2010, 01:56 AM
wow... cutty things. xD I think I saw the picture of this.. my friend was all "and that's CARDBOARD!" and now I see it on the forums... :) I agree with the chrome-paint instead of gray.

Either way, wonderful job. :P

06-09-2011, 07:25 PM
u save me i i was about to get one for $50 but then i found this oh thx alot

06-19-2011, 01:41 AM
i got bored one night so i made an automail arm out of fun foam i had laying round my room...used a mix of white glue and a bit of warm water to seal it up a bit, painted it with bout 3 layers of silver paint, and attached it all to an under armor shirt i had
that's the link to the album...it fit nicely under a form fitting jacket, and had almost full flexibility, like, i couldn't raise my arm straight above my head...

06-19-2011, 07:36 AM
That looks awesome Roxas666!

10-25-2011, 09:04 PM
this helps me [:

10-25-2011, 11:52 PM
awesome !!!!!!!! thank you so much ^^~

06-11-2012, 05:01 PM
@featherweight - Just wanna thank you for this tutorial; it's been a great help as I assemble my automail for Otakon. ><;; http://photo.cosplay.com/230292/3224398.jpgI used craft foam instead since I am not a cardboard god haha. Anyway, thank you. :)

06-20-2012, 06:47 PM
one question...is it possible to make this if you're a begginer? cuz there's only so many boxes of cereal in my house and i don't want to be doing it over and over again...

08-17-2014, 02:04 PM
hey thanks for the guide, just finished mine, only had time to do the hand and the lower arm for my event but it was a huge hit, sprayed mine silver