Varia Suit Arm Cannon DIY


I’m certainly no engineer, but after creating this costume I feel like I could probably build a bridge if it only had to last one night.

A massive undertaking, like this project, requires a little finesse and short-cutting. The problem with always thinking bigger and better is that settling for ‘good’ is just not a very comfortable option. The other issue with innovation is deprivation- of funds, sleep, and time. The original idea was to recreate Samus’ energy-blasting, multi-ballistic attack arm cannon complete with futuristic tech and a mod that actually shoots, lights up, and makes laser sounds. But how to do all this on a major budget and serious time restraints?

The answer: you don’t. Or at least I didn’t. I had the plans and schematics all drawn up, costs calculated, etc., when I realized I just don’t have enough time or money. So I had to think smaller. After some self-convincing and an epic pout, I came up with a cheap and fast alternative to the original weapon of mass destruction- I call it the Lite version. But just for shiggles (yep, made that word up…think about it…) I’m going to throw in some of my original ideas in case someone isn’t as limited in their efforts and could use a spark of genius idea…you’re welcome.

Arm Cannon Materials:

1 Large packing tube (Mr. Frog had one at his office that was perfect! Check your local shipping supply store)

Xacto Knife (you should already have one of these if you followed my helmet project)

Masking tape

Green plastic cups ($1 for 8 at the dollar store)

A small piece of foam (diameter of the tube opening- you have lots if you are following my other tutorials)

Liquid nails (Use the same tube you got from the helmet project- it doesn’t take much)

1 bottle metallic green acrylic paint (cheap stuff works fine)

1 bottle black acrylic paint (you probably already have some from my other tutorials)

1 bottle yellow acrylic paint (ditto)

An old pen (one that is relatively thick and sturdy- look for one that fits sideways inside tube)

A vase light, push-light (what I used), battery-powered LED string lights, or a bracelet glow stick if you just want lights for a few hours (this is for the front of your gun- see steps below to determine which works best for you)

A cheap laser noise-making toy gun (I got mine for $3 from a party supply store after Halloween last year)

*Optional Nerf Ball Blaster gun (get the kind that shoots foam balls, not darts. This was a brilliant idea I wish I could have done)

Step 1:  Obtain large shipping tube.

Step 2: Measure the length from your elbow to fist, add about 8 inches (or whatever feels comfortable) and cut the tube

Step 3: Cut 5x 1’ bands from the remaining excess tube. Fit one band inside the lip of the arm cannon tube, one inside that one, and the other 3 around the opposite outer end (as pictured)

Secure with masking tape and liquid nails. This part can be tricky, so I used rubber bands to keep the rings in place while the glue dried.

Step 4: Cut out any additional details to give the cannon some techy flare. I cut the top and bottom pieces from the excess tube and the curve fit perfectly. It is a little hard to tell in the picture, but you can see the raised detail.

Step 5: Paint!

Here is where you can have fun with some painting techniques. Start with covering the entire canon in metallic green. You can dry brush some black on top to give it a little age and wear. I painted in lines and between the rings to show that there should be dimension in those areas.

I added the circular side details with paint because I didn’t have time to craft in any foam pieces. Hint- If you are planning on cutting out shapes for exterior lighted effects, do so before you paint. I just used paint techniques to give the appearance of lights. You can message me if you have trouble figuring out how to add LEDs.

Step 6: Handle. You might have put your tube on your arm and thought, this looks good, but how do I keep it from sliding off my arm? Solution: A pen. Yes, if you are like me you have 100 random pens that don’t write anymore but you believe anything will eventually come in crandy (crafty + handy= only applicable when you refuse to call yourself a hoarder), so you won’t throw them away. Use a sturdy one- just the casing- and break it/cut it until it fits snugly inside the tube. Hint- it should stay in place when you remove your hand but not dent the tubing. Leave it at a comfortable distance from the end so you can still bend your arm and glue it in with liquid nails. (Sorry, no picture)

Step 7: Fun stuff- sounds and lights!

*Note that if you get the NERF foam ball shooter you will have different steps.

Sounds- use that cheap laser gun and make it fit inside the tube next to the (dry) handle so you can hang on AND pull the trigger. This is actually easier than it sounds. I just sawed off the end, first making sure there were no vital mechanics in the way. Then I used masking tape to keep it in place, and the tube became an excellent acoustic amplifier for the laser noise. Pew Pew!

Lights- For the end of the gun, cut a piece of foam in a circle just slightly bigger than the mouth of the cannon. Seal it with your glue mixture and paint it black. Cut out the bottom of about 2-3 green cups and place them over the clear plastic on the light using masking tape to attach them to the plastic sides. This will give the light a green glow. Hint- you will use the remaining pieces of your green cups for your armor later, so try not to destroy them and save the scraps. If your push light’s plastic is any color besides black, paint that and the masking tape black too. Once dry, attach your light to the foam with liquid nails and let dry completely. You can simply push on the light and place the whole circle into the mouth of the gun, and because you cut the circle larger, it will stay in place during your entire missile-barraging evening and beyond.

That’s it! Here is the completed Samus Aran Arm Cannon:

What do you all think?

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