So with the latest wave of Halo Infinite trailers, 343 Industries decided to show some industrial footage of the Mjolnir armor being made in a space lab. Which is awesome! I love these, because it's combines two of my favorite interests, manufacturing, and video games.
However, I like to go overboard, and over analyze the manufacturing methods shown in these videos. Obviously it's all applied phlebotinum (aka, fake) but for me it's still fun to theorize about made up systems. So I want to do a quick deep dive on this... and we'll do this under the assumption that it all works.
If you haven't seen the trailer, here it is:
Pretty cool, right?
So let's discuss what we're looking at.
►A precise amount of liquid metal is dispersed into a press die, and compacted into a part.
This is slightly odd, as you wouldn't forge a liquid. But we do see the press do a two step motion, so what's probably happening is a two part process. The first compression stage would be like a casting mold, where the liquid metal is solidified into the initial shape. In the video this happens very quickly, which brings up some interesting ideas.
The mold must be super cooled by liquid nitrogen or similar to induce such a rapid solidification.
This would in turn create differential cooling in the part, as the outside would cool a lot faster than the inside, thereby creating some mild case hardening effect. (We'll assume that there will be minimal internal stresses induced by this process)
The second motion of the press would act as a forging die, super compressing the outer layers and squeezing out any voids in the material. This would create a very strong case hardening effect, and would give the part consistent mechanical properties and surface finish.
►From here, the part is move through a laser field, which performs the first quality control check. Here we're looking for rough dimensional tolerances, and probably a first surface finish check.
►A sonic chamber then functions as a large scale, very powerful ultrasonic cleaner, which removes any mill scale or residue left over from the casting/forging process. At this point I'll note that it's a good thing we're levitating these parts, as that reduces the worry of contaminates spoiling our parts before final assembly. I'm also assuming a lot of this is done in a vacuum also, for the same reason.
►Next we move on to the metrology department, as we take a vary small sample (with a ridiculous blade I might add. That alone probably cost millions), that we can send off to the lab. But we verify the mechanical properties, such as shear strength, tensile strength, and composition by doing so. This is an ISO 9000 manufacturing lab with government contracts, I might add, so we are basically just doing this for record keeping if a part ever fails down the line. (I mean, come on, we calibrated everything before we started, and we have a state of the art metallurgy department backing us up. The composition is fine!)
►Meanwhile, we dip cast the soft components with their outermost layer. There is probably a woven sub layer, plus all the powered and sensory component underneath.
►Now it's time for component assembly. Each of these armor assemblies will be what Master Chief deals with on a day to day basis, and can be interchanged if necessary. This is also done in a clean room/vacuum chamber to reduce contamination.
►The components get a manually assisted inspection (the computer does most of the work, the user just clicks the "OK" button) These get initialed off by the inspector per our ISO system, and get documented down for record keeping (like I said, government contract, you have to keep records of everything).
►Finally, we can go to final assembly and give it a washdown (which is redundant since we did this all in a clean room) but go figure.
And there you have it! One ton of battle armor ready to kick some Covenant/Banished/Flood/Forerunner/Whatever-gets-in-Chief's-way's butt!
Anyway, it's not perfect, but this was a fun little thought experiment for me, and I hope it makes an entertaining read for you. Hopefully Halo Infinite is an awesome game!