If you happen to watch a video clip of 2020 Clemson grad Emily Yarid talking about her work, you could be forgiven for thinking she’s discussing airplanes, auto engines or some other highly mechanical process.
“I want to focus on weight distribution,” Yarid said at the start of a video posted on YouTube last summer while she was still a student. She then explained her process for creating “collapsable plate systems” and “a double-hinged system” to increased fluidity of motion, adding, “I want to motorize everything.”
Yarid was not discussing what might be deemed a typical task, however.
Instead, she was walking viewers through the process — the highly elaborate, painstaking and mathematical process — behind her creation of a custom Iron Man suit.
@emily.the.engineerTHANK YOU FOR 2 MILLION 💙💙##ironman ##fyp ##marvel ##stanlee ##3dprinting♬ All Rights Go To The Original Content Creator – Mental Drive
“I build Iron Man suits and props and things like that,” she told her viewers last summer.
But these aren’t mere costumes. Using materials like foam, fiber glass, 3D printed plastic and even aluminum, Yarid has managed to create suits that rival those made by the movie studios.
“I built my first Iron Man suit out of foam at the age of 14,” she explained, “and since then I have been trying to make them better and better.”
Along the way, Yarid has also gained a significant social media following. A clip she posted to the social media platform TikTok in December has now racked up more than 60 million views. The clip shows Yarid lip-syncing to a medley of pop songs in a montage that portrays the full process behind her suit’s creation over the previous few months.
Going by the username emily.the.engineer, a nod to her background in mechanical engineering, she now has more than 2 million individual subscribers to her channel.
Her videos range from self-deprecating jokes, including a fashion show of sorts that reveals her outfit on “casual days off” (an old hoodie and sweat pants stained with spray paint, her face covered by a spray paint respirator mask), to detailed instructions about assemblage of her suits.
She also takes the time to thank those who make her hobby possible — as well as to apologize to one person in particular.
“I want to apologize,” she said in a video addressed to her UPS man. “I live on the third floor, and there is absolutely no telling how many pounds of 3D printer plastic you have hauled up the stairs over the last six months. I mean, we’re talking the printer plastic, the printers themselves, my storage rack — which at least had to have weighed 70 pounds. All that is to say, God bless you, UPS man. You’re keeping this hobby alive.”
Now that she’s graduated, Yarid still plans to leverage her social media following into a real job by building new props as she continues her goal of getting “better and better.”
“I’ve got some more ideas, don’t worry,” she said.