Daft Punk Thomas Helmet with full led matrix under way!


Hi everyone! I've been busy with this build since November. It's taken time, but I am making progress slowly but surely. Looking to being finished with the whole build by no later than Halloween 2012.

So I started with one of Michael's (FireWire) Thomas helmets. Let me start off my saying that the cast quality was second to none. I got a beautiful cast in the mail, and was anxious to start work. However, I was scared that it wouldn't fit.

But after a little trimming, guess what?!


So I did some cutting/trimming today. It's still really rough and needs some sanding, but you get the idea. I left a lot in the visor area until I figure out how I can mount the visor without having a little lip on the top and bottom. I am planning on putting a matrix in there, but I need some time to get my ducks in a line and figure everything out.

I am about 90% done with trimming the ear spaces/visor area/nose and mouth. All I have left to do is cut a lip inside the visor area to which I can mount my visor. Should get around to that this weekend hopefully, as well as the first coat of filler putty. Enough jabbering, take a look at a few pics.

Nose/Mouth area

He haz teh EARS!

So I have started to think about electronics. Plans are for a full matrix with side equalizer lights and the four color bars. I will also be adding LED's to the ears. I want to follow Harrison's method of mounting the matrix (the aluminum frames with the fans) but I plan on using Julio's method of the 8x32 SureElectronics board as the "brains" to power it all. Here's the best part, I don't have much knowledge in arduino programming or with leds. Guess I'll be learning on the fly!

Ever heard the phrase "If you want something done right, do it yourself"? Case. In. Point.

So I took my ear pucks to my friend to cut them in half on his lathe (so I could put in petg sheets for the ear lights). I thought I was specific enough when I told him where to cut them, but i guess not. Here's the results:

Now I have to order another set from Michael (Fire_Wire). I'm going to salvage what I can, but from the looks of it, it won't be much.

UPDATE TIME! (And you thought this project was dead, didn't you?)

School has been a killer, but now that the semester is over, I have some time to work on this build. Today I cut the lip around the visor area so that I can mount the lens from the inside of the helmet. I tested my theory with the template I made for the lens itself, and guess what?! It works!

I also spent a considerable amount of time researching for LED matrix I will be installing. See my diagram below. I will be using a SureElectronics board to power the leds and an Arduino Nano to hold all the code. I need to figure out what I am going to do with the board because there is very little room inside the helmet because of my fat head. Any suggestions?

Another little update:

While this may look like no more than a hacked up Pizza Hut box (which, I guess, inevitably it is), this piece has provided another crucial "proof of concept, aha!" moment (as well as some delicious pizza :p). This is a mockup of the rig that I will be building to house all of my electronics. The most important point, however, is that it has proven to me that I can fit my big 'ol head into the helmet when the electronics are in there. Also, got the SureElectronics board ordered as well as the Arduino Nano board that will be running the matrices. Anyways, on to the pics. Me wearing my DP shirt today was just luck.

So here's me with the helmet and a mockup of the electronics. I need to work on the scale of everything to get it just right, but its close enough for you to understand what it will look like.

BIG update today!!

I got my Arduino Nano in the mail recently. This guy is TINY!

I hooked it up to a breadboard and followed Tekparasite's guide over here. I loaded up the code donated by "andyval" over on the RPF.(code located here) for my 5v 3mm SureElectronics matrix 8x32 matrix.

Much to my surprise, IT WORKED!

And to see all my animations, Check out my video.
The coding is very easy to change, so what suggestions do you have for things that my matrix should display.

Got my new set of ear pucks in from the UK today! Gosh I forgot how good this thing looked with the ear pucks in there!

More coming soon!


I've been busy :) Thomas is now as smooth as a baby's bottom. I've got a video somewhere of the ear lights working, but I can't seem to find it right now. I'll upload it when I find it.

I won't be making my deadline of Halloween this year. Too much got in the way this summer and this project took the brunt of my postponing. In recent news, I've had to completely sand the helmet because the primer I originally used would bubble under a chrome layer. It's now sprayed with a 2k primer (primer with a hardener), and my glove plates arrived from Canada, courtesy of Maverick/L.E.Props/Crank729.

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New Member
What did you use to program the led display? How did you edit the code? Did you use an animator program or just plain code?

JDM Ninja

Active Member
Who's going to do your chrome? I need to have both, guy and Thomas helmets chromed, the metallic paint just ain't cutting it for me


Coat of Chrome in Valencia, CA is doing mine. I've been talking to a guy named Gary. He is really great to work with. Just know beforehand that, chroming is going to be expensive.

JDM Ninja

Active Member
Coat of Chrome in Valencia, CA is doing mine. I've been talking to a guy named Gary. He is really great to work with. Just know beforehand that, chroming is going to be expensive.
Yah I know. That's why I've been putting it off so long, can't really justify it when I have so many other ideas for costumes that would be more fun than having 2 shiny helmets lol

I have 2 sets of volpin hand plates that have been sitting in the box for over a year lol.
And I have a light setup for my guy-man helmet from tekparasite, I was actually his first customer when he did the initial 5 set run

Tron premiere



Just found your build on a random search around therpf, and I'm starting my own Thomas build now but I was wondering how you mounted your LED matrix in the visor, and also what did you use on the side panels for the lights there? (I'm finding it hard to find good reference pictures/video of that and what kind of lighting display should go there)