Guy Daft Punk Helmet for my End Of Year Show | Plus Some Extra Work

drjag

Well-Known Member
For my End Of Year show and my final term of studying my extended BTEC diploma (before going off to university), our assignment is to produce any piece (or pieces) of work to present for a public and private exhibition that will be hosted near our college, that demonstrates your best abilities as an "artist" and to promote your own work, so I thought what better than to document it on TheRPF!

The plan for my end of year work is to make a Daft Punk Tron era Guy helmet as my main piece, alongside other props I will make throughout the term. I know these Daft Punk helmets have been done to death on this forum and other forum sites so to counter that, I'm doing my own twist on the helmet. This helmet won't include lighting as I'm not skilled in the electronics department, but I will be installing headphones and lining it to fit my head perfectly, as I have always wanted to make a Daft Punk helmet that can play internal music.

At this stage I have already done a lot of the main steps, so I'll be posting in sections, alongside the other work and changes as well. And with that, lets go!

With the time frame I have and the limitations of budget and materials, I had to go the Pepakura route with this one; I used JTM's Tron Guy helmet file as I found this model suited my needs more than other available models. Although I would of loved to have approached the MDF/foam method to make my master, this would have taken much longer and required more materials.

Total time of Pepakura assembly: 16-17 hours.
Scale: Ear to ear, 7 inches | Front chin to back panel, 11 inches | Base to top, 10 inches.

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If you have noticed that the "ears" are missing, it's because I wanted to tackle this with a different approach other then Pepakura; I knew it would take far more effort to get the ears right in Pepakura so I'll make 'em another way. Next step is resining/fiberglassing. I did 2 coats of resin on the outside, 1 layer of fiberglass on the inside and 2 coats of body filler/resin mix on the inside for extra rigidity.

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Like all pep helmets, body filler comes after fiberglass; I also used Milliput (Epoxy Putty) to widen the rim of the visor boarder to thicken and even out the distance.

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Refinement:

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Many hours of sanding, priming and filling got me to this stage:

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During the process of making the master, I ended up "simplifying" the overall shape by blending everything together; this was both a feature I wanted to differentiate from other DP helmets, plus it meant I could work quicker. The next stage is the molding process which will include the main mold and the mother mold so stay tuned!
 
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drjag

Well-Known Member
Re: Another Daft Punk Guy Helmet for my End Of Year Show

Molding process:

With the master shape complete (with the exception of the ears) the next step was to mold the helmet. Ideally, making a brush on or matrix silicone mold is the best way to go, I however don't have the money to cash out for a mold I'll only be using a couple times. Alginate could theoretically be used but I needed a mold that wouldn't fall apart after 1 use, so I opted for the best cheapest alternative: liquid latex, and luckily for me, my college could supply me with 5L of liquid latex for free.

Compared to silicone, liquid latex costs a fraction of the price and it is capable of capturing detail on a level comparable to silicone, the downsides are it takes longer to make a good latex mold and it has a tendency to shrink a bit after the mold has set.

Similar to a brush on mold, the first coat needs to be consistent and thin; this is the "beauty" or "print" coat that captures all of the detail, so it's worth taking your time to make sure everything is covered consistently. Latex dries with air contact and heat so thin coats meas faster set times.

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When the first coat is completely dry, it's time to start building up thickness and get it as thick as you can; it's important to cover around the lip base of the helmet as the helmet itself as that lip will help support the shell when it comes to casting.

6-7 layers:

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After that, about 8 more layers were added, including a "Scrim" layer (not pictured) where Scrim material was layered over the mold and painted in with latex. This stiffens the latex mold and makes it stronger whilst keeping it pliable and flexible. Registration keys were also made of latex and were applied on the 10-11th layer.

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With the last layer applied, the whole thing needs to completely cured before making the mother mold. Unfortunately, all of the images of the process for making the mother mold were corrupted so I'll do my best to explain.

To make my mother mold, I opted for plaster bandages as I had access to multiple packs from my college, they dry hard and they're much lighter than trying to use something like plasti-paste or Plaster; a fiberglass mother would probably be the best solution for this.

Before the bandages can be applied, a dividing wall was made using 3mm mount board cut into chunks and hot glued directly to the latex to form a "wonky Mohawk", this acts as a guide for when the two halves of the mother mold are made so they line up a lot easier.

One side was done first, making sure all of the surface was covered and overlapped to build up strength and rigidity; this was left to dry overnight. The next morning, the mount board chunks were removed and the bandages that were molded around the dividing line are coated with petroleum jelly to prevent the other half from bonding to it.

The other half was done the same way, applying and overlapping all areas to build a solid half. When the other side is completely dry and given time to harden, you have two halves.

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That's all for this post. Hopefully my mother mold explanation makes sense to those who want to know how a mother mold is made. For those who may be considering, liquid latex is an awesome alternative as a molding material compared to silicone if you've got shallow pockets; you can get a lot of use out of a jug of latex and for reference, this mold only used 1.2L from a 5L jug.

As mentioned before, this process does take a while (this was 3 days of work, however most of that is just letting layers dry) and the latex will shrink a little, but if your project doesn't require precision, latex is definitely worth a try.

Next post will either be the casting and prepping of the helmet or the other stuff I'm working on for my end of year show.

Until then...
 
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drjag

Well-Known Member
Re: Another Daft Punk Helmet for my End Of Year Show | Plus Some Extra Work

Helmet Cast:

With the mold complete, the next step was to test out the mold and pull a cast! To make my cast I used fiberglass, polyester resin and body filler. 2 coats of 50/50 resin and body filler were poured in and brushed around to pick up all the detail and give a layer of thickness to work with later. Ideally, I would prefer to use polyurethane resin but with budget in mind, this method was much more cost effective as I already had the supplies on hand.

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With the coats layed down and left to harden, I applied 1 layer of fiberglass cloth to cover all of the tricky areas that regular fiberglass mat would have trouble forming around, then I did the primary layer of fiberglass mat which provides the strength the helmet needs; an extra layer was done around the rim for extra strength. Lastly the helmet was coated with 1 more coat of 50/50 resin and body filler to smooth out the exposed fiberglass and eliminate the tack that bare polyester resin tends to have after it hardens; another bonus is it eliminates the smell of polyester resin.

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As you can see in the image above, the majority of the visor portion was left without fiberglass reinforcement, this is because I only need the lip of the helmet for the visor to sit on later and the majority needs to be removed anyway; no point in wasting extra time and material, only to cut it away! Here's the demolding:

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Once demolded, a light pass of sanding was done on the surface to remove the tack that the surface still had, and I used a rotary tool and files to remove the majority of the visor and fine tune the lip and the base. I left about 10mm of space for the visor to sit on and exposed areas were patched with Milliput and left to harden.

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After lots of sanding and priming, I noticed a LOT of surface bubbles in the cast. I assume this came from the viscosity of the ratio I used to pour into the mold, it was somewhat thick and I guess the bubbles had a hard time rising to the surface of the mold, resulting in a lot of trapped bubbles. Every bubble had to be filled so I spent the best part of 2 hours filling bubbles with "Squadron whit putty".

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Around this time I started work on the ear pucks. To meet the deadline requirement, I couldn't make a recessed area with detail like on the main helmet, so I made a flat cone shape and a flat base out of 1mm PVC sheet that was duplicated for both sides; this was adhered with epoxy and blended to the helmet (not pictured). If I ever make another cast with the same mold in the future, I'll likely fabricate the ears separately with all of the detail and depth and merge it with the helmet.

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With the main helmet shape complete, All that was left was prime and paint. I went through a lot of trial and error with the paint on this helmet, as I originally wanted a chrome finish. The spray paint I used just wouldn't cure; I left it for 3 days straight and it still picked up thumbprints as if I painted it 10 minutes prior, and clear coating may have protected the paint job, but clear coating chrome completely eliminates the shine of chrome, turning it a horrible dull grey.

In the end, I settled for a thick, glossy black layer as my final colour; it's not exciting as chrome, but it does look pretty slick.

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That's the helmet at its stage right now and all that's left is padding and installing the headphones in the right place. Depending on the final outcome, I may consider adding some vinyl decals in the future to add an extra touch to the helmet. Next step is making the visor to place on the helmet, so that may be the next post; either that or the other stuff I'm working on for the show.

Until then...
 
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drjag

Well-Known Member
Re: Another Daft Punk Helmet for my End Of Year Show | Plus Some Extra Work

Bonus project:

I mentioned on the first post and in the title that alongside the Daft Punk helmet, I would also be showing off other projects and related work relevant to my end of year show. One of my secondary final pieces is based off a mask I made a long time ago and replicated off the original.

The original mask I made was this Army of Two styled mask; a very simple and generic design with lots of creative freedom to work on, like a blank canvas. The same molding and casting technique used on the Daft Punk helmet was used here; this was actually my first experiment with making latex molds to test if it worked; needless to say it did.

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With my raw cast, I set out a design for the mask. To be honest, I just kinda winged what I was going for and nailed down a design throughout the process. I knew I wanted a singular lens so I only cut out one eye and the lens would be made of vacuum formed PETG for a perfectly formed lens that fits perfectly.

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From here, I smoothed out and shaped areas I felt like smoothing out until I was happy with the consistency.

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With the base smoothed out to my liking, It was time to add features. I wanted a rim around the lens and a mustache on the front; I don't know why, it's just the first thing that came to my head and stuck with me. This was done with Milliput to build the thickness with a little extra body filler around the eye to blend.

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Last was paint job. the helmet is mostly black with a small tuxedo area around the chin.

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That's all on the mask. It'll sit next to the Daft Punk helmet with my other stuff in the end of year show. I hope you guys like the design of this mask; I ended up nicknaming it "Dapp"
 

drjag

Well-Known Member
Re: Another Daft Punk Helmet for my End Of Year Show | Plus Some Extra Work

Visor:

Always my favorite part of any project for a helmet, it's time to go through the process of the visor. With all compound curved visors, vacuum forming is the way to go on this project and fortunately for me, my college has a small, yet powerful vacuum former that'll do just the trick; more on that later. To do the vacuum forming in the first place, we require a buck of the visor.

The buck of the visor is just a solid form of the visor itself. It's very important that your buck is strong and dense so it can withstand the mighty vacuum power that is the vacuum former.

To start with, it's back to the latex mold! We'll be using it to cast the form of the visor that we molded from the master form. The same process was used for casting the helmet, however this time we are only casting the visor portion and a little extra around the visor. 2 coats of 50/50 resin and body filler followed by 1 layer of fiberglass mat was applied.

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At this stage we've covered the strength part of the buck, however it's hollow which could cause the cast to crack under the pressure of the vacuum former; it's not likely it would but I didn't wanna take my chances. I filled the back of the cast with multiple layers of aerosol expanding foam to slowly build up thickness and to ensure the foam is dense.
(Note: if you do all of the foam in one go, the foam sets really soft as it's just pumped with air.)

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After 6 layers (the majority of the 330ml expanding foam can I used), I had a strong and dense form to work with. Excess was cut with a hacksaw and planed for a flat base and the rim was shaped to the visor.

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After this, all of the surface foam had a thick layer of body filler smothered over and sanded smooth; appearance of this shaped foam doesn't matter much as it will be cut away once vacuum formed, however it's worth noting that having the whole base shaped outwards helps the vacuum form lift out easier later in the process.

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The last thing to do is simply sand the visor smooth and remove any and all scratches; the vacuum former will pick up ALL the detail so if you want your work to look good, it's worth putting in the time to sand smooth. I finished on a primed wet sand at 800 grit, using dish soap and warm water as lubricant for the sandpaper.

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When the buck is done it's time for forming! I'll be posting a video soon showing the whole process and explaining what's going on but the end result is something like this:

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4 successful pulls! It's always good to have more than one form in case you mess up (plus if you make more helmets, you already have the visors ready)

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Guy's visor is black, so to make it black, we will be using a tint. There are multiple approaches to tinting such as car window film tint and fabric dying that stains the plastic to the desired shade; for my application, I'll be using spray on headlight tint.

I'm using VHT Nite-Shades (the same I used on my Zer0 helmet I made in another thread) and coating the inside of the visor with 2-3 light coats, being careful not to over saturate. You want it to be light enough to see out of but dark enough that when it's placed on the helmet, it reflects a deep reflective black shine.

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DSC02690.JPG (you can see that the surface is reflecting out but you can still kind of see it; that;s because light is surrounding it from the front and back. When the visor is mounted to the helmet, your head and the dark enclosed space eliminates the back light, meaning it only reflects on the outside, thus resulting in a one way visor.)

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That about wraps it up! The last thing to do to the forms is to trim them to shape and adhere to the helmet. That'll be left right at the end when the padding and headphones are installed; it'll be a lot easier without the visor in the way.

Next post is gonna be other work as I have caught up with all of the work I've done on the Daft Punk helmet.

Until then...
 

drjag

Well-Known Member
The Plinth:

To display the final Daft Punk helmet for the end of year exhibition, I require a body level plinth for the helmet to be displayed on. All of the work I finish alongside the helmet will also be displayed on plinths, however to differentiate the main helmet to the rest of my work, I wanted to make a plinth that accentuates the helmet.

Before the actual construction of the plinth, I wanted to make an extra piece that will be mounted to the plinth. For those who do not know, triangle shaped pendants are worn by both members of Daft Punk (seen in RAM era), which resembles their helmets; my piece is a larger version of that pendant that will sit next to the final helmet.

To begin with, I made a triangular base out of 1.5mm ABS, cut out with a scroll saw.

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After the triangle faces were blended, I cut strips of 1mm styrene and adhered them to the base along the edge of the triangle and a flat base for the bottom. Any and all gaps and imperfections were filled, filed and sanded to blend it all as one piece.

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When I was satisfied with the look, I painted the triangle gold and black; the inside black resembles the visor and the outside gold resembles the rest of the helmet.

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To display the triangle itself on the plinth, a base is needed to lift the triangle and make it look more presentable. For this, I used more 1.5mm ABS and cut out the same base triangle shape with an extra lip at the bottom.

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Like most plastics, ABS can be heat formed so using the extra lip I left on the plastic. I heat formed it back to give the triangle an angle; this was painted black.

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Lastly, the triangle was adhered to the base using superglue.

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Moving on to the plinth. The design is simple, just a rectangular box standing at 4ft with a 15" square base on top for the helmet to sit on. To support the helmet and stop it from accidentally falling off the plinth, I drew a template of the inside of the actual helmet, reduced the width by 5mm and cut out of MDF. The helmet will be placed over the cutout with just enough room for it to be lifted off and on but stays in place when mounted.

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Once the pieces were cut out, they were glued together, sanded flush and adhered to the base of the plinth; everything got a coat of black gloss paint.

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Finally with the base painted, the triangle was mounted to the plinth. I originally wanted to place it in the middle, but it would of obstructed the final piece so I shifted it to the side.

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That's all for this post. When the exhibition is set up, I'll post images of the completed setup with the helmet in place. After these pictures, I touched up a few areas with more black paint as it was inconsistent; I promise it looks much better in person then the images I took.

Next update may be the internals of the helmet as I have pretty much wrapped that up as I write this.
 
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