Help with Iron Man helmt? (paper base)

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Sarnelia

New Member
Hello,

I'm basically completely new to the party and therefore have a few questions. I had the fantastic idea of trying to build an Iron Man helmet last year and after some research found files on the internet that allowed me to print (on paper) a lot of tiny pieces that then needed to be cut and glued together and somehow ended up in what looks like an Iron Man paper helmet. So far so good. However, the tutorial I found then specified I should go on an put resin on the whole thing. And that's where my progress stopped. I tried finding something fit for the purpose, but I'm not overly keen on working with potentially harmful materials, especially since I've never done anything like this ever before and literally have no idea what to look out for etc. And I found it pretty hard to find proper information for this purpose online, because there is so much out there that it's like trying to find the well known needle in a haystack. At least that's what it felt like to me. Anyway, I found information about Aquaresin that supposedly isn't harmful but does more or less the same thing. Living in the UK, Aquaresin doesn't exist here but the equivalent seems to be something called Jesmonite. There's different types of it available, and I assume now that what I am looking for is Jesmonite AC100. There's a liquid component to it and a pulvery one and presumably these need to be mixed. However, I cannot for the live of me find out if that's really what I want / need. I thought I was looking for something that I can apply onto the paper base of the helmet to harden this and then mix with fiberglass cloth or something of the kind. The Jesmonite stuff looks more like I was trying to plaster the whole thing, which I assume is not really what I want to do? My problem is pretty much that I have this lovely, actually pretty cool looking paper version standing here since last October or something but I don't know how to go about the next step. If anyone has some advice or knowledge or whatever on what to do and what to buy, I would very very much appreciate it!

Sorry for the essay.
 

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RvanAken

Active Member
The progress you're describing is called pepakura. Using resin to harden your paper build is the right thing to do. Then you could use fiberglass cloth and resin on the inside of your helmet to build up some thickness. There are two ways to proceed from there. First, if you've got enough build up (uses a lot of fiberglass) you can use a sander to make it smooth and rounded. Or you could use "bondo" to coat the helmet and sand I smooth. Bondo is a brand name for a body filler, just what is available locally and do some tests with a few. It took me three different brands to find the one I like. All three really budget and I'm still working on my first "real" helmet.

I hope this helps a bit. I made some pepakura masks to practice on which gave me the opportunity to make mistakes. Making mistakes means your learning.

There is a whole thread on pepakura on this forum with great tips, there are also a lot of tutorials on YouTube.

Good luck and don't forget to post some pics

-R-
 

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Sarnelia

New Member
Thanks for the advice!!

I did use card stock, I think it was 160mg but can't quite remember. I've build the paper version a while back and then wasn't sure about the best way to proceed, so just let it rest. Which wasn't of course a great idea because the back of the helmet is a bit out of shape now and I'm not quite sure hot to bring it back into it before I apply any resin. That being said though, I think I'll just proceed with the resin now anyway and see how it goes, if it all works out I think this will be the "test helmet" and I might make another proper one from scratch when I know what I'm doing ;)
Thanks again, especially also for the link!
 

Sarnelia

New Member
Ok, so during the last few weeks I've read up on Pepakura, resins, fiberglass, you name it. I gave up on my initial helmet try since it's so out of shape and instead started off anew with the Mark III files from DancingFool and Dubean33s helmet. I was highly motivated, and after having read some more on Jesmonite (or Aquaresin) was confident that this would work and I knew what I was doing. So far I just build the chest piece and am currently assembling the new helmet. So today I thought "lets put that first coat of Jesmonite on the chest" and prepared it. Somehow, I don't know why, I was under the impression that the Jesmonite would work sort of similarly to normal (epoxy?) resin (I'm really not overly keen on working with that stuff), at least more or less, and that I could apply a very thin layer. Turns out, it's not that simple.
I mixed it in the recommended 1 part liquid to 2.5 parts of the powder (weight wise) and I got a rather chewy, plaster resembling paste. Stupidly enough, I tried nonetheless and started brushing stuff onto my lovely chest piece. It was of course only then that I realized that it's not working like I thought and remaining way to thick, weighing the paper down immensely. I only then also realized that I should have probably applied it from the inside rather then the outside... well... when I had about 1/4 of it covered in Jesmonite the chest piece was starting to lose its shape due to the weight and the paper getting wet, I assume, and I gave up. It's now in the shed to dry but frankly, it's a disaster, and I'm not sure how to proceed now. The following things come to mind, since I really don't want to go down the toxic resin route:

- mix it differently and keep it more fluid so it can be applied thinner
- apply first coat from the inside rather then the outside
- should I spray something onto it before I start with the Jesmonite? Like some clear coating or something?
- try again when it's warmer outside so the stuff won't harden as quickly

That's pretty much it. I'm hoping that it's not completely ruined and that I can sand a lot of the dispensable Jesmonite down again, but I'm not sure. I'm really frustrated now. I have read from a few people on here that Jesmonite works and that it might end up a little heavier than with epoxy resin, but I don't think I've seen someone actually describing what they've done. Anyone able to help?
 

ChrisT1986

New Member
Pop down to your local Halfords and you can buy a resin+fibreglass repair kit (in a yellow box, I forget the brand name) for about £15.

That's what I used.
 

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Sarnelia

New Member
Yes, thank you, I found all of that, but the point is that I don't really want to use that stuff ;). I have zero experience in working with harmful materials and all of that need for respirators etc. sounds a little too creepy for my liking.

I gave the whole thing a lot of thought today and started a second try this afternoon, this time from the inside, and it worked much better. I didn't manage to coat all of it (again) because it turned hard in the pot before I finished. I could have mixed some more and applied the rest, but I was hungry and called it a day ;) I'll finish the first coating tomorrow and then hopefully also get to the point where I add fibre tissue to the inside (I went for the thinnest version since the Jesmonite already seems to provide a lot of stabilty and I was afraid that with fibreglass options I may need to much Jesmonite and it will get too heavy. we'll see).

Anyway, here's a picture of yesterday's first try from the outside. You can see where the paper gave in on the side. Now trying to figure out a way of stabilising this to get it back into shape properly...

hm.jpg
 

ironbat

Member
As a heads up, you can always do a nontoxic version. won't be as study but still could be fun. When I make suits for my kids, we use cardboard instead of foam. And instead of coating it with resin, we make homemade mod podge. After awhile it harden's up pretty good, and can be sanded down.
 

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