My Early Disasters pt 2 - A Biker Scout Helmet - How hard can it be?


Sr Member
Today's Tuesday, so we're into the last few days of my vacation. I was hoping to get all the armour I've made so far laid out, and figure out a better rigging system than the one I nearly have now. I don't think that's going to happen. I did get the last piece of the helmet printed last night, and it's been gluing overnight. I've used superglue for the helmet pieces (mostly), and though the initial grab is lacking, if you have enough hands to tape the piece in place and hold it, it's pretty good. Plus the papier mache on the inside as reinforcement.
So the next stage will be mixing up small batches of bondo to make sure I'm not wasting any as I try to fill all the cracks and level some of the mis-matched seams. Of course, I want to put the mic and earpieces in, just like I wanted to with my scratch-build helmet, but I haven't learned anything new since that failed attempt. The financial situation has not improved to the point of just buying the complete kits from the various vendors either. In fact, shocking as it may seem, worldwide performances of my plays have fallen since the pandemic started! Who'd'a thunk it? 20210803_093653.jpg 20210803_093643.jpg


Sr Member
Know what this is? It's the lower half of the back plate of my armour. It's sitting by itself right now because my third or fourth attempt to glue it into place has failed.
If you've read any distance back along this thread, you'll see there are times when I get discouraged. Times when I have to wander off a good way to get some fresh perspective, and either come back to the project with new eyes, or bin it and start something new.
Unfortunately, right now there's a lot going on in what I like to think of as "the real world". Aside from the global pandemic, which you may have read about in the papers, we've had some medical dramas here at home, resulting in some terrific uncertainty about my wife's future earnings. Since she currently earns about 80% of the total family income, that's not a great feeling.
Building this stuff is my hobby. I don't sell any of it on Etsy (because who who pay for any of it?), and though I HAVE written and published e-books on my various projects, no one buys those either. So, I don't make any money from all this. All I get is the satisfaction of a job well done. Which is where the problem lies when the job ISN'T well done. In this case, it would be a giant step up to get the job to be mediocre. I have genuinely spent months printing dozens of pieces and meticulously gluing them together, to produce something that looks like it was found in a barn after 90 years (and a tornado). If I work very, very hard, and spend a lot of money and time, I might be able to get this thing to look ok. If I want to put it on and walk around, then you can triple that time.
I don't have the money to spend on it. This last week and a half has been the longest time I have had off work in two years, and with Mrs Dim incapacitated, it's the longest holiday I've spent at home (not going camping, or abroad or whatever). Even with all that, I have spent maybe three mornings in my workshop, producing a helmet that still needs more work, and actually REDUCING the amount of armour that's ready to go .
If you take a hobby to be something that you do to unwind and gain pleasure, then this is failing on every front. Even if Vancouver FanExpo goes ahead next February (and I'm not betting on the pandemic being over by then), I don't think this thing will be ready. I don't even know if I'd want to wear it.
Yes, this is not one of my good days. But I have a basic kind of job, one that doesn't require a lot of brain, just good shoe leather and an open heart. As a result, what I get from life is from my family and my free time. Writing plays isn't working right now - that part of my brain broke waaaaay back in 2020. Writing fiction doesn't work because it comes from much the same place. If I put aside building props and costumes, then my hobbies become "Watching movies and reading books". I don't think that's particularly healthy, and right now I'm worried about my mental health. I mean, I'm not facing Simone Biles levels of pressure, but on the other hand, I might have to find the money for the mortgage each month, care for a sick wife, bring up three kids, two dogs and two cats and go out to work every day. Probably best I don't go off the deep end brain-wise.

So, what do I do? I think I'm going to try parking the build for the rest of the month. Feels like pressing on will just result in more carnage, and I should maybe be saving my energy for stuff that benefits the whole family.


Sr Member
I do intend to finish this helmet though. Just very slowly, and without the electronics that are so clearly beyond my capability or my budget.


Sr Member
I dunno. Eight coats of paint? Nine? Finally got all the greeblies printed, and even though it's from a decent set of files by a competent vendor, I still manage to make it look like I built it in the dark from Jello and cement, then threw it down an elevator shaft.

I'm sure putting the visor in will make ALL the difference.


Sr Member
Haven't got any new pictures to show, since I haven't been adding much of late. The earpieces went on, then needed a bunch of filler because neither of my 3d printers like the idea of a flat base. I don't know how they manage it, but almost every project I have printed in the last six months has lifted at the base and left a stupid raised/missing section.

3d printing is not simple, not the answer to everything, and not as helpful as you might think.

Anyway, the helmet is physically complete aside from the visor, and just needs a final paint job. The back armour has been repaired twice and broken again three more times. Each time I patch it back together, I wonder why I bother. To complete this set of armour, I need to print two thighs, two knees and two shin greaves. Only the knees will print in one piece (probably). Everything else will be multiple pieces with all the nightmares of attaching and surfacing, and then I have to figure out the strapping. On the pieces I have already made, the strapping has not worked. Not even close. It's awkward to put on, uncomfortable to wear, and it doesn't sit right, let alone fit right.

You can probably tell, I'm a little dispirited.

As a result of some clearout by the kids, I have four earphone speakers, and the optimist in me grabbed them for making the audio system for my helmet and Mrs Dim's Mando Armourer helmet. But then I remembered that I don't know how to make those systems, and even if I could find someone to explain them to me patiently, with a numbered parts list, and I could GET those parts, I'd still screw up the putting together part. For evidence of this, I offer my Dalek Voice Changer ring modulator circuit - a kit bought with all the right parts, assembled carefully according to instructions, and still non-functional. Why doesn't it work? Well, obviously, I don't know.

So, we're sliding downhill to Winter, and I'm obviously fallen out of love with building for the moment. Not that my brain wants to let go of it. It's still wildly enthusiastic about the whole thing, but refuses to put in the work when I ask it to pay attention to tutorials on electronics, or designing harness attachments, or anything useful. Just dreams of glory.

I'll be back in the Spring, I think, out of hibernation.

Snow Builder

Sr Member
Sorry man, you sound truly dispirited. I'm in the middle of a big project and have had to walk away from it for several weeks -I'm just sick of looking at it. So, not the same thing, but I understand where you're coming from. I think you're right to break and come back at it fresh.

While on your break, you should investigate a relaxing, easy, low-risk build in an area that you haven't tried before. Maybe rocket building? ;)

No sure that I really have anything productive or encouraging to say, other than you know you have the support of this community. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Sr Member
Belated thanks to Snowbuilder for those words of encouragement and support! I thought I'd take the whole winter off, but my eldest wanted to get some help with producing a Destiny helmet for her boyfriend. By "Destiny helmet", I think she means a helmet from the game "Destiny", though it's one I don't play (you HAVE to multiplayer, which is the antithesis of why I play computer games), and by "some help" she meant "do this entirely by yourself while I occasionally say thank you."

So, at odd times in the run up to Christmas, I've been setting both 3d printers going to produce some of the 18 parts to this monstrosity. Here's a picture of it with one entire side complete:
It's a pig of a thing to slice up, and working with two different machines that run on different software doesn't help, but now I'm pretty much done with the printing. (I have one more tiny piece to print that I had already printed once, but mistakenly threw away because it was so small. Bugger.)
Next comes the ton of Bondo because, despite careful slicing, none of the pieces actually line up. I've discovered that a lot of my problems are due to filament shrinkage causing that lifting effect, but there seems to be no way to avoid it apart from having a heated plate, which I don't. So, Bondo and sanding it is.

Lucky for me, we've already printed (in one go!) a miniature version of the helmet for him to enjoy, so there isn't any rush to get this done for Christmas. Obviously.

All my other build projects are on the back burner - the armour is probably shelved for good, although I've been painting up the Helmet that goes with it. Electronics are still a no-go.

I turn fifty this year, and think that might be a time to decide whether I can still learn to do stuff, like program the Raspberry Pi I've had for four years, and building circuits, or whether I'm just too damn old. Suspect I'm just too damn old, but still not rich enough to just buy the stuff ready made from other people...


Sr Member
So, the other day I had to go down to the workshop for DIY reasons (remodelling the fireplace by removing it entirely and wallboarding over the hole). I found my armour had once more simply fallen apart. Along different fault lines this time, but still just from the stress of hanging on my minimal mannequin.
I stuck it back together with more staples, no longer concerned with making it look good. I'm absolutely certain that I won't ever finish this armour, or if I ever did, that it would not be wearable. I did finish painting up the helmet and put in the visor, though the electronics are nothing more than a pipe dream at this point.
The picture is mirrored, because selfie, but it's the right way round in the real world, or at least the version that I inhabit.
In the meantime, I have begun a much more moderate hobby - 3d printing miniature helmets. They're 4cm wide, which should allow me to make every type of helmet I've ever wanted, and yet still have room to display them all without buying another house. Surfacing is an issue, as it always is, but I plan to sort that out - I finally found a tube of spot putty for sale, so much less fuss than Bondo!

While I'm helping Mrs Dim recover from her stroke, waiting for the Youngest Weasel to Graduate and for the elder two to move out, I'm not taking on any large-scale projects. Someday there'll be a chance to take a run at that pedal-powered landspeeder.....

Snow Builder

Sr Member
I'm just delighted to see you're posting again! Sounds like your life is a little more complicated than we would choose for you. Hopefully you're coping okay and every day is improving.

Stay strong.


Sr Member
I tidied the workshop (and yes, this is the AFTER picture) but haven't got any specific work in mind yet. Was going to embark on a TARDIS build, but that has been squashed by the domestic authorities for the time being. Anyway, it's nice to have space in the workspace again...


Sr Member
I'm not posting here for the moment, as I'm neck-deep in restoring my dalek. I'm using the 3d printers and some plans from the Project Dalek Forum. It's going about as well as you'd expect...


Sr Member
Took a break from daleks to knock out a quick 3d printed Kenobi lightsaber, because, you know, Kenobi.


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