NASA ACES Helmet

Hughes

New Member
Got the main shell painted inside and out. I'm thinking about wet sanding to improve the finish, but at the same time I'm a bit nervous about making it worse as it seems fine right now. It's kind of nice seeing it come together now and looking forward to assembling some of the visor ear bits.
 

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adamszki427

Member
ultimately the finish depends on whether you want a pristine brand new helmet or whether you intend for it to look used. i think theres defo orange peel in your paint finish but if you want it super smooth and shiny then wetsanding and buffing is the way to go.... are you going to clear coat it?
 

Hughes

New Member
ultimately the finish depends on whether you want a pristine brand new helmet or whether you intend for it to look used. i think theres defo orange peel in your paint finish but if you want it super smooth and shiny then wetsanding and buffing is the way to go.... are you going to clear coat it?
So did wet sand in the kitchen sink, sure my wife loves me turning the kitchen into my workspace. :oops: With only about 5 minutes of light wet sanding I did get good results reducing the orange peel across the entire helmet. I may go just a bit further. Started with 1000, then to 3000 then to 5000. Probably some bufffing/polishing will help too. Here is a shot of the rear of the helmet.

Not sure on clear coating yet....
 

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adamszki427

Member
you can see a big improvement just by looking at the reflection's... only reflection i will be staring at is the glare on my screen as i try and tackle the bad geometry again tonight....
 

Hughes

New Member
you can see a big improvement just by looking at the reflection's... only reflection i will be staring at is the glare on my screen as i try and tackle the bad geometry again tonight....
Okay I feel like I took it to the final level of wet sanding and buffing. The finish feels really smooth, I still need to paint the grey seal around the face opening. How much longer do you have left dialing in the 3d print files? Guess you'd want to be sure on them prior to a multi-day print start.
 

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adamszki427

Member
so i was really struggling with the merging of the shell and seal together to print as one, i tried meshmixer, cinema4d and tinkercad, and all of them have their own brand of dodgy stuff to try and fix, but now i think i am almost there, i just have a small amount of edge geometry to tidy up, and then all the rest of the files have now been mesh checked in both C4D and in simplify3d too and are looking good... havent got on to the visors yet though but i will be setting off some prints as soon as i can.
 

adamszki427

Member
so a hell of a lot of hours later and i finally have 41 STL files all prepped, checked and ready for printing.... the helmet shell and seal merge was an absolute pain (or maybe it was just testing both the abilities of myself, my brain and my computers capabilities. its probably the backwards way to go but i think i am going to print the small parts first and then the shell once i have confidence to press go on that multiple day print.
you would think it would be better to get the shell printed first and then the small bits can be printing whilst i prep the shell but i guess i just haven't talked myself into the big print just yet.... as i said before my history of 3d printing is a catalogue of failures on things infinitely more simple to print than this little lot.
 

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Hughes

New Member
so a hell of a lot of hours later and i finally have 41 STL files all prepped, checked and ready for printing.... the helmet shell and seal merge was an absolute pain (or maybe it was just testing both the abilities of myself, my brain and my computers capabilities. its probably the backwards way to go but i think i am going to print the small parts first and then the shell once i have confidence to press go on that multiple day print.
you would think it would be better to get the shell printed first and then the small bits can be printing whilst i prep the shell but i guess i just haven't talked myself into the big print just yet.... as i said before my history of 3d printing is a catalogue of failures on things infinitely more simple to print than this little lot.
That's great! I think you'll be happy converting all the files and getting them ready to print and then printing them yourself. Wish I had that sort of skill, but just don't have the time right now to get into the 3d printing. Hopefully they all print out successfully.
 

lmgill

Sr Member
so a hell of a lot of hours later and i finally have 41 STL files all prepped, checked and ready for printing.... the helmet shell and seal merge was an absolute pain (or maybe it was just testing both the abilities of myself, my brain and my computers capabilities. its probably the backwards way to go but i think i am going to print the small parts first and then the shell once i have confidence to press go on that multiple day print.
you would think it would be better to get the shell printed first and then the small bits can be printing whilst i prep the shell but i guess i just haven't talked myself into the big print just yet.... as i said before my history of 3d printing is a catalogue of failures on things infinitely more simple to print than this little lot.
Maybe not the time to bring this up, but, since the seal does not match the real seal, why not print the helmet, then add a rubber edge trim? Gray is a bit tricky to find, but if you use vinyl paint (sold at automotive supply stores) you can paint the black rubber trim. This is one in gray that may work.
Here is a good shot of the rubber seal profile. It's going to be likely impossible to find an off the shelf edge seal to match and difficult to fabricate something close by cutting up different edge seals, but a simplified or made up edge trim wouldn't be much different than the 3d printed one, and you wouldn't need to sand out the print lines.
ACES-S1035.jpg
 

adamszki427

Member
thanks for the feedback - not a bad time at all as i haven't started printing yet.... given im using the same 3d model from turbo squid that Adam Savage used as his base model i assumed the seal was pretty close from the ref photos i have been using...... i would absolutely love it to be a real rubber seal but as you say sourcing one would be very tricky indeed...
the pic i attached is the model of the seal isolated and smoothed in cinema4d and compared against the photo you just shared its close except the outer flap/lip should higher/longer to be flush with the inner part of the seal......
 

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lmgill

Sr Member
thanks for the feedback - not a bad time at all as i haven't started printing yet.... given im using the same 3d model from turbo squid that Adam Savage used as his base model i assumed the seal was pretty close from the ref photos i have been using...... i would absolutely love it to be a real rubber seal but as you say sourcing one would be very tricky indeed...
the pic i attached is the model of the seal isolated and smoothed in cinema4d and compared against the photo you just shared its close except the outer flap/lip should higher/longer to be flush with the inner part of the seal......
I was wrong, that seal looks very close.
When I searched for seal many years ago, it became evident that I was not going to find something that was even close to this profile, so we made ours.
If you want to make your own seal, this is how we made ours:
To produce our seal, (before 3d printing was readily available) we fabricated a 6 inch piece of the seal profile, then made an RTV mold of it. Cast up 8 or 10 of them, glued these together and surface finished the resulting 4-5 ft straight piece of visor seal. It was about a foot longer than we needed for the finished seal. We then made an RTV mold of this straight piece and cast the seals in a urethane elastomer and glued it around the face opening.
To ensure a good cast, we inclined the long mold at about 30 degrees, attached a tygon tube to both ends. The bottom tube was attached to a reservoir we could fill with elastomer and the top tube was attached to a vacuum pump. This drew the rubber into the mold from the bottom, and drew out any air.
It is much easier to mold and cast a long straight piece, then a seal in the shape of the face opening.
 

adamszki427

Member
thanks for sharing your processes, i absolutely love the details of how you achieved your results, its amazing and the results speak for themselves.... i think for me at my level i have enough on with vacuum forming the visors so casting and recasting seals would be alot to take on but maybe for mk2 in the future if this one goes well.
 

Hughes

New Member
I was wrong, that seal looks very close.
When I searched for seal many years ago, it became evident that I was not going to find something that was even close to this profile, so we made ours.
If you want to make your own seal, this is how we made ours:
To produce our seal, (before 3d printing was readily available) we fabricated a 6 inch piece of the seal profile, then made an RTV mold of it. Cast up 8 or 10 of them, glued these together and surface finished the resulting 4-5 ft straight piece of visor seal. It was about a foot longer than we needed for the finished seal. We then made an RTV mold of this straight piece and cast the seals in a urethane elastomer and glued it around the face opening.
To ensure a good cast, we inclined the long mold at about 30 degrees, attached a tygon tube to both ends. The bottom tube was attached to a reservoir we could fill with elastomer and the top tube was attached to a vacuum pump. This drew the rubber into the mold from the bottom, and drew out any air.
It is much easier to mold and cast a long straight piece, then a seal in the shape of the face opening.
Agreed with Adam, thanks for sharing your creation process, really great info.
 

adamszki427

Member
OK so today has totally thrown me for a loop, aside from having to unclog my 3D printer and mess around with it a lot to no real end result but one of the parts that did print, albeit badly, just seemed waaaaay off scale wise, and i just can't see how if with the dimensions of the overall helmet shell, it would fit anyones head, so i worked back from a few known dimensions mentioned in various posts and videos - 41/64ths or 16.27mm (mentioned by Adam Savage in his build video)... for the pivot pins that all the visor mechanics mount to

the inner and outer measurements of the neck ring 9.96" and 11" respectively (252.984mm and 279.4mm)

and then the aluminium bar stock for the bailer bar at 5/16ths (7.93mm) also mentioned by Adam Savage

and so with all that being in mind - the overall height of the shell of the helmet without any visors attached is 280.1mm (according to simplify3d and cinema4d) as per the image attached but it really just doesn't look right and i know this is the most odd way to reference it but when i hold a ruler up to my face to get an idea of the size of my head, 280mm (11.5") seems like it would barely fit.

could i ask you guys if you could offer up any insight on scale here or indeed am i about right and it just doesn't seem right on screen? what's really not helping is when you look at a person wearing the helmet it looks so different every time, and whilst i appreciate everyone is a different size and one of the photos is a mannequin, it really makes it hard to tell if im anywhere near.

any guidance would be much appreciated.
 

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Hughes

New Member
OK so today has totally thrown me for a loop, aside from having to unclog my 3D printer and mess around with it a lot to no real end result but one of the parts that did print, albeit badly, just seemed waaaaay off scale wise, and i just can't see how if with the dimensions of the overall helmet shell, it would fit anyones head, so i worked back from a few known dimensions mentioned in various posts and videos - 41/64ths or 16.27mm (mentioned by Adam Savage in his build video)... for the pivot pins that all the visor mechanics mount to

the inner and outer measurements of the neck ring 9.96" and 11" respectively (252.984mm and 279.4mm)

and then the aluminium bar stock for the bailer bar at 5/16ths (7.93mm) also mentioned by Adam Savage

and so with all that being in mind - the overall height of the shell of the helmet without any visors attached is 280.1mm (according to simplify3d and cinema4d) as per the image attached but it really just doesn't look right and i know this is the most odd way to reference it but when i hold a ruler up to my face to get an idea of the size of my head, 280mm (11.5") seems like it would barely fit.

could i ask you guys if you could offer up any insight on scale here or indeed am i about right and it just doesn't seem right on screen? what's really not helping is when you look at a person wearing the helmet it looks so different every time, and whilst i appreciate everyone is a different size and one of the photos is a mannequin, it really makes it hard to tell if im anywhere near.

any guidance would be much appreciated.
So my helmet is from a different 3d print file, but I did some quick measurements and the helmet with the neck ring attached is right at 12 inches. (hard to get the angle right to show it) The neck ring is just over 11 inches measured to the outside and the width of the helmet is also very close to 11 inches. It seems huge when I'm holding it, but I guess the actual measurements don't seem far off at all from what you posted.
 

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adamszki427

Member
So my helmet is from a different 3d print file, but I did some quick measurements and the helmet with the neck ring attached is right at 12 inches. (hard to get the angle right to show it) The neck ring is just over 11 inches measured to the outside and the width of the helmet is also very close to 11 inches. It seems huge when I'm holding it, but I guess the actual measurements don't seem far off at all from what you posted.
awesome, i think im on the right track then.... thanks for sharing the measurements its really a great help.... just need to get the printer back on the go again now.
 

WTCreations

New Member
Sorry I'm late to the party. Been in crunch time for a few weeks.

You have been hard at work on that helmet. Nerve-racking to see someone make a finished costume piece from my 3d modeling.

How are the files so far? Any complaints? Reinforcing that bailer bar sounds like a solid idea.
 

Hughes

New Member
Sorry I'm late to the party. Been in crunch time for a few weeks.

You have been hard at work on that helmet. Nerve-racking to see someone make a finished costume piece from my 3d modeling.

How are the files so far? Any complaints? Reinforcing that bailer bar sounds like a solid idea.
Hey Wesley, No complaints so far with the files or assembly. Made a vacuum forming box and actually went okay on the first couple attempts. My visor buck is PLA+ and it did sustain a bit of heat damage which I repaired. I'll try the outside shade visor tomorrow. Here are some pictures of the inner clear visor.

I have a video of me doing my first vacuum forming pull which I'll probably share, because it is quite funny I think.
 

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adamszki427

Member
looks like you are having a blast on this project..... vac former looks great too.... so you have 3 visors on your helmet? what material did you go with for the visors PETG?
 

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