NASA ACES Helmet

Hughes

New 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?
Yes there are three, a clear inner visor, then a blackout visor and on the exterior a tinted visor. The vac forming material is .030 PETG, but I'll probably give a go at .060 and see what that looks like too.
 

lmgill

Sr Member
This was a family effort apparently as my daughter ran the vac and wife recorded. I was quite thrilled to see the visor take shape. LOL
Nice little set up.
If I may offer a couple of suggestions:
Powder your plastic and pattern with talc (Baby powder) and leave the blue protective film on the underside of your plastic while forming.
The talc will help the hot plastic slide across the pattern, helping reduce thinning, as well as make it easier to remove from the pattern. This will also reduce the chances of the hot plastic sticking to a painted surface.
Leaving the protective film on the plastic when forming will give you a bit better optic quality to the finished visor once the film is removed.
 

Hughes

New Member
Nice little set up.
If I may offer a couple of suggestions:
Powder your plastic and pattern with talc (Baby powder) and leave the blue protective film on the underside of your plastic while forming.
The talc will help the hot plastic slide across the pattern, helping reduce thinning, as well as make it easier to remove from the pattern. This will also reduce the chances of the hot plastic sticking to a painted surface.
Leaving the protective film on the plastic when forming will give you a bit better optic quality to the finished visor once the film is removed.
Thanks for the advice, I thought about leaving the film on like you had mentioned earlier in the thread and it seemed like it would wrinkle, but I will give it a shot today. The .030 ends up being fairly thin after pulling over the buck, not horrible, so I'll try .060 next. I did add a bit of talc like you recommended too, probably just doesn't show in the video well. It did work pretty well and after some minor trimming the buck released easily.

Question: After applying the hot PETG over the buck, can I immediately cool the plastic by wiping down with a wet hand towel? I just want to minimize the amount of time the buck has to experience the heat. So I'm thinking right after the visor takes shape over the buck, wiping down with a wet cloth.?
 

lmgill

Sr Member
Thanks for the advice, I thought about leaving the film on like you had mentioned earlier in the thread and it seemed like it would wrinkle, but I will give it a shot today. The .030 ends up being fairly thin after pulling over the buck, not horrible, so I'll try .060 next. I did add a bit of talc like you recommended too, probably just doesn't show in the video well. It did work pretty well and after some minor trimming the buck released easily.

Question: After applying the hot PETG over the buck, can I immediately cool the plastic by wiping down with a wet hand towel? I just want to minimize the amount of time the buck has to experience the heat. So I'm thinking right after the visor takes shape over the buck, wiping down with a wet cloth.?
I did notice undercuts on your pattern and could see trimming it would be the only way to remove the part. But, you only need the plastic to form to the "visor" part of the tool, so perhaps less heat.
Try to get the plastic just hot enough to form over the part of the tool that is the part you need. Too much heat makes the plastic to susceptible to markoff, webbing and transmits excess heat to the tool.
I rewatched your video and the plastic looks to be heated to a good temp, perhaps a bit hot. Of course the thicker material will require a longer heat time. I use my finger to poke the plastic to see if it's at a good point. I look for the plastic to drape over my finger tip like a old leather belt. (Sorry I'm not sure how to best describe it) If it drapes like a wet dish towel, that is generally too hot. This is where experience comes in.

Yes, cooling it will not be an issue, but keep in mind if the plastic is hot enough, the towel could mark the surface. Normally we use an air gun and compressed air, as this will not mark the plastic. If you have a second vacuum cleaner hose, use the blowers output to blow air on the visor.
 

Hughes

New Member
Could use some help on a problem that I had today. Ordered PETG sheets from Amazon that seemed exactly the same specs as the PETG sheets I ordered on Etsy. Only difference is I was able to get a size that fit exactly to my frame so no waste. (and a bit cheaper). So visibly both appear exactly the same to start with. Clear, .030, film on both sides. The difference came when I heated this version it very quickly turned completely opaque (foggy white) and never even drooped to the consistency that would have allowed me to put it over the visor buck.

There must have been a difference between the two versions of PETG? I have no clue why this version wouldn't droop/melt and turned foggy white.
 

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adamszki427

Member
reading elswhere, there are discussions about water forming but PETG is not hydroscopic so unlikely that, someone also mentioned going white because they overheated it so maybe try a lower temp for a slower heat and see if you get any results, as for not sagging i once was messing around with a PET juice bottle and managed to boil the juice in the bottle over an open fire, the plastic must have reacted got hard, and i assume this is a simmilar scenario.
 

Hughes

New Member
reading elswhere, there are discussions about water forming but PETG is not hydroscopic so unlikely that, someone also mentioned going white because they overheated it so maybe try a lower temp for a slower heat and see if you get any results, as for not sagging i once was messing around with a PET juice bottle and managed to boil the juice in the bottle over an open fire, the plastic must have reacted got hard, and i assume this is a simmilar scenario.
Thanks for the comment Adam. I started with the heat at 270 F and once I slide in the PETG sheet I turn heat up to 350 F. The previous PETG sheet (from different supplier) seemed to work fine this way and within about 2 minutes was sagging sufficiently to pull it out and place on the buck. The only main difference from a storage aspect was that this particular PETG was in my garage for about a week and the first PETG sheet that worked was in the house. Temp difference would be about 70 F in the house and 50 F in the garage.
 

lmgill

Sr Member
Could use some help on a problem that I had today. Ordered PETG sheets from Amazon that seemed exactly the same specs as the PETG sheets I ordered on Etsy. Only difference is I was able to get a size that fit exactly to my frame so no waste. (and a bit cheaper). So visibly both appear exactly the same to start with. Clear, .030, film on both sides. The difference came when I heated this version it very quickly turned completely opaque (foggy white) and never even drooped to the consistency that would have allowed me to put it over the visor buck.

There must have been a difference between the two versions of PETG? I have no clue why this version wouldn't droop/melt and turned foggy white.
While I have not experienced this before with PETG, I suspect it could be one of a couple of things;
The PETG is recycled and not virgin material, so there is some contamination.
With Acrylic, there are a number of types, This includes two main groups, extruded and cast, Cast versions are not very vacuum formable. I wonder if there is a similar issue with PETG.
It is not PETG.

Water trapped in material typically does not fog the material uniformly, but causes tiny blisters, and does not cause the material to loose elasticity. But, this lack of elasticity is what you get with cast acrylic sheet.

I generally avoid "Hobbyist" versions of materials, as they often are not (strictly speaking) what they claim to be. (I'm basing this on the packaging you show).
 

Hughes

New Member
While I have not experienced this before with PETG, I suspect it could be one of a couple of things;
The PETG is recycled and not virgin material, so there is some contamination.
With Acrylic, there are a number of types, This includes two main groups, extruded and cast, Cast versions are not very vacuum formable. I wonder if there is a similar issue with PETG.
It is not PETG.

Water trapped in material typically does not fog the material uniformly, but causes tiny blisters, and does not cause the material to loose elasticity. But, this lack of elasticity is what you get with cast acrylic sheet.

I generally avoid "Hobbyist" versions of materials, as they often are not (strictly speaking) what they claim to be. (I'm basing this on the packaging you show).
Thanks Imgill, I think you're correct, because the material that I showed was from a different distributor and right off the bat didn't perform at all how my first sheet did. So I need to wait about 8 days for my new batch of PETG. I do however have some additional work I can still do on the helmet in the mean time.
 

Hughes

New Member
While I wait for the new PETG to complete the tinted visor I assembled some of the other components. However I'll probably disassemble and do some more quality control tuning on a few parts. Overall, really happy with the way things are fitting together, can't wait to get the final tinted visor completed.
 

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adamszki427

Member
wow you have really made strides on this one.... looking good. i think to my eye the bailer bar looks a little chunky but we all know how bad my judgement of scale is from my previous post... great work though, coming along nicely.
 

Hughes

New Member
wow you have really made strides on this one.... looking good. i think to my eye the bailer bar looks a little chunky but we all know how bad my judgement of scale is from my previous post... great work though, coming along nicely.
Have you made any progress on your prints? I'm starting to look at what I can do on the helmet interior as well to bolster the appearance. I know Imgill gave some descriptions of interior components and padding, but it would sure be nice if someone had some good interior shots of an ACES helmet.
 

lmgill

Sr Member
Have you made any progress on your prints? I'm starting to look at what I can do on the helmet interior as well to bolster the appearance. I know Imgill gave some descriptions of interior components and padding, but it would sure be nice if someone had some good interior shots of an ACES helmet.
Check out the PDF I linked to earlier, it has a nice shot of the interior.
But, if you have visors that articulate into the interior, you can't replicate the ACES interior without a complete interior shell, as the head pad will be in the way of the visor.
 

Hughes

New Member
Check out the PDF I linked to earlier, it has a nice shot of the interior.
But, if you have visors that articulate into the interior, you can't replicate the ACES interior without a complete interior shell, as the head pad will be in the way of the visor.
Yeah you're right that the visor on the interior will not allow me to replicate the ACES exactly so i'll need to focus on the interior lower portion of the inside. I'll check out the PDF and see what I might be able to add to my helmet.
 

adamszki427

Member
i have the 3d/STL files for the interior parts which i reworked from the turbosquid models.... i would be happy to share them if i am allowed to do so, i dont want to get into trouble but i guess its ok as long as im not selling them, and they are re-modelled by me from the originals. the picture shows the 3 small boxes that are mounted to the interior, and then there are a few metal clips for the wiring, a neck pad (which you wouldnt print obviously) and some wiring. i think the only other interior parts are the inside part of the anti-suffocation valve which you can just about see on the 2nd picture... my version of that part is designed to go through the helmet shell and link to the outer part but can be easily modified to suit.
dont forget these are from the turbosquid models so how accurate they are i cannot say.
nothing much to report on my prints though unfortunately... wedding in less than 80 days so that is taking focus for now as we are making alot of decoration stuff ourselves.
 

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Hughes

New Member
NASA Aces Helmet.JPG

Got three vac form pulls for the tinted visor, 2 look pretty decent and one was a throw away. Placed on the helmet after trimming, but still need to apply the tinting.
 

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adamszki427

Member
looking good.... i think the outer visor needs to have the "headphone" band like the one you have for the innermost visor.....to tie it more in to the aces helmet design....
 

Hughes

New Member
NASA ACES 5.jpeg

2 of my outside visors came out really pretty nice. It wasn't without issues though. Apparently you need to wait for the dye packets to completely dissolve or the tinting is really uneven. Luckily I did all the dye work in the garage with plenty of protection on everything around me, because the dye gets EVERYWHERE. Super excited about how it turned out so far. Now thinking about if I'll put the reflective tape on the back of the helmet. Part of me says do it, but the other part that spent about 20 hours sanding, priming and painting it until it was like glass says not to. ;-)
 

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