Iron Man Helmet

This Iron man Helmet project has been ongoing for some time as I gradually add elements to it.

This design was uploaded to Thingiverse by MIPRESIDENTE and can be found at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:260152

The Printing

The designs split into multiple segments to allow it to fit on most printers. This took over a week for me to complete the printing (not running the printer all the time). I chose to print in PLA at 0.2 mm layer height to speed up the prints but this has the down side of making the surface more uneven.

The difficulty after printing is getting all the pieces to align with no gaps afterwards. It becomes a bit of a juggling act where you wish you had about 4 more arms and hands to hold it all together. Luckily Duck tape is a marvelous product and this helps hold the pieces together while you superglue everything. I used an activator to help speed the curing up but its always the same, the glue takes a while to cure unless its your skin and clothes.

Sanding & Filling

Filler and sandpaper

The design while relatively easy to print now had quite a task to achieve a suitable smooth finished. This is the worst process, sanding and filling that seemed to go on forever.

Multiple passes of sanding and then using filler to slowly get to a smooth surface. Then using finer and finer grit to complet the finish.

My end result is not perfect but I started to lose the will to live trying to get some of the parts smooth. This is an area I need to research further and get better at as I tend to spend more time fixing my mistakes than I do getting new areas smooth. I also find it completely mind numbingly boring.

Painting

Iron man paint

This was a blisfully easy and a satisfying process after all the sanding and filling. The hardest decision I had to make was which manufacturer and colour / hue of paint to use.

The nearest colours I could obtain without going to specialized suppliers was Rust-oleums Cherry Red and their Metallic Brilliant Finish gold.

I really am pleased with the outcome even if the finish isnt quite as smooth as it could have been.

3D printed Iron man helmet

This is then finished with a clear-coat to protect it all.

Iron Mans Illuminated eyes

These were achieve with small backlight units purchased from AliExpress.

Peeling off the white film revealed a grid of white dots that illuminate up the plate when the LED shines over them. It also allows you to see out when they are illuminate at a low level (just).

To fit them I had to carefully bend them to fit the shape of the face plate, this was done with a hairdryer, lot of patience and mildly scorched fingers by the end. I did however break the first set of eyes as I applied too much pressure and they snapped rather easily.

Motorised Face Plate

This is achieved with a servo mounted in the roof of the helmet and hinges fixed down the side. These were designed by ByteSlinger and posted onto Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2030176

Fitting these was quite a pain and in doing so I broke off the front of the helmet that fits down the middle of the face plate when closed. I then had to fix this back on, reinforcing it with long thin nails and plenty of epoxy resin. I then had to go back through the sanding process again, luckily I hadn’t painted the helmet before I started fitting these mounts.

If I was to make another of these I would design the servo mount and hinges directly into the helmet and face plate. I had to modify the design and created my own servo mounting plate to get the system to fit properly. I would also provide some groves / slots in the helmet design to take strengthening rods.

What next

At the moment this looks cool in James’s games room all lit up on its battery pack and the motorised face plate is controlled manually from an external controller when hooked up. The next step is to fit a little Arduino and power supply to control both the eyes and servo, triggering the features from a small gesture sensor in the round ear plates. I may even add sound effects for the opening and closing.

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