I grew tired of being human and in my search for perfection found the cold steel of machinery calling to me. Now, I replace my head with a new one, my throat with a speaker, and my eyes with glass. Come with me and be a machine.
Step 1: Supplies
Materials and equipment needed:
3d printer with a larger build platform,(I used a Makerbot z18 that has an 18 inch build plate)
- PLA of your choice
- a 3d printer
- smooth-on xtc-3d
- small plastic measuring cups
- stirring sticks
- safety glasses and gloves
- super glue
- adhesive velcro strips
- sand paper, (60-3000 grit)
- plastic wood
- a 3d modeling program
- spray paint
- hot glue
- cargo straps
- a bucket
- Organic filter mask
- Fusion 360,(or other 3d modeling program)
- Tool belt
- one way film
- arduino mic with auto gain
Adafruit voice modulator kit
* a cnc if you have access to one
Step 2: Design
I designed my helmet as a fusion between a classic diving helmet and modern "apple" aesthetic. I measured the height and circumference of my head, and after getting these measurements, modeled the helmet I wanted to fit. I would suggest adding an extra inch or two, depending on how (or if) you add helmet padding.
Since this is a tutorial on the Murakami MK I, I will link to a great series on how to use Fusion 360. It is fairly easy to make this helmet or one like it. Fusion 360 tutorial
To make the basic form I made a sphere, cut four holes in it, then extruded three circles.
After you make your helmet, you should make your helmet into smaller segments if you have a smaller 3d printer. I cut mine into 4. Now it's time to send it to the printer and wait. Mine took approximately 120 hours to finish printing.
Step 3: ENTER THE SAND MAN
As your prints finish you should remove the supports and tape your helmet together to make sure everything lines up properly. If you printed in the highest quality you can probably get away with minimal sanding at a high grit. Mine came out with minor issues in the back part of the helmet, (the beginning of a print can sometimes come out wonky). Sand until none of the support nubs can be felt, and you can run your finger over the surface without feeling any bumps. Just make sure you don't remove too much material where the helmet connects. Sanding well at this stage will save you hours of work.
Tape together again for a final check.
Step 4: Glueing It Together
first epoxy the top half together, and then the bottom half,(you can use 20 minute or 5 minute, either works). Next, place the bottom half into the bucket, add 5 minute epoxy, and attach the top half. Adjust until it sits properly on the bottom half, then hold for 5 minutes. Then, take your cargo strap, and tighten it around the helmet so there is just enough pressure on it to ensure the helmet sits on evenly. Allow to cure for a full day.
Step 5: Plastic Wood and Smooth On
If you have any gaps in your helmet or anything ruining the even surface, fill it in with light layers of plastic wood, and then sand until even. Make sure to only use thin layers, and be careful, as plastic wood can eat away at the PLA.
After applying plastic wood if needed, it's time to add smooth on xtc-3d. the smooth on comes with a mixing cup and brushes in the package, and I would highly suggest using the measuring cup that comes with it. It may seem too small, however the xtc-3d covers a lot of surface area with a small amount. And as I learned, if you mix too much of this epoxy you can cause it to heat up and smoke,(or worse), which is bad for your lungs and the lungs of everyone around you. So mix only enough at a time to fit in the cup, and spread it out on a paper plate or other disposable surface. Next, apply in thin coats, and allow to cure. Sitting in the sun it took about 2 hours for mine to fully cure, however if you're in cold weather,(as I later was), it can take 4 hours or more. Apply multiple coats if needed.
After the smooth on is fully cured, sand with a high grit,(1250-2000) and make sure it is level.
Apply some spray paint to check if the helmet is level. xtc-3d is clear and it can be hard to tell if everything is actually level. Sand problem areas until level.
Step 6: Paint
Make sure to read your spray paint's instructions. I would suggest setting up either a stand made out of pvc like I have or to suspend the helmet upside down from something. Put on thin coats and wait the suggested amount of time. If there are any uneven spots or bubbles, sand away the problem area and apply paint again.
Step 7: Cutting Acrylic and Applying One Way Film
Cutting acrylic can be pretty tricky, because the material is prone to cracking, shattering, and melting, so make sure you research your bit and make sure you have the proper feeds and speeds! Sometimes your software comes preloaded with a speed for cutting acrylic, like mine did, but always keep an eye on your cut.
Place your waste material on the cnc, and secure the acrylic to the waste material with screws. after attaching your bit zero your cnc. check to make sure your bit isn't plunging into the cnc bed. Begin the cut!
*If you have a cnc with a vacuum, I would suggest using screws to secure your acrylic anyway. As you cut the acrylic the vacuum will weaken and ruin your cut.
*If you don't have access to a cnc you can just use an acrylic knife.
Everyone's cnc software is different, but we use rhino and techno cnc at my university, and we can draw shapes in the program. We drew one 8 inch circle and two 6 inch circles.
After you have cut out your circles, sand the edges and make sure they fit.
Next we will attach one way film. I used this film, which is cheap and works really well. Make the suggested solution of dish soap to water and put in a spray bottle. Clean the surface of the acrylic. Using tape, peel the clear plastic off of the film, and spray with the solution. starting from the center of the glass, use a plastic card and smooth the film onto the acrylic, pushing out the solution from between the acrylic and film. After it lies flat on your acrylic, cut off excess. repeat with other acrylic circles.
using 5 minute epoxy, epoxy the acrylic onto your helmet, making sure the film is facing outward.
Step 8: Electronics
For the microphone I gave myself extra wire just in case it was ever pulled on, and attached velcro to the mic chord and velcro'd it inside of the helmet.
after building your modulator, construct, buy, or 3d print a case for your voice modulator. This will make it sturdier and create a space to attach velcro to the wav shield.
You will also need a portable speaker for this build. The modulator, power source, and speaker will all be attached to a tool belt.
For this build I used velcro to attach the battery and modulator to the belt, however making pouches that are sewn on to hold the components will be much more secure.
Super glue velcro onto the belt, making sure it lines up with your arduino and battery, and that all the different items are close enough to connect to each other. attach a cable tie to the belt for the speaker to clip on to. connect the speaker, arduino, and battery, and make sure everything works.