Picture of 3D Printing an Ironman Helmet

Early last year, before The Avengers came out, I approached the rapid prototyping department at my company and asked if they would be able to help me produce a replica Ironman helmet. I had tried building the helmet with pepakura files produced by a member of the, but I found I did not have the time/patience/skill to sit and trim out hundreds of pieces of paper and reassemble them. This is my first instructable, but I wanted to share my process for anyone who has been interested in going this route. I took photos and screen caps along the way, but I may have missed a few steps that I'll just have to explain.

I've added separate zip files with OBJ and STL files of the Ironman helmet pieces for others to use. Please credit the Replica Prop Forum and I, if you use! As I outline in Step Two, the build envelope of the printer that was used to produce this helmet was 10" x 14" x 8", so I had scaled the pieces to fit that and it is sort of a happy accident that it worked out. :)

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Modeling

Picture of Modeling
As I mentioned, I had gotten the pepakura helmet file from the RPF forum. I had also purchased a copy of the Pepakura software. With a full version that allows you to create files rather than just view, I exported the pepakura file as an OBJ which I could would with in Maya. The conversion process was easy, but because the pep file is meant for paper usage, it was relatively low resolution and had no thickness.

The first step, while the poly count was low, was to extrude the model inward to give the helmet thickness. Thickness is important, it provides stability to the final product which can be brittle when it is printed too thin. Because I planned on wearing this, (and probably walking into walls/doors/people) I wanted it to be thick enough the handle a bit of abuse. The final helmet varies in thickness because while the outside has grooves and ridges, I wanted the inside to be smooth. That way, the sides and bottoms of the grooves would have extra material around then to prevent fractures. The overall helmet averages between .125" and .25" thick.

When I was done adjusting the silhouette of the low poly helmet, I subdivided the model to provide a smoother finished surface. As you'll see later, I could have gone even further with this step.
1-40 of 104Next »
ehudwill3 years ago
Great work. Wish I had access to a 3D printer now more than ever.
best use for a 3D printer yet! great work, now i want a 3D printer even more, thanks alot!
guysmilez4 months ago

is it possible to get editable source files so i can cut the pices up for my printer?

I use Sketchup, and import the STL... Then you can slice and dice to your hearts content.

ocarnes1 month ago

I have a Dremel 3D printer, and when i load the file provided on to the software for the printer, each piece is microscopic. What is the scale I should use to make the helmet fit my head?

Usually when this happens it is because the printer is expecting mm as the unit of measurement, but the stl is using inches... I usually bring it into sketchup (importing it with the options of inches) to ensure this is correct, and then re-export it in mm...

what I meant to say is that the printer software is expecting it in mm... Same overall meaning, but trying to avoid confusion.

davyponte.22 days ago
Hi, but the size of helmet is it ok for every size of head or i should edit the helmet size in its file?
zandeelio1 month ago
also what material did you use?
zandeelio1 month ago
Hi! Wow, excellent job, may I ask what kind of 3-D printer you used for this? I am in the market for one and could use something that keeps detail real well
readmeone1 month ago

can I buy this?

samohtep (author)  readmeone1 month ago

Sorry, not for sale.

elbrujo19662 months ago

Very nice. I just bought a makerbot z18 (after returning the other 5th gen replicator I purchased when they first launched a year or so ago) and it has been nothing but incredible. The first one I sent back due to constant clogging of the extruder. But this is great.. I have printed 5 things so far and 4 of them are 50 hours plus. I just finished the SPACE NEEDLE which was a 72 hour print w/o a single now I want to print this helmet. You did an awesome job on. Oh, once I put it on the platform it is really tiny....what size is full scale?

jasbury iii6 months ago
What companies will do this?

Think.Print 3D can print a helmet our printer can print 16x14x16.

bkasun7 months ago

I notice that the STL files you provided are not to scale (they are very small). Can you provide dimensions of the helmet so I can scale the STL files properly? I have a FlashForge Dreamer and I don't think it will fit all in one shot. Therefore, Ill need to cut the STL's in to a couple peices and glue together.

I tried to print your files but they aren't scaled in mm or in inch.

astral_mage8 months ago

also use a good fan with a hepa filter on it to suck the dust away from you as well.

afenrir1 year ago

how much time it took to 3D print it!!!!!

JoeyP2 afenrir9 months ago

it takes about 3-6 hours

Please upload the zip file months ago

Hi man!!

Where is the zip for download? months ago

Hi, where is the zip?

Is it possible for you to share the files, or do you sell this commercially? :)

Is it possible for you to share the files, or do you sell this commercially? :)

woooa genial quiero hacer uno
please help me, i can't open the file
Gridlock, you have to use Makerware (search it up) or 123D print.
when I downloaded the stl file, the objects were tiny. Can you tell me what your dimensions of it were? Also, do you think it will fit on a Makerbot Replicator 2? Thank you!
is your back part removable or not??
Rance1 year ago
I hope to see you print the rest of the armor in the near future.
could you modify the obj files in Autodesk Inventor and do the same thing you did in Maya? I was thinking about doing this with the Mark 42
DanK11381 year ago
what material is it made of?
samern1 year ago
Do you have any recommendations to 'cut' the helmet to fit an 8x8x8" build cube? Thanks!
i need an application that can open the files
what application did you use?
samohtep (author) 3 years ago
Thanks all! It was a lot of work, but very fun. Glad to see others appreciate the work that went into it. I can't believe that it's gotten so many views in such a short time.
man, would you help me, i can't open the file
cadej111 year ago
Hello I'm going to try to make this before Halloween, I was wondering around how long did it take for you to make the entire helmet (I'm not a pro and building stuff...) and also how much did it cost?
Hi there did u happen to have templates when u made this cool ironman cowl because if I did could in ur spear time can u please email me them if that's ok with u
1-40 of 104Next »