Introduction: 3d Printed Iron Man Helmet

Picture of 3d Printed Iron Man Helmet

This Iron Man helmet was created as a project for Mrs. Berbawy's Robotics class. It will be taken to Maker Faire, Bay Area 2017 and will be displayed to the public. My goal was to make it from scratch using a 3d printer and a minimal amount of purchased parts. The helmet was fully 3-D printed with the Maker-bot Replicator 2 and the Lulzbot Taz 6. It also contains LEDs which light up the interior of the helmet. You will need a whole range of equipment and supplies to successfully build this helmet. This project will take a long time to complete, most of the time will be spent 3-D printing and painting parts. However, it is worth the time and effort to make because it is visually appealing and fun to build. An aspect which makes this helmet great is that you can continue to add functions (such as speakers) and customize it to suit yourself.

*The STL Files were borrowed from and credited to Cairon from Thingiverse

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Supplies:

*All of these items were bought on Amazon.com, you may also have to pay a shipping cost.

*Shipping is free if you have amazon prime.

*Pictures of acrylic paint are credited to Apple Barrel Paints and Plaid

Step 2: Equipment

Picture of Equipment

Equipment / Programs:

  • A 3D printer that can print big pieces.
  • Dremel
  • Computer
  • MeshMixer Program
  • Autodesk Inventor (to make new pieces or adjust them)
  • Pliers / Wirecutters
  • Solder / Soldering Iron

*Download links to Autodesk and Meshmixer

Step 3: Printing

Picture of Printing

The pictures shown above are the pieces which make up the shell of the Helmet. I would recommend printing out the smaller pieces (ear piece and yellow jaw piece) first, therefore you understand how your 3D printer works.

Before you print you must add supports to the pieces so they can print properly. Use mesh mixer and generate supports, decide which ones are best for your printer and which ones are unnecessary.

Also It does not matter which color of filament you use, we are going to paint it with acrylic paint once they are printed.

I would also recommend printing in PLA because it is the easiest filament to paint on with Acrylic Paints.

* Adults should increase the size of each piece proportionally because it may be hard to wear in its original size.

*The STL Files were borrowed from and credited to Cairon from Thingiverse

Step 4: Prepare Your Pieces

Picture of Prepare Your Pieces

1. While 3-D printing constantly check up on your piece to make sure it did not fail. Stopping a print early means you don't have to waste filament or time on a failed print.

2. Once the print is done you will need to remove all the supports you added. They can easily be taken off with pliers or wire cutters. You may also need to remove a raft if you choose to print your piece with one. It can be taken off the same way as supports. (Be careful removing supports from areas that can break easily)

3. Next, you have to make sure your piece can fit into your other pieces (you can do this before removing supports but sometimes the supports get in the way).

4. Although you remove all the supports, there will still be small remnants where the supports used to be. The surface of the piece will most likely have holes and bumps, this makes it difficult to paint on. I choose to dremel the pieces and make the surface smooth.

5. Finally you can finish preparing the pieces by sanding manually or with a machine.

Step 5: Painting

Picture of Painting

If the parts where not printed in the desired color you will now have to paint them. If you used PLA filament, makerbot recommends acrylic paint. I tried to use spray paints but it does not stick well on the PLA. Also spray paint will probably not give as bright of a color as acrylic paint .

Steps to Painting:

  1. Before you start to paint, it is important to wash your the piece to remove all excess dust and particles, this will make the piece more clean.
  2. Next, you want to set up your painting area. Use lots of news paper for cover, acrylic paint can easily seep through. I would also recommend painting outside, it dries a lot father and you can save lots of time.
  3. Start by painting the first layer, you will still see the color of your original filament, it will go away later.
  4. Let it dry for 30 - 60 minutes before you start painting again.
  5. Continue adding layers of paint until original color can no longer be seen.
  6. Let the paint dry for 3-4 hours before you start touching it, because there may be areas that are not dry yet.

Step 6: Putting the Parts Together

Picture of Putting the Parts Together

Superglue is the best method for putting the parts together. But make sure to wear gloves because it can easily stick to your skin and will be hard to get off. However if you do get some super glue on your skin use hot water to remove it. If the pieces don't fit you can use a Dremel to make it smaller or you can just print out a new piece with the right measurements using mesh mixer. When applying superglue use minimal amounts because too much will cause it to leak. Once applied the glue will dry almost instantly but do not constantly play or pull on a piece because it may crack or break apart.

Step 7: LEDS and Supports

Picture of LEDS and Supports

Using a breadboard you must complete a circuit and light up the LED(s). To complete the circuit you will need a switch, resistor (220 ohms), wires, LEDs, and a battery pack. The Bread Board will then be placed on the front of the mask along with the battery. I used two blue LEDs which were placed under the eye holes. If you need help this website will teach you about basic bread boarding and the last picture will show you how to complete the circuit.

Adding foam supports inside the helmet makes it more comfortable to wear. Put a piece of foam all the way in the back and two smaller pieces on top of the ear holes. You can add extra pieces depending on how it fits on your head.

Step 8: Problems and Errors Faced

Picture of Problems and Errors Faced

Errors and Problems

  • Failed Prints

Many of your prints will fail due to warping or wrong sizes. For example on the 3D printer I used, I was not able to print the ear pieces, therefore I designed a new piece without a hollow bottom because it was unnecessary and it will be easier to print. The pictures above shows the failed print and the new one which I constructed. The yellow piece was a failed print due to warping. There was no problem with the piece and failed due to the printer. I reprinted it a second time and the print was successful.

  • Wrong size

Another error you may face during this project are wrong sizes. Some of my pieces came out to big, such as the ear pieces. Since these pieces where too big they could not fit in the holes. Therefore I had to dremel and make the pieces smaller so they could fit.

Comments

ThirdEarthDesign (author)2017-05-14

That looks pretty awesome, been wanting to see a fully 3d printer Iron Man helmet.

BrandonHyun (author)2017-05-12

Looks very nice. Should have painted it gold tho. ;)

Swansong (author)2017-05-10

That's really fun :) This would be a great way to make it for a cosplay!

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