Building a Daft Punk helmet with programmable LED display

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This Instructable will detail the process of creating your very own Thomas Bangalter Daft Punk helmet. While this tutorial may seem specific to Thomas Bangalter's helmet in particular, there are many processes involved within that will be helpful to anyone looking to get into prototype making as well as some electronic work.

A few caveats beforehand: While the methods I employ here were able to furnish me with a finished helmet, I am in no way saying these are absolutes! In the end, the best processes to follow are those which you are most comfortable working with, so if there is something here that seems easier to do in your own way, by all means feel free to modify the process to your preferred flavor of building.

I should also note that this is a complicated and lengthy process. The final result took me a little over 4 months to realize, so anyone looking to follow a similar path, be prepared to be in it for the long haul! That said, this is only my second helmet project. If you're more familiar with electronics, casting, moldmaking, or just plain have more freetime than me, your results may vary. This project encompasses elements of sculpting, mold making, casting, soldering, electronic design, and lots of good-old-fashioned sanding.

I am entering this Instructable in the 4th Epilog Challenge because, as you will see, having a laser cutter for some steps in this process would greatly improve the productivity speed! I am an amateur propmaker by trade and, more recently, profession - having a laser cutter to expand the capabilities of my studio would allow for a whole wealth of new opportunities.
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ahongs1 year ago
Would you sell a premade visor pet plastic screen? I don't own a drill press
The LemonK ahongs2 months ago

I don't know if this is what you want but they sell the LED frame here:

ltokarek2 months ago

Is it possible to see in it xD

Just wondering ya know

Hey IF i were to buy the helmet from u how much would u offer it for? 30$???

email me i anyone wants to sell me one of these? mail me!

Are you serious? The supplies alone cost much more than $30. I'd imagine many would sell theirs for at least $750.

ltokarek JeremyF32 months ago

Its true! Heres one going for 3000 dollars!

matthewf33 months ago

How much did it cost to chrome your helmet?

It looks just as good as the real thing!
matthewf34 months ago

Hi, I was wondering if you could send more information about the electrical components and wiring. You have a caption that says "see more details here," but no link.


name your price volpin.....

Around $3000

lol dude i could buy like 5000 tickets of his show with that much.
I know u r trollin wid me
papasmerf7678 months ago

Anyone got an approximate price to build one of these? Thanks a ton!

$400-$500, if you already have most of the tools
I'm making right now, still have to get the casting resins though, which are hella expensive

n1cod3mus7 months ago

EPIC!! I totally have to make this

tommeh96969 months ago

I love the design. just one question is it possible instead of the L.E.D light display that you could use a H.U.D type display that shows up on plexyglass instead of the large circut board in front of your face?

DavidFJ10 months ago

Could you upload de code? please

killer14210 months ago

How much $ ?

iamfoz11 months ago
How much! Gloves and helmet?
ronzeella11 months ago
How much do you sell them? My 10yr would have a kick with one for Halloween .... Thanks! :)
Dylancornell11 months ago

As far as LED choices, 5mm defused or not?

wishes12 months ago

how do you see out of it?

Is tinting the visor for the Guy Manuel the same process as this one?
Would it be at all possible to get your Arduino sketch? I have the exact same setup as you, but the only code I can find is for text (static and scrolling). I can't find any kind of animations.
mogumbo931 year ago
Sorry but cant you put The dimension form the mdf??
ptorelli3 years ago
Your persistence, dedication, and resourcefulness are truly inspiring. I'd like to know what kind of large machinery you have on hand in your shop, if you get a few minutes and wouldn't mind sharing.
volpin (author)  ptorelli3 years ago
Nothing amazing, really.

• 14" 2hp bandsaw
• Scrollsaw
• 8x12" lathe (crappy Harbor Freight model, but it gets the job done)
• Table router
• Drill press
• Belt Sander
• Vacuumforming machine (home made)
• Radial arm saw

And the requisite hand power tools like orbital sander, assortment of variously dying cordless drills, dremel, soldering irons, circular/jig saws, and a smattering of air tools.
Great tutorial! soon as I get some of these tools, I will start my build.
thank you very much, I will continue catch many tips with this tutorial and your blog!
I am studying hard the project before starting.

I do things like that since I was a kid. But I never managed to get so perfectly because I did not have tools like these. they are hard to find in Brazil.

But today I have a more mature mentality. Just do not have the tools hahaha.
when starting my project I will take some photos and in the end I would like you they look! maybe its linger.
Same I do not understand much English language I do not have many doubts
I can think of alternatives so I can do it my way
Very many thanks for everything! above all you are a genius craftsman!

(sorry for spelling errors)
Javastar181 year ago
would you PLEEEEEEESE sell me just the ear piece, i don't have a lathe and I am not a good woodworker.
actually I think I will 3D print it a tech shop
malekj131 year ago
how much did all the supplies cost?
a few hundred, I bought sample sizes of all the smooth-on products. but after you make the mold you can cast as many as you want.
This is extremely intense. I could only dream of doing something 5% as cool.
bwheat1 year ago
Very cool!! You did an amazing job on this!! You are exceptionally talented!
pbruns1 year ago
You've not only done a great job documenting how you made a Daft Punk helmet, but you've also eloquently shown how it's possible to see through the LEDs.
Javastar181 year ago
instead of making the LED matrixes yourself, you could buy 5 of these and use the same program.
chigh22 years ago
So the question is... you can now cast molds of the basic frame, why not offer to sell the basic frame, then others can customize them the way they like? I would love to make on from scratch, but would honestly more than likely mess up somewhere in the process, more than one time as well and would cause me to become angry and give up.... haha. Just my 2 cents.
And oila, they did :P
i actually really like that idea i kinda wished he would do that to
I was just thinking, "Sooo, what's he gonna do with the cast now that he made the helmet?"
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