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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killer14212 days ago

How much $ ?

iamfoz14 days ago
How much! Gloves and helmet?
ronzeella15 days ago
How much do you sell them? My 10yr would have a kick with one for Halloween .... Thanks! :)

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

wishes1 month ago

how do you see out of it?

08spacecadet3 months ago
Is tinting the visor for the Guy Manuel the same process as this one?
orangeisnon4 months ago
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.
mogumbo935 months ago
Sorry but cant you put The dimension form the mdf??
ptorelli2 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)  ptorelli2 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.
cosmomaker volpin5 months ago
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)
ahongs5 months ago
Would you sell a premade visor pet plastic screen? I don't own a drill press
Javastar186 months 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
malekj136 months 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.
alightfoot16 months ago
This is extremely intense. I could only dream of doing something 5% as cool.
bwheat6 months ago
Very cool!! You did an amazing job on this!! You are exceptionally talented!
pbruns6 months 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.
Javastar186 months 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.
En Dabuwya chigh26 months ago
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?"
rcast19866 months ago
Can't get over how incredible this is. Definitely don't have the means or tools or money or time for something like this right now (probably never would), but I went ahead and read the entire writeup anyways. Simply astounding. I work in the film industry and am always blown away at what propmakers and set builders are able to accomplish in little to no time at all, but this still blows me away. Fantastic work brotha.

On a side note, I expected more "Bobba Fett, rite naow" requests. That's...gotta happen at some point. Too talented not to do it!
raging cob6 months ago
Honestly, you should make more of these and sell them for a few hundred dollars.
Mcyd_2136 months ago
This is so freakin' epic! Once I've got some cash I might make one of these for a mate (he's a huge Daft fan) :D Keep up the awesome builds!
ScitechWA7 months ago
That is brilliant. Thankyou for spending the time to document it!
mrolland8 months ago
Do you have a tutorial on how to make the other helmet? if not, then is it pretty much the same basic principle?
Sebastians9 months ago
Damn, dhese two humans are DAMN made a good job and not ones.
blakemenezes10 months ago
Hello! The Autodesk social media team loved your project so much that we included it in a post we created on BuzzFeed. Check out your work featured here:

If you have any questions, please contact me at

Blake Menezes
Autodesk Social Media Strategist
i think its freaking nice what you have made and i am a big fan of daft punk i have once made a dead mau5 but its not so cool as this and i think that you are a great propmaker
Mulinde1 year ago
I once made a Deadmau5 helmet and thought i was cool... This is way too cool. Congratulations!
This is so amazing! If only I was patient enough to do something like this....
VinZent7771 year ago
You're so F***ing awesome!!!
KontaKt1 year ago
So... can you see out of it?
o__o KontaKt1 year ago
PitStoP1 year ago
So cOoL! Did you make the gloves? Nice job. The jacket looks nice also.
zchan11201 year ago
How much did it cost to put all this together?
techman7111 year ago
plz can i get the size's of the face mask and ear piece parts because i have tryed a lot over and over and cant get and it would help me stop wasting paper plz help on sizes you can email me ... at with the size's man it would mean alot to me ... also do you know where i can find the stancel again i lost the site and im not a pro account so plz help man and thank you

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