Introduction: Iron Man 2008 Helmet

Picture of Iron Man 2008 Helmet

This is my as movie accurate Iron Man helmet from the 2008 movie. Lots of reference photos used to model the helmet on. Based on a Pepakura model to start with from card which needed some editing on the back end to get a better shape. Coated the whole shell in polyester resin, then fibreglass tissue and more resin. After it's hardened, then lots and lots of time, sanding and polyester car body filler to make a smooth shell and allow for the additional details to be sculpted in. The faceplate was also cut out to allow for a flip up system to reveal the wearer's face. Shell was then primed three times and then painted with three layers and two layers of lacquer.

The faceplate is attached to a rotary slider mechanism (similar to an engine conrod arrangement) which pushes the faceplate out and then lifts it up by rotating the left ear piece. Then six blue 3mm LEDs and a few resistors are attached to a 9V battery and a switch to light up the eyes which are covered with some blue lenses from an old pair of fashion sunglasses.

It's a shame I didn't take more photos during the making process but it essentially follows the same techniques used by many to make Master Chief helmets. A couple of lessons I've learnt from this are: To make a paper helmet to check scale and then make it 5-10% bigger with the cardstock as the fibreglass and body filler make the shell solid and much tighter, so much so that this helmet is really difficult to put on. At least with a bigger helmet, you can pad it out. When making the card shell, don't crease folds that don't need to be creased, otherwise you're just making more corners you need to smooth with body filler, and that's a real pain.

I also made a quick Mark II arc reactor from a used tape roll, some card, copper power wire and a ring of plastic tube. It was supposed to go together as a Zombie Iron Man, but unfortunately not many had read that series.

EDIT: Here's the link to the 405th forum where I found the pepakura file (which came from League Of Heroes). The link is also down in the comments.


Hambone22 (author)2015-11-04


WyattH3 made it! (author)2015-10-28

its cool

PeterRobran (author)2015-10-02


Fin the human (author)2015-08-10

crazy cool!!

wraith109 (author)2014-11-07

I would like to use this method on another project, and I am curious, can I use fiberglass resin on poster board foam?

4lifenerdfighter (author)2013-04-25

What exactly did you use to "build up" the paper, to make it solid and strong?

GeniusDevils (author)2013-04-03

I like ARC reactor made from LED, get details about real life power suites like iron man.

super knex builder (author)2011-07-13

u should make a instructable of 1

MurphyHarris (author)2011-03-18

I like that. good work.

ironman22 (author)2011-02-02

nice man could you tell me how did you get your helmet to look like it is from plastic.......and can you send me if you have facebook request to my facebook Patrik Ktbkzpmj

larslovespeace (author)2010-08-10

could i use hotglue to glue the pieces together?

darknessfalls (author)2010-06-15

1) BEAUTIFUL HELMET 2) i dont know much about resin, but would it be possible to coat it with resin and not do the fiberglassing? or would that not work/be to fragile?

better question: if you dont advise using fiberglassing, then what would you advise?

chiok (author)darknessfalls2010-06-16

Resin without the fibreglass is very brittle, it will crack and they'll be nothing to hold it together. I wouldn't be worried about using fibreglass, it isn't as scary as people make it out to be, just wear gloves and work outside. If you're really not for it, I suppose newspaper and PVA glue would be a simpler solution, but you couldn't sand and shape it as precisely. Good luck with that!

xarlock667 (author)2010-05-13

Ok, you have a helmet and it looks really really good. Now for the next step... Make a cast of the various parts, bake the plaster casts @400f for about 2 hours. Place them in a medium box and fill carefully with sand , raising and positioning the pieces as you go. Then once you have the box full, and just the tips of the parts showing, you gently break the tip of the mold and pour in molten aluminum. This will give a nice pretty cast of each part in turn and will make your whole helmet a better project.

For metal casting instructions try this link:

Pereradk (author)2009-07-01

listen, how did u reduce percentualy the size of your project? i'm trying to make the armor and it's just ti big. i saw that u sugested increase 10% the size of the helmet... is it some tool of pepakura, or print setting?? i just can't find it!!!! i know it sounds really sily, but it would help a lot thanks

ronchi84 (author)Pereradk2010-05-11

you should use the pepakura designer along with the viewer, it is freeware also but you have more options such as resizing and editing.

ronchi84 (author)2010-05-11

bit of advice, make sure that if you have a file with color that you turn the color off, I just printed out a 17 page helmet and it burnt out a brand new color cartridge.  just figured I would try to help anyone else from making the same mistake.

catcit (author)2009-12-26

 That's amazing! I'd love to make one of my own, but I can't open the PDO files and I have a Mac, so I can't download Pepakura Viewer... So I'm pretty much screwed. Does anyone have a PDF file of it or something?


chiok (author)catcit2009-12-26

No PDFs from me I'm afraid.  But could you get around it by runing a virtual machine of Windows XP, might work...?

catcit (author)chiok2009-12-26

 I just tried using the trial one, but it keeps wanting you to buy it so it doesn't really let you actually use it unfortunately. And I don't really want to pay 80 bucks for the full version.

TFElite (author)catcit2010-03-27

If you can get the PDO files downloaded, then you can use
to convert is to a PDF file. It's completely free! I used it, and now I'm going to go to staples and get me my cardstock copy.
I hope this helps!

willrs2002 (author)catcit2009-12-28
tm1987 (author)2010-03-15

i want the plans for it , i have a dell with windows and it wont let me download the files. Any help would be appreciated. thanks! 10/10 helmet man!

thescreamfx (author)2010-02-25

What would be a good scale for someone who is about 13 years old

Kaiven (author)2009-10-29

Are the paper pieces taped together? Or are they glued together?

chiok (author)Kaiven2009-10-30

All paper bits were were glued together using a paper glue that *isn't* PVA, a clear, sort of quick drying glue in a pen.  Worked really well as a glue for the card actually.  I didn't use tape as once the resin comes in contact with it, the glue on the tape is dissolved and renders it useless.

Kaiven (author)chiok2009-10-30

Hmm... so should I use super glue?

chiok (author)Kaiven2009-10-31

I'd say superglue is a bit much, and isn't that super on paper.  A Pritt stick or other stick based glue would work well.  Even a contact adhesive like Evo-stik would do.  I just find using PVA too slow drying for the card and you spend too long holding pieces together.  YMMV

ironmask (author)2009-10-08

can make one for me please i will pay you.

PyroMonger (author)2009-09-15

you are a godsend man. I've been looking for the pdo file for this for a while...I even checked 405th but being a noob to the site it was very intimidating. Now that I have it, it's time to start printing and crafting....I will try to post progress pics but will definitely post a finished product pic

coolguy26 (author)2009-08-18

uhh where did you get your flip up thing? is the ring metal? Did you make it?

chiok (author)coolguy262009-08-19

The flip up was made. The ring is a piece of styrene plastic cut to shape with a coping saw, the arm is a strip of low grade aluminium that was the back of a clipboard or something. All cut and shaped with a coping saw and file.

coolguy26 (author)chiok2009-08-26

and... the red part between the faceplate, does it flip up too?

Ideno (author)2009-05-14

This is really great! Are you planning on making the rest of the Iron Man suit too?

mastermakoko (author)2009-04-11

yo man,i printed the pepakura,and....well i think its too small? did the ORIGINAL pepakura model really fit on your head? or it is because i printed it wrong. ps congrats on your achievment man!

chiok (author)mastermakoko2009-04-17

I printed it out as is onto paper and found the helmet a bit too big (or so I thought), I then reduced it by 5% I think and it was a good fit in cardstock but wouldn't fit when fibreglassed so in retrospect, I'd keep it the same size. But it did fit what I would consider fairly average if not large head. All the pieces should fit on A4 sheets fully.

Pereradk (author)2009-04-05

hey man did u print all that directly on the cardstock or u glued normal paper already printed on the cardstock? and the resin u're talking about is that half-liquid one or some especial?, cos i think that the cardstock might not hold the weight of the resin thanks oh, and by the way this helmet is so fu@#$%¨great, man congratulations

chiok (author)Pereradk2009-04-10

Printed directly onto the cardstock I manually fed into a laser printer, but you can do the same with inkjet. The resin I used is a polyester resin used for wetting and binding fibreglass tissue and matting together. It's a tin of gloopy honey looking liquid that a BPO hardener is added to at a ratio of about 1:100. There's another type of resin called Epoxy Resin which is mixed 50:50 which is generally stronger stuff but costs more. I painted the helmet with a layer of resin first and if mixed correctly, it should cure before fully soaking the cardstock. This gives a solid enough base to begin the fibreglass stage. If the resin does cure too slowly and soaks the cardstock, it's not a problem, but be very careful not to distort or warp the card while it's wet or it'll stick in that shape. Thanks alot1

isioma maf (author)2008-12-27

hay dude what site did u get the pepakura from? its amazing

chiok (author)isioma maf2008-12-27

The links were in the comments, but I've added one to the description for others.

doublexxcrossed (author)2009-04-09

Dude thx for this i always wanted an iron man helmet.

GameLover_97 (author)2009-01-06

tell us where u got ur pepakura model plz !!!!!!!!!!! your helm rocks -Tony Stark

GameLover_97 (author)2009-01-05

fiber glass model looks like "the thing"!!!!!!! rock on !!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Tony Stark

GameLover_97 (author)2009-01-05

hey man put some on ebay (and 4 15$ or less on buy it now and if u made like enough to go around that would b gr8!!!!!!) i luv the mask u rock!!!! - Tony Stark

Replay (author)2008-11-12

thats amazing...some detail would be nice =]

chiok (author)Replay2008-11-12

Thank you very much. What sort of details would you like? I didn't photograph many of the steps so I've just had to describe them as appropriate.

Replay (author)chiok2008-11-13

oh well i like that rod idea for the face. well i guess if there any way to explain the whole process if you can. for the most part.

chiok (author)Replay2008-11-15

It's much the same as how many others make Halo Spartan Master Chief helmets from Pepakura (there are a few Instructables and loads on 405th forum). The only difference is that I fibreglassed the outside, which wasn't such a good idea. I couldn't smooth out all the lumps, bumps and air pockets created so had loads of patch-up work with body filler. For the face part, the ear is free to turn through the hole in the head and it's joined to the slider by a pivot (so that's two pivots, one at the ear and one to the slider). When constrained by the slider pin stuck to the helmet, this causes the slider to do a straight push, then a 65deg arc, then a straight pull. This gives the "pop out, flip up, sit down" motion. Because of the svelt nature of Iron Man's dome, this is a real tight fit. So when I do it again, I'm gonna make it 10% bigger so it's easier to put on. Other versions I've seen remove the back ribbed sections and clip them back on.

About This Instructable




Bio: Completed a masters in mechanical engineering and then realised I didn't want to be an engineer. So I'm a freelance propmaker and costumier ... More »
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