Introduction: Steel Corinthian Helmet
Runner Up in the
Hats and Headpieces Challenge
This helmet was originally created for a sheet metal assignment in a Steel Working Class. For this assignment, the only parameters were manipulating sheet metal to create a piece of armor.
The piece is inspired by a Sparta Mora design I found online. [http://www.use.com/editset.pl?set=2c29f37c2d76836c78f3#photo=2]
*Before we begin: I would definitely not recommend this if this is your first time working with steel. It's very cool but very dangerous!*
To complete this helmet you'll need:
Fabric Tape Measure
Cardstock or Thick Paper to Pattern
18 Gauge Sheet Steel
Access to a Metal Cutting Nibbler and/or Metal Cutting Bandsaw
Access to a Welder
Access to an OxyAcetalyne Torch
Red Sandable Primer
Step 1: Patterning and Dishing the "Dome"
The best way to start any helmet is to pattern out the size of your head into quadrants. You can do this by measuring the circumference of your head with a fabric tape measure, then dividing by 4 and measure from the top of your forehead to the nape of your neck and draw quadrants based on the measurements.
(Or you can take the easy way out and cut a paper or muslin pattern to your head - once it feels like it fits nice, take it off and cut it into 4 even triangles.)
Draw the 4 triangles onto a sheet of 18 gauge steel and notate the bottom edge. Using a nibbler or metal cutting bandsaw, cut the triangles.
For this next part, you are going to need a domed surface that can take a beating (in our shop we use an old tree stump with some holes ground into it). Put some work gloves on and carefully hammer each triangle starting from the center and working your way out. The purpose of this step is not only to curve the steel, but to actually stretch it into a dome shape.
After you've dished each triangle(and taken a few breaks because it is exhausting), you'll see a lot of little bumps on the surface of the steel. Using a planishing hammer, you can then hammer out the bumps to create a smoother surface.
Step 2: Weld the "Triangles" Together
After planishing, clamp two quarters of the "dome" as close together as possible. Starting about 1" above the clamp, tack weld the seam from the inside. As you move along the seam, torque the metal so that the pieces are not overlapping or far from each other. Once the seam is completely welded, flip the piece over and weld along the outer seam.
Repeat this step for both halves.
Grind the seams down with a 4" grinder, make sure you do not grind through the sheet steel. Once most of the excess is ground off, use the 4" sanding wheel to make the seam virtually disappear.
Repeat these steps to combine both halves of the dome.
Step 3: Creating the Face Plate
Using the size of your finished headpiece, draw and pattern the face shield to desired dimensions onto cardstock
Trace pattern onto 18 gauge sheet steel
Using the nibbler, cut the outside dimensions of the face piece
Using the metal cutting bandsaw, cut in the nose piece and eye holes.
Clamp the face piece onto the bottom edge of the dome and tack weld the seam. Torque the piece into place as necessary.
Once tack welded on, weld the opposite side of the seam, grind, and sand.
Using an Orbital sander, buff the entire outer surface of the helmet.
Step 4: Brazing the Rim Detail
Using an Oxyacetylene torch, bend coat hanger wire and braze it onto the rim of the facepiece.
*Brazing involves heating coat hanger wire and melting copper brazing rod to act as an adhesive. In this case because the finished piece was going to be painted, it made sense to braze the wire on instead of weld steel rod on and clean.
Step 5: Cutting and Attaching the Wreath
The Wreath detail of this piece involves cutting and "veining" 18 gauge steel.
Using a nibbler, cut about 30 "leaves". Grind the edges down and using a buffing wheel, smooth the edges and buff the surface.
Using a Dremel, scuff the "veining" onto one side of each "leaf".
Starting from the front of the helmet, tack weld each leaf into place by welding onto the bottom edge. Tack weld the next leaf behind it, while also hiding the weld from the previous leaf. Alternate welding from the left side and the right side to keep the wreath even.
Step 6: Paint and Enjoy!
Finally, prime the entire helmet in Red Primer(priming in red makes the gold look brighter and more beautiful) then add a few coats of gold.
I also added gaff tape and microcell foam on the inside to hide the seams and make it more comfortable to wear.
Enjoy your Steel Corinthian Helmet!
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