Here are a few beginning tips:
1- IF YOU DO NOT HAVE MUCH PATIENCE, THEN DO NOT CONTINUE WITH THIS PROJECT.
2- There are a few items that must be purchased if not owned and they can be costly, so you'll need about $50 if you have NONE of the required materials.
3- Take time. I did not take time because this was my first attempt at a project like this and the end result was not great but it was something to learn from.
4- Expect a week or more for this project to be completed.
Step 1: Pepakura (Paper Craft) and Gluing
Pepakura Designer Software (Free)
110lb Card stock (Optional, but Preferred)
Hot Glue Gun
Lots of Patience
First, download the Pepakura Designer software (PC only) by just searching and finding the best source, probably their website (http://www.tamasoft.co.jp/pepakura-en/download/designer.html). Make sure you download the designer. Then just search for 'War Machine Helmet Pepakura" in your preferred search engine and download the file you find. Look at it in Pepakura Designer to see if it looks like the one for you.
After the best file is found, downloaded, and in Designer, you will have to scale it. Scaling is crucial! It will affect the entirety of the project. Do this by going to the top of Pepakura Designer and selecting '2D Menu' then 'Change Scale' then 'Scale Factor'. When the dialog box appears, simply enter the dimensions that best fit your head. Also, you will want to leave about an extra half inch so the helmet will have a little tolerance on your head. Also, you will want to turn on the "Edge ID" by going to '2D Menu' then 'Show Edge ID'. This makes it so the edges that are printed have numbers to match for ease of gluing.
After you believe that you have the correct scaling, next you will put the card stock, or other paper of choice in the printer. I used 110lb card stock which is the most common weight card stock and was perfect for cutting and gluing. Then print the layouts of the pieces and cut all of them out as close to perfect on the lines as possible because it will affect the project. Next, fold every piece correctly and pay attention to the "mountain folds" and the "valley folds," very important. You can either fold all of the pieces initially, or do them one-by-one as you go which seems to be quicker.
Once the pieces are folded, begin gluing them, match the numbers that are one the edges of each sheet. I used hot glue with a mini hot glue gun, which worked extremely well, especially when gluing very small tabs. I suppose just about any glue could work but personally, I'd go with hot glue. This can be tricky at times and it also requires quite an amount of time depending on how difficult your file was. When all of the pieces are put together, you'll get a rough idea of what your helmet will look like.
Step 2: Fiberglass
Fiberglass Cloth or Mat (Cloth Preferred) (See pictures)
Fiberglass Resin (See pictures)
Paint Brushes (1-3 inch)
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE WEARING GLOVES AND A RESPIRATOR THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE STEP
First you will put a coat of the Fiberglass Resin on the inside and outside of your paper helmet. Follow the directions on the can of resin to ensure that the process goes smoothly. The most important thing for this step is to wear the respirator and gloves because these are very toxic materials. After mixing the resin as the can says, begin to apply it to the inside and outside of the helmet using the brushes. Do not put it on too thick or heavy because it could saturate the helmet and collapse the paper.
While the resin is drying you can cut the fiberglass cloth or mat, whichever you chose. I prefer cloth because it seems to be more flexible and easier to use. You should cut the fiberglass cloth or mat in different lengths and shapes. Cut long thin strips, shorter square strips, or any other shape strip to conform to the contours of your helmet.
After the resin coating has dried, you can now mix another batch of resin which will be used to apply the previously cut strips. You can either dip the strips in resin or coat the inside and lay the strips down. Either way works well. Make sure to put the the strips tights to all corners and edges and also be sure to cover the entire inside. Overlapping strips is fine and will make the helmet stronger if you want to use extra strips and resin. You should let the helmet dry overnight to ensure that it dries properly and thoroughly.
Step 3: Bondo and Sanding
Bondo (See pictures)
Old Credit Cards/Gift Cards/iTunes Cards
Power Hand Sander
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE WEARING GLOVES AND A RESPIRATOR THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE STEP
First, your helmet should be hardened from the night before or even longer. Do not cut a corner here, let it dry properly and do not rush it. Then you can now begin to apply the bondo. Follow the directions on the can and mix the bondo in your dish or tray. I listed to have old cards (credit, gift, or iTunes) because they are great for spreading the bondo on the helmet. They can also be cut easily to different shapes and such.
When applying bondo, the coat should be thick and as smooth as possible to cut down on sanding time. This step is EXTREMELY important to take time on and be precise with. Here is where i messed up on my helmet and made the final product not so great. I applied the bondo too thin and too rough, which made my sanding difficult and very, very time consuming.
After a smooth application of bondo is complete, let it dry completely. Again, don't rush it, let it dry overnight or all day if need be. Once it is properly dried, you can begin sanding it. Use a power sander, if you do not have one, find one if you cant find one, buy one. It will help tremendously. It will take a long time to sand so just be patient. My bondo application was not good as I previously stated, so I sort of gave up on sanding and decided that my first help would just be my practice one and that I was not going to make it perfect. However, you are now wiser and you should take the time to make it great.
Sanding is a major aspect of this project simply for one thing, painting. If your sand job is not flawless and perfectly smooth, painting will bring out the errors you made and make them stand out. So take your time and sand out all small divots and bumps so that your final product will look awesome. For smaller surfaces you can hand sand, or use a dremel tool. Using the dremel is definitely optional because most people do not have them and they can be expensive. Again, it would cut down on some time but not worth enough to go buy one.
Step 4: Paint and Detail
Spray Paint (Preferred Color) (Gloss Finish is recommended also)
Spray Primer (Any Color)
Whatever you want
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE WEARING A RESPIRATOR THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE STEP
Detailing is where you can be creative and do what you feel is right and add that personal touch to your work. I did this by adding a black plastic screen type material and hot glue to various parts of my helmet as you can see in some of the pictures. Therefore, you can choose what type of material you want to use and where, that is why the materials list says "Whatever you want."
First, you helmet should be clean of all debris from the sanding step. After that, you can now apply the paint. Once your helmet is set up, you can begin spraying a coat of primer onto it. Any primer will work, whether it be automobile primer or whatever, anything is fine. Apply the paint smoothly and even and be sure it does not drip because that will not look good for a final finish.
Let this coat of primer dry properly before you go to add the actual color paint you chose. Follow the same directions as the primer for the color paint. My base color is black so I just painted the whole helmet black and then let it dry. After letting it dry I used my masking tape to shape the lines of the face 'piece'. I used an aluminum spray paint to cover the face and the side ear pieces. Again, be sure to let everything dry long enough before moving onto the next coat.
Things to remember:
The more coats of paint the better
The longer time to dry the better
The more patience the better
The more care the better
TAKE YOUR TIME
Step 5: Padding
Hot Glue Gun
This step can be difficult, but I found a process that is very, very easy if you have the right materials. I had an old hockey helmet that I never use anymore and I stripped the pads out of that because they were obviously designed to conform to a head. You can buy sheets of padding at all different thicknesses at a craft store or home improvement store. Or you can just use an old helmet if you have one.
Once you have the padding, you need to cut it to the right shapes and sizes which obviously it determined by your helmet's shape and size. When that is done, just tape the pieces in to see if it fits okay and then when the pieces are cut to fit, glue them in. Make sure to use a lot glue because placing and removing the helmet on your head will put wear and tear on your helmet and loosen the padding over time.
You can consider yourself done now or continue onto the next step which is lighting, but is optional. If you're done, congratulations! Hope your helmet came out nice and you like it. Please leave feedback and tell me how you did, and how I did with the instructions. Thank you for checking it out!
Step 6: LEDs
6" LED Strip (Any Color)
Hot Glue Gun
Positive Battery Connector
Negative Battery Connector
YOU ARE WORKING WITH LOW POWER ELECTRONICS, BUT BE CAREFUL
I am in no way an electronics master or anything like that and I could do this, so it is not too difficult.
First you want to cut two small pieces of paper to dull the lights out in the eyes to they don't just look like plain LEDs which would look bad. Once the pieces are cut, hot glue them inside the helmet over the eyes like you see in the picture. You should leave a slit over the top of the paper so that you can still briefly see out of the eyes; see the third picture for help.
Next you want to get your 6" LED strip. I got mine on http://www.amazon.com but you can find them elsewhere if need be. Once you have the LED strip you do not have to do anything to it at this point. What you are going to do is glue it in the helmet now. I put an extra piece of padding in-between the eyes so that the LEDs would be offset from the the paper about half an inch. This makes it so the light shines and the whole eye appears red as opposed to red dots from the individual LEDs. I also glued the lights to the padding on the sides of the helmet for extra support.
Once that step is done, you can now connect the lights to the switch and the battery. If you have a switch, simply strip the end of the wires and connect them to the respective ports on the switch. Also, you're going to connect the positive and negative battery connectors to the switch as well. If the connectors and the wires are both red and black, be sure to put the same colors with each other. When that's done, clip the other end of the black connector to the larger part of the 9-Volt battery and the red connector to the other part of the battery. Flip the switch on and you should be all set!
If you do not have a switch, get some wire nuts. Using a wire nut, connect one color of the wire of the LED strip and the same color of the wire of the connector and then repeat for the other color wire. Then attach the connectors the same as instructed in the previous step. Once connected, the lights should be automatically on!
Using either method (switch or no switch) be sure to not leave the battery connected when the lights are not in use because it will drain the 9-Volt battery in a matter of hours. So only connect the battery when you wish to use the lights.
If you're done, congratulations! Hope your helmet came out nice and you like it. Please leave feedback and tell me how you did, and how I did with the instructions. Thank you for checking it out!
Step 7: Final Pictures
Please leave feedback and tell me how you did, and how I did with the instructions. Thank you for checking it out! Enjoy!