Introduction: DIY Robot Cardboard Helmet
Here's a show stopping helmet to create a robot costume around.
You can either download the files to laser cut or print, trace and cut your own cardboard or other ~1/4'' material.
Note: Use gloves to avoid paper-cuts from laser cut cardboard (and hot glue). Sand the edges a bit for less risk of injury.
- PDF file linked above. 18" x24" (use acrobat to print it to multiple sheets if you are using a smaller printer)
- Two 18" x 24" cardboard sheets (if using the files linked above) OR cut the pieces from a gundam model kit box box or case of beer for a super silly robot.
- Transparent film or acrylic for visor
- GLOVES! Laser cut edges are sharp! Use gloves especially if working the the laser cut kits and hot glue
- Hot glue
- Wood Glue
- Masking tape or packing tape
- Metal straightedge ruler
- Scissors or a xacto knife
- If you want to do these projects with kids, or just don't want to work with a sharp blade, check out Make-do Safe Saw: https://www.make.do/products/safe-saw-005 and other similar tools.
Step 1: Assemble the Helmet's Dome and Mohawk
Start by gluing the prongs of the two top dome parts of the hemet together along the edges. Wear gloves and work slowly gluing from the base to the ends. The curved shape will come together if you work carefully and match up the edges precisely. Do the same with the back part of the helmet, and then attach all three parts, as seen in the third image.
Next fold and glue the three "mohawk" parts. Gather the three parts shown in the fourth image in this step. USe your metal ruler to help you fold precisely.
Personally, I think wood glue gives the cleanest and most sturdy finish, but hot glue is faster. Hot glue can also be more forgiving as you can re-heat and re-glue if you're unsatisfied with your seam. Either way, apply the glue into the corrugated edges and either hold or tape the edges together as the glue dries/ cools. Gluing into the corrugated edges is method is my preference, but it also works well to hold the edges together and glue along the back. Take a look at the tips on gluing and folding from my Hawk Helmet for more help!
Step 2: Attach the Mohawk and Assemble the Brim
Next find the mohawk insert (image 1), fold the sides and glue (image 2). Glue the inset piece at the front of the mohawk to form the concave front feature. (See image 6)
Build the brim by locating the brim part (image 3) and gluing it along the seams of the front brim (image 4). Then glue the U shaped piece at a 90 degree angle, to create the full brim. (image 5) The brim also includes the upper sides of the helmet so curve these pieces around to begin forming the sides.
I laser cut an acrylic visor for this helmet too, just to see how it would come out. In the PDF template, you'll find the visor part which you will use as a template to create your visor from any transparent or translucent material you like.
You'll quickly notice the matching geometry in the sides of the dome, the brim, and the mohawk. Let the cardboard be your guide. (image 6-8) Apply some glue into your corrugated edges, and line the sides up with the matching edges.
Step 3: Helmet Grommets and Greeblies
Okay, let's get a few of the little bits out of the way. Parts can be made easier to work with by rolling them around rounded objects. I often use a baseball bat handle, bowl or rolling pin depending on the curve required.
Curl the "bell curve" shaped piece (image 1) around a cylinder (a baseball bat or broom handle would be perfect here) and attach the small ends together. As you can see, I re-enforced this seam with masking tape as it's such a small connection and this area will be relatively out of sight on the final helmet.
The two butterfly shaped parts (image 3) form the left and right greeblies (images 4 -5). They are slightly different, so fit them up before gluing and make sure you've got them on the correct side. They should follow the downward sloping curve of the helmet sides.
Finally we have another inset piece for the missing space at the back of the helmet. (image 6) Parts shaped like an iron cross will be folded into an inset rectangle. For this part, it is intended to become two vertically stacked inset squares. (image 7)
Step 4: Assemble and Attach the Ears
Glue the two cylinder shapes from the previous step into the matching holes at the back of the helmet. As well, attach the square inset into the missing rectangle at the lower center of the back of the helmet.
Next assemble the ears simply by gluing the one ear with a hole in it to one that does not have a missing hole. Do this twice and you should have two ears with inset holes that match up with your cylinders.
Step 5: "Face" Parts
Collect the "mouth" parts (image 1) and use your straightedge ruler to fold along vertices on the nose/ mouth part and fold sharply (image 2). Use the two smallest parts to inform the angle of the fold, and glue them in place (image 3).
Fold the mushroom shaped part around it's "stem" to form the, I dunno, "goatee?" I don't know why this robot needs a goatee, but I'm sure he's a hit with the lady robots. (image 4 -5)
Fold the, let's call them sideburns, into shape (image 6). Your first folds should be at 90 degrees in order to align the thin prongs of this part as top and bottom sides (image 7).
Step 6: Assemble the Face
The sideburns close up the face pretty narrowly. (Apologies to anyone who knows the correct names for these parts. I think they look like sideburns, nose, mouth, and goatee, idk, let's get back to building.)
To attach the "face", I use the visor or visor template to line everything up ensuring that there are no large open areas around the visor or face parts. I use tape to line things up before gluing. Squeeze the sides (sideburns?) in close so the snugly close in on the face. I attach the "face" by using a line of glue along the right and left side edges. I've also reinforced the back of the glue seams with tape.
I've included a photo from the inside looking out so you can see how these parts are attached.
Step 7: Add the Final Side Parts and You're Done!
Take your time and make sure that the sides of these parts line up with the sides of the empty space. Use the photo for reference. The tricky part is lining this up with the curves at the back of the helmet.
For the visor, I laser cut the part from acrylic. If you lack access to a laser cutter, trace the template part onto thick transparent film or anything else that is transparent yet thin enough to cut.
Transform and ROLL OUT!