Introduction: Low Cost Astronaut Helmet
If You don't want to spent too much money buying an astronaut helmet, You can build one by yourself out of paperboard as main material.
Let's get started.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Step 2: Designing
My helmet's geometry is a truncated icosahedron. Most of you might have seen this shape already because it was used as a pattern for Adidas Telstar football and nowadays it is commonly used pattern for a football. A nice comparizon can be found on Wikimedia page.
I took my football, measured its diameter and compared it to size my head which has to fit easy with some centimeters margin around. Truncated icosahedron is built with pentagons and hexagons which has the same side length. I knew I need to increase the size of polygons what in result will give me bigger helmet. I roughly calculated the side length of single polygon (pentagon and hexagon) to be 6cm. The final result is OK with this value, I can put my head through the bottom hole just perfect. My head's circumference is ~60cm. I would suggest to make the side length a little bit bigger, not much, up to 6.5cm so putting the helmet will go smoother.
I printed out 2 templates with 6cm to cut polygons out of paperboard. You can draw it by Yourself using compass and a ruler (construction steps You can find in links above).
I had to decide where to locate the bottom hole (entrance for head) and face hole. I wanted to use only a polygons to make these 2 holes look nice. I marked the polygons on football which needed to be removed (missing) in a final shape. I marked my "main" polygon with its sides on a football and on a shape. I could easily fit them both together at any time. It was very helpful because after working with the ball and the shape in the middle of assembling can get complicated very easily.
I cut some polygons just to start connecting them together. Having everything prepared for assembling, I switched on the hot glue gun.
Step 3: Assembling Main Shape
Gluing the polygons together is generally an easy task. As mentioned before, You just need to pay attention which polygon are You going to glue next according to the football markers.
I didn't cut all of the polygons before and was cutting only the one which I planned to glue next giving some time glue to cool down and make the good link.
Step 4: Adjusting the Shape
Both holes' edges have sharp vertexes from polygons. We just need to cut them. If You want Your helmet to look more futuristic, You can leave the front hexagon (the one on the forehead). But if You want Your helmet look more like regular astronaut helmet, just cut it as i did later.
Step 5: Making a Collar
I turned the helmet upside down and used the hexagon from the top as a holder. Thanks to this, my helmet was straight and I could build up a collar vertically. Don't pay too much attention on the length of the collar. It needs a lot of adjustment later when You put it on. I had to cut the collar many times so it fit the shape of my shoulder and size of my neck. This part is an individual preference, just try to make it as comfortable as possible on this stage.
I have put one stripe of a collar's part on the back which moves freely with a duct tape. It works as a backup-buffer to make it possible to wear it. If You make Your helmet much bigger than Your head and You can easily tuck Your head through the bottom hole, You can glue it together as other parts so it will not move.
Step 6: Covering Helmet's Surface
I used a white duct tape to make my helmet white. I was considering painting it or glue pieces of some kind of coated paper. It is up to You which technique You pick.
This process was time consuming. Because of the white surface is going to be the final color, it needs more attention if we want to be happy of the result.
Step 7: Adding Decorations
I used a different color Scotch tapes to make a decorations. I used some random lines and circles I cut and put in places which more or less can imitate some cables or buttons (if real helmet has any ;) ). Use Your imagination.
I took one blinking lights from broken bouncing ball and adopted it into the helmet. So whenever I touch it, it is blinking for around 10s.
I was thinking also about putting real wires and stick them to the helmet, but because it may be used by kids, I wanted to keep it more safer in case of pulling the cables out - take it into account.
Then I bought a protection coverall suit (cheapest one) used for painting which supposed to imitate an astronaut's suit.
It worked perfectly!
Step 8: Final Result
Helmet was obviously the main part of an astronaut uniform. To fulfill the project, I bought a protecting uniform to paint walls which was very cheap comparing to the price of full astronaut uniform.
I am very happy of the final result.
Step 9: Possible Improvements
There is always a room for improvements, here are some of them:
- Create a front window out of some plastic. I didn't do it because it can bring problems like: lack of oxygen and steam on it after some time wearing it; because of that it can be too hot inside the helmet.
- Make it just a little bigger (instead of 6cm polygon side length, make it 6.5cm).
Other proposals are more than welcome.