DIY Robot Cardboard Helmet

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About: Science Teacher. Maker. True-Believer.

Intro: DIY Robot Cardboard Helmet

Here's a show stopping helmet to create a robot costume around.

You can either download the files, print, trace and cut your own cardboard or visit my Esty shop and purchase the kit and I'll cut the pieces for you! Note: Use gloves to avoid paper-cuts from laser cut cardboard (and hot glue). Sand the edges a bit for less risk of injury.

Materials needed:

  • PDF file or Cardboard kit from Etsy
  • 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
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot glue
  • Wood Glue
  • Masking tape or packing tape
  • Metal straightedge ruler
  • Scissors or a xacto knife

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!

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    30 Discussions

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    cpratt2023

    21 days ago

    What size should i print this? I feel like on page would be too small but I'm not sure

    5 replies
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    JasonP4cpratt2023

    Reply 20 days ago

    The PDF file attached is made for 18" x 24" paper. If you need to print on smaller paper, you will need to use a program that will help you break up the design into smaller pages (also called "tiling"). Adobe acrobat has a "poster" print feature that will tile the design to any size paper you choose.

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    cpratt2023JasonP4

    Reply 19 days ago

    what happened to the esty? I was going to get the kit but i guess not. Thanks by the way.

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    JasonP4cpratt2023

    Reply 18 days ago

    Thanks. I couldn't keep up! I was filling orders around the clock, 7 days a week. I needed to take a break and recalibrate my shop. I'll post when it goes back up.

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    cpratt2023JasonP4

    Reply 8 days ago

    I'm working on a chromebook so that was pretty hard, but i came up with a fix. Just had to convert the pdf to an image, then put it onto google draw, and crop the image onto four different drawings and print and tape them together. It looks really nice once spraypainted and designed. Do you think this would work with craft foam?

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    JasonP4cpratt2023

    Reply 6 days ago

    It works great with craft foam. use contact cement on the seams, allow it to dry for a minute or so before placing the seams together and pow- instant bond. Sometimes a little angle on the cut will help you create better depth and shape. Adobe acrobat has a "tile" feature in the print dialog that will do the same thing for you, but it sounds like you've got a good handle on it.

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    Jacktheboss5352

    1 year ago

    I don't get it

    I'm only 12 but how did u make the face part withou telling us how

    2 replies
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    JasonP4Jacktheboss5352

    Reply 1 year ago

    I added details about the visor. (I'm assuming that you are talking about the visor). The visor is included in the template, you just need to cut it from a transparent material if you want to be able to see through it. Thick window tint film works well.
    Take you time and check out the tips for taping and gluing linked from step 1.

    Good luck!

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    Sentinel11

    1 year ago

    thank you for making this

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    Legoguylolforever

    1 year ago

    How easy would it be to make this helmet out of foam?

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    Jacktheboss5352

    1 year ago

    not really the cardboard type of persone but this looked really cool so I wanted to try but it's to hard for me I'm more of a wood persone

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    Makog

    2 years ago

    How big does the printed paper have to be to appropriately fit the wearers head.

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    MakogJasonP4

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks and this helmet is nice for whats on instructables☻♦♣♠.

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    snozzle1

    2 years ago

    Wow great! You have my vote!!

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    makerdiy25

    2 years ago

    This is the coolest cardboard creation I've seen so far that is actually doable, and does not take a year to make.

    1 reply
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    JasonP4makerdiy25

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! Yeah it usually only takes me a couple of hours to build this one.

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    JasonP4ushuaia

    Reply 2 years ago

    Probably? I was going for a Transformers type thing, but I realize that they're all in the same style-family. Stamily, if you will. Thanks!