I have been wanting to go LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) at Shadowmoor, a nearby LARP; However, having no armor I needed to make some. I started with the helmet (probably not the best idea because of it's relative difficulty) then progressed on to a chest plate, brigandine, and Bracers (2 per appendage). I may yet do this later if people take interest enough in this stuff. So lets get started with some materials and tools. I made this entirely at Techshop RDU (http://techshop.ws/index.html)
-18 gauge sheet metal
-Some cardboard to make templates from
-Laser cutter to cut templates
Step 1: Make the Faceplate Template
This was before I took the Laser Cutter SBU at Techshop so my templates were drawn and cut out on cardboard. Since then i have cut all of my templates out with the 40 watt laser, and I would strongly recommend using this method. For more info on Laser cutting templates check out my other instructable How to Make A Buckler from Sheet Metalhere. I just went online and found a helmet style that I like and drew half on the computer then printed it out, traced it onto cardboard, then flipped it and repeated. I then cut out the whole thing and laid it nicely on my metal as shown.
Step 2: Cut and Sand the Face
Sorry for the lack of pictures, as I really wasn't thinking about doing an instructable of this until now. Pretty much just trace the template onto the metal, use the Hydraulic shear to cut out a manageable piece of steel, then use the beverly shear for all of the curved cuts and the straight shear for all straight cuts. For the eyes I used the turret punch to punch a hole then used the straight sheer to cut out the straight cuts off the end. Mark all of you holes with a center punch then punch all of the holes out with a turret punch. I then just put it on the disk sander to clean it all up.
Step 3: Bend the Face Plate
I started out by marking the center line then putting a hard bend in it with the finger brake. I then ran each side through the Slip roller three or four times to get the curved cheeks and forehead. Just bend until the desired faceplate arises.
Step 4: Make the Back of the Head and Weld It On
Just cut out a rectangle that is as long as the back of your head and about as tall as the front of your helmet. Put it in the slip roller ot get a nice smooth curve then Spot weld it on to the faceplate. I continued to then cut the back in Half so that I could weld a wide ribbon on for decoration, and strength.
Step 5: Make the Back Ribbon and Top Template
For this I just played around with cardboard until it felt right. I traced the top of the head onto a piece of cardboard onto a piece of cardboard then just addd a tail that was about 3 inches wide and about an inch and a half longer then the height of the back piece. Be sure not to forget to add tabs that can later be riveted onto the helmet.
Step 6: Cut and Bend the Top and Ribbon
Pretty much the same as before for cutting: just use the beverly shear for curved cuts, the straight shear for straight cuts. I then put a sharp bend down the middle of the ribbon and on the spot in between the ribbon and the top using the finger brake.
Step 7: Weld on the Ribbon
Go out to the hot shop and power up the spot welder. I just put two welds about every 2 inches or so all the way up the Ribbon to hold it together and also to look cool. Don't worry about the burn marks, they'll disappear entirely after sand blasting.
Step 8: Drill the Rivet Holes
Drill through all of the tabs and helmet material to be able to insert rivets.
Step 9: Rivet on the Top
Take your rivet gun and put a rivet in, put it through the two holes and squeeze until the stem of the rivet pulls all the way through the back of the rivet. Repeat for all rivet holes.
Step 10: Sand Blast and Powder Coat
Following suit (forgive the pun) I decided to powder coat it red. Pretty simple step: Sandblast until clean, wash off the sand, hang in the oven to preheat, then shoot it with powder, and let dry.
You are now the owner of an awesome sheet metal helmet. Please post pictures of your helmets, and don't forget to vote for this in the Instructable's Design Competition. Thanks again to Techshop RDU for enabling me to build my dreams there.