Recycled Glowing Helmets Design




Introduction: Recycled Glowing Helmets Design

About: Hi I'm Jon I'm a engineering lecturer in Canterbury and interested in all things electronic if it lights up or makes a noise I need to tinker with it!

Got any unused/ broken helmets lying around? Not prepared for the emotional
heartache of parting with it? Well here’s a solution, Upcycling it into a sick lamp / room illuminator!

For this Instrucatble I used an old American football helmet but there’s nothing stopping you from using it on an old motorcycle helmet or similar. It’s relatively easy and doesn’t need a lot of expensive materials and tools.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials


A disused/ unwanted helmet

For the circuit:

1X 555 timer IC

1x 4017 decade counter

1x pp3 9V battery 1x battery snap 1x SPST (on/off) switch 1x 330 ohm resistor 1x 1K resistor 2x 10k fixed resistor 1x 10k variable resistor 11x LED's (light emitting diodes) in a colour of your choiceelectrical wire solder EL (electro luminescent) wire


Glue gun


A multimeter For the unlikely even it all goes wrong

Soldering iron

Wire snippers

Shrink wrap

(Non-essential) a method of making a printed circuit board

(Alternative) stripboard

Step 2: Designing the Circuit

The first step is to design the circuit. The circuit we will be building is a 555 astable integrated with a 4017, two easy circuits just added together. The 555 is set up in the astable configuration which allows it to produce a digital pulse. This is then processed by the 4017 decade counter causing it to change which led is turned on. This circuit is a versatile circuit in which you can switch up to 10 LED's on and off easily! This circuit is found in many other uses such as a 'stop the led game' which I’m sure I will upload at some point!

I designed the circuit for PCB (printed circuit board) using the program express PCB (which should be easy to change into whatever program you may be using), I will however include a diagram on how to make one using stripboard!

Step 3: Building the Circuit

So after
designing the circuit, printing the silkscreen and etching the PCB it’s time to solder the components the circuit.

When building the circuit I first built the 555 astable (it is important to test it with a multimeter as you go along). Make sure that the area you work in is well ventilated and any polarised components (such as LEDS) are in the correct way.

Step 4: Making the LEDs

Instead of mounting the LED's to the circuit I'm wire mounting them so I have more freedom where to place them.

When wire mounting make sure that neither of the legs are touching (do this by cutting them to different lengths) as this can cause a short circuit. For my LED's I added some shrink wrap to make it look better but it is not essential.

Step 5: Attaching the Circuit

Now we attached the finished circuit to our recycled helmet. For the American football I’m using I hid it beneath lots of the padding so it isn’t visible. When you find a spot you like the look of hot glue gun (be careful not to burn yourself) it in place and leave it to dry. Then hot glue the LED’s in and then you’re done!

Step 6: Adding Electroluminescent(EL) Wire

making the helmet I toyed around with idea of adding stuff to it. I came across EL wire and thought it would be cool to add. I didn’t like the effect of adding it to the helmet with the 555 in it as there seemed to be a bit too much light, so I added it to an unused helmet.

The el wire was really easy to use I attached the wire to the Power source taped the EL wire where I wanted it and glued it in place. I had some excess wire that seemed a shame to waste so I glued it to the top of the helmet interior.

Step 7: Alternative Method

I mentioned before About an alternative to using PCB. You can instead use stripboard. Ive attached a video and some pictures of a prototype as to how you can do this, just wire mount the LED's and you are good to go!

Make it Glow Contest 2016

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2016

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Such a cool, unique idea!


    3 years ago

    That's awesome. :) Great way to reuse them!