Intro: Sideshow Collectibles Darth Vader Helmet Stand
When Sideshow Collectibles came out with the life-size Darth Vader bust they only produced 300 of them with helmet stands. I was not one of the lucky ones to be able to get an exclusive version with the stand while they were still available, but I did order a regular version without the stand. This was somewhat disappointing because the helmets must sit on a table,they take up a lot of room, and they don't look right just sitting there with no stand. So, when I took an engineering graphics class at my local community college I used this opportunity to create a custom stand for myself. Using Autodesk Inventor, a tape measure, and a micrometer I was able to come up with a design to fit the specifications of my helmets. I started out with the base and created just a 1 inch sliver of it, then rotated that sliver to create a circular base shape. From that I cut out the parts in front where the helmet would sit and created some more holes in the middle. Since the printer would only create 8" x 8" x 8" parts, I then chopped up the base into 6 interlocking parts so that they would fit into the build area. From there I created the rest of the parts that would fit into the base. I didn't want to have to deal with support material so I designed everything to be able to print without it. The first one I printed had some issues with the pieces not fitting together so I had to do a lot of filing down of the plastic to get it all to work. Over time I made a lot of adjustments to the design, tweaking the tolerances and adjusting dimensions so that everything fit just right. The first one I printed at school on a commercial printer that created support material that dissolved in water. When I got my own printer I had issues with some of the larger parts warping off the print bed so I added long flat extrusions to some of the parts so that the parts could be physically clamped down to the bed while printing and this solved the warping issue. Then the flat extrusions are later trimmed off and the part is filed to remove any rough edges. A screen grab of one of the models with these extrusions is shown. I began selling these stands to other collectors and one customer told me he wished the upper helmet sat lower down more like the Sideshow exclusive stand does so I created a version that sits lower and I sell it as an option. All the parts fit together with no need for glue or any other fasteners.