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  1. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 14, 2011, 10:49 AM - New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #1

    OK. So I am new here, at least recently registered as a user. I have visited the site frequently in the past to get my Mando and Fett fix, as well as to see all the work getting accomplished out there. Last summer I stumbled on to Wizard of Flight's templates. (Thank you again, Alan.) In this thread I would like to display the work done to refabricate a beaten up hard hat and a forgotten five gallon bucket into a functional buyce. (That's the correct word for helmet. Yes? I don't have any of my Karen Traviss books with me.) Here are the first couple of pictures.

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    I began, as stated earlier, with a hard hat and one five gallon bucket. I had to find a second bucket for more material through the build. I will deal with that later though. First I cut brim from the hard hat. Then I cut it in half from front to back. WoF's template was a little small for my big nugget and I wanted some room for padding. I reassmbled the two halves with a one inch strip cut from the five gallon bucket. I used two inch masking tape to hold the pieces together. Then applied a liberal amount of epoxy (Hysol 9309) to bond the separate pieces and fill in the gaps. When those cured, I cut the dome in half again from left to right. Reassembled again in the same manner as the first havles. The fourth picture above shows the reassembled dome fitted to the lower half of the helmet held in place again with masking tape. I had made a cardboard frame from WoF's templates, with my added measurements, to use as a building base to ensure I stayed close to the correct angles.
    Last edited by Dudesir; Nov 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM.
  2. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 14, 2011, 1:56 PM - Re: New to TDH #2

    Instalment number two:

    [ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH]


    The first picture here shows the dome and lower portion held together with masking tape on the inside of the helmet. The tape is visible throught the notches on the dome where the brim was cut away. Also visible are the areas where epoxy filled in the gaps when I reassembled the dome. They have been sanded to even out the surface, but not completely smooth.

    I cut the lower portion of the helmet from the five gallon bucket. I used a spray adhesive to mount the template to the bucket and then cut it out with a utility knife. This section used the majority of the bucket. What you cannot see is the cardboard frame used inside the helmet to hold the shape.

    The next two pictures show the application of the epoxy to secure the dome and lower portion of the helmet, as well as to build up and reinforce the cuts. This layer has not yet been sanded. When the epoxy had cured I removed the inner frame in order to epoxy the interior of the helmet. When that had cured, outside and inside were sanded level. (The interior was not completely level. But enough to allow the application of fiberglass.)

    The next picture shows the first layer of fiberglass, inside and out. At this point, I realized I needed to cut out and assemble the cheek areas. I wanted the fiberglass to cover them in order to make the helmet a solid piece. Prior to applying the fiberglass, I used the T-visor template to mark where the visor would be. I had to modify WoF's cheek template to accommodate the curve of the helmet by cutting the 'cheekbone' in to two pieces. The pieces are held in place with masking tape.

    At this point the cardboard frame was abandoned as I could no longer slide it into the helmet with the cheek pieces in place. However, the layers of fiberglass gave the helmet enough structural integrity that the frame was unnecessary.

    The next picture shows the cheek pieces held in place with epoxy. I applied it inside and out, then ground and sanded the areas level again. After the sanding I applied the second layer of fiberglass, inside and out. I was not careful enough when I placed the cheek pieces. If you look closely, the left cheek is deeper than the right. I did not notice this until the epoxy had cured and I did not want to cut it out to reassemble it.

    Upon completion of the helmet I realized I should have added a couple of things during the fiberglass phase. I failed to cut the triangle details above the T-visor. I could have also embedded the screw posts for the T-visor. Two things I will keep in mind if I ever build another.
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  3. Ordeyn's Avatar
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    Nov 14, 2011, 8:11 PM - Re: New to TDH #3

    Very well done. The difference in cheek depth doesn't seem that noticeable to me. Got some paint colors in mind yet?
  4. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 15, 2011, 5:34 AM - Re: New to TDH #4

    Ord' I do have colors in mind. Unfortunately, I had to work with what I had on hand for now. I will definitely do a repaint when I get back home. For now it is tan and red and dark green.

    The first and second picture here show the fiberglass complete; four layers inside and out. These layers make the helmet about a quarter inch thick, about 6 mm for all of those metric folks out there. Outside is sanded smooth. Inside has been sanded as smooth as I could get it. Sanding inside a bowl is not particularly graceful. I started with 40 grit sand paper. That made fast work of knocking down the high spots and ridges left by the fiberglass. Then I switched to 100. I honestly do not remember if I went to a higher grit at this stage. I thinnk I did not because I still wanted a bit of a texture to the fiberglass in order to apply some epoxy layers. I also used a Dremel with a small sanding drum in some areas.

    When the sanding was complete I cut out the T-visor. One of my soldiers suggested I do this since the epoxy would cover up my guidelines. I started with a hacksaw. Unfortunately the blade tended to drift from the line. So I changed tools to a Dremel with a cut-off wheel. That worked a lot better. I wasn't too concerned with staying exactly on the line. I had planned to clean the edge later. I did not, however, want to drift outside the line which is what the hacksaw was doing.

    The last two pictures show the first layer of epoxy after it had been sanded smooth. I progressed from 100 grit to 180 to 400.
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  5. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 16, 2011, 11:55 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #5

    These pictures show the application of the mandibles, brow, and banding across the back. Also visible are the holes for the mounting screws for the four point chin harness I chose to use. I cut the pieces out of the seven gallon bucket. The material of this bucket was twice as thick as that of the five gallon bucket. I am not sure if it is from the increase in size, or due to a difference in manufacturer. I sprayed the template with adhesive. Then placed in on the bucket and cut out the pieces with a utility knife. I had tried a hacksaw. However, the knife was easier to control and gave a cleaner cut. I bonded the pieces to the helmet with epoxy. I used zip ties and clamps to hold them in place until the epoxy had cured.

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    The separate parts for the range finder I cut from the five gallon bucket. Taped them together with masking tape applied to the outside. Filled the seems with epoxy. When that cured I removed the tape and epoxied the outside surfaces one or two sides at a time, however many I could do with out the epoxy dripping and sticking everywhere. I let the epoxy begin to set (thicken) before I applied it to the assemblies. Once all of the sides were covered and cured I sanded them smooth. Primed and painted. Then used super glue for the final assembly.

    While practice fitting the indiviual pieces for the range finder I noticed a slight gap between the outer and inner shells. I adjusted the inner shell template to fill this gap. However, after I assembled everything I noticed that the inner shell was too tall. That will need to be redone later.

    The ear pieces I assembled in two different ways. Mostly they are layers of plastic bonded together with either Gorilla Glue, epoxy, super glue, or Metal Set. The wedge shape at the bottom of the range finder mount is hollow. I assembled it the same way I assembled the range finder pieces. The lower half of the right ear is layered on the top and down the middle. The bottom wedge and slanted sides are hollow. The left ear is layered and ground to shape. Each piece is fitted with free-floating nut plates rivetted onto one of the middle layers. I wanted these pieces removeable for future modifications. All of the pieces were covered with epoxy and then sanded smoot, primed and painted.

    The keyhole template confused me a little. Unfortunately, during the build process I did not have a clear picture of how it fit into the helmet. After registering here and reading some more posts with large pictures, I see how it should look. I amy or may not change this in the future. Anyways, I assembled it in a similar fashion as the range finder.

    The beauty of using material from a bucket is the pieces have a natural curve to them. The drawback of using material from a bucket is all of the pieces have a natural curve to them. Some of the pieces I flatted with a heat gun and weight. The range finder bracket I did not flatten enough. It still has a slight inward curve to it.
    Last edited by Dudesir; Nov 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM.
  6. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 17, 2011, 8:26 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #6

    Here I have the range finder assembled. The blue screen on the display came from a transparent plastic jar. A piece of the same material also covers the holes on the front of the range finder. I rivetted a nut plate onto the outer shell in order to mount the assembly to the antenna boom. I did not use a silver undercoat on the range finder. I had not yet received that color and wanted to know how well the paint would adhere to the epoxy.

    The next picture shows the first application of primer. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the helmet with the final layer of epoxy before any paint was applied. It was a lovely mottled shade of dark pink. I think I was getting anxoius after doing nothing but sanding for a couple of days. Sanding the cheeks was a pain in the keester. The inside was painted flat black before I applied primer to the outside. I used masking tape to block off the T-visor, keyhole, and the mounting holes for the earpieces. I sanded the primer and reapplied it for three layers of primer. Then I applied a silver undercoat, sanded it and reapplied. I let the silver dry overnight. I used torn bits of masking tape to cover areas I wanted to show through the upper layers of paint. Then applied a dusting of flat olive drab. I do not have ready access to any store with a selection of paint. Therefore, I used what I had on hand. The only red I had was extremely brilliant. So, I masked off the areas I wanted red in order for the olive color to work its complimenting effects through the red. I also added some more masking tape over the previously masked damage areas to let some of the green show.

    [ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH]

    Something I thought of that I should have mentioned earlier regarding the hard hat I used for the dome. In order to achieve the correct contour for the dome I had to mount the hard hat backwards. The original front of the had hat had too steep of a pitch to it. Although, I think it worked nicely after it was reversed.

    What am I doing wrong with posting the pictures? Sometimes I get the image itself in with the text. Other times I get the [ATTACH blah blah blah.
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  7. Ordeyn's Avatar
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    Nov 17, 2011, 2:45 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #7

    That is one nice looking buy'ce! Even without all the paint.

    As for the pics, I believe you can just put them in as attachments as you've done in the last post. You can always sign up at photobucket.com, too.
  8. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 17, 2011, 3:41 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #8

    Thank you Ord. I appreciate that. I had a lot of fun building it. I have a couple of things I want to fix. But that has to wait for now.
  9. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Nov 19, 2011, 3:32 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #9

    After I was satisfied with the base color, I masked off the dome, cheeks, visor, banding and extra damages areas on the cheek bones. The color for the cheek bones was the only color I knew would work. It was a dark green, almost black, but still green. When that dried I masked the cheekbones and exposed the visor and banding. Again I added extra masking on the damages areas for those pieces. This color most concerned me because it was a brilliant red. However, the olive drab undercoat did exactly what I intended it to do. It brought the tone of the red down a lot. When the red was dried, I removed all of the masking tape. I noticed that the damage areas looked too clean, with nice crisp edges where the colors met. So, I used a lenght of masking tape to lift some of the color away. This softened the edges considerably. I did the same across some of the solid areas. This process lifted the color away exposing the silver base coat in a speckled manner.

    [ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH]

    Once I removed the masking tape I could see the colors of the cheeks and cheek bones did not meet in the right places. So I remasked and repainted those areas.

    With the paint complete, I needed to finish the antenna boom and the ear pieces. The boom had been causing me great difficulty. I had assembled it out of three layers of plastic. I do not remember which bucket I used for them. Initially I glued them together with Gorilla Glue. But I was not satisfied with the result. None of the pieces seemed to match. So I tore them apart, flattened them some more and rebonded them with epoxy. This work until I tried to drill the pilot hole for the range finder mounting screw. The first drill bit made a nice small hole. Then next size simply separated the pieces of plastic. One of my Soldiers, to the rescue again, suggested rivetting the pieces together. We did. Then I wrapped the boom with fiberglass. When that cured I sanded it lightly and coated the whole thing epoxy. Time to try drilling again. This time both drill bits cut their holes as desired. Unfortunately, I bored out the wrong side of the hole in order to countersink the mounting screw. Fill in the hole with epoxy and wait. The next attempt I succeeded. The boom was ready for primer and paint.

    I have already described how I constructed the ear pieces. So all that was left to do was paint them. For this I used the silver base coat again. Followed by a dusting of olive drab, then some of the red. Before the red could dry I applied a yellow primer that we have on hand to prime aluminum. The yellow interacted with the red to make a rich dark yellow. Some of the olive worked its way through too. I certainly did not expect the resulting color. Used the masking tape lift process again before everything was comletely dry. Then masked off the black and white detail areas. As everything dried, I assembled it to the helmet.

    [ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object][/ATTACH]

    I had cut the visor out of a green tinted face field purchased from Northern Safety. I had also made plastic washers and cut out a rub gasket to protect the visor when it was mounted in the helmet. I attached the chin harness. Then placed the self adhesive velcro to secure the pads. The pads I ordered from Ranger Joes. They come in a set of seven: one circular, two oblong, and four rectangular. Each pad has three removable inserts and a black casing that secures to the velcro.

    That's it. Now I need to make my corrections on the pieces I am not totally satisfied with.
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  10. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Dec 28, 2011, 6:06 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #10

    Have been meaning to post some interior views of the helmet. Here they are.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG][object HTMLDivElement][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object HTMLDivElement][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object HTMLDivElement][/ATTACH]
    Lots of padding makes for a comfortable bucket, especially a heavy one like this is.
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  11. Member Since
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    Dec 29, 2011, 3:46 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #11

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    Haha, thats awesome bucket man! Cant wait to get mine finished.
  12. Apollo's Avatar
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    Jan 1, 2012, 7:33 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #12

    that's really nice. The inside looks way more comfortable than mine
  13. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Jan 2, 2012, 9:00 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #13

    Thanks Apollo. I have worn a number of different helmets through the years. Most have caused me to wonder why helmets have to be so uncomfortable. My high school football helmet gave me headaches. There was no amount of padding that would relieve the pressure points of the kevlar helmet we used to wear in the Army. I could have worn my motorcycle helmet 24 hours a day. The padding system for the Advanced Combat Helmet has made it the most comfortable ballistic helmet I have worn. Therefore, I thought it appropriate that a helmet, worn as much as a Mandalorian wears one, should be as comfortable as possible. Honestly, this one weighs about 3 pounds more than my ACH. However, you cannot tell when you wear it.
  14. Jan 2, 2012, 10:01 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #14

    Its nice to see what other folks are doing to the inside. 3lbs more than your ACH!!!! Wow that's a bit of weight. Do you plan on adding fans or any other bells and whistles to the bucket?
  15. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Jan 2, 2012, 10:37 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #15

    DarksonDesigns, I might add electronics to it eventually. A public address system would be nice. Want to focus on finishing the rest of the kit before I start any of those kinds of projects.
  16. Brail khan's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2012, 8:01 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #16

    Very nice looking lid, I hope the one I am working on comes out that good
  17. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Jan 8, 2012, 5:43 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #17

    Quote Brail khan said: View Post
    Very nice looking lid, I hope the one I am working on comes out that good
    I really had to force myslef to be patient and not rush the work. Overall, I think I spent about six weeks from start to finish. However, I only had so much timeto give each day to the project. Therefore, I would apply epoxy or fiberglass towards the end of a shift. Let it cure while away from work. Then return to work related stuff. Sand in between periods of work. Apply some more fiberglass at the end of a shift. So on and so on. I also had to ask some of the guys I work with for instruction and advise. Take your time.
  18. Ordeyn's Avatar
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    Jan 8, 2012, 9:33 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #18

    Yeah, that's kind of how my work on my armor goes too. Do what you can when you can. Your patience has really paid off! The buy'ce looks excellent. Be proud, vod.
  19. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Jan 9, 2012, 3:22 AM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #19

    Quote Ordeyn said: View Post
    Yeah, that's kind of how my work on my armor goes too. Do what you can when you can. Your patience has really paid off! The buy'ce looks excellent. Be proud, vod.
    Thank you very much. I am getting impatient to start on the armor.
  20. Member Since
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    Jan 10, 2012, 1:17 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #20

    Quote Dudesir said: View Post
    Have been meaning to post some interior views of the helmet. Here they are.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG][object HTMLDivElement][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object HTMLDivElement][/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG][object HTMLDivElement][/ATTACH]
    Lots of padding makes for a comfortable bucket, especially a heavy one like this is.
    So, as many others have said, the inside looks very comfortable! What kind of pads are those/where'd you find 'em?

    Also, nice work on your 'bucket'! You'd never know your buyce was once a hard hat and PVC bucket. Well done!
  21. Dudesir's Avatar
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    Jan 10, 2012, 6:50 PM - Re: New to TDH: Scratch build helmet #21

    Quote Silver7s said: View Post
    So, as many others have said, the inside looks very comfortable! What kind of pads are those/where'd you find 'em?

    Also, nice work on your 'bucket'! You'd never know your buyce was once a hard hat and PVC bucket. Well done!
    Found the pads in two places. A friend I work with gave me extra helmet pad set that had been issued for our Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH). Those are the green ones. The black ones I ordered from Ranger Joes. They are the similar to the green pads except for color, the outer material, and the fact that they have removable inserts. Both sets, green and black, contain seven pads, one circular, two oval, and four oblong. Ranger Joes also carries the green set but they cost about three times more than the black ones.

    Someone else I work with confessed his apprehension about how the helmet would look when it was finished. To his credit he held his tongue until I was in the final stages of the build.

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