Thanks to Orcdoc for uploading this file. The model is highly detailed and exactly what what is required to print a wearable version of a Darth Vader helmet. I printed my version as a display piece; however, I did make it wearable as my Cosplay for ComicCon Africa. Although it took a lot of time and effort to get the helmet to the stage that I wanted it, it was worth every late night !
There was a lot of effort put into the helmet in order to obtain an aesthetic that I was happy with, and to get the helmet to be wearable.
As I my intended goal was to make the helmet wearable once completed and I did not feel like spending a lot of time working out the scale I resorted to 3D scanning. I downloaded the ScandyPro app from iStore and used it to do a complete 3D scan of my head. I imported the mesh into Meshmixer and cleaned it up accordingly (essentially leaving me with a bust of my own head). I measured my head from ear to ear, and scaled the mesh accordingly and saved it as an .stl file.
As a check I loaded the helmet files into Cura 2.7.0 and immediately noticed that the items were too big to fit onto my 210mm x 210mm build platform; and that many of the parts would require support to print properly. This would not do for me. I loaded the larger section files into Meshmixer and sliced them into smaller sections in a manner that would allow me to print all files without support.
I loaded both my bust as well as the large format parts from Orcdoc's files into Cura 2.7.0. I proceeded to place the parts around my bust and scaled the parts accordingly until I saw that the helmet would fit properly. I then applied this scale to the newly sliced parts; this way I would ensure that after printing the helmet would be sized for my head.
All the parts were printed and were stuck together using Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. Due to some lifting of corners of the parts during printing I was left with some rather substantial gaps between parts of the dome. I would tend to this by mixing up a batch of ABS glue (a Matterhackers video of how to prepare is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bYLRFMKDSY), I would apply this to all the large gaps, this would fill up the gaps and after some time to dry the ABS would be easily sandable. This worked very well. TIP: do not overapply as this leads to increased sanding required, I learnt this the hard way.
Now is a good time to remove the sections of the mouth and chin vents. I used a Dremel to cut away at the unwanted sections of the vents and used needle files to obtain a clean finish. At this point I did not remove the eyes as I was uncertain as how I would address the lenses required. I later traced a pattern of the lenses onto a 2mm piece of EVA foam as a template for my lenses. I removed the printed eyes using a Dremel. I used a pair of store bought dark grey shaded safety glasses, traced the lens pattern onto the glasses and cut these out using a Dremel. I would use a heat gun to heat the lenses to such a temperature that the lens is malleable and formed it into the shape required to fit into the eye holes; these were a press fit, but I did use some CA glue to secure them into place. Note: use gloves when molding the lenses, they can be very hot. TIP: avoid using rubber grip gloves, they can melt off onto your lens and ruin them. Note: this is not the only way to make lenses. Thin plastic sheets can be used; Plexiglas (Acrylic PMMA) cut, thermoformed, and tinted using standard automotive window tint also works.
I sanded all my parts using a course grit sandpaper (80 grit) to get rid of most of the layer lines. I then moved in with a finer grit (150 grit) to smooth out even more, and finally wet sanded all parts to get a good smooth finish. Clearly I wanted the helmet to be completely smooth, so just sanding would not do. I covered most of the surface area of the helmet with wood filler and sanded this down to fill in any blemishes left on the parts after sanding. I would repeat this steps until smooth to the touch. The final smoothing would be obtained by coating all parts in a thin layer of XTC3D, this also gave the parts an inherent glossy finish.
To complete the mouth and chin vents I used some plastic meshing cut into the the shape of the mouth vent and stuck it behind the mouth vent bars using some hot glue. For the chin vent I designed and 3D printed a mesh which would press fit into the chin vent opening. the file is attached for those whom would want to make use of this.
I coated all parts with two layers of Rustoleum Grey Primer.
final coats would be applied as two layers of Rustoleum gloss black for all black parts, and Rustoleum metal grey for the silver metallic parts (nose and tusks).
- To make the helmet wearable I left myself with three (3) main components. A. the dome; B. the face mask; C. the posterior neck. component B and C would be attached on one side with a glued down piece of nylon webbing (this would act as a hinge between the two components and enable components B and C to swing open and fit around the wearers neck. The opposite opening would have a glued down section of hook and loop (Velcro) that would enable the wearer to close the posterior neck piece and secure it against the face mask. The suspension from a store bought hard hat was removed and hot glued into the dome to allow the dome to fit snugly atop the wearers head at the correct height for the eyes to align. Some loop was glued to the top ridge of the face mask, and the hook glued to the bottom ridge of the dome; this would allow for the face mask to attach to the dome and hang from it in such a position as to fit the wearers head.