Since I decided (wisely so) that I was too short to do a credible Darth Vader, I settled on the second best: Dark Helmet from Spaceballs!
I figured Dark Helmet would be easy, a fun character, plus I get to wear my glasses underneath the helmet and actually be able to see!
To me, the process started with the most iconic piece: The helmet! I searched the internet high and low, and found no one that (still) makes a decent looking helmet, so I started to make my own.
Armed with a bunch of reference pictures and screen shot, I went into uncharted waters with rhino3d, and tried to make a simple helmet.
Getting the base shape was easy.
I had the lines of the shape ready, but had no idea how to actually make the cap. All attempts made only made it look wonky, and I could not get the shape right, and the transition was not smooth enough. It looked *wrong*.
Eventually, after looking at a few various instructional videos, I found a command I’ve learned to love: Blend Surfaces! I made the edge of the cap and the base helmet, and had the middle area, the curved area, controlled by the blend. All of a sudden, I managed to get the curve smooth and not look wonky!
Of course, my mask will be able to flip up into the helmet..
While working on how to do the helmet, I still managed to find some other pieces needed:
The ring is 3d printed in metal. Not designed by me, but I finished it up with green plastic sequins for the eyes and black paint and lacquer for the insides of the snake mouth. Belt bucket was found on etsy and the glasses on ebay. I also got a pair of leather gloves that are on the verge of being too small for me, but it allows me to slide the ring on to the first joint of my finger…
As the 3d design part took time, this was after all a project I left and came back to under several months before reaching the final design for the helmet, I also started making the soft parts. First off was sewing a cap in a very slippery and shiny material.
I also learned how to sew a pair of shorts, and made the base shape of the shorts for my Dark Helmet. The rest will be made once I have fixed the black tubes that goes around the shorts. I made a pattern based off a pair of gym shorts, made a pair in a cheaper material, turned out they were too small and modifications were made until I made a pair in the shiny material.
These shorts will also be quite short, but I figured I’d spare you this .. for now.
I have also bought a black lycra training undergarments that will work great for the main suit of Dark Helmet.
I still need to design the shoulder area and make the neck, attach to the cape, 3d print a lot of black pyramid studs and fasten on the arms and gloves and find a good looking boot to go with the outfit.
But then there’s the helmet. What I started with is almost left to the end.
I started 3d printing out my last version, realised the helmet were going to be quite heavy, looked over it again, and saw that I had printed it 25% too large!
I had printed about 70% of the helmet. Pieces that all went in to the trash, and back to the base shape, make it thinner and add some studs in the joining parts. Next up is printing the helmet and the mask, but that will have to wait until I have upgraded my new printer (a CR-10s4) with a new extruder and hot end (Titan Aero with Volcano Hot End). This should make the printing both faster and sturdier. The helmet will be printed in PLA, and I have not yet decided if I should try and have a vacuuformed bucket pulled from it or not.
I tested the new design of the helmet and mask on a 3d scanned bust I made of myself. Looks pretty good, I think.
All 3d elements designed by me in Rhino3d for Mac.
Renders done in Maxwell Render.