Nov 4, 2016 | By Alec

Halloween has come and gone, and many makers have worked overtime in the last few weeks to finish any 3D printed costume accessories. While we’ve seen fantastic examples already, the costume of Redditor CrazyElectrum takes the cake so far. Using a mind-blowing 326 LEDs and a 3D printer, he replicated the helmet of Thomas Bangalter – better known as one half of the French house music duo Daft Punk.

Of course Daft Punk is becoming larger than life. Despite not having toured in over a decade, they are rapidly becoming one of the biggest acts in the world – with new tour rumors appearing every year. The enigmatic French robots have also assembled legions of fans who love to replicate their helmets, and especially the helmet of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (the other half of the duo) has been a popular 3D printing target. Way back in 2014, Adafruit revealed a very cool 3D printed Daft Punk Helmet for Halloween that year.

Thomas Bangalter’s helmet, however, is slightly more complex due to the many, many LEDs that are necessary to create the iconic visual effects. CrazyElectrum therefore had quite a challenge ahead of him, but fortunately the core helmet design already circulated on Thingiverse (by Bendiger, can be found here). Despite that head start, the entire project took more than 140 hours of work, spread out over a five week period. 3D printing accounts for about half of that time, featuring 26 pieces that were 3D printed separately.

But the helmet’s 326 LEDS and their 10 programmed displays are the real challenging part. Controlled via Bluetooth and a custom smartphone app, the result is fantastic – thou h a lot of work went into it. In fact, fitting it all together was a challenge in its own right, and CrazyElectrum found himself bending all the leads to make sure nothing shorted. A custom LED holder was made with laser cutting and holds all the lights. “I soldered all of the positive leads into the rows and all of the negative leads to columns, this gives me the ability to multiplex with shift registers later,” CrazyElectrum said of the process. All in all, it took about six hours of non-stop soldering.

Breadboarding all of that takes a bit of effort as well, and CrazyElectrum used six 74HC595 8-bit serial to parallel shift registers. “The first one controls all of the rows by providing 5v (through a PN2222a transistor since the shift register can only supply 20mA, where the whole row when on would use up to 800mA),” the Redditor and college student explained. “The last 5 provide a ground for each column when the output is set to low. I am using an Arduino Uno to control everything, later moved on to the pro mini for the size while in the helmet.” The Ear LEDS consist of two ws2812b strips, with 8 LEDs each. The code can be found on GitHub here.

Once completed, the maker assembled the 3D printed helmet parts using zip ties, hot glue and Bondo, and extensively sanded down all the parts for a very clean finish. The parts themselves were 3D printed on the maker’s own Prusa i3v 8" 3D printer using white PLA. These were subsequently covered with Bondo to fill all the seams, and sanded with 100 and 220 grit sandpaper to get ready for priming. Following this with a coat of primer, the helmet’s problem areas were subsequently sanded like crazy (including wetsanding with 1000 grit) to achieve that final smoothness.

But the results are truly spectacular, and the final shininess was further enhanced by three coats of krylon metallic silver. It just shows what you can achieve by neglecting school and real life responsibilities for about five weeks.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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