Hey 405th, I did something that I haven't seen done before.

TheRabbit

Jr Member
So I started with one of these:
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Everyone has one, nothing terribly special about mine (except that I made it to fit me I guess). But what do you do once you have a fully fiberglassed helmet? Even though I had sized the helmet correctly I knew I wouldn't be able to fit my head through the neck hole. Most people cut off the back trim to be able to get their head in, but I wanted to make something better.

Ever since I started building my armor I wanted it to look functional. I'm not trying to make it bulletproof or even use it for paintball, but I want it to look like something military made for military use. Being an engineer that works for a large defense contractor, I have a pretty good idea of what that takes. So I started researching it, I looked into current armored things (planes, tanks, ships, etc) and at current infantry things (ACUs, IOTVs, interceptor armor, etc) to get a better idea of what is currently being used. But I'm also working on a budget, so it had to look good while not breaking the bank.

Finally, I decided on what I was going to do. My entire suit is going to be hinged or separated depending on the piece. I ordered a bunch of different types of draw latches (the little latches you see on military weapon cases) and started working on where things would be separated, where flat planes would be to attach hardware, and how it would all go back together.

Finally, I took the plunge:

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Too late to turn back now, I realized that my original hinge idea wouldn't work (the surfaces weren't quite flush and square enough), so I fell back on option #2:

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Parallel pegs. For this to work, all 4 aluminum rods would need to be perfectly parallel in 3 dimensions. A ruler and several strips of paper later, I had them all gently aligned and resting in clay. I built some quick dams around the rods and poured in some Rondo:

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After a few hours of rotating the helmet around and making little masking tape dams all over the place, I finally had them all sealed up. The moment of truth, if I was off by more than a millimeter in the wrong direction the two halves would never slide apart. I carefully peeled away the tape holding the shell together, and gently started prying:

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Pop! I removed the last of the tape and checked how well it would go back together:

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It slides together so easily that gravity alone will pull it together if I don't hold it apart:

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Next step will be to trim away the ridiculous amount of bondo that I added due to my fairly terrible dams, and then I'll be attaching some neodymium magnets to really make it snap together. Once the magnets are holding it in place I'll do the bondo work to it to smooth out the rough exterior, and finally I'll be adding on the latches that will ensure it stays together.
 

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RobotChicken

Well-Known Member
Dang - you beat me to it! I too plan on separating my armor pieces (more than just the typical torso separation). Studying the helmet lines, it almost begs to be separated, and then you get that nice small neck opening like the Power Rangers helmets. Torso, helmet, forearms, and shins all should be separated for an ideal fit. Your pegs look much longer than they need to be for alignment. Are you planning on trimming them? Looks great so far. Doing this means batteries for the LEDs and fans will need to be moved forward from the apparent favored location at the helmet's back (unless bothering with plugs, which I'm not going to mess with on mine). To help maintain center of gravity, I'm positioning batteries on the sides just forward of the cut line.
 

Katsu

Well-Known Member
They are explicitly designed to separate, at least some of them are. The live action commercials feature this if you watch their making of's, in part because it's impossible to get a good neck seal to hide actor's chins without the helmet being so tight it needs special removal systems. A really great idea if you have the technical prowess and will to commit to the effort needed, as you can get a better fitting helmet.

You can see them doing it with Kat's helmet at around 1:50 here:
 
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TheRabbit

Jr Member
Dang - you beat me to it! I too plan on separating my armor pieces (more than just the typical torso separation). Studying the helmet lines, it almost begs to be separated, and then you get that nice small neck opening like the Power Rangers helmets. Torso, helmet, forearms, and shins all should be separated for an ideal fit. Your pegs look much longer than they need to be for alignment. Are you planning on trimming them? Looks great so far. Doing this means batteries for the LEDs and fans will need to be moved forward from the apparent favored location at the helmet's back (unless bothering with plugs, which I'm not going to mess with on mine). To help maintain center of gravity, I'm positioning batteries on the sides just forward of the cut line.
Yep, that's how I felt as well. I'm still deciding on where the battery packs are going to go, but I will likely be using some sort of connector between the shells, shouldn't be hard at all to line up after doing the pegs. I kept the pegs as long as possible (the pretty much butt up against the back of the helmet) because I wanted them to be more than just alignment, but also add some rigidity. I was worried that if I just used really short pegs just for alignment they wouldn't hold up to much.
 
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