Star Wars is a franchise which has been around for over three and a half decades. Just when you think it may begin fizzling out, something else pops up even more impressive than we have seen before. George Lucas was incredibly brilliant in his creation of Star Wars, but even he could not have had any idea how successful the franchise would end up being. 1977 was the start for Star Wars, with the original film debuting on May 25 of that year. 2015 brings the latest film to us, in the form of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With two more films already planned for 2017 and 2019 (Star Wars Episode VIII & Star Wars Episode IX), we certainly won’t see the end of this epic series anytime soon.
It’s not just movies that have garnered the attention of Star Wars fans however. There is memorabilia, trade shows, and even a CGI TV series called Star Wars Rebels. The series, which is set approximately 15 years after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, takes place in a time when the Galactic Empire is securing its control of the galaxy. The series has gained quite a following, and also doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.
For one little boy in Missoula, Montana, all he wanted to be for Halloween was an AT-DP pilot from this very Star Wars Rebels series. Unfortunately though, he could not find a helmet anywhere. This is when his father, Jon Watson, stepped in to lend a helping hand in a major way.
“I almost just bought him a Storm Trooper helmet, but he had a specific helmet in mind,” Watson tells 3DPrint.com. “It was an AT-DP pilot helmet he saw on the show Star Wars Rebels.”
So, Watson decided to take things into his own hands, and design the helmet for his son from the ground up. It took him about four days to create a 3D model of the helmet using Autodesk 3ds Max, by referencing images he found on Google and looking at stills from the show. Once the model was created, Watson began taking the steps needed to 3D print it.
“It took another few hours to prepare it for printing,” explained Watson. “Making sure pieces were separated so they would fit on the printer, making sure the model had a nice smooth inner surface, and also making sure it was solid, as to not create errors when slicing.”
It was then off to the printer for Watson’s design. This was a very time consuming process, as it took over 100 hours to print out the entire helmet on his Type A Machines Series 1 3D printer. The helmet itself, the face mask, and the lower rim of the helmet, each took about 36 hours each to print out. The little round ear pieces that are attached to the helmet were cut out on his CNC router, and the lenses were cut from cheap goggles that Watson purchased from Walmart.
3D printing the helmet was not the final step though. Once printed, Watson had to take many steps to post-process it, in order to make it look as similar to its counterpart from the TV series as possible.
“The way I smooth out the surface is [with] lots of coats of high build filler primer. Then I sand it back down until I hit the plastic, and then primer again until smooth,” he tells us. “This works better and is easier than just sanding the PLA. PLA does not sand well. You really have to wet sand it for best results. The final paint was Krylon Fusion satin white and satin black.”
As you can see in the photos, the helmet turned out better than anyone could have expected, and Watson’s son was obviously very pleased with the results.
What do you think about this 3D printed helmet? Would you have done anything differently? Discuss in the 3D Printed Star Wars Rebels AT-DP Helmet forum thread on 3DPB.com.