Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Danish Designer 3D Prints Full-size Retro Scuba Helmet, Patina and All

ST Medical Devices

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scubaaniThere is something about those old, retro style scuba helmets that makes me want to stare at them for hours on end. Perhaps it’s the intrigue about what the helmet was actually used for before being decommissioned, or perhaps it’s just the interesting patina surface that many of these old relics exhibit. Whatever it is, I know that I’m not alone in thinking that these antique steampunk-like helmets are quite phenomenal. Even replica scuba helmets can sell for upwards of $1500 a piece, while the real ones are pretty much priced only for individuals with huge wallets.

For one Danish webmaster and designer, named Bo Noergaard Silkeborg, who currently works for the Danish Defense, he too has always had a fascination with these antiques, so using his experience with 3D design, modeling and printing, he set out to create his very own full-size vintage scuba helmet.

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Using Autodesk 123D design, Silkeborg modeled his helmet after other retro helmets he had seen. He generated the G-code, using Simplify 3D and proceeded to 3D print it on his XYZ da Vinci 3D printer. Printed in 26 parts, using a tan-colored filament, Silkeborg then needed to assemble the helmet using nuts and bolts, in a process that left the helmet fully functional — OK perhaps it wouldn’t actually function under the water, but the parts all move like they should.

scuba1After priming the helmet, which measures 500mm x 600 mm in dimension, Silkeborg painted it with a brass metal paint before oxidizing it so that it would have a vintage looking green patina surface.

In all, it took about 100 hours of print time to fabricate all of the various parts, followed by several more hours of post processing. In the end, the helmet came out just like Silkeborg had hoped. He now plans to use it as a digital photo frame for people interested in having photos taken wearing a retro scuba helmet. He’s also considering using it as a one-of-a-kind medicine cabinet.

As you can see in the video below, the helmet looks very realistic. Silkeborg’s talent really shines through in this remarkable creation. He even went so far as to scan his own head and 3D print it to insert into the helmet as well.  To do this, he used a iSense 3D scanner for his iPad and scanning software called ItSeez3DThis. It isn’t the first unique project that he has created through the use of 3D printing, and it certainly won’t be his last,

This project makes one wonder what the outcome would have been had he used a filament like ColorFabb’s copperFill.  I guess we’ll have to wait for someone to try that next.

What do you think about this 3D Printed Retro Scuba Helmet? Do you think you have the talent to create one from scratch yourself? Discuss in the 3D printed scuba helmet forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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