Celebrate Star Wars Day in style, with a 3D printed Stormtrooper helmet

You might not know it – but today is Star Wars Day. If you ask yourself why just play around a bit with the well-known phrase “May the Force be with you” and today’s date. Yes, you’ve got it!

Anyway – it being Star Wars Day and all, I thought this would be the perfect day to geek out a bit and share a nifty project I’ve been working on.

Episode I – A new projekt

I am a Star Wars Fan and always have been one – at least for as long as I can remember. I’ve been to Jedi Cons (they were a big thing in Germany some 20 years ago, but I haven’t heard from them in ages), read a lot of the books, and played every game. Heck, I even have a lightsaber! That’s why one of the first things I did when I got my 3D printer was to print something cool and Star Wars related: A wearable Stormtrooper helmet.

Just in case you are wondering: No, I didn’t design it myself. There are lots and lots of cool printable 3D objects available for downloading online. This helmet was one of them.

Even though there was no need for me to design anything, getting to the finished helmet stage was harder than you might think – and it started with the printing process. While all the files were ready and easy to download I not only had to find the perfect settings for the printer but I also had to figure out how to stick the 14 finished smaller parts together. Let me tell you: It was not an easy task and took me way longer than I care to admit.

At this point the helmet looks like this:

 

Episode II – Attack of the sandpaper

As you can see, it is nowhere near finished. While the print came out quite well, there were lines (and sometimes even gaps) where the different parts are glued together. This is quite normal but not something I wanted to see in my finished helmet. The same goes for the 3D printed lines that you can barely see from far away and definitely not see on this picture but which are there nonetheless and take away from the illusion that this is a “real” Stormtrooper helmet. To get rid of all those issues, it’s on to the next part: Filling in the gaps and sanding.

Now, if you think this can be done by merely adding some putty and then sanding everything down once  — you are sorely mistaken. It is a process that has to be repeated over and over again until, after at least 80 hours of sanding, I was finally somehow happy with the end product. While certainly not perfect it was close enough for me. Oh – I also made sure to drill some holes into it where they did not belong … which led to more sanding. *sight*

 

Episode III – Revenge of the paint

The last part was also the most fun: painting! Well … kind of. Most of it was done with a white spray can and the rest came down to homemade laser printed decals that I stuck on the helmet, since my hands did not want to oblige when it came to painting on the small details in an orderly fashion. It was the most fun part anyway – even if I cheated a bit. 😉

 
And finally, after hours and hours of printing, sanding, filling in gaps, and more sanding, swearing, being annoyed, clueless, angry, happy, and more sanding, the helmet is finished! While certainly not an expert I believe it turned out rather decent. And because it is Star Wars Day you can now marvel in its glory, too. You’re welcome – and May the 4th be with you, always.

My learnings:

  • A big 3D print project takes time – lots of it. The print time alone was around 46 hours with the smoothing and sanding taking a couple of evenings.
  • Do not sand inside. Your whole apartment will be covered in dust afterwards. It’s REALLY disgusting, sticks to every surface, and is hard to clean.
  • It’s incredibly cool to see the different parts come together until you reach the desired result. I would totally do it again.

This post is also available in: German

PR & Social Media Manager @ Avira |Gamer. Geek. Tech addict.