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Jamiroquai Automaton hat
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Nick
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Jamiroquai Automaton hat

Parts:

Neopixel RGBW jewel modules: https://www.adafruit.com/products/2859 Available locally from Littlebird Electronics

Fadecandy controller for above: https://www.adafruit.com/products/1689 Available locally from Littlebird Electronics

HK-282A servo - the small one: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hk-282a-single-screw-ultra-micro-servo-2g-0-2kg-0-08sec.html

HK-5320 servo - the almost as small one: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hk-5320-ultra-micro-digital-servo-1-7g-0-05sec-0-075kg.html

EVA foam floor mats: https://www.bunnings.com.au/polytuf-50-x-50cm-solid-black-foam-mats-4-pack_p4490382 Bunnings has them in four colours.

Foam glue: Sika contact 4600: http://aus.sika.com/dms/getredirect.get/au01.webdms.sika.com/57 Available at Bunnings.

Riot Art supplies: http://riotstores.com.au/ Worbla thermoplastic sheet, Mod Podge sealer, brushes, Acrylic paint.

Performix Plasti dip spray: https://www.plastidip.net.au/plasti-dip Freaking expensive for a spray can!

Resources & tutorials:

Making a foam helmet on Tested: http://tinyurl.com/hmo9yqg

Evil Ted foam info: http://eviltedsmith.com

How To plastic coat foam: https://youtu.be/MDwQg6CX25A

Punished Props Sealing Foam: https://youtu.be/ug6Rs06FEpk
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Last edited by Nick on Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:09 pm; edited 2 times in total

Post Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:13 pm 
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Nick
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Starting off:






After taking a heap of screen captures, the hat is a complicated design that can be broken down into small & manageable parts. There is the body of the hat, which is probably made of EVA foam and either just painted or coated with a brushed-on epoxy.

Then there are all the lights - SO MANY LEDs! I count 34 groups of LEDs, plus the eyebrows, maybe 120 separate lights. The wiring that is visible in some shots is thin, so the LEDs must serially controlled WS2811 modules. Those things use an evil and super time-critical protocol, so I don't want to make something from scratch. The Adafruit Neopixel range of LED modules is perfect for this project and I plan to use 34 Neopixel RGBW jewel modules with 7 LEDs - that's at least 238 lights.



They are reasonably priced and at 23mm diameter, just the right size.

The next part is the animated blades (is there a better name?). The original hat appears to use small R/C servos with the blades attached directly to the servo output. That might be OK on a film set, but way too fragile for more than a single event. I bet there was a dedicated hat repairer lurking behind the camera Smile.

This is a prototype of a stronger design:



The blade is hinged at the front and the tiny servo moves it with a 4 bar linkage. The servo is the smallest one that Hobbyking has and is very low powered, if its too weak, there is a slightly larger one that may do better. The prototype is smaller than real life, I squeezed everything down until the servo and LED module just fitted.
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Post Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Nick
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Starting the pattern:

Turning 2D foam sheet into a 3D Hat shape is a daunting task but fortunately there are plenty of tutorials and resources on the web. I bought a helmet pattern from Evil Ted (see the resources post) and some EVA foam floor mats from Bunnings. The pattern is the same as this foam helmet on Tested: https://youtu.be/BgL_6jWNP2c . Its far from the correct shape but I can make it, trace the smaller shape I need on the base helmet and then lay it flat again to make a more suitable template



Cutting the foam with a blunt box cutter was a bit of a fail but as its only a test the pattern doesn't need to be perfect.[/url]
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Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:59 pm 
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Philip
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I cut high density closed cell foam with a hacksaw once. It worked well. I don't know if it would be any good with softer foam.
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Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:12 am 
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kkeerroo
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We used an electric carving knife when shaping foam for packaging.
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Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:04 am 
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Nick
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The foam needs a really smooth edge so it will glue together with nearly invisible seams. It cuts well with a brand new box cutter blade but not so much with one that has been used around the workshop for months Rolling Eyes. Time to pick up some more!
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Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:08 am 
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Glen
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use the laser Smile cuts foam beautifully
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Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:05 am 
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maddox



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Back when I was making LARP weapons, I carved the foam with a box cutter blade greased with vaseline.

Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Nick
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That's a good tip, but wouldn't the Vaseline interfere with glueing the edges back together? I practised glueing foam scraps with contact cement and its easier than most Youtube videos made out.
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Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:42 pm 
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maddox



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To glue the foam I used for the LARP weapons I just cleaned the cuts with a rag and alcohol.
The glue used was an industrial glue, bought in 10 liter cannisters, made to fit the job. Brand Lumatex, from the firm Waas Chemicals.

Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Cpnwolfe



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use a hot wire cutter!
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Post Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Valen
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Russell turned the mill into a CNC hot wire cutter lol
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Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:59 am 
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Nick
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For foam, a laser and a hot wire cutter are essentially the same thing Smile. I think I would have trouble keeping a hot wire cut smooth & steady - at least with a box cutter I can pause and adjust if the cut goes off the line. I bought a smaller box cutter with an 8mm wide blade yesterday and because its easy to hold like a pen, it is easy to follow curved lines precisely.

I also tried a tip from the Evil Ted channel and used a very fine diamond sharpener on the box cutter blade after each cut and that made a huge difference! Either the blade steel is total crap or the foam is quite abrasive.
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Last edited by Nick on Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:11 pm 
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maddox



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The foam dulls a hardened steel blade in a jiffy. Strange but true. That is why we tried about any other trick.

Other way is to use a medium grain (120 grit) abrasive disk to get a smooth result. But the dust will get everywere, even second hand in the toilet bowl.

Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:04 pm 
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Nick
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Please, too much toilet information! Laughing

The generic helmet is all glued together and its hilariously badly constructed - the seams are more Frankenstein than sci-fi.



That's OK though; It will be covered in masking tape so I can trace out a better shape around the sides and then make a new paper stencil for another trial helmet closer to the right shape.

I had another idea: on the original hat, the hexagonal tiles have a fairly wide gap between them. If I make the tiles almost touch and put an undercut around the edges, the wiring can be hidden in the resulting channel rather than running all the wires inside the hat. Keeping the wiring on the outside is much simpler and probably more comfortable too.
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Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:15 pm 
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