In this guide we will see step by step, from the press to post-production, how to reproduce, in real size, Magneto helmet, taken from the film “X-men: First Class”.
First of all download the file from Thingiverse at this link.
As soon as you open the file we notice that, to play the helmet, we will need a large print volume or section the file into several parts. Although I have a Duplicator 5S, which could easily play the file in its entirety, I decided to divide the object anyway by cutting it into 12 parts.
This solution has its pros and cons:
– Individual parts are much faster to print, which improves time management.
– This avoids the loss of hours and hours of printing in case of malfunctions or blackouts.
– Much more practical in the early stages of post-production.
-If you do not use a good glue you make the object fragile.
– It is possible that the pieces do not fit perfectly.
I have chosen to divide the file into 12 parts, although it is not necessary, to have pieces that can be printed between 2 and 4 hours each.
I printed everything in PLA with 0.2 mm layers for a total printing time of about 32 hours.
The pieces that make up the outer part of the Magneto Helmet and therefore have their own aesthetic value, need to be printed with supports, others, however, although they have cantilevered parts, do not need it, since they are part of the interior of the helmet and therefore are not visible.
Magneto Helmet: POST-PRODUCTION
Once the printing phase has been completed, post-production begins. In this phase we will need some tools that you can find here. Specifically, they will be needed:
– windproof lighters
– Spray Stucco
– glass paper of at least 2 different grits (tip 100 and 240)
– Neckline *
– tucco *
– primers for plastics
– metallic violet spray can
– masking tape
– airbrush and red color
– shiny transparent spray can
*not necessary in case you mould the helmet in one piece
Magneto Helmet – Step 1: Roughen
First of all we remove with the cutter the supports, where present, the imperfections and any traces of stringing with the lighter. We try, as far as possible, to remove every lump on the external surface so that there are no sudden changes that could ruin the finish.
Magneto Helmet – Step 2: Sanding
Now we clean all the pieces and give a first coat of spray putty, keeping the can at about 30 cm away from the pieces and crossing the passes to have a uniform application.
Tips and tricks: To prevent paint or spray putty from sticking the piece to the supporting surface, put a sheet of baking paper underneath it and you’re done!
Once the putty is dry, it will take about 35/40 minutes, we take the sandpaper with a thicker grain, we moisten it in warm water and soap, and we start with small circular movements to pass it on the pieces trying not to leave out any portion.
At this stage, if you have decided to print in several pieces, you must avoid blunting the corners and edges of the various parts because it could compromise the final result. After this passage all the pieces must be rinsed under running water and dried.
After making sure that everything is completely dry and dust-free from the previous sanding, we repeat the whole process again this time using the finest grain glass paper.
Magneto Helmet – Step 3: Assembly
This is perhaps the most complex part of the whole process since the edges of the individual parts must be matched in the best possible way. To glue the various pieces I personally use the “Loctite” and in some cases the “Mille Chiodi”: in both cases they are super glues with the only difference that the first is a quick-setting glue while the second requires very long drying times.
Once all the parts have been glued, it is necessary to check that the joints are not visible: for this phase, use putty and spread it with spatulas in order to make the surface perfectly smooth where the joints are present (unfortunately I didn’t have any for which I used the “Thousand Nails” which, however, made the whole thing less perfect). The putty must then be slightly smoothed to eliminate any ridges.
Magneto Helmet – Step 4: Painting
We’re almost to the end! First of all, in order not to risk that the color will fade over time, you must give a layer of primer for plastics (because it is a fairly voluminous object I recommend using a rather cheap primer).
After drying the primer, the first coat of real paint is applied: I chose the Saratoga spray paint, “Happy Color Perlato” line, Lilac colour 88.173.009.
Let’s give 2-3 coats of this spray paint: remember that for this procedure you will have to follow the same instructions used for the application of the spray putty.
When the paint is perfectly dry (it is essential that it is to be able to access the second phase of the paint!) we take the tape to mask and a cutter. We make strips, not too long, and with great care we position them at the edges of the parts that will be colored red. If, due to the curves of the object or lack of precision, they are positioned badly, take the cutter and cut the excess of tape: be decisive but delicate because excessive pressure could affect the object in addition to the tape.
After applying the tape along all the edges it is time to take the airbrush and finish our post production. Make sure that the tape has adhered well everywhere, without creases or overhangs where the color can get stuck, turn on the airbrush and, with a color not excessively diluted, start to color the edges of the helmet (do it without fear, we put the tape on to give a precise and clean finish). Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem opaque to you because the colour will have to be given with many hands. Between one coat and another it is always good to leave time for the color to dry because if you spray new color on fresh color you risk dripping and staining.
Magneto Helmet – Step 5: Unmask and protect
We wait a couple of hours and then we can proceed to the elimination of the tapes. With the cutter we raise the edges of the ribbon slightly and then gently remove them: we try not to force or pull away all at once, it is good to be delicate and careful otherwise we risk to detach pieces of paint (the only paint that could come off is the red one given with the airbrush that may have created a kind of crust on top of the ribbons).
Once the ribbons have been removed, we check all the edges and, with a small brush, we finish where, if necessary, the red has peeled together with the ribbon.
After all, I always recommend to give a last coat of transparent spray enamel so that it protects the colors below from wear due to contact with the hands.
Et voilà! Our Magneto Helmet is ready to be worn or put on display at home!