DIY Diving Helmet

Written by michael sabates
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DIY Diving Helmet
You can make a model of a diving helmet for display. (Tauchhelm Antiquität image by Kristalletje from Fotolia.com)

Diving helmets are worn mainly by professional divers engaged in surface supplied diving. In the past, these helmets were manufactured using brass, copper, or bronze and delivered oxygen at a constant rate to the diver. The manufacture of an authentic diving helmet requires the know-how of a professional working with top-quality materials, and these helmets must be strictly tested before underwater use. However, you can make your own realistic-looking replica and use it as a decoration or a prop.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Globe
  • Dremmel multitool
  • Polyfoam model bust
  • Chavant clay
  • Apoxie Sculpt
  • Latex casting rubber
  • Assorted nuts, specifically wing nuts
  • Hot glue
  • Cotton reinforcing tape
  • Cardboard tubes or empty plastic yoghurt containers
  • Wooden dowels
  • Plastic valve
  • Plastic bolt
  • Plastic female tube adaptor
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Airbrush paint (suggested colours are brass, bronze, and/or copper)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Take apart the globe you'll be using and pull off all the paper. After you have peeled off all the paper from the globe, you'll have a clear plastic sphere with a seam running around the middle. This will be the basic form for your helmet.

  2. 2

    Keeping the seam horizontal, cut a circular hole in the bottom of the sphere big enough to comfortably fit your head through.

  3. 3

    In the front of the globe, cut out a circle of the plastic, keeping the seam in the middle of the circle you're cutting. This will be the front porthole out of which you will be able to see.

  4. 4

    Use Apoxie Sculpt to cover the seam all the way around the globe. Once the helmet is painted, you will not be able to see the seam at all.

  5. 5

    Set the globe on the model bust so that you can construct the shoulder and neck supports.

  6. 6

    Using Chavant clay, mould the shoulder and neck supports in which the globe will fit. For effect, sculpt the supports with a lip that runs around the edge supporting the shoulder part of the suit. You may also want to attach wing-nuts, or another style of nut, along the lip using hot glue. This will add to the realism of your helmet.

  7. 7

    Remove the globe and cast the clay in rubber latex. Paint the latex on and let it dry. Once dry, the latex can be reinforced with cotton tape if you desire. This will make the supports more durable.

  1. 1

    Each porthole can be constructed using a cardboard tube covered with Apoxie sculpt, or by taking an old plastic container---like those that yoghurt comes in---and cutting a 1-inch high piece right from off the top. To construct the grilles that cover these holes, cover wooden dowels in Apoxie and hot glue two of these parallel to each other in the porthole and across the hole. Take two more dowels to glue perpendicular to the first two over the hole. Repeat these steps for each porthole you make. A nut can be added to each porthole to enhance the look.

  2. 2

    Hot glue your portholes to the globe. There should be one porthole around the hole that was cut in front, as well as one porthole on either side. You can also put one directly on top. Make sure for each porthole you attach, you cut a circle into the globe that the porthole will cover.

  3. 3

    Using hot glue, attach a plastic valve to one side of the front porthole and a plastic bolt to the other side. Valves and bolts can be picked up at any hardware store, such as Lowe's or Home Depot.

  4. 4

    For the fixture that replicates the attachment where the air hose would go, purchase a plastic tubing adaptor with threading on the inside of the wider end. This is known as a female adaptor, and also can be picked up at any large hardware store.

  1. 1

    Make sure all the parts are securely glued into one another.

  2. 2

    Spray paint the entire helmet with flat black.

  3. 3

    Using an airbrush, paint the trim on the helmet. Trim is optional, and you may wish to simply paint the entire helmet one colour. Trim can be painted onto the pieces such as the portholes, the lip on the shoulder supports, and the air hose attachment. The trim should be painted in a different colour than what you select to paint the main parts of the helmet. Since diving helmets were made out of brass, bronze, or copper, any of these colours would look authentic in combination. As a suggestion, a bronze helmet with brass trim would look excellent. If you paint trim, be sure to tape off the parts painted with trim for the next step.

  4. 4

    Airbrush the rest of the helmet. If you painted trim, use a different colour for the rest of the helmet than you used for the trim, and be careful around the areas painted with trim. If you did not paint a trim, simply paint the entire helmet until there is no longer any black visible using one of the metallic colours.

  5. 5

    Allow the helmet to dry before use. You now have an authentic-looking diving helmet that you can use to decorate your bedroom, give to your kids to play with, or use when filming your own movies about deep-sea diving.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you have the basic form in place, feel free to use your own creativity. A diving helmet doesn't have to look authentic---you could paint it hot pink and yellow if you'd like!
  • This diving helmet is not to be used for actual underwater diving, as it will not provide a water tight seal nor provide oxygen to the user underwater. Actual diving helmets are constructed by professionals with materials manufactured to meet strict specifications, and each helmet is tested extensively before use.

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