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    Helmet chroming options

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    Hey folks, Slinky here, after messing around looking at various ways to get a chrome or gold finish on helmets I thought I would write about some of my findings to help others out.

    Now there are a few different techniques to get a nice finish but unfortunately the best is also the most expensive, so lets start from the top.

    Chrome plating; this is what you will see on all those Harley bikes and big rig trucks. It is a electrochemical process which bonds a layer onto a conductive surface. It will give the best chrome finish and is fairly hardy. The issues are that most DP helmets are made from plastic or resin which is non conductive so a layer of conductive paint must first be applied to the helmet before the plating process. The other issues is that the helmet must go through various chemical baths which may cause problems if you have any absorbent materials such as paper from a pepekura base structure.

    Next is vacuum metalising; as the name suggests this is done in a vacuum chamber. Electrodes are fitted with small pieces of aluminum (other metals can be used) and a high voltage is applied to the electrodes. The metal is vaporized and deposits on the helmet which is spining around in the chamber. The finish is powder thin so as the pieces exit the chamber they must have a clear top coat. This is the method which was used on the HAA Daft Punk helmets as evidenced by the chrome finish on the matting inside the Guy-Man helmet. This is also what Volpin used for his ledgenday helmets, I suggest you read his build blogs as he talks about the many issues he had getting a perfect finish. One thing he noted was the heat inside the chamber warping the helmet and using fibreglass for his Thomas with better success.

    Time for a paint job; Ive had a play with paints to see what sort of result I could get and here's what ive come up with. The chrome paints in a spray can all seem to be a very similar product, it all comes down to the application. When looking at the better chroming options they all have one thing in common, thin layers. I found that the paint also needed to be coated in thin layers as well, some spray cans have better nossles than others in this regard but an airbrush will give you better control of the stream. One big complaint I see all the time about the chrome paint is that when you touch it you will leave fingerprints, this is not directly a result of finger oils but they way the paint works. It needs to have be in contact with air, you can test this by painting some clear plastic, the outer will be shiny but when you look through the plastic it will appear dull. So if you try and clear coat it the finish will go dull, so far the best solution i've found is to give it a coating of furniture polish, Future is a brand that lots of people have used with success.

    Other options; people have talked about using chrome vinyl wrap. I think this is great for the gloves as it can be easily replaced as they will probably get the most damage during use but the complex curves of the helmet may be very hard to wrap. Now I have seen a chromed pteg sheet and you may be able to vacuum form the helmets from that but it would be very tricky.

    One thing that remains constant with all these systems is the effect of gold. First off throw away that gold paint, it is just plain useless. The gold effect is just a yellow tint to the chrome reflection and thats all you actually need to do. Just spray a clear yellow coating over the chrome for a gold effect, you may need to experiment with the amount of yellow.

    So I hope that has given you some insights into the options for your coating of your Daft Punk helmets, feel free to sound off below with any comments you may have.

    Im almost finished my Discovery LED setup on my Guy-Man and will post some details on that soon. Also once i'm finished vacuum forming some tinted acrylic visors i'll comment on that too.

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    great write up dude, a lot of info in there.

    I would like to add to the Vacuum Metalising part if I may..

    If anyone wants to go down that route be VERY careful and do a lot of research first. I sent my first FIREWIRE cast to a place. Basically before they do they have to put a special lacquer on the helmet and then oven bake it for a few hours. Now the oven isn't even that hot but normal Polyurethane will start to warp at quite low temps. Mine got completely ruined... so please ask the place how they do it first!

    Also Im fairly certain Volpin didn't go with that method in the end but went with the Cosmichrome method which is a spray, I also went for this method on my second helmet.

    Manager of DAFT LIFE Facebook page/blog.

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    You are correct sir, according to his blog he used Creations n' Chrome http://www.creationsnchrome.com/index.html for both helmets.
    Looking at their youtube vids they use the silver nitrate liquid spray method, which I didn't really cover.

    Any chance you can comment on the costs to do your helmets? it would be great to put an idea of the costs together as well.

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    Has anyone tried the chrome plating process? I always let chrome my motorcycle parts that way. Would be nice to know, cause its difficult to find here in Switzerland someone that does the cosmichrome process.
    Guy-Manuel – its like formula one but standing up without water

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    yes

    For vacuum metalising they were going to charge me approx: £110

    For the spray chrome I paid: £160

    this could vary a lot by country and place of course but hopefully that helps people!

    Manager of DAFT LIFE Facebook page/blog.

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    To get a helmet chromed here in North America you are looking at about 3 to 4 hundred. Expensive, but....lets face it, no other method will give it that chrome look.
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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    I recommend using Creations'n'Chrome. This is what I'm going to use. I wouldn't trust my stuff to anyone else. I see this fact- they have done DP before. No thing to learn or experiment using YOUR stuff. Just my 2 cents.
    Remember, only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise... and many Bothans died to bring you this post! www.facebook.com/9336industries

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    I´m chrome plating my helmets... if you guys want info let me know..

    cheers y´all


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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    Info please!
    For the latest updates on my props, visit my Page on Facebook!

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    Re: Helmet chroming options

    Quote Originally Posted by TK-9336 View Post
    I recommend using Creations'n'Chrome. This is what I'm going to use. I wouldn't trust my stuff to anyone else. I see this fact- they have done DP before. No thing to learn or experiment using YOUR stuff. Just my 2 cents.
    There's also another company in California that I found called Sacramento Chrome & Paint. The guy told me they know how to work with them and he even owns some himself. I think they charge a bit more than CnC though. But at least they know how to treat it. But I kinda agree, CnC is a still good first option.
    Quote Originally Posted by axelF View Post
    I let the rubberband do the magic.

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