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Ronaldo

New home made camera helmet!

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Hi folks!
This is my first post here on DZ.com and I would like to share with you the result of a couple of weeks of hard work. My previous camera helmet was severely damaged (cracked) and I was really afraid I could lose my camera sooner or later if I had a riser strike. This helmet was already a repair and adaptation of a helmet I bought from a local manufacturer. I didn’t want to buy from this manufacturer again because I didn’t like the quality and I knew I could do better. The first choice for me would definitely be a Rawa (http://www.rawa.com.br), but Radir told me he doesn’t have the mould for Sony IP-5 anymore, so I knew I would have to start from scratch. I got the idea of an integrated helmet/casing assembly from a model I saw on 2KC web site (www.2kcomposites.com). BTW, these guys make really cool helmets.
I tore everything apart and started building the plug using the original helmet as a base. After measuring camera’s position and angles I started making the casing using balsa wood (used on model airplanes), which is a very easy material to carve and sand. I spent a few days applying putty and sanding until the helmet got to the desired shape. I decided to build a mould that would allow me to laminate the actual helmet in one piece so I used a thick rubber tape to split the plug in 2 halves. The idea of the tape was to create a boundary so I could laminate the mould in 2 steps (applying wax at the first half before laminating the second one). I wasn’t sure it would work but it did, and later I was able to laminate the actual part with just a little sanding required for the split line.
The next steps were kind of fun, cutting holes for the lenses, power and rec switches and painting using Polyurethane. The camera bracket was built using an aluminum plate cut and bent to hold the camera loosely. The gap was then filled with foam so the camera fits snuggly and is also very well protected. The bracket was positioned and glued inside the casing. The wisest option would have been to drill holes on the casing and attach the bracket with bolts and nuts instead of gluing. Well, the damn thing looked so good I didn’t have the courage to cut holes on it :$. I’m pretty sure I will regret this decision if someday I have to do some maintenance on the bracket:P. The lining was one of the most difficult steps, and it was not because of the sewing involved. I was really concerned about isolating outside noise in order to hear the audible perfectly in freefall. The helmet is very short and the bottom of the ears rest on the lower edge which is why I decided to project the padding bellow these edges.

Here is a link for a few step by step pictures. Sorry, the descriptions are in Portuguese but I think I have pretty much explained everything. BTW, the whole helmet was built inside my apartment (including painting) which is a true testimony of my wife’s patience and tolerance.

http://spaces.msn.com/ronaldopn/
Click on "apresentação" and then "tela inteira".

BTW, if you have pictures of your own project, please post!

Safe skies!

Ronaldo Nogueira - BRA
Engineering Law #5: The most vital dimension on any plan drawing stands the most chance of being omitted

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Thank you all for the compliments and for taking the time to check it out.
Man, it’s kind of hard to estimate because most of the work was done at night on weekdays, but doing a quick math I can estimate a little over 60 hours of working time. I’m not counting the time I had to spend on the hospital to receive a few stitches in my hand (I was removing the mould from the plug with a knife). I had to slow down the manufacturing process a little bit after this B|.
Engineering Law #5: The most vital dimension on any plan drawing stands the most chance of being omitted

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That's a good question. It's hard to tell the cost of every supply because some were already available at home. Here is a list of the material used (I still may be missing something):

- Fiberglass material (1 gallon of Polyester resin, cloth, brushes, gel coat, catalyst, etc) - $ 40
- Epoxy putty (I used it for enlarging the area around the chin attachment) - $3
- Super glue (CA) - $5
- Quilted fabric (for lining) - $5 (2 yards)
- Foam (for lining) - $ 4
- Bolts/ nuts/ threaded rod (for the helmet itself and a sanding tool I made) - $7
- Polyurethane paint (1/4 gallon), catalyst, contact glue (for lining), sandpaper and solvent - $30
- Chin cup (from Hawkeye) – $40 (I bought it for the old helmet and used it again inverting the ratchet)
- 1 sheet of Balsa wood (1/4X3X36) - have no idea, still have plenty at home from my R/C modeler times. I guess $3 or less

I also bought some material that I did not use and some that were not applied directly to the helmet (such as the sanding tool). Doing the math above we get approximately $100 of supplies. Obviously I’m not taking into account the cost of a drill, air compressor/ spray gun, pliers, etc. If you consider just the material spent and you already have the basic tools to start, yes, it is definitely worth doing your own helmet (at least here in Brazil, I have no idea of how much these items would cost in US).

Now that the helmet is done I can easily say it was worth doing it, but sometimes during the initial steps I cursed Radir for not having the mould anymore.

Thanks for asking, it was very interesting for me to do this math.

Safe skies

Ronaldo
Engineering Law #5: The most vital dimension on any plan drawing stands the most chance of being omitted

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Wow I wish i could make one like that.

I want a Rawa and have emailed them 3 times with no reply? So I don't Know what to get now. a cookie would be the next option but too expensive when i know i could get a Rawa for much less.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will see peace." - 'Jimi' Hendrix

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Quote

a cookie would be the next option but too expensive when i know i could get a Rawa for much less.



A RAWA from Aerostore is approx AUD 550 + customs duties. A helmet & box from Fibre Zone is AUD 610. Fibre Zone is run by Cameron Jarrett in Sydney, and his helmets are damn good, as well as being tough carbon fibre.

Not too much more expensive.

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Well, it certainly LOOKS nice. I'm just curious if you have a way to take the camera out without taking out all of the padding. Are you going to hinge the camera box and add a door? Also, how do you propose adjusting the sighting? I can't imagine it just happens to be sighted perfectly on the first try.

All-in-all, a nice looking helmet though.

"Let the misinterpretation and attacks begin."

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Thanks! Well, taking the camera out before the lining was added was really easy but now it is just a little trickier. To avoid forcing the padding out and possibly ungluing it I installed 2 small bolts to limit how much I can pull (see the pic attached).
No, I don’t plan to hinge the box. I really like the clean looks with reduced chances of snagging something.

About sighting: my previous helmet had its d-box already adjusted. What I did was to plan ahead and design the new case reproducing the same angles. Actually, my horizontal reference was the top face. I tried to install the bracket in such way that the camera would be aligned with this face. I have already tested it on the ground and it looks great. If I was making a general project I would have used bolts and nuts to attach the bracket with enough clearance to allow minor adjustments, but this was a very customized item so it was worth spending a little extra time measuring to get it right at first. Also, this is not a professional camera helmet and as with any open helmet, you get small angle variations depending on how you wear it. To get really precise aiming you really have to install a ring sight.

Blue skies

Ronaldo
Engineering Law #5: The most vital dimension on any plan drawing stands the most chance of being omitted

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Hi folks,
I would like to share again the experience I had making a flat top base for my home made camera helmet. I finally bought a cheap (used) Cannon 300D and decided to mount it on my helmet. I also took this opportunity to change its color. Since I had to remove the original paint I used Polyester (very aggressive) resin in the entire process. If you decide to make a similar part and don’t want to damage the original painting of your helmet, you may use epoxy resin or even plaster to make the pattern. You may also secure the top base with bolts instead of permanently bonding it to the helmet but will have to take care not to leave exposed material (nuts or bolt tips) inside the helmet which may hurt your head later (I tried this and did not work very well).
Hope this gives some ideas for those who want to install a still camera in a curved top helmet and don’t want to buy those ugly adapters.
Here is the link for the step by step pictures (this time I translated everything to English:)http://ronaldopn.spaces.live.com/photos/cns!B5905376CE73CF21!134/
BTW, there’s a new project coming soon so stay tuned!
Safe skies!

Ronaldo
Engineering Law #5: The most vital dimension on any plan drawing stands the most chance of being omitted

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