With the painting complete it’s time to put in my LED lights. I have a LED flashlight on the front, it’s 5 bulbs, and then three on the top and three in the front chin.
Here is the battery pack and switch. I had designed it to go in the back but made my wires too short so it has to go on the side. It still fits fine. I didn’t glue any of the electronics in because I anticipate that I may have to replace them eventually.
The rubber gasket that connects the helmet to the suit has given me the most trouble. I’ve done tones of research to see if I could buy something like this with no luck. I’ve only seen one other person online attempt to make this helmet and they didn’t have a good gasket either. So I put my creative mind to work and decided to make it out of 2 sheets of 12×18 inch 3 mm black craft foam.
At first I just hot glued them together, but when I started to apply heat to make them accordion the hot glue melted and they pulled apart. So I tried sewing them. I have never sewn craft foam together so I sewed a practice piece first and then pulled and tugged on it to see if it would rip; it didn’t. After sewing using the heat gun I molded it into an accordion shape. It was a lot of patient work, and I am lucky that I have what I call “mommy hands”, meaning I can tolerate a lot of heat (a byproduct of years of cooking and doing dishes). After molding it into an accordion I tied it with cloth ties and let it sit overnight. The next morning much to my surprise and pleasure it stayed in place.
Before I went to put in the ring, I measured again, and I’m glad I did because all that melting and stretching had made the neck ring too large. So I cut out a couple of inches, resewed, retied and let it sit again. This time it was even better and tighter than the first. Meanwhile I took the outer ring of my embroidery hoop and expanded it by a couple inches by gluing a bent (with heat) popsicle stick. Then I wrapped the whole thing in duct tape. More heating and stretching to get the ring to fit into the foam. Then I hotglued it in.
Then I cut the top of my foam ring to fit the contours of the helmet and hot glued it in place. It fit really well which, frankly, was a miracle. In this picture you can also see the finished outer ring with the crochet hoop installed. I’m just amazed by how versatile foam is and how easy to work it. The outer ring turned out smooth and perfect. I decided not to paint this. I melted black foam really was exactly the rubber type look I wanted.
Now with the rubber neck ring installed it was time to put on those last finishing details. Here you can see the small black foam strips I installed to smooth out the connection between the helmet and the neck piece. Like all other foam pieces, these were hand fit, sanded and heat sealed before placement.
And here it is.