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 J2P First Bucket

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J2P First Bucket
« on: Jan 05, 2017, 11:50 AM »
This is a VERY SLOW W.I.P.
The plan...
Colors - Mix of red, black, gunmetal, grey, and silver.... maybe a bit of sky or bright blue as an accent. But i keep flipping on what colors where and the grand scheme. I don't want it to look like a red Jango or a grey Boba. I do have some brushed finish adhesive vinyl that would add a nice bit of texture/finish as an accent (maybe cheeks, maybe dome ridge... but can't be weathered easily) [edit] I see now that some of this really belongs in a "master plan" thread... so I'll do that once I get some photoshops/test colors done [/edit]
Ears -  Range finder on the right (unless I want to stray and just use an antenna, but DOUBTFUL). I don't want a crappy range finder, so if it can't be good, then i'll drop it in favor or some straight up antennae.... similar to Pre Vizsla, but based off a smaller ear cap.
Light on the left ear cap - questions to follow.
Fans - Yes. I live in the South, and I'm always hot to begin with. Without some type of fans, I won't be able to wear it longer than a few selfies... and thats not the mando way.
Padding - one of my many hobbies is motorcycles, and I generally wear a medium top pad with small check pads... so I have several spare helmet liners as I've mixed/matched... they work PERFECTLY inside a mando helmet. It fits very comfy, and we'll see if it'll be too hot. They are wicking, light weight pads full of breathing areas... but generally intended to breath at 30+mph.
Fit - I know this is generally a small fitting helmet, but I'm 5'7 and ~145lbs, so it seems to fit me about right.

Currently done....
I've epoxied the 1/2s together and reinforced along the entire seem (layers of plastic for sale signs covered in epoxy).
As well as epoxied in a craft ring around the back lower edge to widen the helmet a bit and give it some depth/thickness at the edge.
Outer seam has been sanded down and shaved to get rid of any high spots, I just need to decide on a filler.
Cheek reinforcement plates cut, but not taped in. Basically, rigid gator board cut to shape, completely covered in adhesive tape, and clamped to the inside of the rounded cheeks to flatten them out.

Next up...
Flash light, and therefore ear cap.
My question is really how much do i need to avoid "earthly" gear.  I have this old bicycle flash light that I'd LIKE to use. It will mount easily with a screw from the inside of the helmet, have adjustable swivel, isn't a straight tube (some taper, ridges, etc), has an "interesting" inset 3 led lense/face, and a light ring 3/4 of an inch from the front.
Would this be acceptable? Is it too earthly? Does it appear TOO much like just a light stuck to the side, because that is how some other in universe helmets appear.

The alternative to this light - LED light in the end of a PVC tube.
Cons -
starts as a plain straight tube... will take some work to get it away from that general visual.
Will require separate battery and switch. Could be wired with the fans... but a good chance I'll want them on separate switches.
Aim is not adjustable.
Might need a light ring or additional LEDs to break up the side a bit.
Pros -
Since it runs on a separate battery and switch... good excuse to wire to a gauntlet switch (though cumbersome being wired together).
Could shave the inside edge of the PVC so it rests tightly against the dome or around the ear cap.
Could cut/drill/mesh some vents, which could be GREAT intake/exhaust for helmet fans.

All in, the PVC LED setup is a lot more work, but with greater potential. Without the work, it'll look cruddy. I'm undecided as far as ear caps go, buying some, doing simple DIY ones, and what will work best with either light.
Any input on what is allowed, needed, and best approach for the lights and ear caps?

This is what I would sink into the end of a PVC pipe if i go the "DIY light" route. I use them on my motorcycles for license plates and they are plenty bright. I can easily remove the dome lens as well to cut down on the spread of light.

« Last Edit: Jan 05, 2017, 03:20 PM by chevy42083 » Logged


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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #1 on: Jan 06, 2017, 01:42 PM »
I'm definitely going to keep an eye on this one. I'm debating using a J2P as my starter helmet.

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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #2 on: Jan 07, 2017, 05:33 AM »
Just a friendly tip, vod, sand the ever-living heck outta that bucket. Paint does NOT want to stick to the plastic that makes up a J2P, so do a heavy sand before painting, and you really should seal it afterwards.

Good luck with your build!


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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #3 on: Jan 07, 2017, 10:32 AM »
The trick that I found that works on a J2P, is giving it a vigorous sanding with a super fine grit sandpaper (as said above) and then paint it with Rustoleums self-etching primer. It bonds with the petroleum based plastic that those helmets are made out of. Sand it after priming, then prime again with the self etching primer (usually found in the automotive section) then work from there.

Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #4 on: Jan 08, 2017, 08:58 PM »
Thanks for the tips.
What worries me more than the paint to plastic is bondo to plastic... the idea of bondo had me so turned off in general that I put off buying it... till yesterday. I was going to simply epoxy and sand smooth... but the more I sand the more I realize bondo is needed. I have this huge fear that once I am done and love the look, the bondo will crack away along the seam. So I'll be keeping it thin.

You guys have probably seen this stuff a million times, but figured I'd share what I did to strengthen it and where I'm at now.

First off... sanded the joining edges and near by areas that may have some bleed over. I filled the peg holes and put a nice sized bead of 2part epoxy along the entire edge... trying to fill entire gap so I could simply sand it down and avoid bondo (not going to happen)

I used plastic for sale signs, scuffed up on both sides, scuffed all areas of contact... and layered in epoxy to reinforce the seems as much as possible. I tried to get them to fit snug into corners (even under the edges when possible). I used clamps to hold anywhere they could reach. Also, note that I cut the for sale signs to sit flush only on the flat areas... which brings them up even with the other raised areas of the helmet.

Where I couldn't reach with clamps, I used magnets. These are very strong small magnets that I'd collected for no apparent reason at a previous job. They hold QUITE well, and kept the signs pulled tight for full contact with the epoxy.

I started layering the new plastic over the newly flat areas (where helmet wasn't flat, but I had filled the "valley" with a previous layer of plastic.

The ol' wooden craft ring. Both inside and outside rings glued together using wood glue, cut out the notch with a hack saw blade and Xacto knife, then epoxied into the helmet. I THINK i went with the 9in ring, not sure. I did not wrap it all the way to the ear caps/sides because I felt it stretched the helmet too wide. The wideness didn't bother me, but when viewed from the side, the helmet looked too short (front to back)... like the face had been squished in.

These slots were cut using ONLY Xacto knives and a box cutter.... lots of scoring, deeper and deeper, until it went through. I stay away from the edges, then shaved it down as close to the edge as I could once I the middle was cut out. Still need to file or cut the top notch in each.

Block sanded the seam down, knocking off the epoxy bead.... and sanding wider as I realized I should suck it up and use bondo.

...and that's where I am now. Deciding on bondo now, adding layers of more reinforcement inside, or figuring out ear caps/antenna/range finder.

Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #5 on: Jan 08, 2017, 09:15 PM »
Keeping an eye on this one. Good luck vod.



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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #6 on: Jan 08, 2017, 10:41 PM »
This will be a great bucket for you! You seem to be on the right track with your conversion.

Bondo will stick to the plastic if the bucket is sanded well and the interior reinforcements are sufficient. The Bondo on my J2P held up for several years of fairly rough handling.

Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #7 on: Jan 17, 2017, 10:44 AM »
Thanks for the support/advice!

I've decided to skip the "bolt on bike light" for the helmet side mounted headlight. I think I can get something in between size-wise and dress it up a bit more if I use tubing and an LED bulb/fixture somewhere between a handheld light and a pen light as far as size. I'll be able to tuck it in closer too. I decided I'm definitely running cooling fans (otherwise, it will limit my usage here in the South), and if I have batteries, I might as well wire in my own light bulb. I would have liked to be able to aim the bike light down a bit for dark areas and tinted visor.... but it would always look weird aimed anywhere but straight anyways... so I'll just use a bulb with lots of spread. This also means I can wire a switch in the chin area (if I want to get fancy, tongue flip lol ), but at least it won't look like i'm clicking the button on the side of a flashlight strapped to my head. Also, I ordered a laser to mount to a blaster... BUT... that might be cooler mounted near the range finder or slightly below the flash light.

As for batteries, I have some small LIPOs from a mini-drone that would be AWESOME to use. But I need to figure out a low voltage cut-off. And as "volatile" as LIPOs can be, not SURE i want them strapped near my head. But I'm gonna research them... 3.7volt each and 380mAh. Not huge, but I think they might work. And I have 4 of them to cycle through if needed. Of course, the generic 9-volt battery holder is soooo much easier.

I began extending the craft ring further around to stiffen the helmet up  a bit. BUT, I switched from a 2-part plastic epoxy to E6000... which is a lot more flexible (I had never used it before). So the helmet continues to bend at the gap between the rings. Its my first time using E6000... so now i know to switch back and forth depending on whether i want a flexible bond or sturdy reinforcement. Though I bet the E6000 would work great as long as you rely on the material to reinforce, not the glue itself. I may fill the gap with epoxy, or put a "splint" above the gap to limit flex. EDIT: After this side brace was glued in with E6000, I realized that it actually softened up the for sale sign. The sign had defined indentations where the magnets and clamps were.... so I assume that means its making a "chemical bond" with the plastic, not just a physical one (like hot glue). Good news... I was a little worried about that.

This is the motorcycle helmet top pad that I'll be using. Its a BIT thick a the top... I have to push it down before it settles where my eyes are lined up with the visor, but then it fits just like a hat. Doesn't move around, and doesn't rest on my cheeks/neck. I might cut out some of the padding at the very top so the helmet sits a bit lower on me. This would help line of site in seeing the ground in front of me, as well as help make the armor look more "sturdy" with the "no neck" look. It has snaps in the back, or I may just use velcro. If I stick with the snaps, I can continue to just toss it in the washer when needed.

You can see the top pad in place, as well as the right side that I've reinforced with another layer of for sale sign since the previous pics. The ear cap areas are very sturdy with no flex.

I am also adding another layer of for sale sign to the other side ear cap area. Same thing as before, course sand paper on the mating surfaces. This time I left the exposed inside smooth... because I don't think I'm layering up any more reinforcement (one layer to bring things up to flat, another layer over the majority, and this last layer as a smooth cover over everything. As before, clamps at the edges and magnets all around the inner areas.

« Last Edit: Jan 19, 2017, 03:07 PM by chevy42083 » Logged
Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 09:57 AM »
I said this was going to be a slow build, right?  :D

I decided I needed to finish anything that will stiffen or possibly change the shape before doing any bondo work.... so on to the cheeks.
I've seen a similar method to this used on here somewhere, though they used a block of wood for the "form" on the outside of the cheek. I'm using ~1/8 styrene (or similar material... scraps from work) for both the form and the glued in piece. I used E6000 glue on scuffed/rough sanded surfaces. In hindsight, the flexibility of the e6000 combined with the not quite rigid form means the cheeks aren't held perfectly flat. But they are flat enough for me, and I think they will be stronger than cut out and glued in flat cheeks.

I used some small clamps to hold everything in roughly the right place and keep the edges tight while squeezing the pieces flat together, then added in the big clamps to hold it all tight.
I ended up squeezing a fairly large bead of glue out, so I used gravity to walk it around the edge and give it a nice smooth seal.

Like I said.... not dead flat... but close. I'm hoping they will have the overall flat appearance without looking "sunken" too much.

One side done, other side not...

Gluing up the second side, added in some binder clips this time...

That was this morning... glue is still drying on it now.

Next up... maybe brace the visor area. I'd like to not install the hobart visor till the end.... but don't want to crack anything up with any flexing that may happen cutting out the old or gluing in the new visor. It just seems like it flexes around a LOT in the visor area.

Also need to reinforce the area around the back where the wood ring has gaps... it flexes there, but that requires some test fitting of batteries, fans, etc... which I now have on my work bench to play with. Debating a stealth, all interior, install or screened off vent around the back, but off-center. Mainly... need to figure out the "grand plan" for moving air... key slots, screened vent, or through ear cap with a center notch/slot cut out are all possibilities.

EDIT: In hindsight, I think straightening the cheeks caused the mandible to curve forward/out once the visor was removed. This will be remedied by epoxying a straight flat piece just inside where the visor edge will rest. I see no problems with this, but I think cutting out the cheeks would have left the whole face closer to the intended molded shape. I still prefer my way as it leaves no seems to crack later.

Forum related note: I know we aren't supposed to double post, but I figured 4 months apart would be OK? No one has replied in that time, but I didn't think anyone would see this on the 4th or 5th page of the forum if I just modified the above post... then it would continue to have no replies/input unless some necro-posts in it. If I'm incorrect here, please let me know.

« Last Edit: Jul 21, 2017, 01:41 PM by chevy42083 » Logged


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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 10:20 PM »
Just a friendly tip, vod, sand the ever-living heck outta that bucket. Paint does NOT want to stick to the plastic that makes up a J2P, so do a heavy sand before painting, and you really should seal it afterwards.

Good luck with your build!

I second this.  I am using a J2P and did not do this.  I'm constantly repainting spots that chipped away. 

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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #10 on: Jun 20, 2017, 07:12 PM »
I'm working on the same bucket and have been running into all kinds of issues and have been getting discouraged. After reading this thread I ran out and bought some better epoxy and have a renewed interest!  Thank you for this thread, I have learned a lot and have all these ideas on what I want to do when I get home.


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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #11 on: Jun 21, 2017, 07:11 PM »
Like others have said, sand the heck out of it. After that use an automotive etching primer. It makes a huge difference.

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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #12 on: Jul 28, 2017, 04:23 PM »
Parts collecting, and further bracing.

This is both cheeks braced. Not dead straight, but 97%... which is fine with me. I let the styrene hang off the bottom so I can trim it flush to add visual bulk to the helmet. I had  glued in a brace across the T-visor too, but apparently my old epoxy I'd found in the garage had gone bad... or maybe hadn't mixed well enough (need to test it).

I want to figure out another intake/vent for fan location before bracing the inside further (and limiting location).
I stumbled on these, but i think they are too large of a "scale", as well as just being too large. They are almost flat, so I'd have to cut reliefs and heat/bend them to curve with the helmet. They sure would breathe, possibly WITHOUT fans.  FYI, they are dash A/C vents from a 2007 Dodge charger.

Alternate location...

This one is smaller, but not crazy about the angle. Just looks wrong. I have an idea for cutting a slash angle off some PVC, and will also be hunting for something "ventable" from 2nd hand toys at goodwill.
This is a good shot at the keyslots that I hit with some jewelers files (thanks to a member on here for the suggestion, $5 on amazon).

Hardware for mounting the hobart visor (which is already cut, just waiting to brace mandibles straight before installing it). I've flatted the pointies off the T-nuts and got some rubber grommets to space back the visor a bit. If needed, I'll cut their thickness in 1/2.

I've got 4 of these (planning 2 per helmet, making my trooper helmet wearable). They say 5volt... I need to research a bit, but worst case, I'll wire up to split the voltage from a 9volt battery between the 2.

Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #13 on: Jul 28, 2017, 06:15 PM »
Consider getting a couple of those cheapo USB chargers for phones. You can cut the device plug off, solder it to the fan wiring and you have a rechargeable power device for your bucket. I plan on having four power packs each to run two fans per bucket which should go close to doing a full day of trooping.

Tutorial here:


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Re: J2P First Bucket
« Reply #14 on: Jul 31, 2017, 01:44 PM »
That's looking great. Nice work!


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