Hackaday Superconference: Estefannie’s Daft Punk Helmet

There’s no single formula for success, but if we’ve learned anything over the years of covering cons, contests, and hackathons, it’s that, just like in geology, pressure can create diamonds. Give yourself an impossible deadline with high stakes, and chances are good that something interesting will result. That’s what Estefannie from the YouTube channel “Estefannie Explains It All” did when Bay Area Maker Faire was rolling around last year, and she stopped by the 2018 Hackaday Superconference to talk about the interactive Daft Punk helmet that came out of it.

It’s a rapid-fire tour of Estefannie’s remarkably polished replica of the helmet worn by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, one half of the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. Her quick talk, video of which is below, gives an overview of its features, but we miss the interesting backstory. For that, the second video serves as a kickoff to a whirlwind month of hacking that literally started from nothing.

You’ll Learn it Along the Way

Before deciding to make the helmet, Estefannie had zero experience in the usual tools of the trade. With only 28 days to complete everything, she had to: convert her living room into a workshop; learn how to 3D print; print 58 separate helmet parts, including a mold for thermoforming the visor; teach herself how to thermoform after building the tools to do so; assemble and finish all the parts; and finally, install the electronics that are the hallmark of Daft Punk’s headgear.

The three videos in her series are worth watching to see what she put herself through. Estefannie’s learning curve was considerable, and there were times when nothing seemed to work. The thermoforming was particularly troublesome — first too much heat, then not enough, then not enough vacuum (pretty common hurdles from other thermoforming projects we’ve seen). But the finished visor was nearly perfect, even if it took two attempts to tint.

We have to say that at first, some of her wounds seemed self-inflicted, especially seeing the amount of work she put into the helmet’s finish. But she wanted it to be perfect, and the extra care in filling, sanding, priming, and painting the printed parts really paid off in the end. It was down to the wire when BAMF rolled around, with last minute assembly left to the morning of the Faire in the hotel room, but that always seems to be the way with these kinds of projects.

In the end, the helmet came out great, and we’re glad the run-up to the Superconference wasn’t nearly as stressful for Estefannie — or so we assume. And now that she has all these great new skills and tools, we’re looking forward to her next build.

7 thoughts on “Hackaday Superconference: Estefannie’s Daft Punk Helmet

  1. I watched dozens of you-tube video’s about vacuum forming but I fully expect my first try to go something like that (and the 2nd and 3rd too), it’s a tricky process where everything has to be timed in sync with the unpredictable heating and cooling times, with no room for error.

    Was there a reason for making the mould form so many pieces? The printer looks like it could print much larger sections at once.

  2. 28 Days? For a presentable device like that? We have just delivered a demonstrator to the CES and I can state from own experience that this is absolutely fantastically positively mindboggingly fantastic!
    There is a HUGE gap between some lights flashing on your desk and things looking the way they should, doing the things they should in a reliable manner.

    1. Funny you mention that. I remember back in my undergrad days asking my Spanish teacher what “Entonces” meant. She said it was the Spanish word for “So” but wondered why I asked. “Because you start every sentence with it,” I said. She wasn’t even aware of it. She was from Spain, too, so I guess it’s not just Americans.

      And by the way, your first sentence is a question that doesn’t end in a question mark, you wrote “ever” instead of “every”, and “speakers” is the plural of “speaker”, when what you wanted was the possessive “speaker’s”. Other than those mistakes your command of English was spot on.

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