3D Print: Dead Space Helmet
Any self respecting Dead Space fan should know 2 of the main key points to surviving a necromorph outbreak
Cut off their limbs!

Any self respecting Dead Space fan should know 2 of the main key points to surviving a necromorph outbreak.  Cut off their limbs, and having a decent rig for protection.

A friend of mine who has who happens to a pretty big Dead Space Fan had a big birthday coming up.  So I decided to try and put some of my years of self-taught 3D modelling skills to use and make him something for his birthday (I figured a render of something from Dead Space that could then be printed out as a poster).  Whilst I was deciding on what to model and render, I was shown the Shapeways website and discovered the world of 3D printing.  Everything from there then fell into place and I came up with this idea.  A miniature USB powered Dead Space rig helmet.

Make the 3D model file

Once you've read a little on 3D printing, the first starting point is pretty obvious.  Make the 3D model.  I gathered lots of reference images, booted up the game on the console (so I could try and see some first hand source material) and began making the actual model in my choice of 3D modelling packages; Modo.

When creating the 3D model for 3D printing, there's a few rules you need to follow that you don't necessarily need to follow if the model is staying in a digital form (e.g. as a render or animation).  You need to ensure the model is "watertight" and has no "non-manifold" edges.  You also need to take a look at the specification for the material you're intending on printing in (there's lots of options out there) to ensure you're not making anything smaller than the material allows, have minimum wall thickness etc...  Also think about if you want it in lots of pieces for any reason (e.g. makes it easier to paint or modify in post). Things like textures/shaders are unnecessary unless you're using a ZCorp printer that can printer colour, but in this case I wasn't going to be doing this.

[Render to get a basic idea of what it's looking like once it's finished]

Now that the model has been finished I converted the file to an STL format and uploaded it to Shapeways.  For this I used NetFabb that allows you to convert the file, scale it, work out volume, fix/identify any issues in your mesh.  The great thing about Shapeways website is once you've uploaded it, within about 5-20 minutes you can see the the cost of the item (it sometimes takes up to 20 minutes as their system needs to calculate the volume of your model and run some checks).

Post process after printing

Once the order was placed, Shapeways printed the parts and sent them to me.

The picture here is a series of shots of the parts straight out of the box.  I temporarily blu-tacked things together just to see everything printed ok and to get an idea if anything needed any modifying.  Luckily nothing did!  It all joined up nicely.

Next I superglued everything together and painted the model with some Humbrol enamel paint.  Using dry brushing, I tried to give it a copper / weathered look.

Next, I took an old USB cable (I generally have dozens of spares as they come with electricals all the time), I cut off one end and made a basic LED circuit.  The idea of using a USB cable was so I didn't have to worry about batteries running out/leaking.  I also mounted the Helmet onto a base which was an old container from a lens filter I bought for the camera (it has a nicely shaped recess on top which seemed to match the size of the piece).

The finished product!

The finished product stands about 8.5cm tall and as it's powered by an LED, should be good for 50,000 hours! Just about enough time to clear out the Ishimura of necromorphs.

[Here's a shot of it plugged in next to a coke can for an idea of scale]
[Of course, I can't leave out a picture of it all lit up in the dark!]

Thanks for reading

Hopefully it was useful to someone and you found it interesting.  I look forward to getting my next two 3D print projects posted up!  For now, I'm going to sleep, it's 1am right now!


  1. great looking helmet, are you going to post the STL file?

  2. Thanks. I'm afraid I generally don't upload my model files and I don't have any intention on uploading this one either. Hope you understand

  3. Could you explain the process of creating the USB LED circuit? I was looking to do something very similar with a 3D Razer logo desk ornament I've been working on and it would be very helpful to understand an easy way to light it. Thanks in advance.

    1. It's a very basic LED circuit. The only components you need are a power source, a resistor and the LED itself. You use some math and Ohm's law to figure out what resistor value you need for the LED you're using (LEDs have different values, so there's no generic resistor value I can tell you to use).

      Have a read here (http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/mods/How%20to%20use%20an%20LED.htm) and that should help you. It also has a link to a calculator if you don't want to manually work out the resistor value via Ohm's law :)