Philadelphia area maker Jenn Hall improved the visual quality of her motorcycle helmet by turning it into a R2D2 helmet. The process included scuffing up the existing paint job and adding consecutive coats of spray paint and laboriously cut masking tape. The whole thing is finished off with some PVC tubing, some blinking lights, and plenty of clear coat. What a great way to liven up an otherwise mundane safety apparatus. [via Neatorama]

Adam Flaherty

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


  • Anonymous

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    Here is the website we use to get it all from : http://BidsBit.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=21906975 Daniel Fleck

    Way to ruin the protection of the helmet as well.  Hopefully the paint doesn’t damage the plastic used in the helmet, and hopefully the PVC pipe doesn’t impale through her head in an accident.  Awesome idea, great looks, but I’m not sure the end result is what you want.

  • Peter Simpson

    Yeah, most helmets specifically warn against using paint or any mechanical modification, as the solvents in the paint can weaken the helmet material and mechanical mods (i.e.: drilling) can create stresses and weak points.

    You would probably be safe with stickers, but that’s as far as I’d go.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V32DQNET4GZYQLI6SWZUZ2KM2M TotalMonkey

    May the blunt Force trauma not be with you?

  • Anonymous

    I thought the helmet had a metal outer shell?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7JH5Z2AHLMIJ5SQ5TJV7ZAVAN4 amy

    dang, y’all some party poops. to me, that looks like a metal shell helmet, but i dunno for sure. regardless, that is some badassery and i commend you!

    PS – if you know what your helmet is made of, you should be able to select a type of paint that won’t destroy it. i guess you lose a tiny bit of surface thickness sanding it so that paint will stick, but if you use paint meant for the material, it shouldn’t eat away at the helmet. and i seriously doubt such a short length of pvc would impale you through the helmet, but i guess anything is possible.

    • http://rahere.livejournal.com/ Rahere

      It’s not just the surface effect on the material itself, it’s the friction of the paint on whatever it hits.

    • http://rahere.livejournal.com/ Rahere

      It’s not just the surface effect on the material itself, it’s the friction of the paint on whatever it hits.

    • http://rahere.livejournal.com/ Rahere

      It’s not just the surface effect on the material itself, it’s the friction of the paint on whatever it hits.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7JH5Z2AHLMIJ5SQ5TJV7ZAVAN4 amy

        yes, but i am pretty sure sealing it would fix that problem. hence she says “plenty of clear coat”.

  • Anonymous

    Very cute.  Both her and the helmet.

  • Anonymous

    As an artisitc project, this is very clever and quite fetching on lady Jenn.

    I hope it’s not meant to be practical.  Everyone’s focussing a lot on the paint and the outer shell of the helmet but as a rider of many years, I’ll never understand open-faced motorcycle helmets.  I’ve had plenty of large bugs and small chips flying off car tires tink my helmet loud enough to overcome wind and engine noise hitting my unprotected face at highway speeds…but maybe that’s just me.

  • http://twitter.com/terrycreative Leon Terry

    It’s an open-face helmet, hopefully for riding a scooter and not a real bike. Really, who cares if it degrades the plastic – if your face meets the road, it’s not going to matter anyway. 

    • Anonymous

      Scooters are more dangerous than motorcycles, not less.  I’ve had both, and know from brutal experience.  Scooters typically have less brakes, less power to get out of a bad place, less handling and stability.  But easily capable of going fast enough to kill or maim you.  I’d rather see her with a full face helmet and a 1200cc BMW than a scooter. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1014531429 Ken Junkins

    What the detractors miss here is that PA is a helmet optional state, so who really cares if the paint degrades the quality of the helmet protection. She could have chosen to wear NO helment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1014531429 Ken Junkins

    What the detractors miss here is that PA is a helmet optional state, so who really cares if the paint degrades the quality of the helmet protection. She could have chosen to wear NO helment!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPG66V6OSCP5KJFB5N4WDVRDGQ Dusky Frauboy

    http://phillyrawrblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/making-r2d2-helmet.html suggests this:

    1 – The helmet was acquired second-hand.  That’s generally a bad idea, as you don’t know how it’s been treated before.
    2 – It was definitely a plastic helmet, so painting it is bad juju.
    3 – the PVC is bad juju as well – not in terms of impalement, but in terms of providing a hard-edged impact source. 

    All in all, a very good paint job, and a nice piece of work overall, but I’m not sure I’d want to wear it on my head as anything other than decoration.

  • Eain Bankins

    “finished off with some PVC tubing”  That sounds like a fantastic way to get a brain injury when the tubing punches a hole through the helmet on impact.

  • Anonymous

    Lovely artwork, and who doesn’t appreciate R2? 

    However, the helmet is just about useless for safety to begin with (never mind the compromised structure/chemical issues) as it’s open face.  Regulatory compliance is silly, if the engineering isn’t sound. 

    I encourage Jenn to preserve her very nice looks with a serious full face helmet.  Fashion should take a back seat to function when you’re throwing yourself along pavement at motor speeds (You can have both, actually).  I see a lot of students zipping along on scooters or street rockets wearing shorts and flip flops.  Or they have a decent helmet, and flip flops, which is perplexing.   They’re immortal of course, how silly of me. 

    There are two types of riders, those who have had an accident, and those who are going to.  I’m the latter, thanks to somebody who wasn’t wearing their glasses.  Made worse by a scooter that wasn’t as capable as an actual motorcycle, I discovered the joy of flight without an aircraft or parachute.  Obviously I survived, and went on to better motorcycles. 

    I don’t wear shorts and flipflops when I ride, since road rash over a large part of your body can kill you.  You can even do that on a bicycle, if you’re unlucky.  And I use a full face helmet, as I’m partial to having an intact face.  My wife appreciates the idea anyway…

    We’re all adults, so make your own decisions, but be aware of what the reality is around those decisions.  If you choose to ignore the physics of riding, make sure you have really good insurance so you don’t bankrupt your family.  Actually, you should have it if you have dependents period. 

    How the hell did this post get this long?  Sorry, I’m not usually a safety dweeb, I guess it just hit home.  I worry about these lovably moronic 20-somethings that I work among (I used to be one, and even dumber I’m sure).  Most will live, focusing on the positive…

    • http://www.facebook.com/ericcherry Eric Cherry

      As well as the saying “What are you going to put in that $100 helmet? A $100 head?”.

      It takes a whole lifetime to fill our heads with as little as we know. Don’t risk it on a cheap open face helmet or some poor coroner may have to watch your little bit of knowledge leak out onto the pavement in clumps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=652211667 Ashleigh Henneberger

    Is it for sale? I do roller derby with the Arizona Rollergirls -in Phoenix- and my skate name is R2Death2. I want thsi helmet!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Andsetinn Helgi Már

    Nice helmet. I wonder what she says to the cops when they pull her over. Beeb beeb beeby beeb tweet? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Andsetinn Helgi Már

    Nice helmet. I wonder what she says to the cops when they pull her over. Beeb beeb beeby beeb tweet? :)

  • MANNY CASALINO

    Hey grandmas, you can see that the helmet has the snaps for the face shield and if you order a metallic silver one you can apply blue vinyl stickers, besides a open face motorcycle helmet can be incredible cool to be used for skateboarding, bicycles and skating, instead of pointing out the negatives, “make” constructive and useful ideas, this web page is dedicated to that, last time I checked. “MAKE something today”

  • http://about.me/mikeyil Michaelangelo Ilagan

    Jenn just wrapped up her latest helmet design: http://chzs.tk/r4Bhit

  • http://gravatar.com/xtremecycl Helmets

    pretty cool for show only. i would like to see that paint job on a motorcycle helmet.