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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

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.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from : http://BidsBit.com

  2. Daniel Fleck says:

    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.

  3. Peter Simpson says:

    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.

  4. TotalMonkey says:

    May the blunt Force trauma not be with you?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I thought the helmet had a metal outer shell?

  6. amy says:

    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.

    1. Rahere says:

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

    2. Rahere says:

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

    3. Rahere says:

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

      1. amy says:

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

  7. Anonymous says:

    Very cute.  Both her and the helmet.

  8. Anonymous says:

    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.

  9. Leon Terry says:

    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. 

    1. Anonymous says:

      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. 

  10. Ken Junkins says:

    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!

  11. Ken Junkins says:

    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!

  12. 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.

  13. Eain Bankins says:

    “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.

  14. Anonymous says:

    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…

    1. Eric Cherry says:

      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.

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

  16. Helgi Már says:

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

  17. Helgi Már says:

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

  18. MANNY CASALINO says:

    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”

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

  20. Helmets says:

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