Ski Helmet 2009, MIPS, Clay Workflow

This production work in 2009 was the last of the Chavant clay to scan to digital workflows. Polycarbonate vac formed shell, inmold EPS. Mips, internal sliders for vents. Designed all the injection hard parts and internal EPS anchors, designed with the global testing standards in place, zones, thicknesses, etc. 100% designed in Rhino.

[ All photos are from various e-commerce websites of production models. ]


That Helmet looks great!
Is there Any Images from the Workflow that you can share as well? Screenshots from the Scan or from the Rhino model?
Or images from the Process- maybe you have photos from the clay modell, or from the tools etc…

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Thanks! Here is some of the 2011 workflow (now digitally superseded). This was the late-stage hybrid clay and Rhino CAD workflow that I developed.

The basis of every helmet is a headform and where it sits on the head is critical for standards testing, aesthetics, comfort engineering, the whole ball of wax. Every project starts with a comfortable, known head form, that is, the inside hard surface of the helmet. A company can have an existing model that is scanned, an existing CAD, or use a reference that is available in the market.
This workflow started with some visualizations hybrid Rhino render and hand sketching over faded printouts. From the surfaces of the headform, the minimum EPS thickness is built and the 2D front, top, and side profiles of the helmet shape are determined. These outlines are very literal and need to carry through to the finished product or evolve purposefully along the way.

(An important note about my process, my sketches are done over 3D prints with different methods, here a paint scuffing. Over-sketching forces proportions to be real world. It is less ID-style spectacular and more literal. Sketch style visualization is still very important to keep the feeling of not being locked down, or too fixed for the designers or the clients to visualize additional evolution and variations. This perceptual rigidity can happen with a nice glossy render.)

Then the next step is to build the clay model and get a feel for the volume. To tie this directly to the head form, the clay is built on top of an existing EPS, carved away to allow the new shape to develop in Chavant modeling clay.

An acrylic template set was built from Rhino sections. This was to keep the thicknesses correct throughout the process. The donor helmet interior surface sits exactly on the template and the thickness and silhouette profiles key into this and ensure CAD to resulting clay surface thickness.

The warmed clay is pushed into the rigid stable EPS surface and built up until the template contacts in all zones, slightly overbuilt to allow scraping back.

You can see the indentations of the template in the clay. These indents were then painted with a white paint marker to remain visible during scraping.

Detailed photos of the clay which gets very literal to the final product are omitted currently, perhaps will add them later with permission.

The model is shaped over days with photos taken and shared and feedback received.
The rough base model in CAD is updated along with the clay and feature lines are added, discussed, and sculpted as knife cuts into the clay model. Easily visualized at different angles and just as easily removed with a pass of a thin metal scraper.

Finally, the model is shipped to the client or reviewed by the client in place. It can be worn and evaluated. At this point it is the surface outline, no vents are cut in, and remains flexible. Maybe one more surface iteration tune-up and then finalized and scanned.

Final note.

This digital/physical back and forth showed that the Rhino visualizations and control of the process was accurate. The client’s previous experience with sketch-to-reality, or CAD-to-reality, had been less than optimal. We collectively felt that the clay modeling was an extra step, and a singular physical model that needed to be shipped at the time cost of days was negative. For future models, the ease of 3D printing allowed a model to be designed in Shanghai [anywhere] and printed in Europe [anywhere] multiple times during the process and keep the continuity of expectations. I will show that in more detail in a following post of the generation of helmet following this one.


Thank you for that great insight!
very interesting!

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Very cool project! thanks for sharing it!

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So nice! Thanks you!

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