Building Boba: Helmet Electronics

Even though my Boba costume has been approved, there’s lots of work to be done. First: Install electronics in the helmet!

Unfortunately this is not a straight forward plug-and-play experience. Well, nothing in this hobby is. But I’ve dreaded this part in particular, since it required me to remove material of the ear piece leaving just a tiny sliver. Scary!

So in the movie you can see that two red lights blinks in a pattern and three white lights are on in the rangefinder topper when the stalk is in the down position. You can also see that the stalk touches a tiny red dot when in this position. The dot is the top part of a Honeywell 11SX1-T Micro Switch.

For basic approval you only need the red lights on top, and they don’t need to function. But if you are aiming for a higher level of accuracy, all of the elements needs to be present:

  • The helmet must have two red lights and tree white lights.
  • The lights needs to activate when the stalk is in the down position.
  • The stalk need to touch a Honeywell-style switch in the down position.

You don’t have to wire the lights to the switch. There are self-contained light kits that will turn on when you point them down. But where’s the fun in that?

(Granted, gravity activated lights do sound cool!)

I got a hold of a light kit with a micro switch and a new, hollow metal stalk to replace my solid stalk. And since I was going to make holes in the helmet anyways, I also decided to install a remote controlled servo motor.

Not a requirement. But very cool!

To install the servo I had to widen the hole in the stalk and helmet. I used a metal drill bit. The servo extension needed to have a snug fit. To help, I added a tiny dab of glue to the extension.

To mount the servo inside the helmet, I used E6000 under the motor casing and then a layer of putty (Sugru/Kintsuglue) all around it.

I also wanted to make the battery packs easily accessible, so I used velcro. The velcro is attached with hotglue.

In the video I forgot to show I solved the issue with the topper tab not being wide enough. I tried – but failed – to make another plastic tab. So I took a nail, bent it slightly more than 90 degrees and glued it in the screw hole. So now, not only is the tab glued and wedged in place, but the angeled nail is hooked onto the rangefinder topper. That topper is going nowhere unless I say so!

Oh, and I also painted any exposed white resin in the ear piece, silver. Not really necessary since this is not visible to anyone, but I wanted to.

That’s it for now. Later I also want to add a couple of fans inside the helmet. And I hope to add their battery pack on the opposite side from the rangefinder to balance the weight1. But that will have to wait.

Tools and materials used:

  • Light kit from Jc27 on The Dented Helmet
  • Wireless servo kit from Black Tusk Workshop
  • Sandpaper, various grit
  • Files
  • Rotary tool with various bits
  • Drill with various bits
  • White ABS sheet
  • Glue, CA/superglue
  • Glue, E6000
  • Glue, hot glue
  • Glue, putty
  • Velcro
  • Wire cutters
  • Batteries
  • Masking tape
  • Dust mask
  • Silver paint
  • A fine tipped paint brush
  • Thread
  • A paper clip

1) I did test fit a chin strap to help offset the lopsidedness, but it was too much of an inconvenience. I used to have a strap in my Stormtrooper helmet, but did remove that one as well.