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gazmosis

My Helmet Ear Tutorial

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Hey there troopers!! 

Unless you have your armor maker build your helmet for you, every other armor build will have a helmet and every helmet will have ears to trim out.  THE EARS!!!!   GAHHHH!!!!!  These words have struck fear deep in the butt plate of troopers all over the world. First and most important thing to remember is the the ears on the original helmets were FAR from perfect.post-12041-0-00119000-1416608419_thumb.jpggallery_12157_11_601680.jpg2681243991_1d3e2153b6_o.jpg5302828425_f29b10d21c_o.jpgFor this reason alone, you really shouldn't be so hung up on making your ears sit so flush that there isn't even the slightest gap. However, there are some of you that are perfectionists and there is nothing wrong with that. In either case, whichever result you plan on achieving, having a basic understanding of your approach will help you to avoid making that embarrassing call to the armor maker asking for another set of ears.(Unless you were lucky enough to buy ATA that supplies two sets!! WAY TO GO Terrell!!!!)  Keep in mind that there are both things to do and NOT to do. Your equipment can make this more of an art project than a worrisome task. 

These are my weapons:DSCN1831_zpse58d190f.jpg With a light, controlled touch, you can shave 1/2 millimeters at a time in a specific area or along a line edge. Along with removing the material is knowing what and how much material to remove. NEVER JUST EYEBALL IT!!! To properly monitor this, you will need one of these:DSCN1832_zps7a6d170f.jpg Lastly, you will need patience. I know you want to see your lid done!!! After this, you are some paint and a few decals from struttin' your stuff!!! BREATHE!!!!!  Let's get to it!

DSCN1830_zpsd450348e.jpg The helmet has been riveted at the ears and along the cheeks so nothing moves.  I have removed the vast majority of flashing from the portion that was on the vacuum table. I will first drill out the screw holes. Although the indents are there, shadows can play tricks on your eyes, so I mark them so no mistakes are made.DSCN1833_zps4cbcb94d.jpgDSCN1834_zps6914424d.jpgI will slightly wiggle the bit to EVER SO SLIGHTLY increase the hole so the screw moves freely but is still well fit. 

Once the holes are drilled, it is time to countersink them so the screwhead sits flush.  IMPORTANT!! Do not use anything but your hand for this step!!! NO DRILLS OR DRILL PRESSES!!!  If the bit grabs the hole, it will go right through and there will be nothing you can do to stop it! Just spin it in your fingers and you will have precise control. DSCN1836_zps0a75a5d3.jpgYou can see the difference in the two holes.DSCN1837_zpsde742223.jpgAs well as the difference in the way the screw rests within the holes. Note the shadow coming from the non-countersunk screw.DSCN1839_zpsfddf453c.jpgAlthough there is still a slight shadow on top, this will all but disappear when the ear is tightened down. 

Now comes the fun! First thing to note is the original mold lines. DSCN1840_zpsce746962.jpgThese are ATA so the mold lines from the original helmet are here. Other armor makers may not have these. Consult the dozens of helmet reference pics we have here if that is the case. But if you have these lines, it is important to remember that these are from the helmet that these were off of....NOT YOUR HELMET!!!! The position you have your cap on your face to make the brow line higher or lower will affect the way the ears sit on the sides. For this reason, the ears must be trimmed to YOUR HELMET. The only kit I know of that the mold lines on the ears comes close to the final helmet without a huge degree of trimming is AP.  As long as you use the dimples they suggest, the ears will sit correctly following the mold lines he provides. Anyway, back to these! 

It

is important to note that your ears should look like seam covers and NOT 1978 headphones!! Note how thin the ears are on Han's helmet:gallery_12157_11_524354.jpg

You can see the mold lines on the back side very clear as well.DSCN1841_zps94e0ce66.jpg

I will start bu marking off a general line and trim that.DSCN1842_zps1032c8c0.jpgI will smooth out the scissor edges and do a test fit to see where to start.  DSCN1843_zpsb7c655cd.jpg

I'm sure there are those of you that don't have the mold lines to start with and are wondering what to do. Note that the top of the ears always comes close to the brow trim and the horizontal ridge that runs around the back of the helmet. If you need to take a measurement between the brow and the cheek/tube crease and use that mark so you don;t trim too much off in that corner, do that. You can always trim more but you can't replace it if you think you trimmed too much. It doesn't need to be perfect, but there shouldn't be so much space that birds will want to nest in there!!! Here is the basic understanding of your approach:post-12041-0-92184000-1416608673_thumb.jpgpost-12041-0-61567100-1416608526_thumb.jpg

You will see this re-stated in the next pic but I can;t say it enough: What you trim away on the front can/will affect how the ear sits on the back. Don't work too long and remove too much without checking the other side from time to time.:post-12041-0-90581200-1416608565_thumb.jpg

Another thing to consider for those of you interested in a really clean fit, is that the helmet surface where the ears are is NOT FLAT! DSCN1844_zpsf300c2ee.jpgThat's right!!! It's curved. post-12041-0-33811400-1416608489_thumb.png

Keep this in mind when trimming the round portion. 

This here is another area to consider if you want that super close fit. There are halves that overlap each other.DSCN1845_zps34284857.jpg If you want to, you can notch this out once you have decided the final resting spot for your ear. This is exagerated, but it just shows what I mean.DSCN1846_zpsae23eaaf.jpg So here is my first fit.DSCN1847_zps24b16216.jpgI know.....pretty horrible. It will get better. But first, and I believe this is where a lot of issues happen, I will determine my ear location:DSCN1848_zps1d38545c.jpgand mark it lightly with a pencil.DSCN1849_zps59f24857.jpgThis makes sure that my alignment and the trimming I do will all stay the same. If you ear moves around and you trim it willy nilly, things will be off.......I promise!! 

Now once you have a basic understanding of what will be affected if you trim certain areas, then you can proceed. TAKE YOUR TIME!!!  Note what is touching and what is not. Trim what is touching the cheek to close any gaps that are not touching. My picture failed of the notch that I put in the top most portion of the ear so this one is from another build:027.jpgTake note that this shows the right ear. I am working on the left so far.

Anyway, You can see here, that the arrows point out what is touching and preventing the gaps from closing. DSCN1852_zps93f547a9.jpgHere are the spots on the back.DSCN1851_zps7a6c6fd0.jpgSince you never want to eyeball a cut, I mark off what I will trim. DSCN1853_zps3331ba99.jpgAfter trimming that, you can see what is touching now (arrows)DSCN1854_zps1c1527a9.jpgNoting what is touching, I mark what is to be cut.DSCN1855_zps4bbb1efc.jpgNow although the fit is tight around the cheek tube, I have a gap in the corner. The arrow points it out.DSCN1856_zps4f1db0e0.jpgIn order to move the round portion closer to the surface, I need to take more out from around the cheek. There is a lot here so I can afford it. I will mark it anyway. DSCN1857_zps6405de7a.jpgAfter that trim, you can see I have a good general fit. Still needs a bit of honing, but a good fit. What have we NOT done?? The back! So let's go there for a bit.

Without wordy describing, you can see the gaps, what is touching and my marks of what is touching so I know where to trim:DSCN1859_zps833b219f.jpgDSCN1860_zpsef7f3be7.jpgSometimes I like to even hit the INSIDE edge of the ear wall so that I am assured that the oter edge of the wall is the only thing touching the helmet surface. I do this with sandpaper so nothing gets out of control and too thin.DSCN1861_zpsfb38e72b.jpgSo now we have a really nice fit in the back.DSCN1862_zpsa9bac344.jpgNow is when I notice an issue after I got back to looking at the front. I traced out the original mold lines seen here:DSCN1864_zps2d91b63c.jpgDSCN1865_zps6e8f5206.jpg In my opinion, the ear is too thick around the curved portion.  Using the same methods I used to get to this point, I reduced the curve by another few millimeters or so all the way around including the round portion. So after some additional tweeking and final sanding, the back side fits cleanDSCN1866_zps74838d29.jpgas does the front.DSCN1867_zpsaa7772a6.jpg I marked, drilled and installed the screws around the rank bar. I never pre-drill the lower location until the ear is fit. As you can see, I needed to drill it at an angle so the screw penetrated the face portion. DSCN1868_zps8bfe373c.jpgWhen tightened, this drew the face up nicely to the curved section of the ear.  and the result...(dramatic music please!) 

DSCN1869_zpsb06462b1.jpgDSCN1870_zps8be936c4.jpgIt's about as close as I am going to reasonably get it. Note how nice and flush the screws are in the recesses! The same will be done with the other side, but the same principles apply. 

I want to note that there have been other great ways to accomplish this either through a tracing wire or a toothpick attached to a pencil as a guide that rests on the helmet surface. 

This is just how I do it. To me, planning, staying constant, slow and steady yields good results. I hope this helps someone.

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Always great to have a tutorial contributed by an experienced builder to help out us newbies - thanks Steve! 

 

The tracing methods using a compass, armature wire, or toothpick-pencil-and-rubber-band work, but at some point you still need to be able to fine tune using the essential "trim where it touches" technique.

 

I've learned that the rotation, as well as the position, of the ear is important to get the desired look.  For example, if the ear is oriented such that it leans in slightly from bottom to top, while it may be gap-free, it can result in a thick ear at the bottom.  This can be fixed (or avoided) by rotating the top of the ear straight up-and-down or even outwards slightly so that the bottom of the ear can be angled inwards and trimmed more aggressively.  This is particularly effective when the top part of the ear is already trimmed as much as you want it to be.

 

Left photo:  Initial trim

Center photo: Screen capture reference

Right photo: Adjusted trim after rotating ear

 

IMG_9134_zps2153f64e.jpg

Edited by bpoodoo

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Awesome tutorial, Steve. I want to go and buy a bucket with eight sets of ears to try it out.

 

Thanks for putting this together and sharing it.

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This will really help when I get around to fixing my ears! Thank You!

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sheese, now I have TWO buckets to go mess with, thanks Gaz! lol, Seriously, thank you for this info, and the many PM's about my build!

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Very easy to follow step by step instructions great post . This is the point I am at now so thank you gazmosis.

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Great tutorial, much needed as I've just taken far too much off mine, luckily the armour I have came with two sets of ears. Thanks.

 

Sent from my LG-D855 using Tapatalk

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Thanks for the awesome tutorial!! I was starting to work on this (had just rotated my ANOVOS ears) and was having a hell of a time! This really helped! I didn't get them perfectly flush but am much happier with them than what they were before! The left ear turned out the best. Unfortunately I forgot to take 'before' pics, but they weren't even close.

 

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6 hours ago, TKModder421 said:

Thanks for the awesome tutorial!! I was starting to work on this (had just rotated my ANOVOS ears) and was having a hell of a time! This really helped! I didn't get them perfectly flush but am much happier with them than what they were before! The left ear turned out the best. Unfortunately I forgot to take 'before' pics, but they weren't even close.

Nice job on those ears, Greg!  Steve is a legend here on the FISD.  If you are (hopefully) aiming for higher levels, make sure that the lower ear screws are the flat V head style.  For some reason Anovos puts the wrong ones on the bottom.

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8 hours ago, justjoseph63 said:

Nice job on those ears, Greg!  Steve is a legend here on the FISD.  If you are (hopefully) aiming for higher levels, make sure that the lower ear screws are the flat V head style.  For some reason Anovos puts the wrong ones on the bottom.

Thanks Joseph!

Really?? That's good to know. I know they've made progress on improving accuracy, but I don't think I was aware that the bottom ear screws needed to be the flat V head style as well. I'll see if I can find some locally since I'm on the other side of the country. If I can't I'm sure I'll be ordering some from you! Thanks for the heads up!!

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