Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Recoloring Helmets (and I don't mean leather)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Recoloring Helmets (and I don't mean leather)

    saw the thread on repainting leathers and had a similar question. i've been wanting to get a traditional style helmet for some time but don't have the cash for leather so i was gonna get a fibreglass one. probably a lion heratige. but right now i'm an emt and have a blue helmet, once i get my ff (probably not for a year or so) i'll get a yellow one. so.... without having to purchase a new helmet is it possible to anyone's knowledge to recolor a fibreglass helmet?
    Fir Na Tine
    Fir Na Au Saol

  • #2
    Yes, you can paint a fiberglass helmet with an enamel paint to "recolor" it. Just sand it down good, tape off the rubber edging & D ring. I would also remove the faceshield mounts, and the impact cap so that I am only working with the shell only. Prime it, and paint it. The hardest part will probably finding the "right" shade of yellow. Another option is just getting a bare bones shell from the manufacturer, and then putting your own impact cap and hardware on. Repainting is easy enough that I would just recommend that. You can leave the old reflective stickers on it, repaint over them and then remove 'em and then use the "unpainted" areas as guides to put the new ones on.
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

    IACOJ
    Got Crust?

    We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

    Comment


    • #3
      You can also use engine block paint. It holds up well to the heat.

      Comment


      • #4
        I really SHOULD stay out of this one but I couldnt resist.. LOL
        ...but it has to do with matching the yellow color with manufactered helmets...try the striping paint that comes in a can that they use for highways...I have found thats about as close to "fire yellow" as you could get.

        Donna C
        Fire Chief
        Bridge Canyon VFD
        http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ

        Comment


        • #5
          A friendly warning

          It should be noted that (to the best of my knowlege) no paint is authorized for use on plastic/glass helmets by any of the helmet manufacturers (read the manual which came with your helmet).

          Use of incompatable paint may result in a change in the characteristics of the material which the helmet is made of. Specifically it could soften or lower the melting point of the helmet putting you under a less than 100% brain bucket. The sort of damage which occurs is completely invisible and undetectable to most of us (a lab would be able to figure it out). If you get injured and the condition of your helmet is in any way a factor in your injury it is possible that insurance companies won't pay. Your FD might also be liable for letting you use an altered and unsafe helmet even if the paint did nothing to the helmet!

          I too have a helmet which I love but is the wrong color and did a fair bit of research before deciding not to risk it, but I did find out a couple of things:

          If you insist on painting it, use paint specifically made for the type of material your helmet is made from to minimize the risks. My helmet is a Ben Franklin 2 and is fiberglass, there are several brands of really good paint made for fiberglass (try looking in a boating store such as Boaters World or West Marine) which should not affect the resin which holds the helmet together. There are a couple of new paints on the market for thermo plastics which promise good adheasion.

          Do not use paints like engine block paint or regular enamels unless you are willing to accept the risks of damaging (and making worthless) your helmet. These paints contain powerful solvents and will disolve part of the helmet be it glass or plastic (which is why they stick so well).

          A new traditional style fiberglass helmet runs about $150-250, IMHO you are better off selling your helmet (try to get $100) and coming up with the difference than risking destroying (and making worthless) your helmet, or even worse, risking your life.

          You say you have a year or so before you get to wear the new bucket, well start saving. Instead of buying the new dash light or stereo for you car, or that new game for the Game Cube, or if you smoke try to quit with the goal of saving the money towards the new helmet.

          Saty Safe!
          Last edited by Fire304; 10-12-2003, 10:02 AM.
          ________________________________________________
          If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
          ________________________________________________
          A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

          IACOJ Fire Boat 1

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe i'm just a naive little australian here.... but isn't the cost of PPE gear something that your department should cover? I mean even in a volunteer environment, surely they don't make you pay for your protective equipment. If i break something or need something changed for whatever reason, I just fill out the appropriate form and god-willing it arrives at my station a few weeks later.... as long as I have an appropriate reason of course.

            I need a new jacket because mine is dirty doesn't work. I know, i've tried it (apparently you can wash them, go figure ) but surely something like this your dept. fits the bill?

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Dave

              As you stated in your earlier post, the CFA will provide what THEY think you need. In America, (in most places) we are free to get something better at our own expense, and most of us do just that. Personally, I do not want to wear the helment and boots that are provided by my County, as I feel that they are inferior to others in the marketplace. I have purchased my own gear so that I have the ability to control how that gear is used, cleaned, and repaired. There are those who tremble in their shoes at the very thought of liability. I do not. I could care less who is liable for what, except that I think everyone is responsible for their own actions. If I paint my helment, and it falls apart, then that's my problem alone, no one else's. Last thought, the idea of Marine grade paint at a boating store is worth looking into. There are paints for models at hobby shops that are formulated for plastics as well, and remember, apply a coat of white before applying yellow. Closest shade that we can find to the "Factory" color is "International School Bus Yellow". Stay Safe....
              Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
              In memory of
              Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
              Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

              IACOJ Budget Analyst

              I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

              www.gdvfd18.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Like hwoods I choose to wear some personal gear and some FD issued. My FD issues rubber boots and Cairns 1010 helmets. I bought a pair of leather boots and never will go back (except for fuel spill calls). I also find the 1010 does not fit me as well as my Ben does (I'm 6'7"), but I've yet to break down and buy the helmet in yellow (I bought the Ben when I was on a department that wore all black). I also buy my own gloves, I find the department issued ones loose their liners too quickly (big hands). As long as its NFPA approved gear and matches the FD "uniform" (ie you can't wear black bunkers sine the rest of the department wears yellow) we can use our own gear.

                hwoods, good call on the model shop, I had forgotten about that stuff. I've used a special plastic paint that was both sticky to plastic and very flexible in racing RC models, stuff held up real well and was sprayed on the inside of clear plastic bodies so it could not haze the plastic.
                ________________________________________________
                If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
                ________________________________________________
                A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

                IACOJ Fire Boat 1

                Comment


                • #9
                  ...And Chief Woods does it again!....My thoughts exactly Chief on what you have said regarding liabilities and such! LOL

                  Donna C
                  Fire Chief
                  Bridge Canyon VFD
                  http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm not even going to get into the debate of wether you should or should not paint your helmet. That's for you to decide.

                    However if you decide to paint it, I have a few suggestions for you.

                    Originally posted by Fire304 I've used a special plastic paint that was both sticky to plastic and very flexible in racing RC models, stuff held up real well and was sprayed on the inside of clear plastic bodies so it could not haze the plastic.
                    I used to be VERY heavy into racing R/C cars (and you guys think fire gear is expensive!!) and one thing that you should know about the R/C paints. As mentioned above - this paint is made to be sprayed on the INSIDE of clear plastic (Lexan). It is that plastic which then gives the paint it's sheen (or gloss if you will). When sprayed on the outside (or viewed from the inside of the car bodies) - the paint is very flat and almost powery in appearance. So be warned if you try that - you're still going to need a clear coat if you want a "shiny" helmet.

                    As an alternative - you can use regular model car paint (Testors - Model Masters, etc.) as it is made for plastic and also has the "sheen" in it however it will be more brittle than the paint for lexan (and may even chip off too easily).

                    Also - if you want to use automotive (lacquer) paints on the plastic/fiberglass shell, you can. HOWEVER you should apply a very good basecoat of model car primer. This will "seal" the plastic and allow you to use any type of paint you wish without softening the plastic (Model car guys do it all the time.) The trick is to apply very light thin coats of paint so you don't overpower the primer.

                    If you have the equipment to air brush the helmet, I would suggest the following:
                    1. Disassemble the helmet.
                    2. Lightly scuff the surface of the shell with a very fine grain sand paper.
                    3. Wash off excess sanding dust with warm soapy water. DO NOT use any chemical cleaners after sanding as they may interfere with the bonding of the primer and/or paint.
                    4. After the shell has dried - carefully mask off any areas not to be painted. Be careful not to touch the surfaces to be painted any more than you have to. (Paint doesn't stick well to the grease off our fingers either)
                    5. Wipe the entire surface to be painted with a lint free cloth that has been dampened with denatured rubbing alcohol to remove any fingerprints and grease from the masking process.
                    6. Apply a base coat of grey or white model car primer to the shell(also in several light coats). Allow the final coat to dry for at least 24 hours to cure.
                    7. While the primer is curing, Pick the type & color paint you want. Tip - Add a flex agent (available at most any automotive paint suppliers). This will allow the paint to cure, but not become brittle. It's used quite often on all the newer plastic flexible car body panels.
                    8. Now you're ready to spray. Taking all the usual precautions (clean work area, respiratory protection, etc.) spray light thin coats of color on the surface. Begin spraying before you reach the surface and continue until you are just past it to make sure you don't miss any spots.
                    9. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat. (When you think it's ready - wait 1 more hour anyway )
                    10. Let the paint cure for at least 24 hours before removing any masking and reassembling the helmet. Tip - lightly trace the edge of your masking with a brand new exacto knife blade before removing it. This will keep the paint from lifting with the tape.


                    Hmm - think that's about the best I can come up with off the top of my head.

                    Ohh - I almost forgot. TAKE YOUR TIME !!!! It only takes a second of rushing to ruin weeks worth of prep work.
                    Last edited by N2DFire; 10-13-2003, 03:25 PM.
                    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
                    Stephen
                    FF/Paramedic
                    Instructor

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Having second thoughts on re-painting my helmet

                      THANKS!!! THANKS ALOT!!!

                      My friend just explained the design he had for my helmet. It was going to be an american flag design... Now I'm not so sure I want it.

                      Can't you talk to Cairns and ask them about tips for repainting or what you should do. You would think they would be willing to do that since you DID buy a $180 helmet from them.

                      And it was gonna look so cool too....
                      LREngine135
                      Firefighter/EMT-B


                      All things I say...while not always making sense are ALWAYS my opinion and only mine. They do not reflect the opinions of any department of which I am a member.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by N2DFire
                        I used to be VERY heavy into racing R/C cars (and you guys think fire gear is expensive!!) and one thing that you should know about the R/C paints. As mentioned above - this paint is made to be sprayed on the INSIDE of clear plastic (Lexan). It is that plastic which then gives the paint it's sheen (or gloss if you will). When sprayed on the outside (or viewed from the inside of the car bodies) - the paint is very flat and almost powery in appearance. So be warned if you try that - you're still going to need a clear coat if you want a "shiny" helmet.

                        As an alternative - you can use regular model car paint (Testors - Model Masters, etc.) as it is made for plastic and also has the "sheen" in it however it will be more brittle than the paint for lexan (and may even chip off too easily).

                        Also - if you want to use automotive (lacquer) paints on the plastic/fiberglass shell, you can. HOWEVER you should apply a very good basecoat of model car primer. This will "seal" the plastic and allow you to use any type of paint you wish without softening the plastic (Model car guys do it all the time.) The trick is to apply very light thin coats of paint so you don't overpower the primer.
                        Hmmm...I used to work for Testors, and currently work for Bullard. I can tell you personal experience, as well as the formal factory stance.

                        First, personal: while good, solid prep work will make the paint job turn out well, the first time you drop it on concrete or bang your helmet against a rafter in an attic, you will chip off the paint, and see the primer coat or the original helmet color. After 4 or 5 fires, it looks ugly. Second, official: plastics and composites (fiberglass, kevlar) are generally chemically resistant. However, exposure to any chemical can change the protective features of the shell. Plastics tend to be more easily damaged by petroleum products (lacquers, thinners, spray paints, etc.) than fiberglass/kevlar. That being said, an aggressive paint may damage the resins that hold the shell together.

                        Your best bet is to contact your local distributor and ask to buy just a shell; it should cost about 60% (or so) as much as a new helmet, and you can just use your current eagle, hardware, liner, etc.
                        My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by firemanjb

                          Your best bet is to contact your local distributor and ask to buy just a shell; it should cost about 60% (or so) as much as a new helmet, and you can just use your current eagle, hardware, liner, etc.
                          And that is the best advice given so far!

                          Can I get an AMEN???
                          ________________________________________________
                          If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
                          ________________________________________________
                          A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

                          IACOJ Fire Boat 1

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And that is the best advice given so far!
                            LOL, that shows how much some people really read of the posts...

                            Another option is just getting a bare bones shell from the manufacturer, and then putting your own impact cap and hardware on.


                            I have done both methods before, the shell I bought in the color I needed lasted for many years and comes with it's own warranty. The one I painted didn't last all that long, (which it was only a temp anyway) it scratced really easy it seemed. All in all, the better choice (IMHO) is to get a new shell. But, if funds are an issue, painting works good enough.

                            As far as certain paints causing "chemical" reactions etc to "weaken" the shell.... I'm pretty sure all the other junk they get exposed to are not any better. I'm really not worried about the fact that the paint I chose has now made my helmet .000002% weaker. When it fell off the tailboard when I was taking a break it was probably weakened too, I'm not worried.

                            This isn't aimed at anyone, just in general, but I just feel I have to say it...

                            This thing, like any topic, can be nitpicked to death. Look inside the helmet, see the sticker that reads firefighting is inharently dangerous... live with it or do something else.
                            http://www.sanantoniofire.org

                            IACOJ
                            Got Crust?

                            We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hip Hip Hoorah for San Antonio

                              Well said... Damn well said!!!
                              LREngine135
                              Firefighter/EMT-B


                              All things I say...while not always making sense are ALWAYS my opinion and only mine. They do not reflect the opinions of any department of which I am a member.

                              Comment

                              300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

                              Collapse

                              Upper 300x250

                              Collapse

                              Taboola

                              Collapse

                              Leader

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X