The Swarm

June 20, 2007

Daft Punk helmets for sale = $65,000

David Prince


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LED Effects, the company responsible for Daft Punk’s Discovery-era robot helmets, are offering the set for sale for $65,000, provided the buyer can get permission from the band.

These helmets were commissioned by the punk band Daft Punk for a music video. Over the years, LED Effects has received many inquiries from people who wanted to purchase their own helmet. Unfortunately, these helmets are custom designed stage props and cost over $14,000. While the helmets are reasonably simple in design, the cost of labor and materials make it impractical to mass produce and market them. In addition, Daft
Punk owns the copyright and concept rights to the helmets, so there may be additional licensing fees to pay. In short, yes, we can build you a helmet, but it will cost you thousands of dollars and take a year to produce. Here is how the helmets were made:
1. A model shop cast the face of the musician. This was used to create a bust which was
used as a template for the design.
2. The next step was to modify a motorcycle helmet. The body was cut away to allow for
cables and electronics. Two pin holes were provided so the wearer could see out.
3. Clay models were created for all the unique parts. This included a back pack and an arm
band controller.
4. Electronic displays were designed using prototype PC board materials.
5. The LED display panels were assembled by placing each LED one-by-one into a plastic
sheet and glued into place. Each LED required three feet of wiring to connect it to power
and control circuitry. The finished panel was bolted to the helmet frame.
6. The LED cabling was routed around the “ears” of the helmet and out the back. The
helmet cables led down to the backpack where the main controller board was located.
7. The system was originally powered by batteries, but this was later switched over to a
power cord system.
8. The control keypad on the armband was a custom manufactured PC board.
9. Exterior plastic molding and finishing materials were custom manufactured by a special
effects studio to complete the helmet. Once these pieces were added, the helmet details
were touched up with paint.
The helmets were used to produce a music video. As far as we are aware, the units are
still in use for performances.

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