The Glass Helmet, a 3D printed helmet to see American football players

Published on September 17, 2019 by Carlota V.
glass helmet

They will be seen“, this is the new promise of the Glass Helmet Project, a transparent 3D printed American football helmet for all professional athletes. The project, born from a collaboration between designer Victor Salomon and Uninterrupted, co-founded by star LeBron James, aims to make players visible on the field thanks to a transparent headpiece and no longer confine them to a simple position on the field. The helmet was 3D printed using the stereolithography process that allows to create all kinds of structures with a photopolymerizable resin. 

It’s true that American football players have a heavy equipment, they are often only recognisable by their jersey number. An image that LeBron James wanted to break: “There has always been this cliché of the player in his helmet, of the player who has no voice, no one really knows who he is because of this helmet. And no one really knows there’s a person inside. We created the Glass Helmet so that all these great athletes could be heard and seen, because at the end of the day, they are also people.” A project that shows how 3D printing and sports make a good pair. 

The helmet design begins by measuring the heads of several football players. These measurements are then converted into a 3D model, which will be sent to the printer for production. Stereolithography 3D printing was chosen because it enables the creation of  transparent, solid and aesthetic objects. The helmet is then cleaned and polished to be crystal clear. The project leaders are quite discreet about the printing process, the time spent or the machine used; all we know is that the grid was printed separately and then attached to the whole structure. 

Maverick Carter, CEO of Uninterrupted, concludes at the end of the Glass Helmet Project promotional video: “They are brothers, fathers, artists, creators, leaders, entrepreneurs. When they put their helmets on and put on their clothes for 3 hours of games a week, 17 weeks a year, they are footballers. But there is always a human being behind all this, and I think that’s what the transparent helmet represents.”

Some players have already received their Glass Helmet and seem very satisfied with the result. Now, their resistance will have to be tested on the field. 

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