20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 'Crown' Dive Helmet

It’s all but impossible to acquire an actual dive helmet from the 1954 Disney movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. The answer… make your own.

There were three different dive helmets in the movie but all were made using the Japanese TOA hard hat dive helmet. Captain Nemo’s helmet had a headlamp at its top center, a pair of handles either side of the lamp and a pair of double hose scuba regulator hoses in the back. The ‘Baldie’ helmet was the least adorned of the three with very few modifications from the TOA. My favorite was the ‘Crown’ helmet. Pretty obvious to see how it got that name.

Not everything on my version was made on the Glowforge, but quite a few pieces were; all the TOA helmet dome panels, accent pieces like the gills, the square nuts and parts of the air filter were made from EVA foam (2mm, 4mm and 6mm). The front view port and side ports are clear acrylic cut using the Glowforge. There are some solid brass components I turned on the lathe and even some copper and PVC parts from the hardware store… slightly modified.

It’s hard to believe the entire helmet only weighs 5 pounds including the copper, brass and a bit of thin sheet metal for rigidity where needed. That’s good because I will be shipping this to a friend in Tokyo. It’s going to cost about 10 to 20 times as much to ship as it cost me to make!


a photo from LIFE Magazine

my helmet on the left and an actual helmet used in filming the movie on the right

the hose off the back went to scuba tanks on the diver’s back, as seen in the LIFE Magazine photo, rather than air being surface fed like actual hard hat divers

Although I used Chris Huebert’s dive helmet pattern from his “LostWax” website, I had to do some modifications to better represent the shape of the TOA helmet. I was going through so much EVA foam that I even resorted to making a tiny one to check my patterns.

Thanks for looking

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Wow, what a reconstruction! I love reverse engineering things, thanks for your descriptions. This makes me want to see the movie again.

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So cool! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

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can i just say “wow?”

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This is truly amazing!

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The pic with you in it truly shows off exactly how cool this project is!

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Mind blown! That turned out fantastic! I love that movie, but I never paid attention to the differences in the helmets. What does TOA stand for?

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That looks like something Adam Savage would do on tested. Great job.

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Thanks for sharing this project. It is sure to spark inspiration and encourage others to meet creative challenges.

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Very nice!

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What does TOA stand for? No idea. TOA plate.png

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Amazing

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The founder of the Toa Company (Toa Sensuiki Kaizha). It was later renamed to be the Toa Diving Equipment Company Ltd and then renamed the Toa Diving Apparatus Company Ltd. It started out at the turn of the 20th century making diving helmets & gear for pearl divers (I believe the “bald” style helmet was called the Pearler. It could also have been the one they made for abalone and sponge fishing divers.

Toa is still in business today.

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If you’re going to do something … go all in. You did!! Fantastic project!

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Fantastic

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Amazing work!

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Very cool! I used to buy this stuff from scrap yards as roofers would sell any partial rolls for the raw copper price and put it together with brazing rod that could be given any sort of patina and that is what I thought you had used at first.

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Wow- what an amazing project!!

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Awesome. love the pic of you wearing it.

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Very cool!

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