How I Used SOLIDWORKS To Prove My Star Wars Fan Theory

by Shivani Patel

The Dilemma:

What Made the Dent in Boba Fett’s Helmet?

Star Wars has a memorable scene where Boba Fett pulls off his iconic helmet from his father’s head. In the space between the third and fourth movies, Boba chooses to keep his father’s helmet. Perhaps it’s a reminder for him or a symbol of the torch passing from one generation to the next. By the time we see the helmet again, Jango’s dents are gone and have been replaced by a new series of battle scars, most notably a circular shaped indentation on the front right of Boba Fett’s temple.

The Star Wars Fan Theory:

We have no way of knowing how it got there, but Star Wars Fans have a few arguments;  it was a door on Slave 1, it occurred during the ship’s crash or that it came from a particularly vicious head-butt. Due to CGI errors during that pivotal scene, we have no true answer.

This Star Wars scene gave me an idea…isn’t the base of a lightsaber about that size?

As I tried to determine if this was possible, I looked into Jango Fett’s dent created during the Kamino Escape.

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Using SOLIDWORKS To Prove My Theory:

There could be endless debate and questions from me until I’m blue in the face, but that will never get me closer to an answer. So this led me to wonder – How can I find the answer to what caused this dent? Physical testing, of course! I looked around and quickly realized that I don’t have any Mandalorian armor lying around, nor a means to get it. All hopes weren’t diminished, though! When physical testing can’t be done, there is always Finite Element Analysis.

My weapon of choice was SOLIDWORKS Simulation. This required use of the highest level package to smack Boba Fett’s helmet with as many objects as possible. A Nonlinear analysis gave accurate results after the helmet yielded while also allowing movement of objects through time.

After getting the results, my favorite theory continues to be a lightsaber.

Allow me to explain how I used SOLIDWORKS to prove my Star Wars fan theory.

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There are four or five main things any analysis requires to run. For me, in SOLIDWORKS Simulation, this was Materials, Restraints, Loads, and Mesh. SOLIDWORKS Simulation chose the best analytical theory for me, so I didn’t have to worry about that.


Materials gave the most trouble because I didn’t have any material properties for Mandalorian armor. I do know that Jango Fett’s armor was mostly made out of Durasteel  (the stuff that also builds star ships) so I used a lightweight and strong steel with a few tweaks as an approximation. Secondly, I believe that the sturdy lightsaber would yield far after the thin helmet buckled, so I left the lightsaber lacking material and set to “Rigid”.


When dealing with restraints in Simulation, we have to remember that software doesn’t understand the real life physics that take place on around these objects. I expect the helmet to remain sturdy on Boba Fett’s shoulders so I used a totally fixed restraint on the bottom of the helmet. To prevent solver instability and speed the calculation I prevented rotation on the cylindrical faces of the lightsaber.

LOAD, MESH and little trick known to designer engineers:

In the sport of boxing, Boxers have measured hitting at 5000N of force so I can set the force behind the lightsaber to match. What I couldn’t forget is that The Force could be behind the lightsaber. So, I had to ask myself, what maximum does that really have? To get this lightsaber motion, I used a trick known to some analysts: I replaced the force with a Prescribed Displacement—telling the saber to move down a half an inch and see how this affected the helmet. This had the added benefit of stabilizing my calculation further and all I had to do was throw in a Mesh Control for accuracy.

The Results Are In:

I had my dent! Those results look pretty sweet. Not as sweet as the revenge Boba Fett craves, but certainly sugary enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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So, what do you think caused the dent? Are you ready to start proving your Star Wars fan theories using analysis software? I’d love to know what you think. Oh—and best response gets an animation of Test 5…R2D2 at a 45 degree angle.

Star Wars Fan friends – looking for more? Get the SOLIDWORKS file for the helmet and lightsaber here or check out some of our latest prints below.  If you have an idea or design ready for print, contact us!


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