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The Saber-smith's Thread
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WedgeAntilles (James Norman)
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah you make me want to build a saber. You suck. Laughing
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hartss ()
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lightsabre building party, awsome idea

do you think the sound would be loud enough to be heard when we do our discovery world shows or would the sound ofiron maiden drown it out.

we have discussed the use of sound in our sabres for the shows but cant decide if it would be worth, especially if the crowd cant hear it and the amount of abuse we give our sabres we were worried it would just be another thing to worry about breaking
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Tymae Yarmoo ()
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hartss wrote:
lightsabre building party, awsome idea

do you think the sound would be loud enough to be heard when we do our discovery world shows or would the sound ofiron maiden drown it out.

we have discussed the use of sound in our sabres for the shows but cant decide if it would be worth, especially if the crowd cant hear it and the amount of abuse we give our sabres we were worried it would just be another thing to worry about breaking


Personally, I do not think sound would work well for you guys. If you listen in the video I posted, you can hear me hitting the saber blade off camera with another saber to demonstrate the clash. You can hear the plastic blades hit and that was just a tap to make the saber react. I think the agressive hitting you and Nick do would still be heard. Plus, only you two and maybe the first few rows would hear the saber sounds, and the music would trump it all.

As awesome as your performances look,I do not think they will ever sound like the movies....at least not with the technology available.


A building party would be awesome. I plan on posting an overview of my thoughts about the parts companies, the parts, planning a build, etc. to help anyone who is thinking about such a project. There are some do s and don't s I can pass on to folks before they ever buy any parts that can steer them out of trouble right away.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats exactly what we were thinking and have discussed many times. you have just confirmed it for us. i think in the 5 years we have done it we have only ever been asked once about sound so i dont think it would bring anything else to the show. and we do hit them hard and would probably break the fragile components. i once shattered a batterry pack inside the hilt while performing
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, as you can see, I have a few builds under my belt. A few members out there have expressed interest in building their own saber. It is a rite of passage for a Jedi in the movies that truly translates to the real world. It is a lot of fun and will fill you with pride. With that in mind, I thought I would pass on a few words of wisdom I have from my experiences.


Sound vs. Stunt:

One of the biggest decisions you need to make right off the bat is if you want sound or not. Sound sabers are cool, there is no doubt about it. I just completed my first sound build, but not because I felt like I needed to, I just wanted to.

“Stunt” is the term used to refer to sabers that only light up but do not make noise. These sabers certainly have their merits. If you are into dueling, a stunt can be a good choice. There is little that can break and since you are focused on the sparring, you do not really miss the sound. Stunt sabers are also good at costume events where pictures are to be taken. You cannot hear a picture so they look just as cool in photos as sound sabers. At events, with all of the talking and noise, the sound is not really missed that much. An impressive looking hilt with a light up blade dazzles most people. You also save on battery life with a stunt since the sound card eats up power, too. And of course, stunts are cheaper.

I am not trying to talk anyone out of a sound saber. I am just offering ideas to anyone that might be on the fence that you do not need sound and can be just as happy without it. If you want sound, it sells itself, go for it.



Companies:

There are two places that I have bought parts from, Ultra Sabers and The Custom Saber Shop. There may be more but these are the two places I buy from.

Ultra Sabers primarily sells complete sabers. These are ready to go out of the box and have several options. They sell sabers that are pretty close facimilites of the movie sabers as well as their own creations. They also sell parts to build your own saber under the “Build Your Own Saber” link. They sell any of their MHS (Modular Hilt System) emitters and pommels but only have a limited selection of body pieces. They also have a variety of pre-made special colors that are really cool.

The Custom Saber Shop is a one stop shop for saber building parts. The have everything you need to build your own saber, you just have to build it yourself, they do not sell complete hilts. They have a huge selection of blade holders, pommels, bodies, extensions, switches, you name it. They have a variety of electronics to make the saber light up, sound, clash, whatever you want. There are so many parts you might not know where to start. It can be overwhelming.

While TCSS does not sell complete hilts, they will do some of the work for you, for a charge. They offer switch box cutout service which is great if you plan to use a fancy switch box. This service is worth every penny since a switch box has many holes to try and line up. They also offer coloring in the form of powder coating which is cool, but can interfere with the fit of some parts like shrouds and trim rings.

The two companies use the term MHS or Modular Hilt System. They say that the MHS parts are compatible and they are in so far as the thread patterns are the same and they will screw together. However, the parts are not 100% swappable, especially the blade holders/ emitters. TCSS uses a special LED module that will not work with an Ultra Sabers emitter.



Wiring:

I have never done wiring or soldering before I started building these sabers, so you can see you do not need much experience with this. I bought a soldering iron from a hardware store and some 26 gauge wire from a hobby shop to practice with. I made a few joints and played around with the shrink wrap to get the hang of it before going for the real thing.

The wiring involved in a saber takes some more planning that you might think. The wirings takes up more space than you think. In a stunt build, this is not too much of an issue, but in a sound build this can be a big factor in planning. You need to think about how you intend to put the saber together when wiring because you are building two sides towards the middle. JST connectors or Japanese Solder-less Terminals are little plugs that can be used to help with assembling. These plugs act like quick connects so you can build your components individually and then plug and play. However, these plug also take up space so keep that in mind, too.



Chassis:

You will need to support the internal components to some degree.

I have made good use of Velcro cable ties like the ones they sell for tidying up computer cables. These can be used as a soft chassis to wrap components and keep them from flopping around, or in the case of circuit boards, grounding out on the body walls. These also keep the batteries in place nicely.

TCSS sells a variety of acrylic chassis discs. These are nice but there are a few pitfalls to using these. You need to be aware of the difference in diameters. Some parts are meant to fit inside the narrower ribbed sections, some are meant for the standard body parts. The holes can be tricky to line up, too.



Ohm’s Law:

You need to get a little bit familiar with voltage, resistance, and amperage. You do not need to be an electrical engineer, but an understanding is necessary.

There is a balancing act that must be accomplished between the battery, the LED and the other components. Resistors must be used to protect the LED from the battery’s power. The LED’s will run on a variety of voltages but the resistor value will change depending on the battery used. The color of the LED is also a huge factor in the resistor needed. Believe it or not, you will need a different resistor for red or green or blue, etc. TCSS has a “resistor chart” link that can be used to figure this out. In place of a resistor, a “buckpuck” can be used. A buckpuck is an LED driver that acts as a variable resistor and will protect any color LED from any battery. However, a buckpuck has a minimum voltage requirement of 5 volts so it will not work with all batteries. Buckpucks are nice for stunt builds.



Planning:

This is key and I put this as the last pointer for that reason. Planning is absolutely necessary. Without planning, you will waste a lot of time and money.

Start with what you want the saber to do. Next, what do you want it to look like? Make a few drawings if you need to or find pictures online. TCSS has a program called the “MHS Builder”, this is a great program to play around with. Even if you want to use Ultra Sabers parts, you can find TCSS parts on the program that are similar enough to give you an idea what your finished hilt will look like.




If anyone is really interested in building a saber, I am more than willing to help. I can simply look over a build before you buy parts to see any possible problems. I can offer tips on assembling the hilt. If you work with me on setting up a time and day, we can meet up an I can help in a hands on way. I have a drill press and soldering iron which is about all of the specialized tools I have ever needed.

I do not work for either company, Ultra Sabers or The Custom Saber Shop, I am just a satisfied customer of both. The quality of their products is evident in the results.
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Schph Gochi (Phyllis Schulte)
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because we deal in great distances
Sheboygan (where John and Nick are) to
Joliet Area (where a lot of us are from)

this would be difficult to plan...
we could try to schedule this in at the Base Meeting in June

http://www.rebellegion.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=51592


Which reminds me...
as you start planning your 2014 agenda...
please set the date of the Base meeting and gathering aside...

if there was interest to do so, some of us could go up to that area the day before and get a room and conduct some business or prop building.


Wink
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Tymae Yarmoo ()
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the logistics of a base saber party would be messy. I guess I was thinking more like small scale stuff, like individual tutoring.

My work schedule is a nightmare but I am willing to help anyone I can if they can just work with me to find the time.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I ask what size the plain double female-threaded tube is on the Patriarch hilt? Is it 4" or 5"?
I'm thinking of doing something similar with TCSS parts and I think the proportions are just right on your saber.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich330 wrote:
May I ask what size the plain double female-threaded tube is on the Patriarch hilt? Is it 4" or 5"?
I'm thinking of doing something similar with TCSS parts and I think the proportions are just right on your saber.


The double female pieces is 4". I had TCSS do the cut-out for the switch box which is worth every penny.

Something else that is not really obvious, I used the ribbed extension and choke COMBO piece as opposed to two separate pieces. This saves a little bit of length and keeps the proportions looking correct. The overall length of that saber is exactly 12". If you play around with the MHS builder program, you can see the difference the combo piece makes.

Hope this helps and glad I can inspire.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tymae Yarmoo wrote:


The double female pieces is 4". I had TCSS do the cut-out for the switch box which is worth every penny.

Something else that is not really obvious, I used the ribbed extension and choke COMBO piece as opposed to two separate pieces. This saves a little bit of length and keeps the proportions looking correct. The overall length of that saber is exactly 12". If you play around with the MHS builder program, you can see the difference the combo piece makes.

Hope this helps and glad I can inspire.


Thanks, that does help.

I'd put together the same basic combination of parts on the MHS builder and was indeed using the combo part.

This will be a second build, though, so somewhere down the line after I complete my first one.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich330 wrote:
Tymae Yarmoo wrote:


The double female pieces is 4". I had TCSS do the cut-out for the switch box which is worth every penny.

Something else that is not really obvious, I used the ribbed extension and choke COMBO piece as opposed to two separate pieces. This saves a little bit of length and keeps the proportions looking correct. The overall length of that saber is exactly 12". If you play around with the MHS builder program, you can see the difference the combo piece makes.

Hope this helps and glad I can inspire.


Thanks, that does help.

I'd put together the same basic combination of parts on the MHS builder and was indeed using the combo part.

This will be a second build, though, so somewhere down the line after I complete my first one.


Are these stunt builds or sound builds?

I had a heck of a time getting everything inside The Patriarch. The sound card and stuff takes up a lot of space. I got it all in there, but I pray I never need to open that saber again!!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tymae Yarmoo wrote:

Are these stunt builds or sound builds?
I had a heck of a time getting everything inside The Patriarch.


Both will have sound.
I'm waiting to complete the first one before I make any decisions about the second. That way I can make changes or add stuff based on experience.
The first design should be a more cram-fu-friendly as it is a rather simple design with a 7" main body.
I have a Nano Biscotte coming as the driver/sound board and an AV switch with no LED. So, it's a basic setup which takes as little space as possible for a sound build.

It should look like this:


Here's a link to my pre-order thread on TCSS: http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?16239-Rich330-s-first-build-parts-list-and-request-for-feedback
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should be fine with what you have there. I think the "main bodies" are more sound friendly.

In The Patriarch, the ribbed section has a smaller inside diameter. The narrower space and the transition between the two sections makes chassis building tough. I ended up making separate chassis for the battery, which is in the ribbed part, and the sound card/speaker which is in the 4 " section and pommel. I needed to do this because I used the MWS version of Nano Biscotte which will not piggyback with the battery because of the harness. I am not good at board soldering so I used the pre wired card.

I plan to upgrade my primary character saber, The Knight, to a sound saber and then maybe building a Graflex style hilt. I am thinking about using an 8" extension for the Graflex body which will give me plenty of room inside.

It sounds like you are off to a good start. I read your TCSS posts and you certainly did your homework.

Good luck and feel free to write anytime. I am no expert and am relatively new to all of the saber building, too, but I have learned a lot in a short time and made plenty of mistakes others can learn from.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tymae Yarmoo wrote:
I ended up making separate chassis for the battery, which is in the ribbed part, and the sound card/speaker which is in the 4 " section and pommel.


I wondered exactly what you'd done with the two chassis. That's pretty ingenious because the ribbed section would otherwise be redundant space.

It's good chatting, because you're kind of helping me visualise the build a bit better. It's difficult before you've held the parts in your hand and I'm guessing a lot of questions will be answered by getting the experience of a first build under the belt.

Tymae Yarmoo wrote:
I needed to do this because I used the MWS version of Nano Biscotte which will not piggyback with the battery because of the harness.


This was what prompted me to switch to the version that requires soldering. Going to try and make use of the piggy-back configuration.
May the force be with me!

I plan to upgrade my primary character saber, The Knight, to a sound saber and then maybe building a Graflex style hilt. I am thinking about using an 8" extension for the Graflex body which will give me plenty of room inside.

Tymae Yarmoo wrote:
It sounds like you are off to a good start. I read your TCSS posts and you certainly did your homework.


Thanks. I can't really take any credit. Like a lot in this hobby, it's all served up on a plate for you if you just take a couple of hours to read the forums. The Nano Biscotte manual was my best source of information when starting off. Very clear, even to a noob with no idea of electronics, like me!

Tymae Yarmoo wrote:
Good luck and feel free to write anytime. I am no expert and am relatively new to all of the saber building, too, but I have learned a lot in a short time and made plenty of mistakes others can learn from.


Thanks. I appreciate it. As I say, the insight into how you put the Patriarch together is really helpful.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this thread now a sticky, thank you for sharing your insight into saber building, and openness in sharing your knowledge with others Thumbs up
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