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PVC Lightsaber and blade making tutorial

 
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whitmers (Shaye Whitmer)
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:25 am    Post subject: PVC Lightsaber and blade making tutorial Reply with quote

Also note, that all of these can be turned to their metric counterparts of course.

Materials-

Hilt
Schedule 40 1" pvc
schedule 40 1 1/4" pvc
1 1/4" end cap or plug to fit either inside (classier) or around the outside of the schedule 40 1 1/4" pvc
heat shrink large enough to fit over your wires and (1/8 and 3/16)
8-32 screws (lots)
Graph paper
sand paper
pencil
spray primer (or airbrush)
spray paint (or airbrush)
Double backed velcro

Blade
Mirrored Blade tip from tcss, saber forge, ultra sabers or vendor of choice.
Polycabonate tube 1' outer diameter (wall thickness either 1/8" or 1/16")
Cellophane wrap like you might find at a florist for wrapping flowers



most of the above can be found at home depot or lowes or someplace like that.

I find these other things elsewhere, usually ebay for bulk:
3 AAA battery holder[url] http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-High-Quality-Battery-Holder-Spring-Case-Box-3-AAA-For-Flashlight-Torch-New-/400517003928?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d40ac7a98[/url]

8/32 screws (button head)

Led modules- You can do this in a few ways.

Option one- Contact Lucien Kane on the http://www.imperialroyalarms.com/ forum and order one of his led modules

go to www.saberforge.com or[url] www.ultrasabers.com[/url] and order one of their 1" led modules

OR if you are feeling that you want to do it all yourself, you can order an LED from www.mouser.com or http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/default.aspx (easier of the two options)or any of the other places and make your own heat sink/ module.

To do that, get a 3/4" copper endcap from a hardware store. drill holes to run the wires through the endcap (2 holes or one big one), get a lense from http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/default.aspx.


Find the positive and ground wires (resist them if necessary for blends with red only) solder them on and run them through the holes in the end cap. Fit the lens over the led affix it in place (up to you do it)

Module done.

it is way easier to order one already done fyi, but now you have the info should you need it.

Tools
Hack Saw
Dremmel (not required, but very nice to have)
wire strippers
Soldering iron station
Solder
wire
Latching switch
Sae 8/32 drill and tap (+ handle)
3/8 drill bit or a bit larger (to make a hole big enough to fit your switch)
drill
Hot glue gun
Exacto knife
Long wooden dowl

Terms
Tinning- taking wire that is stripped and putting solder on it. You can then heat up the solder on the elements themselves instead of applying new solder each time.

Essentially, whenever another wire or piece of metal needs conduct electricity, tin and heat shrink it always!

Additionally, make sure you put your heatshrink on the wires before you solder, because if you don't then well... You have to do it again. just put it far enough from the site where you are soldering so that it won't shrink.



The hilt-



I used schedule 1" schedule 40 pvc to make base of the hilt. I do this because most of the blades out there fit 1" blades unless they use adapters.

I then use 1 1/4 schedule 40 that I use to make the outer part of the hilt.





in this image the silver is the schedule 1 1/4 schedule 40, the black is the 1 inch schedule 40

I design it on the graph paper, but you can also draw what you want to cut out right on the pvc (since you are going to cover it up with primer anyway)

cut your desired shape out with saw, or dremmel be creative and go to town.

once you have your shape out, prime it with spray primer, then paint it.


Drill and tap holes where appropriate to screw the outer section to the inner section.

Then tap another hole (only one) for a retention screw to keep the blade from wiggling or flying out.

Take the led module and insert it into the main part of your hilt ensuring that the top of the LED heatsink module is AT LEAST 2" from the front end of your hilt in other words, so that your blade can sink in at least 2 inches.

Then-

Find the spot where you want to put your switch drill a hole. You can get these from any of the saber supply places already mentioned. Saberforge uses 12mm the others usually use 16mm switches.

MAKE SURE YOUR SWITCHES ARE LATCHING- if you want to make a stunt. Maybe get a momentary switch if you want to throw in a soundboard later.


Ok, hard work is done. Wiring is a snap after that.

Take your ground (sometimes called negative) and run that wire all the way out of the back end of your hilt.

then-

Take the positive lead from the led that you bought (or made) and run it through the hole that you made for the switch Solder and heat shrine the connection to the switch. Take another wire and and solder and heatshrink it to the other part of the switch. Take the new continuation of the positive lead and run it also out of the back end of the hilt.


Now, take your 3aaa battery holder and sand the end of it it just a bit. Then, tin the positive end (nub) on the battery holder. here you want a whole lot. Don't heat the nub itself, just let the solder drip on to it. Do the same thing for the ground/negative end. *1 Sometimes the holder will bow up, you can fix it with hot glue or some other adhesive. Buy more than one of these, as the first few times you might mess it up. Don't worry, persevere then move on.

Take the positive wire coming from the switch and solder it to the + lead nub then heat shrink it.

Take the negative/ground wire and then solder it onto the ground/negative lead of the battery holder. See *1 then move on.

Insert batteries. Test the connection, see if it works. If so, then hot glue a strip of velcro to the side of the holder, to wrap around the batteries to hold them in place. Put your cap on (or in if you have the insert) Tap and drill a retention screw hole to hold it in place. Hilt done.


Ok. Time for the blade-
The easy way, pick up a blade from a saber manufacturer. You can get a grab bag blade for $10 from ultrasabers or buy a brand new one for 2.5X that. The cost is the same from saberforge and tcss is a bit more.

If you in your mind say "I can do this myself", you're right! You can! Be patient, because you'll likely mess it up a few times (even the pros mess up a bunch of them hence the cost, because it IS very^3 time consuming).

If that does not deter you, then read on.

Take your tubing and cut it to your desired length (I prefer 32-33 inches).

Then take your gift wrap film and roll it out on the table. You need to roll out 6-8 feet (it really depends on the led that you are using).

So have the length of your film be 6-8 feet X 1 inch less than you want the length of your blade.

The hard part- Take the wooden dowel and carefully roll the wrap around it. ie put the wrap on a table, start rolling the dowel evenly. If it wrinkles for best results, scrap the wrap and do it again and again until it's perfect. It really depends on how type A you are.

Once you have successfully wrapped it, then take it and carefully insert it into the poylcarb tube. *2 Here is where things could diverge, you could have put the saber blade tip on the tube already, or you could do it after. I like to do it after, that part is up to you. either way, adhere the tip with super glue (I use bob smith industries instacure it makes super glue look like water).

So, continuing, take the wrapped dowel, and insert it into the tube, carefully unroll the dowel along the outer edge of the tube. If you mess it up... yup. Go back to the wrapping stage.

Once you get that wrapped inside, then take an adhesive I use hotglue and smear it all around the end of the film inside the tube closest to the open end (because the other side might have a tip on it).

At this point your blade is done. Light it up, save the galaxy.

Option- Some people like their blade sanded for different diffusion properties. It does make a difference; some like it, some don't. If you are in the like column, get some 4000-8000 grit sand paper and sand the blade so that it is evenly sanded and there are no bare spots. Less than 60 seconds probably. You can then wipe the blade down with a light oil or wd40. You're done. Light it up, save the galaxy... in style.

Hope this helps. It is kind of long. I'll try to get some sketches in here as well.[/img]
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