As a Starwars fan I have been fascinated for a long time with lightsaber. Yes I know im a nerd lol. But never the less I love the way they are fashioned and how they can be made in so many different ways. With different colors meaning different things. So while thinking about my next project and looking though 3d printing files on Pinshape.com I came across the is amazing looking model. (If you would like to download the file you can download it HERE.) It was a lot of pieces and I knew it would be a whole lot of work but I wanted to give it a try. I also thought about how I could make it different from all the rest. But more on that in just a bit.
I downloaded the model files and print lists and honestly was a tad bit overwhelmed with the number of parts that needed to be printed and assembled. Overcoming the print list version of sticker shock I got to work printing out the parts. These parts were designed to be printed using a liquid resin printer so it was a perfect fit for the Zortrax Inkspire. The liquid printers like these can manage to print with an amazing amount of detail. With the Inkspire able to print down to 5 microns. Laying out the parts in Z-Suite was a bit of a challenge in of itself. The platform can only hold a specific amount of parts and they need to be not only laid out correctly as to not allow them to touch but also not cause issues with proper supports. I had a total of six separate prints to do to have all of the individual parts. Getting the correct positioning of the parts in each print was a true trial and error process but I finally figured out a layout that seemed to work perfectly.
The Zortrax Inkspire is very easy to use just export the individual print files and then upload them to the thumb-drive that is provided by Zortrax. Then simply hit the print button you will be asked to check and confirm the proper amount of resin in the tank and then just hit print and confirm. Now sit back and wait, and wait, and wait. O I guess I should mention resin printers are not speed machines witch is not a problem at all as you can get it running and do not have to watch over them just let them run and do there thing. Resin 3d Printer like the Zortrax Inkspire work quite simply you just might not realize it. The resin within the tank is a UV activated resin. Witch means that UV light will cure and harden the resin from a liquid to a solid. The printer platform goes down into the tank and traps the proper amount of resin between the platform and the film at the bottom of the tank and a LCD display displays that layers shape in UV light through the resin. After a sufficient amount of time for the resin layer to harden the platform lifts up and repeats the process with the next layer. Building whatever it is that you are printing one layer at a time.
The Zortrax Inkspire can get some amazing detail and I even printed some of the parts at a higher resolution not because they needed to be as there were going to be painted but just to get all of the small details to show though. Man was I impressed at how well it did. Some of these parts are insanely detailed like they came straight out of a star wars move. After printing the parts I ran the parts through the Zortrax ultrasonic cleaner witch removes any unwanted resin from the parts to allow the to be as clean as possible. They then went under a UV lamp to help the cure completely. This is not a process that is needed depending on what resin you are using but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
I put a lot of though into how I wanted to make this lightsaber stand out and I came up with two major ideas to accomplish this goal. First I would paint some of the parts to give the lightsaber a unique look and make it look almost like something a Jedi would actually carry. I went with silver, blue and black. With the silver and black getting a matte clear coat. The paint I used was just spray paint that can be picked up at any local Walmart. The matte clear coat I thought would give the saber a machined look. I know a lot of people think of the smooth chrome lightsabers from some of the movies but I wanted this to look like it was meant to be a beast used for battle not a show piece.
After spraying all of the parts and leaving them to drive. I set my sights on making the crystal that would house the led to give the saber it lighting effect. I used a process that I saw on Youtube from Timber Ridge Gifts. It used silicon calking and corn starch to make your own silicon casting molds. Check out the video HERE. I plan on making a video highlighting the process and some of the things I learned while giving it a try. The process did work well and the mold did exactly as it should and gave a clean imprint to cast the crystal.
After the mold was ready I mixed up some crystal clear Total Boat Epoxy and filled up the mold and left the mold in the pressure tank until the epoxy was cured. I didn’t need the parts at that moment so I just waited to remove the crystal until I needed it later in the saber assembly.
With parts drying and not to much that I could to to the saber I started working on the display base this was that second major design detail to achieve the Excalibur idea that I had in my head. Everyone knows the story of Excalibur, King Author, and the Knights Of The Round Table. The biggest image that comes to mind when talking about that story is Excalibur The Sword In The Stone. I wanted this feeling but with a lightsaber. “Only the worthy Jedi may pull sabcalibur from the stone” said me ha ha. I thought this would give the saber a unique look and what can I say im a nerd and love stuff like that. So with that in mind I started sanding a piece of walnut burl that I had laying around. I wanted originally to turn it on the lathe but soon found out that getting it to balance properly was going to be a massive undertaking. I already loved the shape of the burl as it had been cut from the tree so I decided to sand the outer layer off of the piece and smooth it out while not changing the shape.
I then need to add a hole into the end of the burl piece to give the affect of the saber being embedded into it. I started by drilling a two inch hole into the end witch gave me a bit of a surprise in that the interior of the piece was one large bark inclusion. So in the end was very glad that I didn’t turn it on the lathe as it would have probably exploded. With the hole drilled and the inclusion cleaned out as much as I could I added some soft felt type material to the inside of the hole to keep the saber from getting as scratched up when installing or removing the saber.
The first step in assembling the saber was to add all of the magnets to the insides of the handles. These were the magnets that would hold the cutaway together while not being displayed. The trick to installing these magnets was to make sure to get the correct polarity facing each of the touching magnets. The magnets used were 1/8th by 1/16 inch magnets the magnets came in small stacks with the opposing polarity facing each other. The best way I found to install the magnets was to place a small dab of Starbond Thick Adhesive then place a magnet into the indention for the magnet and let the glue slightly dry. Then pull the remaining magnet stack from the one installed. For the matching magnet on the opposite side simply flip the magnet stack so that the other end is facing down. Check against the magnet you just installed the magnets should repel witch means the attracting side will be showing once installed into the corresponding indention. Repeat this process with all the magnets .
I now masked off the pommel pieces as I wanted to paint the accent pieces on the pommel to match the blue accents on the grip. After masking off the entire pommel I used a razor blade to remove the tape over the accents. Then painted them to match the grip accents. While the pommel was drying I glued into place all of the blue accents onto the grip.
With the pommel dried I removed the masking tape from the pommel. The accents looked great with this bright blue and contrasted black pommel. This is a look any Jedi could admire.
Assembly of the “cooling assembly” was straight forward pressing the emitter into the emitter housing with a slight bit of glue to hold it into place. I will admit though that the spikes on the emitter made this somewhat tedious as I stabbed myself with them repeatedly.
I then removed the “focus crystal” from the mold that I had made earlier the crystal came out great with only a small amount of cleanup needed. I polished the focus crystal some using 12000 grit sandpaper and that helped to make it a bit clearer. For the main crystal it calls for printing a clear crystal but I went with a blue tinted crystal that had been printed using .25 mm layers. The main crystal looked amazing as it look like a small blue jewel. This was then inserted into both of the crystal clamps and secured into place with Starbond Thick Adhesive.
The manifold and power cell assembly were next to be built. The manifold was inserted into the top of the power cell and secured with Starbond Thick Adhesive then small steel wires had to be shaped and glued into place to complete the look of the manifold. This piece can also be printed by individual pieces and assembled if ever making another one this will be the route I will take.
Wiring the saber was quite simple using a small push button switch some 2m 30 AWG wire and a battery extention cable a small Li-ion rechargeable battery the charger for the batter and of course the LED bulb with resistor. The wiring is ran from the batter to the led and to the switch with all of the wiring being hidden within the saber and not visible. First step is to soder the resistor to one end of the switch and length of wire to the other. Then run the extension for the battery down the tube in the manifold and then attach the wires properly to both the led and switch wires. If you decide to make one of these make sure to follow the wiring instructions that are included with the print files as they are pretty detailed and my camera died part way through the procedure and did not catch all of it. It is a quite simple process just made difficult due to the size of the wires and parts you are using.
Now just to finish out the saber by adding the last pieces called the iris to the switch housing. The switch is also held into place by a wedge that is printed to fit inside the housing and stop the switch from sliding down into the housing. Then gluing into place the printed button that glues onto the top of the press button switch this gives the switch a more lightsaber look and makes reaching the switch much easier.
I wanted to finish out the display and decided to use some danish oil as this would help protect the wood and it honestly gave it an almost stone like appearance. With the curls in the wood looking like rock grain and it completed the overall look of the display base.
Now you are ready to hunt down some Sith and do intergalactic battle. This to me was one of the most interesting projects that I have taken on and I’m honestly dumbfounded by how it came out. It looks like a lightsaber would look in my head if it was real. Well I hope you have enjoyed this project and it has inspired you to try something new and different. It can have some amazing results.
Now I need to decide if I want to try my hand at blaster next ha ha. That though is a decision to be made on another day.
If you like this project and want to see more cool stuff make sure to SUBSCRIBE on YouTube. Also follow me on Instagram @jpaynewoodworking and I will See you on the next one!
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