Surprise... it's the long overdue update,people.
Bet you all thought I'd abandoned the project,right?😅 Not a chance,over two years of my life have gone into this thing,in terms of both time & effort.So I'm getting it over the line,no question!💪🏻
It was high time I tackled the chassis.I'd had a mental plan for how to model it for a long time now,but the execution had already eluded me several times due to miscues on the miller (so easy to just go that bit far with a cut & kill the part- been there,done that multiple times now).But I got further with each attempt,& even if this one doesn't work at least I now have an actual prototype (if another version ever has to happen,I'll be tackling the 3D printing route after all- remachining the whole thing over & over again due to mistakes just gets old in the end).
So after turning the Delrin chassis blank on the lathe,time to strap into the Bridgeport & attempt to mill probably the most important pocket- the one for the board.
Which is going to be...
...a Golden Harvest v3 phase 4.I had originally planned to go with the Verso,but the GH's features just blew me away after seeing a few demos & looking at its size,& apparent ease of installation (this is my first build,remember).
The pockets seemed to be the right size according to the digital readout on the miller,but when I got it home from work for a test fit I actually had to sand the edges of the board carefully to fit- Delrin can tighten up after machining,I was warned by work setters,so maybe not a surprise in the end.However,now a few weeks after,that snug fit has somehow relaxed & the board now sits a tad loose.🤷🏼♂️ This necessitates some E6000 & possibly a little insulation tape to ensure it stays put on final installation.Really wanted a clean snap-fit... oh well.🙄
On to the reverse side,& the much bigger cuts for the battery compartment.I realised it was easier to machine a mostly square cutout to fit a Keystone battery holder,rather than a bare battery (definitely one for the printing method,that).But I also needed to cut in a slot for my proposed 2.1mm recharge port,& decided to tackle that first.So I flipped the chassis over,registering it using a hole I'd put through from the top side,& went carefully:
Then it was battery bay time- out came the beefy 16mm end mill,for some serious material removal,followed by a 4mm to chase out slightly more squared corners to the proper dimensions of the battery holder,then back to the 16mm to cut some wire management room between the underside of the battery area & the board on the other side:
Went OK,but test fitting the Keystone holder while the chassis was still clamped in the miller seemed to show it was too tight; I duly took away a little more material &,you guessed it- too loose once I took the chassis out for a proper test fitting.🤦🏼♂️ I can only assume that the fact of the chassis being clamped in the miller caused the sides to slightly compress inwards,particularly as I removed more & more material... Another lesson learnt (any input on that,honoured machinist community?🤔 ).
I'd already turned & milled my speaker pod,which will fit onto the rear of the recharge port section & inside the pommel itself,but I had to carefully drill & tap retention screw holes on each side of the recharge port slot.For this,I used the scroll chuck &,heart in mouth as the only way I could clamp it was both lightly & vertical,got it done:
Needed to cut a decent wire path through from the slot under the battery into the recharge port space though.The only way I could see to do this was either with a Dremel (a potentially messy job to do by hand),or what I eventually attempted with the miller... sketchiest setup ever,but it worked:
So I finally got that done today,got it home,cleaned it all up with files & sanding,& suddenly... I had a full chassis kit to test build:
I started by fitting the recharge port- a 2.1mm Switchcraft one,in place as you can see.The reverse angle shows the wire path I milled into its chamber,followed by the nut on the outside to fix it in place:
Next,on goes the red octagonal piece.Bet you'd all been wondering what the plan & purpose was with that,right?This:
& slotting into that goes the speaker pod:
Which is going to feature reverse sound.
Took me some headscratching to figure out the wire routing around the speaker & the recharge port,but it should all fit.I always wanted to have the speaker facing foreward,so the sound comes out of the saber the same way as the blade.
Disclaimer: this is not my idea in origin.When I first saw Snilam's twin Kylo concept hilts (Force Foundry on YouTube),his approach of having the sound blasting forward out of the crystal chamber just blew me away- made perfect sense to me,that's the direction the blade emits after all,right?I couldn't engineer that,but I hope he won't mind my borrowing that method at the rear of my hilt instead (you're a genius,Shawn! 🙏🏻 ).
Thus,a Smuggler's Outpost Dark Side 28mm bass speaker goes in like so:
...with the pommel fitting over that:
Keystone holder & KeepPower 18650 battery in place:
with a Shtok 10-pole connector going forward to the main hilt,& the GHv3 board crowning the whole thing:
Phew,it all fits in after a certain amount of fettling.
I now have a kit of parts for the main hilt too.From the top of the saber down,I'm going with a KR Sabers neopixel blade connector pcb set; then my open crystal chamber in the main cutaway section of the hilt,lit by an Adafruit single neopixel; then my custom Delrin chassis insert,on which the switch box mounts into the hilt side slot (buttons yet to be finalised but will fit on inside the switch box cover almost last of all),& through which all the wires run down to the pogo pin half of the Shtok 10-pole pcb set,complete with brass rod (this is necessary as the pcbs have a specific orientation,due to the blue illuminated switch's wiring):
The main body of the hilt has actually gone through a lot since you all last saw it too.I attacked it with the stainless steel brush attachment on my rotary tool for weathering (still feeling a pang for the beautiful anodising,but the saber's a weathered one.Had to be done!),then applied the ribbed brass section with an adhesion promoter/primer followed by applications of Rustoleum metallic gold (weathered with black for the brassy effect) & black enamel to add some extra texture.
A huge THANK YOU to our very own Darkmatter73 for his generous tips & advice on this when I reached out to him- he's the man if you need painting pointers,& his help & encouragement were invaluable (even if my own poor execution meant I had to do it all twice... came out better second time anyway!😅 Cheers Adam!🙏🏻 ).
You'll also see the side tabs around the grip section are now in place,along with the rear cage & the spine on the underside; these are now in fact permanently adhered to the hilt,thanks to the amazing metal JB Weld- this stuff has rewritten my aversion to adhesive solutions,& will be my go-to product in future when necessary.Thanks to that,the entire back end shell of the saber is now one piece forever!
The guides for the external red wire are now on too,made from paper clips carefully abused into shape & stuck on with more JB Weld,then slightly weathered with Humbrol black enamel model paint for grime effect.
The front shroud,vent box & sights are also weathered as standard across the hilt,& will of course be fitted late into the install.
Enough talk- here are the pics:
& next? ...time to try & actually install this thing.😬
If you made it this far,thanks for checking in,everyone!🙏🏻