I needed to make a blade for CS-7, so I thought this time, why not snap a few pictures while I was doing for a simple tutorial! This should give custom saber buyers an idea of what goes into making up a blade, and for those that would like to try it themselves, as well!
So, here we go:
The first thing you'll need is a polycarbonate tube. In this case, we have a 36" long, 1" o.d. (outside diameter) thin-walled piece. (It has an inside diameter of 7/8"). We also have a 9 foot long, 30" wide roll of polypropylene (cellophane gift wrap). I use my kitchen counter, as it's about the easiest to clean surface in my house. You want to do this in as clean of a room as possible, and with out any air movement. (Try not to do it near a heat duct when your A/C or furnace is running, or you'll get a lot of dust and hair contamination in the blade.) Since the polyp film is full of static, any particle of dust or pet hair will stick to it, so clean the work surface prior to starting.
Make sure your blade tube is clean as well, especially if you had to cut it to length. I use a 3/8 dowel rod and a small piece of tack cloth to clean the interior of the tube. The tack cloth will pick up the dust particles that might be inside. Stuff the cloth into one end of the tube, and then push it through to the other end using the dowel rod. Repeat as necessary!
Because this roll of film is only 30" wide (see here to get a 40" x 100':Clear Cello Rolls
, we'll have to cut our film along the length of the film, rather than across the width:
Lay the blade across the film and give yourself enough film to trim some off later if you must. I usually cut it to about the same length of the blade just for that reason. You'll see why in a few moments. Cut the film:
I have to use a pair of fabric shears, as they are the sharpest pair we have. If you do it right, you can cut the film just like you would regular paper gift wrap....just hold down the film and shear as straight of a line through the film as possible.
When you have it cut, get a 3/4" dowel rod. Make sure you have a straight one! Lay the dowel rod across the film like so:
Roll the film up on the dowel rod:
Make sure the film is fairly tight, but not so tight that it doesn't move on the dowel. It also helps to roll it as straight across the dowel as possible, to keep the ends of the film in line. You really only need to make sure that one end is straight. That end will go into the tube first, to butt up against the blade tip. When it's rolled up, it will look like this:
It'll look a little bit like a chrome rod!
Slide it into the blade tube:
Repeat this step as necessary, to add more film. I used another roll, cut the exact same way, but rolled up on a slightly smaller dowel rod...I used a 5/8" for this second roll, and install that roll inside the first one.
With the film inside the blade, I added the blade tip to check the film:
Your blade film on the tip end needs to be straight to properly sit against the bottom of the blade tip. If it's not, slide the film out of the blade about 3 inches, and trim the edge with the scissors. This is why you want a little bit extra length on your film roll!
The other end of the film should be about 1/4" - 1/8"short of the end of the polyc tube. You may have to trim this as well.
Now's a good time to test it and check for dirt/hairs:
If your blade isn't evenly lit enough for you, add another roll of film. Or, if you have a wider film roll, use a longer roll. When I have a roll wide enough to roll the film across the width, I'll roll up anywhere from 4-6 feet of polyp film for a 32"-36" long blade. 5 feet usually works well enough for me.
Once you have the film to your liking, you can now glue the blade tip to the polyc tube:
I use Weld-On #16, as it's an acrylic welder, not really a glue. It chemically bonds the two pieces of polyc to each other for a tight fit. This is probably the best thing for the do-it-yourselfer to use. Get it at TAP Plastics.
Another option is Weld-On #3, but that is liquid, and can make a mess if you aren't careful. Weld-On #16 is a gel, and is easier to apply.
Apply a small bead* to the edge of the blade tip:
*I actually put on a little too much here! :-[
When you install the tip into the blade, give it a slight twist, to even the coverage of the cement. You might get some squeeze-out if you apply too much like I did:
Just clean it off with your thumb nail or razor blade, exacto knife, etc.
All cleaned! Be sure to allow 24 hours for the Weld-On to fully cure.This next step is optional depending on your preference.
The next thing to do is to glue in the blade film. This is why you want to have the film be a bit shorter than the tube. We're going to use some hot-glue to help keep the film from falling out when you remove your blade:
Apply a bead large enough to cover the edge of the film rolls, and also the polyc tube.
The final step? Install the blade in your saber, and have fun!