Shapeways it is indeed ;)
I just made the design, the rest goes throught my shapeways shop for now, until I get my hands on a decent 3D printer ^-^
No, I hadn't seen that. I thought I was the first one to do a Gladius -_-
Sorry my point wasn't meant to say I was first, just to show you another example closer to your build than the Venom...
They are a few custom Gladius out there already, but fear not mate, yours will be unique still ;)
And I'm looking forward to see it!
I knew what you meant, it's no problem. You do have some amazing builds :)
I haven't seen anyone do up a Gladius, I'd love to see some other examples of peoples work for inspiration.
Got some parts in today! These came from McMaster, and consist of 2 aluminum tubes which I'm going to use to make the chassis, and 1 derlin tube, which will be used to make the Krayt Bone grip.
Before I got to work with those, I decided I wanted to go ahead and give this saber a crystal chamber. The only logical place I could find for this was in the mid choke section, which is where SF puts it on their crystal version of the saber. I'm really not a fan of the huge gaping holes in saber hilts to reveal crystal assemblies, and prefer a smaller, stream lined opening. I also only have room for this to be viewed from one side, as the NB v2 will be housed in the other side of the choke section. I was planning on doing 3 thin, vertical slots to intersect the choke. However, this was going to be very difficult to do by hand, as I don't have a milling machine, so I started by drilling two holes in the saber with my drill press. The holes were uneven, so I had to file away a little at each side to form a straight line. This meant that the opening was already much larger then I wanted it. Here's how it looked:
Given that I would no longer be able to fit in my 3 slot idea, I decided to run with what I had and sanded it down a bit.
After a while of looking at it and thinking about the crystal chamber, I decided that it was too small. I didn't want it any wider, but it did need to be longer. So I took it back to the drill press to widen the hole, then filed and sanded it down into a smooth, uniform shape. I think it turned out quite well, making an attractive yet slim oval shape. While it's not what I was originally planning, I do think it looks very nice, and will provide a good viewing angle of the crystal assembly without taking to much away from the tool-like look of the saber.
After I was happy with this, I got to work on the Krayt Bone section of the saber. GCS has never (to my knowledge) revealed what material his bone grips are made from, or how he makes them, so I took an educated guess. I have a background in plastics, which I'm much more comfortable working with then metals. I didn't want to use a "cheap" plastic like PVC, as it doesn't hold up all to well in thin sections, and is difficult to get paint to adhere to. I was thinking about using ABS or nylon, as I like both of them quite alot, but ended up going with derlin, which I've never worked with before, but was the only tube plastic I could find with an ID to match the OD of the hilt (or close at least, 0.1" to small, which is quite significant). It turned out to be a great choice, as derlin is a super dense, impact resistant plastic. On the down side, it is hard to cut and machine, but that also means that it will last alot longer.
I cut the derlin tube about .5" longer then the grip needed to be, as I wanted to extend the length of the saber just a bit to allow more room for the speaker to vibrate around inside the hilt, making the saber louder.
I then had to go about the business of actually getting it to fit onto the lower saber body, as it was quite a bit to small internally to slide over the aluminum housing. I don't have a bit that allows me to power sand the inside of a tube like this, and doing it by hand was nearly impossible, so I had to get creative.
I started by attaching 36 grit sandpaper around a 1" polycarb tube, and then putting the derlin grip over that, running it back and forth along the sandpaper while applying down force and making sure to rotate the grip to ensure an even internal sanding. This took a few hours (did I mention this plastic is insanely dense?), but eventually, the grip was down to a point where it was close to fitting onto the back of the saber.
I created another rig for my drill press that allowed me to spin the back end of the saber, and proceeded to sand off the black anodized coating. I didn't want to sand to much into the actual aluminum itself, but I did take it down just a bit. After this, the derlin grip was getting a good ways onto the aluminum before there was to much friction to stop it. Earlier, I had decided that I wanted to move the covertect wheel from the pommel to inside the bone grip, so I drilled the hole in the derlin to allow that to pass through, as I wouldn't be able to do so once the two pieces where mated.
I then squeezed the derlin grip over the back end of the saber, and pounded on it with a rubber mallet until they nested together completely.
I decided that just a straight bone grip was a little boring, so I modified my previous attachment to work with this grip, and put it back on the drill press to give the piece some shape. I was going for an hourglass figure, which I got pretty close to after alot of sanding. I started in the middle with 100 grit sandpaper, and slowly worked my way to the ends. Derlin also happens to eat sandpaper, so I went through ALOT of it, and it also gets quite hot while working with it, though it's melting temperature is extremely high, so it holds its shape perfectly, which makes working with it much closer to metal then plastic, which I found rather interesting.
I then carved vertical lines into the derlin using a sharp knife, by applying a lot of down force and moving very slowly. I varied the lines a bit, to provide some interesting shapes. I also stabbed at it quite a bit to create some pitting.
I then got to the point where I had no idea what I was doing. I needed to paint the grip to look like bone, but have had no real painting experience for such a task. I decided that I was going to paint small sections and then quickly rub the paint off with a paper towel, allowing just a bit of paint to stay in the vertical lines and pitting, but that didn't quite go as planned. I ended up with this:
... Which I didn't like at all. SOOO, it went back on the drillpress and got sanded off entirely. I re-carved some of the lines that where erased, and pitted the saber a bit more, and tried something else. I used a brown wash paint over the grip this time, applying it generously, and letting it dry. Here's how it turned out:
I think it turned out amazing. I made decide to add a few more scratches in places, and then apply another wash to make the color just a bit darker, but I do really like it. The wash also added a slight texture to the derlin, making it feel organic. It's not exact, but it is quite close to GCS's Krayt Bone grips, and I'm very pleased with it.
That's all I have for now, I'm going to start the chassis tomorrow and see how that goes.