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Author Topic: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)  (Read 4990 times)

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Offline ice

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Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« on: May 27, 2014, 07:11:53 AM »
About a month ago, I bought an empty Gladius hilt from SF, as it's a hilt I've wanted for a long time, and couldn't resist the $99 price tag.  2 weeks later, I got my saber, and proceeded to wire it up with a NB v2, FOC, and a removable 18650 cell.  It worked fine, except that because the saber is a one piece aluminum body, in order to get the battery out, I had to remove the speaker from the chassis, which meant straining wires.  These wires eventually broke, and I re-soldered them a few times and had thick shrink wrap around the wires for stability, but they still broke again.  There where other problems too, such as the battery disconnecting from the holder I built on a hard thrusting strike, and the fact that the board wouldn't sleep.  I also had to use one of the smaller speakers, as I couldn't fit in the normal bass speaker due to how thin the hilt is internally, so the hilt had no vibration and it just wasn't as loud as I wanted.  In light of all this, a few days ago I decided I was going to scrap the build and start over.  It's been a few years since I've built a saber, but I've thought out my new design and I'm pretty sure it will work out.


This build is heavily inspired from this: Sith Lightsaber Custom Build (Custom Venom with reveal core) which I think turned out great.


Goals of this build:
Very structurally stable
Re-machined hilt
"Kryat Bone"
Powered by NB v2
FOC
High bass speaker
Removable 18650 cell
Interesting internal core
Possibly a crystal chamber


So let's start from the beginning.  Here's how the hilt looked when I got it:








While I think this hilt is GORGEOUS, I am unable to really connect with it until I alter it myself to make it one of a kind.  I'm of the opinion that no 2 lightsabers should be the same, as that's how it is in the starwars universe, and as someone who cosplays as a Jedi Knight, I wouldn't want my lightsaber to match anyone elses.


First thing I had to do was cut the saber in half.  This would allow me to have a removable section that could be slid off to reveal the core and be able to change the battery.  This made me rather uncomfortable, as I don't personally have a band saw or chop saw, so I knew I wasn't going to get a clean cut.  I took the saber to a friends house who does have a band saw, only to find out that he doesn't have a metal cutting blade upon my arrival -_-  He did have a portable band saw that could get through the hilt, but it wouldn't insure a clean cut.  Out of options, I decided to go for it, and figured I could clean the cut up later by sanding.





Not a very straight cut, but the sides look fine after sanding.  They don't actually have to line up, as they'll both be covered by a "Kryat Bone" sheath when the saber is assembled, they just have to look nice for the reveal core.


I decided that I wanted to make the saber a bit thinner then it currently is, as the OD is a tad bit larger then MHS parts, and I prefer a thinner saber.  I also wanted to take in the ring before the emitter a bit, so that it created more of a choke.  I don't have access to a lathe, and didn't want to hand sand the hilt for hours and hours, so I got creative.  I made a PVC/polycarbonate core to go inside the saber and then be locked down by the retention screw that allowed it to nest inside my drillpress.




I then went through a variety of different grains of sandpaper, starting at 60 and going up to 400.  The hilt is a bit thinner now, and all the edges are rounded, so it's now a quite comfortable saber to wield.  I also took in the middle ring on the emitter more then the main body, creating a bit of the choke point that I wanted.



MORE TO COME
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Offline Professor Huyang

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 07:46:51 AM »
Awesome build so far. Very creative with the drill press. I am watching this one, sir.
"Many years I have been on this ship teaching many a Jedi before you, and I will continue teaching many a Jedi after you. Call me what you want, but inside my memory banks I contain a record of every lightsaber ever made, and the Jedi who fashioned it."
―Huyang


Offline Darth Ryô

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 07:56:00 AM »
I imagine you've seen that one as well => Jedi Lightsaber Custom Build (Custom Gladius with reveal core)

I'm happy I could inspire ^^
These mods makes the hilt much better indeed! I'll follow you build log with great interest too  ^-^
Can't wait to see what will be next!

Funny thing, I used the same drill trick to polish mine ^^
Sanding the hilt even more is a great idea too! The choke looks great indeed!

Offline ice

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 09:20:30 AM »
I imagine you've seen that one as well => Jedi Lightsaber Custom Build (Custom Gladius with reveal core)

No, I hadn't seen that.  I thought I was the first one to do a Gladius -_-
It looks really good, I wish I had access to a 3d printer for my chassis.  I've also laid out my internals differently then you have, putting the NB further in the hilt and in line with the 18650 cell holder rather then stacking them.

What's also interesting me is it looks like your Gladius has grey anodizing, which is what's seen on SF's website, where as mine came with flat black anodizing.
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Offline Vercify

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 10:30:57 AM »
I imagine you've seen that one as well => Jedi Lightsaber Custom Build (Custom Gladius with reveal core)

No, I hadn't seen that.  I thought I was the first one to do a Gladius -_-
It looks really good, I wish I had access to a 3d printer for my chassis.  I've also laid out my internals differently then you have, putting the NB further in the hilt and in line with the 18650 cell holder rather then stacking them.

What's also interesting me is it looks like your Gladius has grey anodizing, which is what's seen on SF's website, where as mine came with flat black anodizing.

Everyone has access to a 3D printer through shapeways!!





Offline Darth Ryô

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 11:30:32 AM »
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!



Offline ice

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 10:23:11 PM »
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.
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Offline Greebles

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2014, 05:57:27 AM »
The bone grip turned out really nice.

I used PVC as a bone handle on one of my builds but was never really able to get it to take color the way I wanted. I hadn't thought of using Delrin as it has a waxiness about it. Did you find that to be an issue?

-Denzil

Offline Arryck Corso

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2014, 07:34:58 AM »
That grip looks awesome ice!!  I think using the delrin was a great idea.  If you don't mind me asking, the brown wash you used to achieve the final look, what is it called (brand) and where did you find it?  I wouldn't mind trying this myself in the future. 


The question isn't who is going to let me;  It's who is going to stop me!

Offline ice

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2014, 08:39:30 AM »
The bone grip turned out really nice.

I used PVC as a bone handle on one of my builds but was never really able to get it to take color the way I wanted. I hadn't thought of using Delrin as it has a waxiness about it. Did you find that to be an issue?

-Denzil

Thank you :)
I actually really liked the waxiness of the derlin, and thought it would feel really good as a grip, but once I started to sand it, the waxiness went away.  It seems like it was only waxy because of a coating that was put on it, or because it was super smooth.  I only went up to 220 grit when I sanded down my grip, so it still has a bit of texture to it, which makes it feel organic in your hands.

That grip looks awesome ice!!  I think using the delrin was a great idea.  If you don't mind me asking, the brown wash you used to achieve the final look, what is it called (brand) and where did you find it?  I wouldn't mind trying this myself in the future. 


Thanks again :)
I don't mind at all.  The paint came from games-workshop, and is one of their brown wash paints.  Unfortunately, GW changes around their paints alot, and the one I used was a few years old, so it's no longer available.  However, there are other brown/tan washes that will do the job just as well, and perhaps better.  Here is a link to purchase wash paints (which are now apparently called "shade" paints) from their website Citadel Shade | Games Workshop Webstore  I would probably use Agrax Earthshade and/or Nuln Oil.
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Offline Arryck Corso

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 09:10:21 AM »
Thanks ice!  I'll have to pick some of that up and give it a try.   :D


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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 09:41:49 AM »
Well this turning out nice. Your log is detailed and well worded.

That bone thing really turned out nice. Good idea on the wash. I keep thinking crazy colors for some alien beast. Next time ;)

The sandpaper thing when you did the inner bore, ever tried a flapper wheel or flexiwheel(I think that's the name)? Some times they remove too much material. You route was slower but more precise. Measure twice, cut once.

Keep the logs coming. ^-^

MTFBWY

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 10:22:37 AM »
That derlin faux-bone grip came out very nice; nice job!

Offline ice

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2014, 11:13:10 AM »
Thanks for the comments guys, they're very encouraging :)

I've gotten alot of work done on the internal core/chassis.  I started with the two aluminum tubes I received from McMaster, cut them down to the correct size, and sanded away the ends a bit so they would fit together (.05" to small internally to thread together).  I then used a rubber mallet to force the pipes together, creating a very sturdy fit.  These pieces together sit nearly perfectly inside the hilt, with almost no play between them.  I then drilled through the hilt and both pipes at the base of the saber, locking it down with retention screws, so there is zero play between anything, and they're certainly not going to be coming apart.  I marked out the areas I would need to drill out of the chassis, like the switch hole, crystal chamber opening, and slot for the 18650 cell.  I unscrewed the chassis from the hilt and spent a few hours drilling and sanding.  Here's how it looked when I was finished:

   

It's not completely perfect, but nothing I do is, so it's good enough for me :)

   

Mock up of battery fit:




I also made attachment points for the bone grip.  I wasn't happy just having one tightening screw, as it simply didn't feel secure enough to me, so I went ahead and did two.  One screw passes through the open hole, ensuing that the bone grip can not possibly move on the chassis, and the second screw tightens the bone grip on the chassis and saber hilt, ensure there is no play between the pipes.  Together, they make an extremely sturdy connection, and I'm not at all worried about them breaking or coming apart accidentally.




For the bone grip itself, I didn't want to fill it with holes for retention screws to tighten onto the chassis, so I came up with a way to use the covertec button as a retention screw as well.  One issue with this was I wanted both of the retention screws to use the same allen key, as it would be a major pain to need to different tools to open up this saber, so I had to use the same type of screw in both places, as different retention screws with the same thread pattern still use different allen keys (riddle me that).  I ended up using two 10-32 button head screws, and grinding the head on one of them way down so that it could fit inside the hole of the covertec button.  I also glued down the covertec button to the metal underneath the bone grip using some slow setting superglue, and tightening the set screw to ensure it was centered correctly (this took a few tries but it worked out great).  That way, when I undo the set screw inside the covertec button to slide the bone sleeve off, the covertec doesn't come loose, but when it's hanging from my belt, the retention screw will be tight on the covertec, using that as its support instead of putting pressure on the glue.

   

I really like the way the attachment system turned out, as it is extremely sturdy, I didn't have to make a bunch of holes, and I can still remove it with a single tool.  I also think that the way it looks is quite nice, with the covertec button actually sunk bellow the bone, and the second retention screw resting ontop of the bone, it makes it look like it's actually built into the saber as a functional piece, rather then simply being a grip that was added later.  I also gave the bone another wash, to make it just a bit darker, and more streaky in places.  I think it looks a little better like this, as it's not all one color, but a few different shades of the same color mixed together.


And because I haven't had a full shot of the saber in a while:




And now I'm back to playing the waiting game.  I ordered another NB v2 as I'm pretty sure I fried the first one while removing it from the saber, and it didn't have a sleep function so I'd like to put in a fresh one anyway.  I've also got a few smaller things on the way, as well as a crystal for the crystal chamber.  I wanted to use either a glass or real crystal, not a plastic one.  After hunting around, I decided I wanted to go with a sapphire crystal, as everyone seems to use quartz in light sabers and I want to use something different.  I also wanted my crystal to be naturally colored blue rather then be clear and then an LED turn it blue upon operation.  I really love the way sapphire looks, a very deep, sparkly blue.  I eventually found what I was looking for on Ebay, a lab created sapphire crystal in the right cut for a great price.  Here's how it looks:



That should arrive mid-late this week, so I'll be able to start on the crystal chamber assembly then.  Other then that, all I have left to do is make a few brackets to hold everything in place internally, and wire it all up, unless I'm forgetting something (which I don't think I am).  But we'll see when everything gets here.  I plan on making the crystal chamber internally hollow, so that there will be no seal between it and the speaker at the back of the saber, so sound should leak out from both the pommel and the crystal chamber, making the saber just a bit louder.  This is a trick I used on a saber staff I made a few years ago, which worked great, so I'm anxious to see how it works in a single bladed saber.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 11:17:29 AM by ice »
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Offline Vercify

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Re: Custom Gladius re-build with internal core (WIP)
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2014, 01:38:44 PM »
That bone grip turned out phenomenal, this looks great so far! There have been so many unique builds lately, it's great to see!