Take 10 of the polywashers
and prepare them for painting. Use a sharp knife and some sandpaper to smooth out any burrs or flash. You may want to hit them with layer of primer, though roughing up the surface is usually all you need. Now paint 5 polywashers silver (or chrome) and paint the other 5 black
. Most spray paints work well, though I do recommend something specifically designed for plastics such as model paint. The third time I made one of these, I actually used standard model paint applied with a brush and found it worked very well. It will be a while before you actually use these washers, but at least now they will be ready when you do need them. Give the paint plenty of time to dry, several days if you can.
This step is optional, but if done properly can make a significant difference in the over all appearance of your saber. What you want to do is give those plumbing tubes
a machined look. Using some medium to fine sandpaper lightly sand the tubes, moving radially around the tube. This will give the tube a flatter look, similar to aluminum or brushed steel. Don't get carried away sanding, though, because the plating on these tubes is thin and you don't want to wear it completely off.
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Cutting the Tubes
The Inner Tube
Okay, it's time to start making some cuts, but first let's talk about the measurements I'm going to use. Basically I took my finished saber and parts, put them next to a ruler and then recorded the numbers. When I was actually making the saber I just cut where I thought it looked best. This design is very flexible. The numbers I'll use will work, but if you think a section is too short or too long, or you want a button closer to the grip.. then do it. That's what I did.
Take your 1.25" extension tube
and cut of about one inch of the flared end
. The new overall length of the tube should be about 10.50".
The Outer Tube Sections
Take the 1.50" Tailpiece
. Cut off 1.50" section
. This section will become your emitter shroud. Now cut off a 1.00" section
. This will be the control collar. Finally cut a third section to a length of about 1.25"
. This is going to be the pommel section. These cuts can be done with a Dremel or even a hacksaw (I don't recommend it) and if your using the Dremel for this then you should use a large cut-off wheel to give your hand some clearance. What I used was a tube/pipe cutter
that I got from SEARS for around $20. This is definately the easiest way to go, though you should insert a more solid pipe or dowel inside the tube while you cut to prevent the thin metal from deforming.
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Take three unpainted polywashers
. Slide them onto the 1.25" extension tube, moving all the way down until the flaring section stops them
. Now take one of the polywashers that you painted silver and slide it down the tube to the other washers
, making sure that the widest end of the washer is toward the flared section of the tube. The emitter shoud will now slide over the three unpainted polywashers, but we'll save that step for last since it will be easier to work with the saber without the tube section on for now.
Take the five polywashers that you painted black. Slide them down the until the meet the silver polywasher
. I had all of my black washers aligned so that the widest ends were toward the flared end of the tube, but this is a great place to experiment with what you like best. Place the washers the opposite way, or alternate them, or whatever. You know the saber actually looks really cool if you use black washers where I call for silver and silver where I call for black, or washers of all one color (either color).
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The Control Collar
The Collar Body
Take 2 silver polywashers, 4 unpainted polywashers, and your 1.00" tube section
. Slide a silver washer down the tube until it meets the vent washers. The washer should have its narrow side toward the flared (emitter) end
. Next slide on the 4 unpainted washers
. Next work the tube section over the unpainted washers
. Now you can move the lip of the tube to the edge of the silver washer and stop there or you can move it partially over that washer so that only the taperd portion shows. Either way looks fine. Now slide on the other silver polywasher with the widest side toward the emitter end
The Blade Length Adjuster (BLA)
Take a knurled nut
and cut it into two pieces at the "waist"
. We will want to use both pieces so be careful with the cut. Of course you can buy a pack of two knurled nuts for about $ 0.80, so you might want to pick up a couple extra. Take the larger, knurled portion and trim away any remnants of stem
. Since this piece will rest against the round tube, you may want to use a round grinding stone to put a slight round indenture in the piece to give it a more secure union. Take one of the brass machine screws and a nut to fit it
. Drill a hole that will accomodate the brass screw into the control collar tube, passing through the outer tube, the polywashers, and the inner tube
. Insert the screw through the knurled piece and into the control collar and secure it with the nut
The Activator Button
Take the other half of the cut knurled nut. Trim off the excess stem and prepare it to be seated against the round tube as you did with other half. Take a knurled brass screw
and insert it through the piece you just prepared
. Drill a hole through the collar to accommodate the knurled screw. Use your own judgement as to where you would like the activator in relation to the BLA. I placed mine 1/3 of the way around the saber as in the Obi-wan Episode One saber. Insert the activator assembly and secure it with a #8 nut
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Preparing the Grips
Okay, the first thing you need to do is get an idea of how long the grip section of the tube shall be. By this I mean the section of the 1.25" tube between the control collar and the pommel. To know that, you need to figure out how much of the 1.25" tube the pommel itself will take up. To know how much room the pommel with take up, simply add the length of your pommel tube section
to the length to two of you polywashers. It will probably be somewhere between 1.25" and 2.00". Once you know that you can figure out how much space you have for the actual grips. I ended up with 5-3/8" for mine. Take your section length and subract abount 1.00" for the length of your individual grips. This will give a 0.50" clearance on either side of the grips. Now take you wiper refills
. You'll see that they consist of a rubber blade set into a plastic track. Cut off one of the tips and slip out the rubber blade. It's the plastic track that you'll be using. Next cut yourself six even sections of grip using the measurement you determined above
. It is important to the look of the saber that you make all the grips the same length. To make it easier I screwed some wood screws as stops into a wooden block
. With this and my Dremel, I made short work of creating equal segments.
Drilling the Grip Tube
Okay, you've got six grips and you're going to end up putting two screws in each of them, so it looks like you're going to need to drill twelve holes into your grip tube. You need to make yourself a grip-hole pattern. Figuring out where you want theses holes isn't really that tough, though this step can be one of the most frustrating. If you gave yourself 0.50" clearance from the pommel/control collar to the edge of the grip, then you're holes will need to be about 1.00" from the pommel/control to give you a 0.50" clearance from the edge of the grip to hole that will secure it. Next you need to determine the spacing around the tube. Just measure the distance around the tube (probably right at 10cm) and divide that by the number of grips to get your spacing (so about 1.67cm between each hole). Draw your pattern on some ruled paper
so that you can use the lines to help you line the paper up correctly when you place it on the tube
. Tape the pattern on the tube and drill the twelve holes to accomdate the #3 machine screws
Preparing the Grips Part II
Now it's time put some screw holes into those grips. Obviously you need for the holes in the grips to line up perfectly with the holes in the tube. The easiest way to do this is to use the same pattern on the grips that you used on the tube itself
. Once you drill the small holes completely through the grip, you will have widen the top layer of the plastic grip to accommodate the head of the machine screw
. Just use a blunt conical grinding stone in the Dremel to open up the hole, but make sure you don't go through the bottom.
Attaching the Grips
Take your completed grips and the #3 machine screws and attach them with #3 nuts
. Securing the screws nearest the pommel end is pretty easy, but the ones near the control collar can be a bit of a pain. The problem is that unless you're Yarael Poof
, your fingers aren't long enough to get those nuts started easily. What I ended up doing is sticking the nuts on a little piece of tape that is on a long stick and using that to get them started on the machine screws. It's a test of patients. An alternate method, and one that I will probably use in the future is for you to use a pop-riveter
instead of the screw/nuts. They're easy and quick to use and you can get one and an assortment of rivets at Wal-mart for $10. The only real downside is that you'll have to cut or drill the rivets to get them off...though that may actually be another plus. Finally, if you don't want the screw heads to be so visible, you may want to paint them black.
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The Pommel Body
Whew... back to some easy stuff. Take one of the the silver poly washers and slide it onto the tube so that the widest side is toward the pommel end
. The remaining three unpainted polywashers and slide them onto the tube as well
. Now take the pommel tube section
and work it over the unpainted washers, leaving just enough tube showing to add that last silver polywasher. The narrow end of the that final washer should end up flush with the end of the tube
The Clip Knob: AKA Recharge Port
Take the other knurled nut
. You need to cut this one as well, but this time you want to keep the stem intact. You're basically cutting of the flared, but non-knurled, portion
. Clean up the end of the stem with a grinding stone, but don't take off more metal than you have to
. When clipping this knob into a belt clip, it often works best if the center of the knob is recessed to allow a locking pin of some sort to hold it in place. I use a microphone mounting bracket (Radio Shack #21-923), but the knob on this saber will work with several universal cell phone belt clips. Anyway, take your other brass machine screw
and test fit it into opening on the knob. It should be about flush on the surface. Take a conical grinding stone and begin reaming out the hole in the knob until the head of the screw sits recessed into the knob. Next drill a hole through the pommel to accomodate the screw and secure the knob assembly to it with a nut. I placed my belt clip knob 1/3 of the way around the saber from both Activator and the BLA.
Plugging the Hole
Take the 1-1/8" metal hole plug
. This is going to fill the end of the pommel, but will need some modification. Take a pair of pliers and bend all the prongs outward slightly until you get a secure fit
. In case you are wondering, yes, I tried the 1-1/4" hole plug, but it just didn't look right.
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Emitter Finishing Touches
If you haven't done so yet, you can take the emitter tube section
and place it over the unpainted polywashers at the flared end of your tube
. The emitter tube section that you made was very simple and plain and I actually like it best that way, but this is another great place to experiment with different looks for the saber
just by cutting this tube differently
This is one of those areas that you can really get creative in. I decided that I would take a very, very easy and inexpensive option on mine. Take the Fujifilm Film canister
. Cut off a secton of the end with the cap. Drill out the center portion of the cap (or don't..use your imagination), and paint the cap as you would like
. Glue the canister section into the remaining flared portion of the extension tube
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Okay, that's it, you should be done. How did it go? If you have any questions or comments please email me.