Sunday, December 26, 2010

I knocked this Klingon communicator out in a couple days for a contest on the RPF. Didn't get first place, but I did get a sweet Spock beer stein out of it. The bit on the back is a rare-earth magnet to hold it on clothing.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

1£ Store lightsaber

The RPF hosted it's second annual dollar store lightsaber building contest this November. As I have still to find a job this was a great opportunity to stave off cabin fever and keep the modeling skills sharp. The 20£ cutoff insured I could afford it. I used the following parts, minus the ones that are crossed out. Mind you I've just moved to the U.K. so I had to do the whole thing with a Dremel.

Concept sketches

I dremeled out the crystal chamber window from the wee little flashlight, as well as the "vent holes" on the side. This flashlight was great, as I could use it's two screw off ends to attach it to the other internal segments. The crystal itself was cut from the invaluable ice-scraper's acrylic blade. For the internal mechanics of the crystal chamber I cut apart the accessories from the "Funtastic Police Play Set" which had a lot of great textures.

For the emitter I used the top screen from the microphone, but hollowed out the middle, then cut lenses from the pen and closet light to color and diffuse the LED's from the flashlight. I then glued these to the hollowed top of the flashlight.

Here it is all together. The wire is stripped from the microphone cord. I was hoping the mic
would have some cool electronic guts, but it was totally empty inside. Thanks Poundland.

For the shroud I used the Aquafresh tube. They were polyethylene, and if I had to choose a least favorite plastic it would be polyethylene. Nothing sticks to it, it gets all hairy when you cut it, and sanding it is a ghastly nightmare. But the tube fit nicely, so there you are.

For the pommel I wanted something that had interest and spoke to the rest of the saber. I used two sections of Aquafresh cap, the reflector cup from the flashlight, and some of the EVA foam.

To light the crystal I needed a seperate light source from the emitter, as it's battery supply wouldn't cover enough LED's to light both. I used the blue LED rig from the ice scraper (why do you need a light up ice-scraper?) and cut it down to fit in the base of the crystal chamber. I then used some of the microphone wire to run the switch to the handle.

Next the unthinkable happened and I dropped up my DSLR taking photos during the build. So, the contest ended up being a lot more expensive than 20£. I am such a dumbass.

I finally figured out I could focus by getting it in range physically and manually shooting. I'm still out a spendy lens, but here it is. I used the decorative mirror the landlord put up to make my tiny flat seem bigger for the backdrop. For the paint scheme I was inspired by McQuarrie's original sketches of the stormtroopers holding sabers. The sabers they were holding in the concept sketch looked suspiciously like Obi-Wan's, so I pushed the design to look more sinister and mass produced. Initially I wanted to do a more elaborate paint job using some blue details, but ran out of time.

I think my favorite bit is the crystal chamber. The only part I ended up using from the bike pumps was the bit holding the crystal and the power switch. The blade adjustment knob is a screw cap from the corkscrew sanded flat. I was really impressed with how sturdy the switches from dollar store crap were.

The grips are cut from two layers of the EVA foam sheet. I couldn't believe they sold that stuff at Poundland. That was the biggest score of the whole build. The charge port is the tip of the pen used for the emitter lens.