First Lightsaber: The Holiday Special

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sbeall

Active Member
So, yeah, what have I done? I promised myself I wouldn't build this lightsaber. I would only build small arms from A New Hope, that would keep this new hobby in check. That didn't work out so well.
While searching for vintage Graflex 3-cells (which I can't afford and shouldn't be looking at), I found a No. 2773 instead, and despite my best efforts, somehow I pressed the "Buy it Now" button. At the same time I discovered NeoRutty's amazing build thread: T'is the season! Luke's Holiday Special lightsaber! and then TrooperTrent and Halliwax's collaboration here: TrooperTrent Holiday Special Lightsaber Series Then I discovered a run of kit parts had already started! And was sold out. I missed the boat by literally a couple of weeks. Oh well, nothing to do but make it up as I go.
I really don't want to call this a build thread, because I don't think I can do anything that NeoRutty, Halliwax, TrooperTrent, Dann, or any of the others who have posted about this project can't do. They are the originators, the trailblazers; I'm merely following in their footsteps.
Stay tuned for updates and pictures. Right now the Unicorn Princess (she's three) demands my attention.
 
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sbeall

Active Member
Stealing another few minutes: The Graflex 2773 in the wild.

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And the goal:
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(This is not my image, it's been repeated in other threads so many times I'm not sure who the originator is.)

Disassembly. The flash is in great condition, with moderate wear around the bulb holder, a few little nicks in the main tube, and some tape residue proximal to the end cap (maybe someone taped a business card there).
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Bending the tongue and fitting it into the bulb socket. There is much discussion in the TrooperTrent thread about the shape of the tongue, and exactly how this was done. I've opted for the Halliwax V1 configuration, which I think matches pretty closely, and is very simple to execute.
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I'm assuming everyone here has read the previous threads, and watched Halliwax's videos on Youtube, so I'm not going in to great detail here. If I'm wrong, let me know and I'll explain my methods much better.
Until next time.
 

Serenity

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Good luck with your build! Say what you want about its looks, but I like this prop simply because it uses something other than the normal Graflex and it's always interesting to see builds like that.
 

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sbeall

Active Member
So at the same time as I was bending the tongue to shape, I also measured out patterns for the shroud.
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And for the arrows. I also masked off the top black panel, and transferred the arrow pattern to masking tape to make a stencil I could stick directly to the tube.
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Ultimately, I would decide these were a little too tall and bring the roofs down just a hair.

And then there was paint. Krylon Fusion Satin Black. This paint comes out beautiful. (Also being used on parts for an ANH DL-44 right now. Let's just leave it at "ooh-ahhh.")
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Until next time.
 

sbeall

Active Member
Thanks Dann. I used to draw patterns for leather items all the time, but I’ve been out of that for several years. I really liked doing that and it was nice to get back to it.
 

sbeall

Active Member
Thanks, but don’t jump the gun. These patterns are just blue construction paper and cardstock. I guess with out any other reference it does look like sheet metal. Sorry to get you all excited for nothing. I’ll be cutting aluminum shortly while I wait for paint to cure.
 

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sbeall

Active Member
Okay, so where were we?
Oh yeah, construction paper and sanding, valve caps and paint...
Filling and sanding on the control box. I'm trying really hard to get rid of all the print lines. I applied blue masking tape to my spare box and drew and cut out patterns for the silver tape.
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I also found some #6 1/2 in. sheet metal screws in my electrical tool kit (how appropriate), and a surprising item for the knurled switch!
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That's right! Simple valve caps in my box of odds and ends. Cut off the dome, cut one side level, and there you go. It does really fill the square cut out. Maybe I'll up-size the control box after all.
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(Love that satin black!)

Then it was time for the part I had least looked forward to. The one thing which had me worried about this build. Cutting off the tube threads.
So re-reading the Trooper_Trent thread, I realized I had one of the better Graflex 2773s out there. Quite by chance I have the cardboard tube intact, thick body tube and separate bottom thread insert; "Graflex" in the middle of the tube, and all text is impressed in; I also have the coin-slot style base cap.
Now, I was worried when I bent the tongue, but I knew I could make a new one if I broke it. I can't make a new tube, and it will be much harder to fix if I screw this up.
To be continued...
 

sbeall

Active Member
There was no reason to worry. I gave myself an entire thread below the final tube bottom, and filed the excess back until I reached the tape. Luckily all this aluminum is very easy to cut with a hacksaw and hand files.
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T-track and gaffer tape arrived. I just need to fabricate the shroud and end plug, and dismember a light, before it's on to final assembly. (And paint the valve cap, and cut the T-track to length, and maybe reprint the control box a bit larger...)
 

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sbeall

Active Member
Quick one today: Control box is done (at least until I decide to reprint it). Everything came together nicely. Screws threaded in and superglued; the patterns made from masking tape fit like a glove; valve cap painted. I found some silver tape at Lowe's, which turns out to be real aluminum foil, with a protective film over the adhesive. It was perfect. I just cut a length, stuck the ends to my cutting mat, and cut out the patterns. Then I lifted the foil off the backing. Once burnished down, it's not going anywhere.
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I sprayed the valve cap with silver, but the vinyl (?) it's made from holds paint very badly. It may chip easily. We'll see how long it lasts.
Also, T-track is cut, tube is marked for gaffer tape, shroud and end cap are coming along.
Until next time.
 

sbeall

Active Member
Here we go! One completed, ugly lightsaber. I'm really pleased with how this came out. (Even some of my co-workers think this is cool, and they're a bunch of trained apes...without the training ;)) Let's take a look:

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So one thing that I went back and forth on was t-track placement. Uneven like Trent and Halliwax propose, or evenly spaced (idealized)? My OCD tendencies would be bothered either way. In the end, I went with even spacing. I figured that uneven grips would bug me far more than not being screen accurate. People I show the saber to might even think I had done a sloppy job, not understanding that I was just copying the original prop makers. So anyway, I measured the circumference of the flash at 119mm, which gave me a 17mm OC track spacing. Once marked out, it was time for tape.

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I hid the seams under the t-track.

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Sparing amounts of E6000 for all the glue.

And the final components:
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