How durable is a DIY Vader saber with 3D printed parts?

Raaven1990

New Member
I’m experimenting with a 3D printed clamp, grips, and shroud over a bare aluminum tube. I haven’t seen anyone try this before, so I really question the integrity when a blade is added in.
 
I think your attachment method will be the weakest thing. 3d parts at that size and dimensions are pretty strong, but the surface area of attachment is often the weak point. Having said that, you should be just fine.
 
I think your attachment method will be the weakest thing. 3d parts at that size and dimensions are pretty strong, but the surface area of attachment is often the weak point. Having said that, you should be just fine.
I’m planning on using glue to secure the parts. Retention screws could put a bit of stress on the plastic, I imagine
 
Two quick thoughts:

When printing, be sure to orient your prints so that they will not delaminate at their stress points. This might mean more supports in unsightly areas.

I like to use JB Weld for attaching plastic to metal.

Good luck!
 
This is a polished aluminum tube with all 3d printed parts I designed for my Halloween Vader display. Although it is a static display the parts are sturdy. I would think your biggest challenge would be how the blade is retained.
IMG_2195.jpeg
 
This is a polished aluminum tube with all 3d printed parts I designed for my Halloween Vader display. Although it is a static display the parts are sturdy. I would think your biggest challenge would be how the blade is retained.View attachment 1800443

Even if ABS, the parts are not going to be that strong. If you start grabbing of dueling, they are going to break.

Consider printing and processing the 3D prints to as perfect as you can get, then mold them and cast them in black out of something like TASK 16 rubber.
 
I would think if you were going to use it for dueling then you would definitely want to make it more comfortable and easier to hold. You would want to use a 1.25” diameter tube and probably just use some black tape to emulate the grips. I’d also lose the center control box. Just look at the mods the OT did to their sabers for production
 
I ordered a 3D printed hilt on eBay and it broke during shipping. I then replaced the main body with a PVC tube and added a wood support inside.
The hilt is much more durable that way, but only as a belt hanger. It would not recommend it for adding a blade, much less for fencing.
 

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Even if ABS, the parts are not going to be that strong. If you start grabbing of dueling, they are going to break.

Consider printing and processing the 3D prints to as perfect as you can get, then mold them and cast them in black out of something like TASK 16 rubber.
What about filaments like PETG? Or are the layer lines always the stress points for all of them?
 
What about filaments like PETG? Or are the layer lines always the stress points for all of them?
Even Pet G.

I love using PetG, but if you want parts that can be used for more than show, make it out of metal (like aluminum) or cast it; make a mold, then cast it in something sturdier than what a 3D printer can make

When you make a piece to cast, add a piece that will make it attach better to the base or get some super powerful adhesive.
 
How strong a 3D printed part is depends a massive amount on *how you printed it*. A 3D printer has a huge number of variables that can be user controlled, and all of these have an impact.

Joevader's purchased sabre was very likely printed with relatively thin walls and large layer heights. This minimises the time the printer needs to finish the job, but also makes the part weaker. The relationship between wall thickness and strength is pretty obvious, but the relationship between layer height needs some thinking about.

When an FDM printer adds a layer, it's squeezing plastic through a round hole. This creates a round bead of plastic, which then gets smooshed down because the layer height is less than the diametre of the nozzle. The result is basically a rectangle with the short ends rounded off. The larger the layer height, the closer it is to being the same size as the nozzle, and thus the closer the layer becomes to being a true circle. Which means the larger the layer height, the smaller the contact patch between the layers.

So if you want a really strong 3d printed part, take the time and plastic to do it right. Use lots of perimitres so the walls are good and thick, and layer heights down around 25% of the nozzle diametre so the layer adhesion is as strong as possible. Printing on a 45 degree angle so the stresses are rarely along the layer lines can help, too.

Infill shape and density has an effect as well, but that's more complex and I need to get to work soon.

For good looks and easy finishing, ABS is my personal go-to: it's harder to print, but it's a relatively soft plastic so it's easy to sand smooth, and it can be solvent-welded with less toxic chemicals like acetone. For sheet part strength, PLA is actually stronger as long as you don't need to worry about it getting too warm. For something like a dueling sabre, I'd probably use PETG - it's a little bit flexible, so it will absorb impacts better. But since even a steel sword will eventually snap at the tang, I'd also accept that using a 3d printed lightsabre for dueling means eventually something is going to fail and I'll need to repair/replace it.
 
I agree that a printed saber would not be sufficiently strong enough for duelling but the original poster mentioned printed parts over an aluminum tube. I think a control box and shroud printed in PLA would be fine for this as they would just be cosmetic.
The real trick would be how functional the design is and whether it would be something that could easily be handled. There is a reason duelling sabers have thinner hilts and no grips.
 
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