Lightsaber calc bubbles

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Clutch, May 6, 2009.

  1. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Finally decided to crack open the calculator and get the bubble strip out. There is no comparison between the real deal and a repro. The bubbles are crystal clear and not as squashed together.

    First, I unscrewed the back over and removed the main assembly from the case. The clear strip is held in place by plastic pins that are melted into the circuit board. I took a small needle file and popped it off by sticking the tip between the plastic and board.
    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the pins and how the bubbles are in a recessed area.
    [​IMG]

    I masked off the bubble area and cut the pins off with an exacto knife.
    [​IMG]

    Compared to an already finished one, you can see that the recessed area is the exact length the strip needs to be.
    [​IMG]

    I put the strip in a mitre box and carefully sawed the ends off.
    [​IMG]

    Now it is personal preference. Leave the strip tall or sand it down. I wanted mine to fit in the clamp better, so I sanded the bottom down. To do this, I started with 100 grit sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood. I then slid the strip back and forth to sand it down. I made sure to flip it every now and then to get an even sanding. I then worked my way up to finer and finer grains of sandpaper. Once sanding was finished, I completed it with some Novus scratch remover and polish.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  2. Grey

    Grey Sr Member

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    Ok, I dont build Lightsabers, but how the hell did someone ever figure out this is what the 'bubble strip' was from :confused
     
  3. sskunky

    sskunky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nice 1 Clutch!:thumbsup

    I'm still looking for the correct calculator, I keep missing them on the bay:cry

    Any sources? where I can get 1:love
    Mark.........
     
  4. Chingon

    Chingon Well-Known Member

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    The three I got all came from eBay. I'd say thats the best source unless you really get out there and pound the pavement for one.
     
  5. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    I found a case of mint ones in my grandfather's attic.














    Not! lol! I got mine from fleabay as well.
     
  6. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    That would be a fun story to hear. Not hard to believe that someone who was into props had once taken apart a calculator and knew how the old LED style was set up and just looked for one with the right number of lenses.

    IMO the most amazing discovery was the balance pipe. The obscure nature of the drawings that had to exist on the net in order to be searched, and the tiny little part in an exploded drawing which was the first clue. The false starts, wrong variants, uncertainty, and the many people involved--that was an amazing investigation.
     
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  7. TazVader

    TazVader Sr Member

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    I looked around too. Everyone who sells them apart 1 sells them too long. Maybe someone her should start an accurate run for all the lightsabers that Russ has made lol Mmm....there's and idea;)

    Regards
    TAZ
     
  8. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    it is unfortunate that the one guy I know who could do it is no longer casting
     
  9. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The ones from Blast-tech are fine but I've wished for years that someone would either make a pressure cast of an un-modified real bubble strip in a high density crystal-clear resin or have them milled and machined out of clear acrylic or lexan.

    I've never seen a replica bubble strip that even comes close to the correct shape and profile of a real one.
     
  10. TazVader

    TazVader Sr Member

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    Yeah....agreed.

    Taz
     
  11. Chingon

    Chingon Well-Known Member

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    I thought the ones GR did back in the day were pretty * good. But, it was GR, so who knows if anyone actually got them.
     
  12. sskunky

    sskunky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll keep searching ebay!:love
     
  13. TheRealMcFly

    TheRealMcFly Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You've nailed it. It's a shame because the Parks incorrect strip is probably the best in this respect. IIRC it has all of the correct elements on the back.
     
  14. SnDMaN

    SnDMaN Active Member

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    What's wrong with Blast-Tech's? They seem okay to me...
     
  15. scarf man

    scarf man Sr Member

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    That's just it, they are OK, not great replicas.
     
  16. Chingon

    Chingon Well-Known Member

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    But thats probably the best they are ever going to get. I dont think this is one of those items that really merits an all out "deluxe" version. I doubt enough people would want to pay more than what they already do for a replica calc bubble set. After all, its not like these are really that hard to find and when you do find them, they dont go for outrageous prices, either. Heck, I was even able to recoup a good portion of the money I spent on the vintage calcs by reselling them on eBay. The guy who runs that vintage TI calc website bought them. And yes, I fully disclosed how I had "modified" them.:)
     
  17. Darklighter

    Darklighter Well-Known Member

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    I still don't have the heart to take my exactra apart.:confused
     
  18. Probe Droid

    Probe Droid Master Member

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    Really? People are willing to buy them with the strips removed? Good to know.
     
  19. Chingon

    Chingon Well-Known Member

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    From what I've been told, the replica calc bubbles we normally use for our sabers will also work in the calcs. Assuming you didnt damage any of the electronics when removing the strip and that it worked in the first place, I guess it can be made to work again with a replica set.
     
  20. Ripcode

    Ripcode Well-Known Member

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    SWEET! :love
     
  21. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    Of course at least the ESB/ROTJ Vader saber uses the circuit board under the bubble strip as well - so that calculator would be scrap.
     
  22. Justin WFCOMICS

    Justin WFCOMICS Well-Known Member

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    Boy, this brings back memories :).

    There might be others who came to this prior and/or independently, but I was the one that "outed" the Exactra on the RPF years ago. This and proposing that the Luke ESB saber did not have a beer tab are two of my small and humble contributions to figuring out the OT Graflex based sabers.

    At the time, my post sparked a passionate debate since there was still varying opinions over what we were actually seeing in the available reference.

    I don't know who first theorized they might be or were LED magnifiying lenses, but I just followed that assumption (while personally believing that I should be looking for 7 bubbles) and began investigating 70s era electronics. At first I thought they might have been longer lense strips, such as those from a Speak & Spell, cut down but nothing I found came out to be the right size after it was cut. Finally, I came across the short-lived Exactra 19 and 20 models.

    If you examine enough of these, you'll discover there were actually two types of bubble strips in them. One is completely clear while the other is frosted with only the lense area being clear.

    Justin =)
     
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  23. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Very cool! I wish I hadn't of gotten in on the a##-end of all these discoveries. :lol
     
  24. franz bolo

    franz bolo Sr Member

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    Weird, post 21, 22 and 23 are all double posts on the 3rd page.

    FB
     
  25. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I took the liberty of using the pics in this thread as an example and added a 50% redline. Are the bubbles NOT completely round. See pictures attached. See what I mean?

    And when I opened all my TI Exactra 19's and TI 2000's all those bubbles were not full circle either :confused :eek :wacko

    So here's my question : Are all the authentic vintage calculator bubbles like that and thus are all the replica's mistaken? (The Parks has a perfect round finish.) :confused

    Any of you with real calculator bubbles ... could you please enlighten me.

    Thanks for you attention.

    Chaim
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  26. Sumatra

    Sumatra Sr Member

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    It's not cool to be posting live auctions.
     
  27. sskunky

    sskunky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I second that. I was thinking of bidding on this but I think I might give it a miss now every man and his dog knows about it! I'll wait tlll the next one or so comes up.

    My real bubbles incidently are frosted on the flat and clear on the bubbles. The originals are also crystal clear in comparison to the plastic copies.
     
  28. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Hi Jeff and SSKUNKY,

    Thanks for your replies, since this is my first post I was not aware that an unspoken RPF rule NOT to post LIVE AUCTIONS was in order.
    My sincere apologies. I thought I was doing everyone looking for authentic calculator bubbles a favor. :$
    (I edited my post and removed the link, guys!)

    How about the question I posted? :confused

    Chaim
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  29. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    You can't go by pictures because of barrel distortion caused by the camera lens and the effects of the reflections on the clear plastic.
     
  30. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Thanks for your reply Clutch.
    Yes I know. :rolleyes
    That's why I opened all my Exactra's yesterday and took the calculators out of their case and ALL 4 of them were as I explained by use of posted pictures.
    Where I drew the thin red line the bubbles are flattened just a bit on both sides. I shall take pictures of my TI Exactra's with their bubbles tomorrow at work using a high res camera (Cambo TC with Leaf Digital Back)

    Chaim
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  31. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Welcome to the RPF ! Nice to have you here.

    The no-live-auction is not an unspoken rule, it's in the CoC.
     
  32. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    I'm curious as to why this exactra 20 has a blue background
    [​IMG]

    and this one doesn't:
    [​IMG]


    what does yours look like, Chaim?
     
  33. sskunky

    sskunky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Mine is a pale washed out bluey green color.
     
  34. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Was your bubble strip frosted around the edges?
     
  35. sskunky

    sskunky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I would say slightly frosted compared to the crystal clarity of the bubbles.

    nowhere near as frosted as the pic above
     
  36. sycor

    sycor Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Does board color have anything to do with accuracy? I know very little about the bubble strips.
     
  37. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    One of mine has a red circuit board. I don't remember about the other one.
     
  38. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    There's some pics of vader's saber that look like the blue circuit board is underneath the strip. Lonepigeon may be able to shed some light on this.
     
  39. dcarty

    dcarty Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Interesting, I wonder if the color issue could just be attributed to color correction, or a lack thereof. Here's a pic of my Exactra 20 that I made with our scanner:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the exact same Exactra taken with my digital camera:
    [​IMG]

    The one from the scanner looks very blue the other a much truer green.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  40. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    It camera also adds bubblestrips. :)
     
  41. dcarty

    dcarty Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That, or the scanner takes them away :lol
     
  42. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I spend several hours in the studio today and I hope I can upload my shots of my Exactra 19 and TI-2000 (Made in Italy). Okay that works!
    Don't know yet how to upload them here Full Size? :confused
    However I could not resist withholding my hard work from you any longer.

    Enjoy ...

    See what I mean with not exactly round, guys :confused

    Chaim

    Have a good weekend
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  43. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The bubbles are not perfect circles, they overlap eachother except the ones on the ends.

    Parks old version was clear circle bubble 'stickers' that attach to a metal plate. His newer ones are inaccutate in bubble size, shape, and it's a continuous stream of bubbles cut-off at seven.

    Even MR got is wrong. The Luke and Obi sabers are great, but on the Vader they should be cut between bubble 6 and 7 to fit the clamp, not equally spaced with only 6 bubbles.

    Blast-tech has the closest in size/shape/accuracy, but even his are lacking compared to a real bubble strip.

    Here's one of my real bubble strips in action.
    [​IMG]
     
  44. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Nice pics. I want a TI-2000!
     
  45. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Thanks James and Clutch,

    Sofar all of you who posted pictures here with real calculator bubbles have confirmed what I suspected. Since this is about the activator switch of the lightsaber I wanted to demonstrate by means of light :love that probably in the casting process of the bubbles it was not necessary to make them completely half-spherical for their purpose in the Exactra.
    If you look closely at these close-ups you can see this clearly. See where I added the red arrows. This is on both sides of the bubbles.

    All I want to know : Is there any of you who has a bubbles strip which doesn't have the edges shaved of a bit.
    If not ... then I would like to conclude that this is the way those bubbles were manufactured. :rolleyes

    Last question just out of curiosity : If I could get someone to remake/cast those exact calculator bubbles as used in the TI Exactra 19 and TI 2000 by using one of my originals ... how many of you, who can't afford or get their hands on a real vintage calculator from the bay, would be interested? :confused

    Of course you would have to modify them yourselves as shown at the beginning of this thread by Clutch!

    Chaim
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  46. Sith_Lord_Hritz

    Sith_Lord_Hritz Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    if they come out good i would like 1 or 2
     
  47. KaanE

    KaanE Sr Member

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    If they are perfect, and I can't say which one is real, then I'm in :thumbsup
     
  48. Sumatra

    Sumatra Sr Member

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    I would be in for at least a couple. It would be best if they were unmodified.
     
  49. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There is something in the works right now, I don't want to say too much but hopefully something soon for those wanting better, more accurate bubble strips. I'll say more as things progress.
     
  50. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    The Vader ESB/ROTJ Hero saber still has the circuit board intact under the bubble strip. Not sure about the others.

    Pics from the archived thread...
    http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=40270

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009

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