My ANH Skywalker Saber build - latest pics added!

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by pfillery, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Well I have now gathered all the parts to build my authentic Graflex ANH saber so it is time to begin. I know so many others have made these, but I seem to read comments such as "we never tire of seeing another saber build" or "this was the item that got me into props" so even though its been done before, here goes....

    The basis:

    My Graflex 3 cell in fantastic condition
    [​IMG]

    It has the wrong button but that can be fixed up later. I have a replica bubble strip which will suffice until (if and when) I can get the real thing. My collection of found parts from various sources.

    Vintage metal T track from an antique cupboard
    [​IMG]

    My other found parts, I plan to do internal details putting my own spin on it, and leaving the crystal chamber completely removable so the Graflex could have several different "versions" of the inside, feel free to add any ideas or inspiration as to how they could be used.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yes the bench is a mess!

    The circular hard drive platters are not any good for the saber but maybe something else will come to me in the way of inspiration (helicoptor mini gun maybe?) Now that everything is gathered it's time to start playing. I also came across a couple of nice quartz crystals to use in there, it will be simple only, no electronics, and as long as it fits in there (all must be the size of 3 x D-cell batteries which was originally the contents of the Graflex.

    Feel free to give me any pointers of ideas. Just in case you are interested here are some of my other pieces I have done over the years. Nothing to do with movies or scifi but handmade so hope you enjoy. A display of family heirloom badges and buttons:

    [​IMG]

    And this one, my personal favourite, built in steel from scratch for less than $10 in materials (mostly junk from the scrap yard which was free).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    and built with no lathe, no other professional power tools apart from a bench and angle grinder, drill press, hand drill, cheap welder and an assortment of hand files and hacksaw with sandpaper etc for finishing. Also some propane soldering used too. And it may be even more surprising that while there is some resemblance to several things, it was my design, pulled out of my head combining many stereotypical designs so doesn't actually resemble anything on the market. It is essentially a toy, however to a degree it is "functional" in that the spring, pull/blow back works, it can be cocked and released and the trigger works, the magazine detaches and everything was made by hand by me except the main spring and the screws and fixings. The barrel is solid and it is heavy. Anyway, I digress.

    Hope you enjoy the pics. I guess with little or no effort the same basic design could be used as the basis for an E11 blaster. Hey, if I can do this like that in steel it would be very close to "the real thing" if I made an E11.

    Stay tuned for progress pics of the ANH saber build.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  2. rosskow

    rosskow Well-Known Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    you've certainly got work cut out for you, good luck sir
     
  3. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    What is that blue thing with fins?in the third picture down haha

    This looks so cool, can't wait to see that metal T track be put to use!
     
  4. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    The t-track will be the first thing I start with since it requires the most work, on the outside at least.

    The found objects are, in order, some old telecommunications relays with fantastic copper wire wrapping in several thicknesses, will come in very handy for lots of stuff and $5 well spent, the blue finned item is a secondary cpu heat sink from a computer main board (an older one), it looked quite interesting but not sure if it will be used on this build, the round bits next to that are solid copper and aluminium heat sink centres from computer boards, drifted out of the aluminium fins, assorted pins, collets and screws sourced from computer hard drives, platters, motor spindles and retaining pieces and spacers from hard drives. Some of the spindles and retainers almost look like emitters don't they.
     
  5. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    :lol They really do! Very cool found items, thank you!
     
  6. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Some progress finally!

    Not much but it's a start.

    My graflex was missing the glass eye when I got it. Options - try to find another one, leave the hole blank or fit 2nd button aka ESB, use a thumbscrew replacement copy, or do what any self respecting prop maker would do - start from scratch and make your own! Ground the lens down from a much larger piece of glass.

    I'm pretty pleased with the result.
    [​IMG]

    The unfitted pieces before I put them in for a test fitting
    [​IMG]

    And the other piece of progress, the D-ring. I couldn't find one I liked, so decided to use some scrounged parts and knock one up, turned out surprisingly well I think. Still need to drill the hole. Not bad for a first attempt. The one on the left is the one I originally bought and it just didn't look right. Mine is made from a stainless steel saucepan lid for the flat plate and the safety pull ring from a fire extinguisher, exactly the correct size and made from stainless. Been outside for years too so the right amount of weathering, just like the saucepan lid. Found parts are awesome.

    More updates soon as I make more progress.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    'I can feel the propmakers-force flowing through you!'

    :lol

    -Chaim
     
  8. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    :lol:lol:lol

    "If you can't find it and can't buy it, make it".....

    I think it was your tutorial Chaim that I used as the basis for the d-ring. I just couldn't find one that I liked or that looked right. Just have to find a rivet that looks right. One with a hole? One without a hole? Any word on what is right?

    Tried to get that Exactra you sent me the link for on ebay but the seller was set up not to sell to Australia so my bid was blocked. Oh well, theres always another one.
     
  9. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Most rivets leave a hole if you use a rivetgun ... sometime the part that's left inside will look like there's no hole. Here's mine :

    [​IMG]

    and here's a custom D-ring+clip made by dcarty :

    [​IMG]

    It looks okay but did you check if the D was in the center before you cut the edge?

    Also make sure you align the clip with the clamp :

    [​IMG]

    -Chaim
     
  10. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    I also found that drilling the bottom of a graflex tube can warp/dent it, it's only brass. If you stand the graflex right-side-up every few seconds between drilling, and put something heavy down the tube (a screwdriver butt down) and rubber mallet smash it down (while standing it on a table) it straightens itself out!
     
  11. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Yes the ring part is in the centre. I'm looking at a few options for the rivet. There are screw fittings that are flush both sides that you get for scrapbooking and other craft that are alloy or stainless and have no hole, something like that may work or its back to a rivet. I will be looking through all the documentation I can before fitting to ensure correct placement of the d-ring and grips as well.

    Then onto the innards.
     
  12. Jerome

    Jerome Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    That d-ring you made looks pretty darn good mate! I too got the one on the left (from Blast-tech?) and also thought it was too small. When I start my ANH build (soon) I'll need to source a good d-ring.
     
  13. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    No it didn't come from blastech. They wanted $10 for something that was $1.50 at a leatherwork shop. And still not right. There is a tutorial thread showing dimensions to make one. Trouble is to manufacture in any quantity they would be too expensive. Mine took me about an hour all up. All from found parts too. But I'm a bit of a perfectionist. It could have been done in half the time with less attention to detail. But where would be the fun in that.

     
  14. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Hi Jerome,

    Read post#5 for making a very good D-ring yourself :

    http://www.therpf.com/f9/luke-anh-lightsaber-d-ring-103270/

    The best way to create the hole in the bottom of the graflex would be by making a tiny notch first and then using a smaller dril-bit and thereafter use a small round file until the opening is wide enough to hold a rivet. Just make sure to pinpoint the exact location of the hole by testfitting the D-ring+clip in the center and the proper position in regards to the clamp before drilling can commence.

    :)

    -Chaim
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  15. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    And, might I add, I'm very impressed you fashioned your own light test lens.
     
  16. Jerome

    Jerome Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Chaim, I have read your post before and have even bookmarked it. The problem is I have no tools or skills to cut sheet metal! Unless pfillery can let me borrow his workshop, we are in the same town after all. :)

    I've been looking at d-rings everywhere I go, to see if I could use "something" with the same shape. Not to worry, I'll see what I want to do when the time comes. Just waiting for my grips before I start. I'll be sure to post a build log.
     
  17. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Yeah I know how you feel. Alas I could not persuade my silversmith to keep producing the D-rings+clips eventhough I knew there could be a permanent demand for such a nice D-ring+clip set, hence I decided to share the templates and tutorial with y'all :)

    -Chaim
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  18. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Jerome, I might be persuaded to make one for you when I have some spare time, not planning on any runs as such but as a one off for a fellow Brisbanite shouldn't be a problem. I too have limited tools and mine was simply constructed using a pair of tin snips, a drill and sanding disc, sandpaper, hand file, vice, hammer, hacksaw, primus torch, all pretty basic tools. I shopped around for a while trying to find one not only the right size and style but the right finish, from my pics of the d-ring I made, you can see mine is stainless whereas the other is plated and some are plain steel which, against the graflex doesn't look right. I tried framing shops, boating warehouses, places that do shade sails, all to no avail.
     
  19. Jerome

    Jerome Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Hey, thanks for the offer pfillery! There's no rush though, and I'm a few weeks off from starting on my ANH build. You better take your time finishing yours first before doing one for me. I'm not opposed to making one myself, just wondering how to go about it. I might go to Bunnings and see what kind of sheet metal they have. Are tin snips the same as aviation snips? And yeah you're right, been looking all over for the correct d-ring but nothing yet.
     
  20. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Tin snips and aviation snips are the same, just different names I think. Just make sure that you get the straight ones not the ones for curved work. Either the traditional style that look like large shears or the spring loadedc type which I find better. Don't buy sheet at bunnings, it is dear as poison there, you want stainless not alloy as it looks better, I just used an old saucepan lid which has enough flat bits of stainless steel, cost nothing, as did the fire extinguisher pin, just keep an eye out at op shops, junkyards, garage sales etc. I'm always amazed at where I find inspiration.

    I cut and sized my t-track today, as it is dead flat underneath it sits all wrong so I'm painstakingly filing the backs a little curved so they will look better, I guess plastic would be easier but the metal track is a bit special. Worth the pain I hope.
     
  21. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    The original plastic T-track had a so-called glue channel, so there was no need to file a curvature to make them fit better on the graflex side. Perhaps some pictures of your progress? So as to see what lies ahead when your vintage metal T-track arrives here, okay? :D

    -Chaim
     
  22. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    maybe wrap the graflex tube in sand paper and work a little that way? That way you'd get the right curve
     
  23. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    I actually found some hollow aluminium tube which is only about 3mm larger diameter than the graflex tube so I kept it rather than scrapping it and was using this yesterday just like that. The main shaping done with a round and half round file and the finer detail done with the sandpaper wrapped round the tube. I have more tube spare and since it is the right shape for a custom saber, maybe one day.....

    I'll post some pics as I go. not much to show yet except a cramped hand from holding the file.

    Interesting that the length of 3 and 5/8 inches seems a little long, unless that is just the length that the plastic ones come with the intention that they be cut down? I think they might need to be another 16th of an inch shorter otherwise they touch the clamp in the middle or overhang the edge at the bottom. If they touch in the middle they stop the bottom tube being removed. I'd rather they be too long than too short at this stage and can finish them off before painting them.
     
  24. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    I only used a kit from Blast-Tech to convert my graflex, and that happened to me. I'm not sure if the grips were a bit too long or what, but unless I remove the grips and re-glue them, my flash gun is stuck closed :facepalm
     
  25. Jerome

    Jerome Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    The length of the Graflex bottom tubes will vary very slightly by a few mm, as pointed out by scottjua in his Graflex comparison thread.

    That means you don't need to stick strictly to the default measurement of 3.6 inches (or whatever it is) but you'll have to adjust to your particular Graflex. When sizing the grip length to the hilt, you should push the bottom tube up into the clamp. That way, when you pull down to twist and remove you'll still have room to remove the bottom tube.
     
  26. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    I thought there might be a need to adjust slightly so even at the start I did them 1/16" longer and smoothed them down. That gives me a little room to move. Better to be longer than too short, particularly given that metal t-track doesn't grow on trees.

    Since I plan to do a removable internal detail feature (crystal chamber) the need to open the graflex is obviously essential. The only trick is the bubble strip and making sure it doesn't get damaged opening and closing it. Might end up attempting to cast a spare or 2 (a stunt version if you like)
     
  27. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    My ANH Skywalker Saber build latest pics

    Well the slow progress continues, here the original metal t-track has been cut, shaped and ready to be painted, complete with imperfections in the steel which adds a little character. I guess compared to plastic which looks, well, plastic, this will have a classic aged look, not weathered as such but I think painted metal will go better with the back story of it being an old item.

    Next step the painting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Note the slight curvature, this was achieved by a combination of hand sanding, filing and tapping with a round rod while supported on the vice to get the right angle so it fits around the graflex tube properly. I tried it to see what it looked like without the cutout and it was way too flat to sit properly, could have worked but I didn't like it. Around 4 - 5 hours total working time to go from a length of untouched t-track to what is pictured but the end result should be worth the effort. Chaim, this gives you an idea of what you will have to do when your track arrives, there are also plenty of offcut bits to experiment with and practice on. The first coat of paint is on now (VHT self priming epoxy gloss black which will be buffed a little to take the shine off, I used this simply because I had it there already) and we will see how it looks when it is dry. Almost on the home stretch for the outside, then to start the internal detail. Just waiting for some diamond cutters for my dremel so I can cut and shape the crystal a little.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  28. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Nice work Paul. Here's a picture of the real ANH lightsaber :

    [​IMG]

    See that the ends near the clamp/bottom are cut in an angle?

    -Chaim
     
  29. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Re: My ANH Skywalker Saber build begins...watch this space.

    Yes there was a little more work done after the pictures were taken, they appear from the picture to be the same angle top and bottom, some more "final finishing" will also be done after the first coat of paint is dry, and when time permits.
     
  30. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Progress pics - nearly there

    Well slowly does it but some progress at last. Finished the custom d-ring using the tutorials available on the RPF (thanks to Sym-Cha), I changed the ring slightly as it didn't look right the first time. Got some stainless steel rivets as these not only match the d-ring better but will prevent any corrosion between the parts (alchemy 101 - stainless steel and aluminium will corrode if touching). I did have to reduce the length of the rivet (could only get a large enough rivet with a longer shank) by removing the "pin" and cutting down the body of the rivet then re-inserting the pin, otherwise the shaft would have been too long and the rivet can come loose or not lock up properly or leave part of the pin poking out the hole. Happy to detail this further if needed. The new handmade d-ring assembly is now attached to the end of the Graflex tube:
    [​IMG]

    I have also done some more finishing on the metal t-track for the grips. Some shortening to make them fit, some final shaping at the ends, a little reshaping of the underside so they fit the tube a little better and painting with a couple of coats of a good quality epoxy self priming paint leaving a nice dull finish so they aren't too shiny. They look better in reality than the crappy iphone photos show. Next step is to glue in place using the template available on the Parts of Starwars site. After that a few finishing touches like the correct red button and the bubble strip and it will be time to start on the insides. Then the fun begins.
    [​IMG]

    And riddle me this - when you are sitting there with your Graflex, your freshly painted tracking and your iphone on your lap and they start to slip, you only have 2 hands, which 2 do you save from falling? Of course you save the track and the Graflex, and let the $600 iphone fall to the floor. After all it's all about priorities:rolleyes More to come soon!
     
  31. h3pilot

    h3pilot Active Member

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    I didn't want to drill a hole in the bottom of my Graflex.
    So, I attached my d-ring with epoxy, cut the top off the rivet and epoxy'd it into the d-ring plate hole.
    Looks like it is riveted on with no damage to the Graflex.
    Works great for display.
    Not sure about extended support of the saber if worn on a belt. (strength of epoxy?)

    Your saber looks good :)
     
  32. Jerome

    Jerome Active Member

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    Man after some work on those t-tracks they really look like the real deal now.
     
  33. thd9791

    thd9791 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I second that, i wish this thread got more traffic, it's the best I've seen yet
     
  34. pfillery

    pfillery Active Member

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    Thanks for the comments, they are always appreciated (a craftsman loves to hear that his work is admired).

    I was quite surprised about how well the track came out, 3 coats of epoxy enamel and I was worried it would be too glossy and would need dulling down, however it seems just right, not too black and almost flat in appearance which was what I was going for. A few tricks learned while painting car bits always helps.

    I thought about faking the d-ring rather than riveting it but I figured it is always going to be a saber now, unlikely to ever go back to being a flash and I had contemplated displaying it as it would be worn a.k.a hanging on a belt or part thereof, so even though that will not strain it much, there will be a bit of weight to it once the crystal chamber detail is added.

    I'm in the process of building a trailer (a box trailer for a car not a movie trailer) and that is taking up about 90% of my spare time, the prop making is either the other 10% or for rainy days. More updates once they are done.
     
  35. aletrias

    aletrias New Member

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    hello I have a question that kind of steel cap used for making eye Graflex?, would greatly appreciate if you could upload photos of said lid to see how well I get it, I'm asking because in my country Argentina does not sell the eye Graflex why do you want to see how I'm doing and made ​​a lightsaber and I need it, greetings
     

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