The OT stunt lightsaber blades research thread

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thd9791

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I really would love to see a comparison of the grenade section of the V2 and V3. Could it be possible that the V2 is an entirely machined piece as opposed to the V3, which is a casting?
I've actually changed my mind about this recently. I noticed that the V2 neck is longer and thought they couldn't be the same.... and then realized the first grenade ring was reduced, extending the neck downwards. I brought this idea to PoopaPapaPalps who had already experimented with this and come up with results. He hasn't shared yet so I didn't want to push it too far - but I am convinced they were both casts.

Emitter... well if the V2's emitter is complicated with bushings and bearings and stuff, then maybe it's a new emitter, but I'm not sure either way there.

My anakin starkiller V2 is on display right now, so I can't compare them until the end of November
 

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Halliwax

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I've actually changed my mind about this recently. I noticed that the V2 neck is longer and thought they couldn't be the same.... and then realized the first grenade ring was reduced, extending the neck downwards. I brought this idea to PoopaPapaPalps who had already experimented with this and come up with results. He hasn't shared yet so I didn't want to push it too far - but I am convinced they were both casts.

Emitter... well if the V2's emitter is complicated with bushings and bearings and stuff, then maybe it's a new emitter, but I'm not sure either way there.

My anakin starkiller V2 is on display right now, so I can't compare them until the end of November

IMG_8407.GIF
 

DaveP

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I really would love to see a comparison of the grenade section of the V2 and V3. Could it be possible that the V2 is an entirely machined piece as opposed to the V3, which is a casting?
I've done a comparison of the V2 and the wooden buck. I believe it's almost certainly a cast. The rings are quite uneven, but line up perfectly. I'll upload an image later (when I'm at my machine).

*Edit*

Here's the comparison I did. It's a bit quick and dirty, but was enough to convince me:

v2 buck Comparison.jpg
 
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PoopaPapaPalps

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I've actually changed my mind about this recently. I noticed that the V2 neck is longer and thought they couldn't be the same.... and then realized the first grenade ring was reduced, extending the neck downwards. I brought this idea to PoopaPapaPalps who had already experimented with this and come up with results. He hasn't shared yet so I didn't want to push it too far - but I am convinced they were both casts...

Yeup. I think I have this documented on my research thread previously somewhere. I need to finish another hilt before my write-up on the matter but putting it here wouldn't harm anything; but yes, the V2 is most certainly a cast and machined down just to clean up the surface. Everything nearly lines up with the raw cast and wood buck, only just shortened and tighter in some areas.

My belief is that the V2 is cut down from a misaligned cast, similar to the V3, the displaced cuts and getting them flush and cleaned have in my trials resulted similar, if not exact, matches to the real thing. And this is just cleaning the surface; no measuring needed.

I've done a comparison of the V2 and the wooden buck. I believe it's almost certainly a cast. The rings are quite uneven, but line up perfectly. I'll upload an image later (when I'm at my machine).

This is one of the things that sealed it for me when I machined my pieces. The rings themselves are of different width but they line up in terms of placing same to the V3/casts

Emitter... well if the V2's emitter is complicated with bushings and bearings and stuff, then maybe it's a new emitter, but I'm not sure either way there.

I have omitted the bearings from my V2 designs as current findings showed to me they're redundant. Brandon A also mentions that there is no break looking down the bore of emitter---to quote, "There is no break..."--- but with a bearing sat under the nipple: there is a clear and definite break.

I will be taking photos soon to corroborate this. Again, just gotta get some further machining done.

I was & do subscribe to the theory the V3 was an unfinished motor stunt. So that may or may not be a hole for wires. Certainly is a hole of some sort, threaded or not. I'm also convince the V2 was used for off screen choreographing/stunt work & is robust enough for that.
Given the effort put into testing & development of the motor stunts, even down to setting the rpm to interfere with the camera frame rate to give the flicker, I think it likely the motor stunts were all made as such from the get go (& the V3 is a 'reject' attempt).
As always IMO & awaiting new info/ref's.

I am also under a similar idea, along with what's Halliwax conjectured before about the timeline---only I have a few differing ideas. Namely, the V2 was always the one to be made first for the effects. From Empire of Dreams, there's a lot of archival footage to show that they experimented with all sorts of thing before landing on the final choice for the sp/fx for the Vader/Ben duel. It was a priority to solve first. I can't be sure when the V3 was put into production, whether at the same time as the V2 was being machined or later after production realized this wasn't working well--- I can't say.

What I can say is that in trying to stay true to the original measurements of the V3 I have, when I put my V3 in my lathe set up, something always breaks. Always. And it's typically a bearing in my steady rest. The V3 is only just cleaned up with a rasp and sandpaper, to the best that I can re-create. The clamp section and the last ring on the grenade section has some very minor actual machining applied to it. Everything else still contains roughs and uglies. That includes uneven surfaces.

Casting alu results in a ~6% loss of total surface area as it moves from a liquid state and the atoms align to create a solid. Unfortunately, the rate and areas affected as it cools across its surface and within as it shrinks is completely random. All of my test pieces are like this and all of them are slightly ovaloid to varying degrees. Add that on top of cleaning up unaligned edges on an already lilting piece and you have an extremely troublesome piece. Imagine putting an oblong wheel on a cart that's being pulled. Now imagine that cart going fast enough that the wheel spins 500-700 rpm.

Getting a full bore on a V3 isn't an impossibility---some may manage it---but in the orders of operations that it takes to get to that point, I find unlikely. And a full bore for a motor assembly is only ~3.5-4 inches deep. A half bore is all I can, and dare, to manage for the V3 and that's just to fit the pommel. Any deeper and you increase resistance on one side, chopping and bucking as you try to cut material from something that is fighting to stay centered. That runs risk or ruining the piece (as it's essentially wiggling its way out the chuck's jaws) and the machine, and more importantly, yourself. With these experiences in mind (and a few close-calls for myself), I don't believe the V3 was bored out for a motor. For me, the evidence in the work that's put into the V3 suggests that this thing was hastily made as a second to the V2. Where in our timeline, who can say, but a ready-to-rock V3 is something I can pull off in a day, whereas the V2 takes 2 or 3 to fully complete.

On a final note, the V2 is as robust to duel with as the V3 is. Although, just from what photos have surfaced, I believe the V3 had seen a lot more action than the V2 did. The paint on the V2 is more complete by the time RotJ is filmed and many of the BTS photos and footage show the V3 in hand over the V2. It's even the V3 that's chosen to be molded to make resin stunts for ILM to eventually base their Yuma's off of.
 
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DaveP

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I have omitted the bearings from my V2 designs as current findings showed to me they're redundant. Brandon A also mentions that there is no break looking down the bore of emitter---to quote, "There is no break..."--- but with a bearing sat under the nipple: there is a clear and definite break.
This is really interesting, but it's seriously got me scratching my head. Am I mistaken in thinking that the emitter could spin independently from the nipple? I was under the impression that the nipple spun (with the blade) and that the emitter was free to spin around it? I only base that on Alec Guinness clearly holding the emitter (presumably to prevent it from spinning with the blade). Also, on a couple of reference shots, the emitter appears to be at a different orientation to the paintwork on the emitter plate.

If the emitter and nipple are two separate pieces, there must be a break somewhere surely?
 
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PoopaPapaPalps

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This is really interesting, but it's seriously got me scratching my head. Am I mistaken in thinking that the emitter could spin independently from the nipple? I was under the impression that the nipple spun (with the blade) and that the emitter was free to spin around it? I only base that on Alec Guinness clearly holding the emitter (presumably to prevent it from spinning with the blade). Also, on a couple of reference shots, the emitter appears to be at a different orientation to the paintwork on the emitter plate.

If the emitter and nipple are two separate pieces, there must be a break somewhere surely?

The emitter and nipple are most definitely two separate pieces. You can track them in some photos by the orientation of the grub screws in each, respectively. Just once aligned over the drive-shaft and locked in place, and that's if you've centered and bored your holes correctly (which I'm assuming these guys knew how to do), unless you knew what you were looking for, I don't think many could tell that it would be two pieces.

With how these things were set up and with what kinds of motors we're talking about, it doesn't take much force to slow the blades down. Hell, just tweaking the grub screws around, I can create enough tension on the drive shaft to screw the whole thing up and not have it spin at all. Alec Guiness holding it in whatever orientation is irrelevant because, ultimately, we don't know when or why he decided to do so or if anything was done to the V2, or if it's the V3 in its place, or if it was just him feeling more comfortable holding it like that; we just don't know. We can only go off of what we can physically test and see for ourselves, corroborating with what the community believed and what's possible tangibly.
 
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DaveP

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The emitter and nipple are most definitely two separate pieces. You can track them in some photos by the orientation of the grub screws in each, respectively. Just once aligned over the drive-shaft and locked in place, and that's if you've centered and bored your holes correctly (which I'm assuming these guys knew how to do), unless you knew what you were looking for, I don't think many could tell that it would be two pieces.

With how these things were set up and with what kinds of motors we're talking about, it doesn't take much force to slow the blades down. Hell, just tweaking the grub screws around, I can create enough tension on the drive shaft to screw the whole thing up and not have it spin at all. Alec Guiness holding it in whatever orientation is irrelevant because, ultimately, we don't know when or why he decided to do so or if anything was done to the V2, or if it's the V3 in its place, or if it was just him feeling more comfortable holding it like that; we just don't know. We can only go off of what we can physically test and see for ourselves, corroborating with what the community believed and what's possible tangibly.
I misunderstood what you were saying if I'm being honest. I thought you were saying that there is no break when looking down the inside of the emitter, which would imply that they're one piece. That's all that threw me.

As I say, I'm fairly certain that they could spin independently of each other (the emitter and the nipple). The nipple is obviously spinning along with the blade, but having done a frame by frame analysis on the death star scene, it appears that the emitter plate isn't. Weather or not that's down to Guinness isn't clear, but it's my assumption that that's what's going on.

Like you say, there's no guarantee that it's definitely the V2, or the same emitter. The fact that the emitter still spins on the V2, and appears to have shifted position in relation to the nipple between reference shots makes me think that the emitter isn't fixed to the shaft (but the nipple is). So it does make me think that we're looking at the same prop.

Just my 2p anyway. Sorry if I'm going over things that have already been discussed.
 

vadermania

Sr Member
I'm still confused about the motor/drive shaft/bearings/nipple construction of the V2. For me, the simplest method would be to take one of the metal castings, drill a centered hole in the emitter right through the windvane and grenade section right into the clamp section for the drive shaft. Then another larger hole from the other end in the booster and clamp section of the saber for the motor.

For the V2, I'm assuming they had emitter and body of the saber as separate parts, ok. A drive shaft was attached to the motor via a bushing,. Motor, bushing and drive shaft were installed inside the body of the saber so that the drive shaft went right through the grenade section including the windvane. When the drive shaft exits the windvane, the emitter was loosely slid over the drive shaft, after that the nipple went over the drive shaft and was fixed to the drive shaft via a grub screw. The stunt blades then slid over the part of the drive shaft that originally extended maybe two or three inches above the nipple (which was later cut off when the V2 became a belt hanger in RotJ). Is this how the V2 was constructed?
 

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Halliwax

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I'm still confused about the motor/drive shaft/bearings/nipple construction of the V2. For me, the simplest method would be to take one of the metal castings, drill a centered hole in the emitter right through the windvane and grenade section right into the clamp section for the drive shaft. Then another larger hole from the other end in the booster and clamp section of the saber for the motor.

For the V2, I'm assuming they had emitter and body of the saber as separate parts, ok. A drive shaft was attached to the motor via a bushing,. Motor, bushing and drive shaft were installed inside the body of the saber so that the drive shaft went right through the grenade section including the windvane. When the drive shaft exits the windvane, the emitter was loosely slid over the drive shaft, after that the nipple went over the drive shaft and was fixed to the drive shaft via a grub screw. The stunt blades then slid over the part of the drive shaft that originally extended maybe two or three inches above the nipple (which was later cut off when the V2 became a belt hanger in RotJ). Is this how the V2 was constructed?

Very hard to drill a straight hole that deep.

Don’t forget how out of whack the casting is to begin with

This is why I think the emitter was chopped off the v2, shorter distance to drill the hole

With the blank now missing the emitter it’s shorter and alittle bit easier to be held inthe lathe to be cleaned up

Pommel and emitter made by scratch

Emitter made by scratch, definitely faster to machine a emitter from scratch with a accurate center hole and bearing pocket then it is to center the wonky cast emitter, clean it up and drill a center hole, which most likely now isn’t centered because of how hard it is to hold a wonky part in the lathe..

With my real south bend lathe, I can make a emitter in less then 30 minutes

The drive shaft has to be perfectly centered, and balanced with ZERO interference.. the slightest little touch and the motor will bind..
 

DaveP

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I'm still confused about the motor/drive shaft/bearings/nipple construction of the V2. For me, the simplest method would be to take one of the metal castings, drill a centered hole in the emitter right through the windvane and grenade section right into the clamp section for the drive shaft. Then another larger hole from the other end in the booster and clamp section of the saber for the motor.

For the V2, I'm assuming they had emitter and body of the saber as separate parts, ok. A drive shaft was attached to the motor via a bushing,. Motor, bushing and drive shaft were installed inside the body of the saber so that the drive shaft went right through the grenade section including the windvane. When the drive shaft exits the windvane, the emitter was loosely slid over the drive shaft, after that the nipple went over the drive shaft and was fixed to the drive shaft via a grub screw. The stunt blades then slid over the part of the drive shaft that originally extended maybe two or three inches above the nipple (which was later cut off when the V2 became a belt hanger in RotJ). Is this how the V2 was constructed?
That's roughly how I understand it. My only reasoning for the emitter to have been separated, is that it would have made machining it easier.

I believe the nipple was once a part of the blade too, rather than the emitter. It appears to have been missing from the emitter in the frame prior to it being ignited and the blade attached (in ANH). Just my interpretation, but there appears to be dark centre.

Emitter_01.jpg


This might explain why the nipple's diameter was reduced, and has that step (to fit whatever was used as a blade).

So, like you say, the emitter would have been slid on, and then sandwiched between the hilt and the blade.

So the nipple was needed to hold everything together, and was removed from the blade when the V2 was made in to a belt hanger.

That's my take on it anyway.
 

teecrooz

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In that scene they actually cut from Sir Alec holding the static hilt to the bladed version. You can see them do this swap in the Making of Star Wars video. Start at 36:05

 
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Halliwax

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That's roughly how I understand it. My only reasoning for the emitter to have been separated, is that it would have made machining it easier.

I believe the nipple was once a part of the blade too, rather than the emitter. It appears to have been missing from the emitter in the frame prior to it being ignited and the blade attached (in ANH). Just my interpretation, but there appears to be dark centre.

View attachment 1363082

This might explain why the nipple's diameter was reduced, and has that step (to fit whatever was used as a blade).

So, like you say, the emitter would have been slid on, and then sandwiched between the hilt and the blade.

So the nipple was needed to hold everything together, and was removed from the blade when the V2 was made in to a belt hanger.

That's my take on it anyway.

Think of the nipple more as a guide on the bottom of the blade

Or a bushing that sits on top of the bearing I the emitter, this bushing fits between the bearing and bottom of the blade

The v2 blade and nipple setup is like no other FX stunt blade/nipple setup
 

cdyoung

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In that scene they actually cut from Sir Alec holding the static hilt to the bladed version. You can see them do this swap in the Making of Star Wars video. Start at 36:05


I’ve seen plenty of “making of” videos from Star Wars, but I’d never seen that switch of Sir Alec’s static to bladed saber. Really awesome!
 

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vadermania

Sr Member
Think of the nipple more as a guide on the bottom of the blade

Or a bushing that sits on top of the bearing I the emitter, this bushing fits between the bearing and bottom of the blade

The v2 blade and nipple setup is like no other FX stunt blade/nipple setup
Has it been confirmed by Brandon that there is a bearing in the emitter of the V2 right underneath the nipple? I don't really see the neccessity of using a bearing in the emitter.
 

DaveP

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Holy Moly! I hadn't seen that one. Thanks Chris! I presumed that because you could see the wire, it was the motorised hilt. Obviously the wire was there ready for the swap. I was going off Hamill's description on PCQ of them attaching the blade between takes. :rolleyes:
 

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