Vintage Graflex ANH build

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ecl

Sr Member
Been done a million times, but I finally added one of these to my collection. Took a better set of photos today, so I figure I’d start a thread here. Vintage 3 Cell Graflex, Gino grips, Wannawanga D-ring (I aged the finish) with a handmade aluminum clamp that I made (Inspired by the elstree one, but a little taller), replica calc bubble. Eventually I want to upgrade the bubble to an original. I intentionally tried to make the parts a little rougher/handmade looking, but kind of wish the Graflex itself had more natural wear to it—Although, I don’t want to risk artificially aging it at the risk of making a mistake. The plating seems unforgiving. I just love the random weathering effects on a lot of the vintages. I guess I could just leave it out in the elements for a few days :D

I be honest, I like the non Graflex lightsabers more, but it’s still amazing to me how this flash handle has completely transformed into something different, and with only a few embellishments on it, and a lot of nostalgia.

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Kaparzo

New Member
Been done a million times, but I finally added one of these to my collection. Took a better set of photos today, so I figure I’d start a thread here. Vintage 3 Cell Graflex, Gino grips, Wannawanga D-ring (I aged the finish) with a handmade aluminum clamp that I made (Inspired by the elstree one, but a little taller), replica calc bubble. Eventually I want to upgrade the bubble to an original. I intentionally tried to make the parts a little rougher/handmade looking, but kind of wish the Graflex itself had more natural wear to it—Although, I don’t want to risk artificially aging it at the risk of making a mistake. The plating seems unforgiving. I just love the random weathering effects on a lot of the vintages. I guess I could just leave it out in the elements for a few days :D

I be honest, I like the non Graflex lightsabers more, but it’s still amazing to me how this flash handle has completely transformed into something different, and with only a few embellishments on it, and a lot of nostalgia.

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Beautiful!

I'm super impressed, especially that you made the clamp! How on earth did you do that? (asking for a friend who's obsessed with wanting to hand make an entire graflex...).
 

ecl

Sr Member
Thanks!

The D-Ring clip took a little experimenting to get right. Nothing really fancy though—just some careful work with model making pliers and a thin aluminum sheet (not overly thin; I think I used a .016” sheet). But the trick to making the part that bends around the D-Ring look neat is to do the plier work with something like a metal ruler underneath the ’clip’, so that it doesn’t start warping. I’ll do a series of ’how-to’ photos that will help show how I did that. Personally, I like the look a lot more than the thicker versions that is often seen for sale.
 

ecl

Sr Member
Had some time just now to make another clip—doesn’t take that long after making a few of them! This may come in handy for anyone trying to make their own D-Ring clip that looks closer to the elstree one.

I started with .016” aluminum (bought from Hobby Lobby). Don’t worry about the lines in the metal; you can polish all that out at the end, if you wish. I just use WannaWanga’s D-Ring, because it looks really nice and the thickness is better than a few others I’ve seen. It was just too shiny, so I just sanded it with 600 grit sandpaper and 1000 grit to finish it off. This also reveals the warmer looking metal underneath (it’ll tarnish slightly, giving it a nice aged look).

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I then cut out a piece, approx. 2 cm wide—this can vary depending on what you want. I cut it at around 2 cm, because as you’ll see later, this will help influence that ‘flare’ that the elstree has, around the edges of the clip where the curved bottom portion of the D-Ring swings against the metal, causing it to curl slightly. Also, cut the piece longer than it needs to be, better longer than too short—just trim it later.

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I use a rule as a backing when start to bend the metal around the ring. This provides a nice backing to prevent warping of the metal from the pliers, as well allowing the pliers to easily work around the whole process. Basically, you’ll be holding the ruler and clip in one hand (your thumb on top of the clip to hold it down), while using the pliers in the other hand to clamp down on the clip around the bottom of the ring. You can also kind of gently ’roll’ the pliers toward the D-Ring to help make that area nice and tight.

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I use pliers like these, without the ‘teeth’ on them. You don’t want to use anything that will leave excessive marks in the metal.

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This is how it looks after the initial work. My pliers aren’t long enough to reach from one end of the clip to the other, so I simple do one side first, rotate it, and then do the other end. You can fine tune things later, but try to ‘pinch’ as close to the ring as you can.

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You‘ll see just from the act of doing this by hand with pliers creates imperfections and stuff that may look like ‘weathering’ on the metal. If you’re more gentle with it, there will be fewer marks. If you prefer a pristine look, you can still sand down the surface slightly to get rid of most of it. Notice the flaring of the edges of the clip showing up here; this happened after I formed the metal around the ring, and then I basically ‘freed’ up the ring—it’ll be very tight at first— by flipping it back and forth a few times, until it begins to swing more freely, resulting in the flared edges as well. If you don’t want this flared look, you can make the clip slightly thinner, so that the ring doesn’t push into the metal as much when moved.

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Trim to your desired length, and round it off to make it fit the contour of the Graflex bottom! I use a pair of heavy duty scissors to cut it, and then file the edges to make them look nicer.

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I didn’t fine tune this one, but as you can see, all of the major work is done! At this point, you can go back into it with the pliers and continue to tighten things up, as well as finishing the surface to your preferred look.

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Below is one I had made before that I ended up not using; shorter and inspired by the elstree clip. You can really see the color difference between the aluminum and the Ring here, which is also apparent on the elstree saber!

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