Who wants to hold my hand making an FX saber?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by SethS, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    I am all for looking things up before asking questions. Nothing annoys me more than posts that take more time to type up than they do to google for an answer. But in this case, there is so much information, and so many variables, that as a newb to electronics, trying to discern a clear way to put together an FX saber is utterly escaping.

    So here is what I want to do:

    Take one of my flash-gun based custom lightsabers and add electronics to it. I'd like sound (ignition, clash, hum) and vibration, a single color LED, a detachable blade, a light-up power button, and a recharge port.

    Step One-- I'd love a part list. I know we're not supposed to like Sabeforge, but they do have a plot of plug and play options that might make this easier.

    Step Two-- I'd need a wiring diagram that might make clearer sense beyond a legit schematic. I took a couple years of electronics back in high school-- and that was a long time ago.

    Step Three-- I don't want a crystal reveal, do I still need a chassis? Can all these innards be wrapped in insulation foam and crammed inside the saber, or do they need a sled? If they do, obviously I'm looking at commissioning a custom one based on the I.D. of whatever my custom saber would be.

    Any help, or any questions of things I should have decided upon and didn't answer, are greatly appreciated!
     
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  2. Edraven99

    Edraven99 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll be following along with this thread with great interest... im in the same boat as I eventually want to light up my Canon X build...
     
  3. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    I'm pretty sure I'll be using one of my Canon based builds too.
     
  4. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Hey @SethS ! So here is what you need to do:

    Step 1. Measure the inside cavity of the flash-gun you want to use. Depth, Diameter, Change in Diameter at different Depths,etc. Also measure the diameter and depth of the hole that leads out to the area of your "emitter". The area that your LED Star and Lense sits has to be at least 20mm in Diameter! You should also have enough depth behind it to house a proper heat sink for your LED Star. Call it an inch and you'll O.K.

    Step 2. Get everything from you can from TCSS. AND GET IF FAST IF THEY HAVE IT IN STOCK!

    Step 3. Do you have an ESD-Safe Soldering Iron? If no, get this one, IT'S AWESOME!... https://www.tequipment.net/HakkoFX888D-23BY.html?search=true
    Get one of these too while you're at it... https://www.tequipment.net/HakkoT18-BL.html

    Step 4. If you go with a Crystal Focus v8.0 I'll make you a wiring diagram. But you'll have to do the Ohm's Law math yourself if you pick LEDs and resistors that I haven't used on my lightsaber.

    You don't have to have a chassis, nor a sled, but it does help prevent damage to expensive little soundcards and all the gibblygook you spent hours soldering to said soundcard! And it makes it look pretty even if noone will see it but you before you put it inside your hilt.

    If I hadn't gotten outbid by $150 dollars on a Canon Model X yesterday I could help you with those measurements you'll need. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  5. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    This is a great start-- thank you!

    I'm still deciding what parts to use, but it'll probably by a saberforge blade holder/emitter that I really like, with a canon Y or X body, and either a TCSS or canon lower body. Removing any guts the canon has should give me as much space as any custom saber.

    If possible I'd love to mount the button and recharge port into existing Canon ports.

    Here's where I get confused-- I don't know which components to get as not all of them are compatible with each other. They also have some plug and play parts, which is probably my best bet. I DO really like this saberforge blade holder-- and while their threading is proprietary, aren't blade sizes universal?

    But either way, I am unclear as to which components I need.

    I don't have an iron as of yet, but I assumed I'd be acquiring one. :)

    Again-- not sure what parts to get-- but if you have a set-up that does what I want I will happily follow in some footsteps to save myself any headaches!

    It seems like most chassis makers selling on shapeways do custom ones pretty cheap. Maybe once I know my internal dimensions and component set up I can hit one of them up.


    Thank you!
     
  6. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Just breathe. ;) Get the measurements. They'll determine what parts we can help you pick. We'll go from there once you have the measurements.

    As far as Saberforge goes, I haven't looked at them much, but a 1" blade is a 1" blade, a 7/8" blade is a 7/8" blade... as far as the O.D. goes anyway. There are thin and thick walled versions of each diameter to choose from and each has a benefit and a drawback. Thick blades are more robust for dueling, but aren't as bright as thin-walled blades. Thin blades are brighter, but won't hold up well under heavy dueling. Tap-tap-tap with thin-walled blades will be just fine, just no 'CONAN SMASH' swings like you could with a thick-walled blade.

    Buttons and Ports in Portholes... totally doable! Measure where they're at.

    Now, get the measurements. Think 'DRAW A BLUEPRINT'. Even if your drawing skills are atrocious, a detailed diagram of measurements is essential!!!
     
  7. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    I went to art school. My drawing skillz are excellent. I'm waiting on a few parts I've already order to arrive, then I'm on it!

    Oh, and I won't be dueling or cosplaying, just wall porn for my office.
     
  8. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Thin-walled blade it is then! See that was easy, one part of one part mostly done!

    Pick Round or Bullet for your tip. Pick your length if you want it precut, or get the full 40" and cut it yourself. Pick clear or trans-white for your blade...well, maybe. What color of light do you want your blade to have when it's lit? Some of the colored blades (the actual tube part) have some really neat effects when lit, but look a tad gauche when not lit and stuck up on a wall.
     
  9. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    I saw a plug and play all in one unit on Saberforge that let's you pick any color on start up-- but it was also over $300 and that's a lot of money for something Ill turn on once ever couple weeks.

    The use of thick pointed blades in TFA and TLJ, and the bullet tips of the PT are all things I dislike. I'd love a tapered point like the OT, but rounded would be fine for me. Color I'll have to think about... but probably orange, purple, or red.
     
  10. tomleech

    tomleech Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Happy to throw in my experience here too :) Really wouldnt use anything saberforge and definitely not their electronics, the machining isn't great and the threaded sections tend to be too short. A nano biscotte v4 sound board sounds like it'd be ideal for your requirements and the manual is pretty good with some great wiring diagrams, TCSS also sell a cutting mat with NB4 diagrams printed right onto it :) I can give you an exact list of what you'd need electronics-wise if you need.

    Thin walled blade is the way to go, they can still stand up to a lot of punishment and you really only need a thick walled if you want to break some bones :)

    A picture of the flash you're working with would help us work out what you'll need mechanically and if you've got calipers for measurements I can design and print you a chassis :)
     
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  11. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Prizm 5.1
    18650 battery
    NE-crew led
    2 tactile switches
    28mm 2w speaker
    Military spec wire
    Soldier and wire strippers and call it good!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
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  13. Sandtracker

    Sandtracker Active Member

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  14. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    Thanks guys! I'm on the body and will get some calipers tomorrow!

    Oh, and if it isn't a pain in the *, I'd love for the activation button to be lit too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Awesome-- this will totally help, thanks!
     
  15. Sandtracker

    Sandtracker Active Member

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    You're welcome! Don't hesitate to ask questions. I've been building FX sabers since 2013 and I'm studying electrical engineering in college.
     
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  16. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  17. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Scarecrow hooked me up with this site
    https://powerwerx.com/ptfe-high-temperature-stranded-wire

    I’m currently building a 2.0 for a friend of mine, metal goth chassis, prizm 5.1

    We will see how this goes, fingers crossed... eyes crossed too
     
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  18. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    The lightsaber in your sig is actually very close to one of the two designs I'm considering
     
  19. tomleech

    tomleech Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'd say Prizm's probably overkill, more complex and expensive than a nano :)
    18650 battery is ideal
    NECree is just Naigon's name for his RGB Tri Cree XPE2, if he wants single colour or purple I think he'd be better off doubling up a colour and having the third die available if he wants to add FoC later :)
    TCSS sells led momentary tact switches in a variety of colours
    Yup, 28mm speaker
    Make sure you get wire that can handle 2A for the LED wires
    Make sure you get an ESD safe soldering iron.
     
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  20. tomleech

    tomleech Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  21. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I like the necree because you don’t have to worry about resistor calculations, I’m lazy ;)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  22. tomleech

    tomleech Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There's an included one on the red but you should really measure them anyway :)
     
  23. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Very very true ;)
     
  24. REVANSSkywalker

    REVANSSkywalker Active Member

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    I can help you as well. I just finished my mb sabers chassis install. Since this is your first I would go with a nano v4 and tcss nano chassis. It holds everything needed in a compact space saving design. My cram fu for my build was very challenging due to adding neopixels for the crystal chamber and plasma gate as well as the new connecter for the neopixel blade. The nano also supports neopixel btw
     
  25. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  26. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    I recognize your post as English, but I only understood a fraction of it.
     
  27. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    Okay-- just looking at TCSS parts...

    Do I need an LED driver, or is that for bigger things than what I need?
    Should I get one of the units where the LED and heat sync are already together?
    Do I want 12 or 16mm switches? What's the difference between momentary and latching?
    Do I need a speaker mount, or will a chassis take care of that?
     
  28. ARKM

    ARKM Sr Member

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    I'm a different Tom but I'll answer that for ya. I have that very one ordered from that very place. Obi-Shane recommended it to me and it works great If it states that it is "Fulfilled by Amazon" then you should be ok as that means Amazon has it at one of their distribution warehouses so in theory, it should be legit. Yes, it is ESD safe.
     
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  29. ARKM

    ARKM Sr Member

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    You do not need an LED driver. That is only for sabers with no sound.

    Yes, get an LED/heat sink module. If you go with a non-MHS blade holder than get a non-MHS LED/heat sink module like the 1" dia. one that TCSS sells for example.

    12mm and 16mm refers to the diameter size of the switch so use what will fit where you want it to go. Latching is mostly for sabers with no sound and 99.9% of soundboards support momentary. Go with momentary.

    If you get a 3D printed chassis with a speaker mount built in, you're all set, otherwise you might want to get one from TCSS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  30. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    Thanks!
     
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  31. REVANSSkywalker

    REVANSSkywalker Active Member

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    You should look into neopixel sabers as well. I won't go back to in hilt led's. They are brighter and actually quite easy to install.
     
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  32. roygilsing

    roygilsing Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Seth, for starting this thread. I'll be following this with great interest too! I see so many great (electronic) builds lately, especially in the various Facebook groups and I think I want to dive into this world myself soon! I just watched Khal's (KR sabers) youtube video about building your own LED strip blade and that looks interesting as well. Although I'd like to light up a saber even without blade too. I'm not sure if I want to attach a blade to mine at all; maybe just sound and light from a blade plug would be enough.
     
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  33. MakBzh

    MakBzh Active Member

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    Thanks SethS. Following this with interest too :)

    Envoyé de mon SM-G930F en utilisant Tapatalk
     
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  34. ikevin1138

    ikevin1138 Active Member

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    I will throw in my 2 cents as someone who just built a Graflex 2.0 and K4 having zero experience with doing anything like this before. I had some enrty level prebuilt sabers in the past that just did not do it for me and after doing a lot of reading I decided to give it a go on my own. Did not even own a solder prior to building these.

    For budget and beginers build purposes I went with the NEC Spark 2 board partnered with his NECCree RGB. The chassis are Goth’s Padawan versions and the rest of the parts are the standard 30g wire, battery, speaker and recharge ports. I build a spread sheet of all my parts needed and where to get them, a hold over from building R2, and then went shopping.

    I went with the NEC due to what I felt in all my research was a really straight forward wiring for what I was looking for. Sound, Blade, FOC and Blaster effects. Scott has some really great documentaion for the boards that made it VERY easy to solder and he offers wonderful support along with it. His LED does not require resitors, one less thing to wire, which as a first build suited me just fine. The board does all the effects I wanted with simple wiring and holds 3 “font” options for color and sound changes. His interface for loading fonts and dialing in your saber is super easy to use and really opens up the options for the end user. Over all the features you get in this “entry” board for the money are spectaculer.

    I wanted mostly shelf sitters with all the neat effects and got all of that with the NEC set up but more importantly the satisfacion of building my own sabers.

    I had my doubts in my own ability to pull these off when I started but after doing it, I have a bench of empty hilts ready to go. My advice get a good soldering station, the money my expensive up front but its worh it in the end, I got the Hakko one mentioned here and I love it, and it will serve me for much more than just saber builds.

    TLDR version. Check out http://www.saberigniter.com/ for anyone looking to build a saber for the first time.



     
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  35. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Ummm..... Post #4. Lowest price, FREE Shipping, FREE Solder (leaded though), ABSOLUTELY REAL HAKKO! ;)

    And you're paying double for your wire:eek, check out navships ebay link in Post #12.:D
     
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  36. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    totally freak'n missed your post about the hakko! is that the site you ordered yours from?

    also with the wire, i am a little confused (story of my life) it says its 50ft assortment.(totaling 50ft all together right?) the wire im buying is 25ft on each roll? i already bought every color in 30g, and a extra roll of red and black in 28g for the battery leads
     
  37. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Speaking of solder and wire, SethS ! If you don't have one, it would be a good idea to pick up a Smoke Absorbing Fan of some sort.

    https://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=243-1189-nd

    Digikey doesn't have the best price on this right now, but if you compile your shopping list before you randomly order from wherever, you'll be able to compare overall pricing and get what you need from who has what at the best prices.


    If you want to use Lead-FREE solder, I use these two...

    ChipQuik #SMDSWLF.020 1oz. https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/chip-quik-inc/SMDSWLF.020-1OZ/SMDSWLF.020-1OZ-ND/2177056

    MG Chemicals #4900-35G 0.6oz. https://www.circuitspecialists.com/4900-35g.html


    MG Chemicals also makes desoldering wick called 'SUPER WICK' in different widths. 0.025" and 0.050". Think of solder wick as your lead eraser for when you flub your soldering welds.

    https://www.circuitspecialists.com/424-lf.html

    https://www.circuitspecialists.com/423-white.html


    And if you need wire strippers...

    https://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=pa70057-nd


    And a set of helping hands are always... helpful...

    Tekton Helping Hands with Magnifier #7521 I got mine for $9.99 or so from my local hobby shop.
     
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  38. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    is there a big difference between lead, and lead free? here in mass its impossible to find lead solder anymore when working with plumbing.... i dont know about the electronics community here...

    when you go lead free, do you need a special flux, or does your normal flux also work with lead free?
     
  39. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Hey halliwax ! Yes, https://www.tequipment.net/ was the lowest price back then too and it was a pleasant purchasing experience!

    Yes, the link I put up for the 28 AWG wire assortment is for 50' of wire in total. More than enough to wire several lightsabers.

    I compared his 25' 28 AWG wire at $4.36 to the $10.34 at powerwerx when you posted their link and was like :eek. :lol

    navships has several other gauges of wire if you click on "See other items".

    For an assortment of 30AWG...

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/30-AWG-Sil...366525?hash=item36282e723d:g:10wAAOSwlMFZLvPb

    ... navships is $0.01 more per 25' length but $1.54 less for shipping, so you're saving $1.49 if you were buying 5 bundles of wire.

    Everything from him is sent via USPS in a bubble envelope and arrives fairly quickly depending on USPS.


    I know the GOTH-3D Chassis requires 30 AWG, but I'm making my own Chassis and Crystal Chamber, so I'm using the 28AWG. I had a line on some 28 AWG that was striped the way I wanted, had the higher 19 strand count, wasn't too expensive, but the quantity was 100' minimum with no returns and they wouldn't even send me a simple 6" length of wire in a regular old sealed envelope to allow me to make certain that it was thin enough to fit into where I need it to before I placed my order. Anywho, that's when I started looking for recommendations and navships was the guy that everyone was pointing towards, so I got my wires from him. He has 100% positive reviews on eBay.


    As far as fluxes go, it's the formula for what it's to be used with, LEADED or LEAD-FREE. Here's a quick article...

    https://www.itri.co.uk/solders/news-4/does-lead-free-flux-make-a-difference

    I don't think Rob and Irv ever even mention flux now that I think about it. I didn't get any when I ordered all my soldering equiptment. I'll have to revisit their Youtube videos to double check!


    Depending on who you talk to, LEADED solder is easier to work with because it has a lower melting/flow temperature than LEAD-FREE. I think it all boils down to experience with a certain product/technique. I chose to order all LEAD-FREE solders and solder pastes so that I don't have to worry about poisoning myself or anyone that ever handles my lightsaber. I just feel more comfortable health-safety-wise with LEAD-FREE and I'm going to have to practice soldering a lot anyway before I set iron to CFv8, so why not learn with something that's safer?!

    p.s. Not having LEADED solder for your water pipes is a GREAT THING! ;)

    OH! And seriously! If you have flux with a brush or whatnot that has come into contact with LEADED solder, you may have contaminated that container of flux, so it'd be a good idea to get a new batch of flux for LEAD-FREE ONLY USE!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  40. REVANSSkywalker

    REVANSSkywalker Active Member

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    You can use a flux core sodder specific for soldering electronics. That's what I use
     
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  41. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    if rob is east coast sabers, he mentions it in a few videos, i only know this because i binge watched his 2.0 series. shameem also swears by flux. i only know of flux because of all the plumbing and ac work ive done

    as for the lead free solder on water pipes, it doesnt bother me since all those pipes in the ground to get to my house are 200 year old lead and asbestos lol

    i agree with ya, lead free sucks to work with... and with joining copper it sucks....

    really appreciate the info, and links you have supplied. if i didnt already order my wiring i would have gone your eBay route... my buddy wants me to do a few for him, so he covered the wire this time around
     
  42. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    Nope, Rob is Rob Petkau aka MadCow from Genesis Custom Sabers and The Custom Saber Shop. ;)


    Duh! :facepalm I had to revist MG Chemicals website to remember this, the rosin/flux core is within the LEAD-FREE solder wire! No need for flux, that's why I didn't get any.

    HA! Looks like REVANSSkywalker beat me to it while I was off trying to figure it out!
     
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  43. TheSaberCore

    TheSaberCore New Member

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    If you're still on the fence about a proper chassis, I can't tell you how helpful a real 3D printed chassis would have been for my first install. Not having one made the install 100% harder and required me to repair it afterwards. I really recommend a Goth 3Designs chassis from Shapeways, he has many options available and trust me it will be worth the extra few bucks.
     
  44. REVANSSkywalker

    REVANSSkywalker Active Member

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    You can use a flux core sodder specific for soldering electronics. That's what I use
     
  45. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i really like Goth 3d design, his site has great step by steps on how to install them
     
  46. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    You can also use the TCSS MHS builder app to test fit parts together..etc.

    **(doesnt work on cell phones as it requires Flash Player Plugin to work)

    Flux is not solder.
    You can use .015" diameter silver bearing solder (62/32/2) if you like.. works great.. solder many places like the old Radio Shacks..etc..


    As far as a core goes.. so many options.. its really whatever fits your design/budget..

    there are parts/chassis disks at TCSS or you can buy fully 3D printers ones..
     
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  47. REVANSSkywalker

    REVANSSkywalker Active Member

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    As for what type of soddering iron to use. Go to ebay or Amazon and type in rework station. They
    come with a heat gun wich you WILL need to properly shrink heatshrink tubing. The one I have comes with a awesome iron with different tips. You want a small tip to soddering those tiny pads. Plus I spent 50 bucks on mine. It is a zeny 898D+. It is amazing!!!!
     
  48. SethS

    SethS Master Member

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    I live in California, so my workshop is a covered spot outside in the fresh air. :)

    I think a simple chassis to hold everything in lace without being a fancy reveal is the way to go. That said, I'll have some details on the saber body, like grip screws, that will get into the inner space. Once I finalize the body design and get my internal space measured out I'll have an idea of what I need. Because it's going to be an assortment of body parts I'm sure the chassis will have to be custom as well.

    I've played with it a ton-- but again, since I'm using vintage camera flash parts I'm winging the ID design a bit.

    New question-- when people do crystal reveals is a second LED used to light the crystal? I don't want to do a full on open up reveal saber, but my main body is likely going to be a Canon or Minicam flash. They both have a ring of plug ports like the MPP does, and it might be cool to have some glow lighting them up. If I use the Canon, there is a hole in the body mean for a dial I'll have to remove to make space for new guts-- it would be perfect for a peek into a crystal chamber without having to do an entire reveal style chassis.

    But if that requires wiring a second LED and figuring out extra resistors and junk, I don't need to do it my first time out.

    And thank you again to all of you for the great responses, videos, and shared experiences!
     
  49. tomleech

    tomleech Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah that one would be fine, these two are what I use:

    This is the iron we use at work, it's better than my home one but fewer features:
    https://www.amazon.com/Tenma-21-10115-Compact-Digital-Soldering/dp/B008BW9LX6/

    This is my home one, the rework heat gun is really useful and a bench power supply is pretty critical, perfect for measuring forward voltage to calculate resistance properly :)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RKX0JQA/

    You shouldn't need a driver if you're using a sound board
    I'd say order a Tri Cree XP E2 from the relevant area on TCSS, they'll custom make it for you with the right colours. The heat sink you'll need will depend on the flash you have and how you're going to mount a bladeholder.
    Switch size depends on what you want :) Depends again on the flash you want to use. Momentary switches just push in and out, connecting the wires 'for a moment', latching switches click into place and stay sunk in until you press it again, they keep the wires connected continuously.
    If I design you a chassis I will put a speaker mount in it :)
     
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  50. Ridire Firean

    Ridire Firean Sr Member

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    I keep hoping they'll add the MHS Chassis Parts to the Builder!


    "COUGH" explitive! "COUGH" :lol

    Yes, but once you figure out the first 3 for your Tri-CREE you'll be an old hand at it and that 4th little LED for the Crystal Chamber will be a breeze!

    Closed-eye Yoda nod. "Pass on what you have learned." ;) We're all having great fun helping you out! It's just a little thankyou for your efforts on the Lightsaber Guide.
     
    SethS likes this.

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