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  1. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 1:32 PM - MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such - ENERGIZER COMMERCIAL SABER #1

    It's funny how I've developed a mild obsession with the dark lord of the Sith's lightsaber. Of all the OT designs, Vader's is/used to be(?) my least favorite, plus the consensus seems to be that the various stunt and post-productions variants tend toward the ugly. Yet, somehow, I've become fond of all these variations. I've been re-configuring my Vader saber collection and thought it might be worth documenting the progress of these various projects. Let's start with:

    ROTJ Vader Stunt / Exhibition lightsaber


    A few months ago, I snagged a scratch-and-dent Graflex 2.0 with the intention of making a ROTJ Vader stunt. Here's what I've got so far:
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    The Kobold clip is from TCSS but with a d-ring that I stole from my Hasbro Vader FX saber (more on that later). The top d-ring assembly I made from scratch. The "tire valve" part is a specialty furniture screw that I "lathed" into shape by chucking the screw into my cordless drill and using various files and dremel bits to manipulate the shape. I then used a die to recut the threads to fit into the 2.0's core. I can now use it as a thumb screw if I ever decide to go that route. I may fill in the existing threads of the core and redrill and tap to have the valve sit a little higher up (as on the real prop). It can be removed with an allen key (the size of which escapes me at the moment).
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    I cut a piece of brass plumbing pipe to use as the clamp; most replicas I've seen seem to use a gauge of pipe that's too thick. I've ordered a 3d-printed control box off of Shapeways that I plan to mount with real screws. I also ordered a shroud while I was at it. I still have to source a thumb screw for the shroud. Any leads?

    As you can see from the pics, the top half is covered in grey primer. I had to do some cosmetic surgery to accurately reshape the hole where the "slide switch" would mount on an actual Graflex. On the 2.0, it's purely cosmetic, and when removed leaves a big ol' gaping, ovular hole. I flattened the faux slide switch with a file so that the profile no longer stuck out over the top of the tube. I then glued the switch into the hole with loctite, filled in the gaps with JB weld epoxy putty, and sanded it flush with the tube. I used needle files to make the rectangular hole. I plan on painting the top with chrome paint when its all said and done. I've done some preliminary tests and I'm confident that the finish will look fine as long as I can get the paint applied smoothly enough; cylindrical surfaces are much more forgiving when it comes to chrome paint, plus there is a visible difference in texture between the top and bottom on the real deal. I ain't scared
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    I've ordered a couple of ball catches from the UK. I'm taking a gamble as I'm not sure if they're going to be accurate or not. Worst case scenario, I might use one as a temporary stand-in until something better comes along.

    I do have to figure a few things out before I can proceed with this project. Firstly, just how long is the real prop? I understand that its somewhat longer than a Graflex. By how much? And where is that difference in length? Does the top stick out further? Does the bottom? Both? By how much? I need to know before I bite the bullet and cut my wannawanga grips.

    I also need to figure out how I want to affix the the hex bolts. I might drill into the existing 2.0 core. If I do that, should I drill those holes while the core is inside the outer tube, hitting 2 birds with 1 stone, or would it be wiser to carefully measure and drill the holes in the shell and core in separate passes? Obviously, the holes in the outer shell need to be larger that the threads in the core, so the shell holes will require additional reaming either way. This will be my first project using a drill press, so any advice from experienced forumers is welcome!
    Last edited by MCM; Feb 19, 2017 at 12:21 PM.
  2. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 1:46 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #2

    Next up:

    ANH V1 (mk 2)

    This one is based on a Parks MPP replica. It's got a Roy shroud from his first round of aluminum shrouds. I stripped the black paint off of the side bars, removed the clamp lever from its threads, and inserted a bent nail to approximate what I can discern from the Chronicles pictures. I'm awaiting some Todd's Costumes grips to finish this one out. This one had been configured as the ANH V2 version (using some leftover Graflex 2.0 grips) but I decided to repurpose it for 2 reasons. A) I can't find an exactra with the right display for the clamp (see Kurtyboy's effin awesome rendition), and I don't necessarily feel like fashioning one from scratch and B) the Parks replica has the endcap without the concentric circles on the tripod mount. I believe that the V2 became the ESB/ROTJ hero, and that has the endcap with the concentric circles, and since I'm not aware of any visual reference confirming the endcap of the V1, I'm willing to take that artistic liberty.

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    Last edited by MCM; Jan 22, 2017 at 7:54 PM.
  3. Utini! RPF Premium Member TIGCreations's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 1:50 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #3

    Would you care to send me a ball catch when they arrive? I bought this yesterday and it has a resin one that everyone is pointing out.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Star-Wars-Da...vip=true&rt=nc

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also: attachments aren't working.
  4. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 2:08 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #4

    ROTJ Hero

    This one started life as a Hasbro FX Vader ANH saber. I knew that I wanted to do something to it to make it more like a display piece. After gutting the electronics and stripping off the greeblies, I decided to make this a ROTJ Hero, at least until I can replace this with a more accurate replica (hint hint Roman).

    I cut the tube in half in order to orient the grips correctly once I cover up those hideous holes. Inside the tube is a PVC coupler, and I plan to drill and tap threads to better secure the 2 pieces. The screws will be obscured be the clamp box.

    I won a lot of Heiland parts on eBay a while back. One item was a Synchronar with a hot foot epoxied into the bulb socket (I assume that the photographer wanted to use a reusable flash instead of constantly going through flash bulbs) I managed to work the hot foot loose by soaking the bulb electronics in vinegar and chiseling the softened epoxy away. The result was a crusty, weathered bulb socket: perfect for a ROTJ hero. I had to do reduce the diameter a bit with a dremel and some files, but in the end I was able to make a "blade plug" that fits right in.

    I swapped the d-ring on the shroud with the d-ring from the TCSS kobold clip I'm using for the ROTJ stunt. I then did a Boba Fett-style layered paint job to simulate the chipped, rusty shroud that the prop exhibits today. I first sanded the shroud to remove the wrinkle texture, primed it, did a layer of matte brown, masked off the "rust" with latex masking fluid, then used Rustoleum hammered-texture spray paint on top of that. Before the paint was able to fully cure, I hit it with some matte clear coat, which had the effect of making the hammered paint take on an almost weathered-wrinkle-paint finish. I touched the shroud up a bit with dry brushed acrylics and some metallic paint in a few select places.

    The original Hasbro endcap was vented for sound. I took a lid from a small bottle of Testor's paint, filled it with epoxy, drilled a hole in the middle, painted it black, and then glued it into the chrome knurled ring. I contemplated trying to somehow etch in the concentric circles surrounding the tripod mount, but in the end I decided not to. I've got a Parks clamp on it I picked up from TCSS with the lever removed. Now I just await some Wannawanga grips to round this out.
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    Last edited by MCM; Jan 22, 2017 at 7:53 PM. Reason: trying to get pics to work
  5. Utini! RPF Premium Member TIGCreations's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 5:57 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #5

    Pics still don't work
  6. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 7:10 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #6

    TheIronGAMING said: View Post
    Would you care to send me a ball catch when they arrive? I bought this yesterday and it has a resin one that everyone is pointing out.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Star-Wars-Da...vip=true&rt=nc

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also: attachments aren't working.
    Assuming that they aren't garbage, I'm sure that we could work out an arrangement. I'll let you know.

    Also, I'm not sure why the attachments aren't working. Lemme see what I can do
  7. SethS's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 7:17 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #7

    Not to derail, but since you're working on it... has anyone tried the drum-style Heiland clamp as the basis for the D-ring in the bunny ear slot?

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  8. Utini! RPF Premium Member TIGCreations's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 7:20 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #8

    MCM said: View Post
    TheIronGAMING said: View Post
    Would you care to send me a ball catch when they arrive? I bought this yesterday and it has a resin one that everyone is pointing out.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Star-Wars-Da...vip=true&rt=nc
    Assuming that they aren't garbage, I'm sure that we could work out an arrangement. I'll let you know.
    Even if they are, I'd still take one. Anything is better than the resin part!
  9. KilTheMaskedGuy's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 7:22 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #9

    hey anyone knows how I can create a new thread? i've been searching for an hour.
    please!!!
  10. halliwax's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 7:24 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #10

    im going to like this! i hope you do videos like you did with the obiwan saber!
  11. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 8:04 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #11

    Barbican Exhibition Saber

    I bought a 10" aluminum tube and endcap (#7 I think) from TCSS with the intention of doing a Barbican saber. I have a Parks MPP clamp on it right now, although the real deal seems to have the collarless clamp variation with angled sidebars. The end cap is also a bit more accurate to the Barbican-inspired ROTS Vader saber, but its close enough for me for now, again, until something better pops up. I need to figure out what to use to plug the sound hole on the endcap. I was thinking maybe a hubcap from a model or toy car. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for now. Also, any idea as to what the little black "buttons" are? I believe that the saber probably had hex bolts like many of the other dueling sabers that were then replaced with those little pluggy dealies. They almost look like some sort of furniture screw cap or something.

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    Last edited by MCM; Jan 22, 2017 at 8:15 PM.
  12. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 8:30 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #12

    ANH V1 mk 1

    This is built on a vintage Heiland Synchronar. The shroud is a repainted wannawanga shroud from when Roy cleared out his "factory seconds", but with an actual vintage Heiland thumbscrew in the shroud. The bulb release is apparently a Parks from a while ago that I picked up in the junk yard. The clamp is from the Hasbro FX Vader saber that is now the ROTJ hero; I still want to do some work to it. The grips are Todd's Costumes. The endcap I'm particularly proud of. It's a hybrid that I made from a coin-knurled endcap and hex endcap. I removed the tripod mount from the hex endcap, drilled a corresponding hole in the bottom of the knurled endcap, then used epoxy putty on the inside of the endcap to secure the 2 pieces to each other. The result is more accurate than settling for either one or the other of the stock endcaps. I need to do a few more tweaks to this, but I'm more than likely going to put it up for sale in the near future.

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  13. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 8:41 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #13

    ESB Hero mk 1

    This is the one that kicked this whole shebang off, really. I bought some ESB Vader grips from Roy a ways back, originally planning to make a hardware Vader saber. I later happened upon a good deal for a Synchronar and the rest is history. From top to bottom we've got a Parks shroud, bulb release from a Vader Hasbro toy saber (itself based on the MR replica, so the proportions are just about dead on), Parks shroud, my own wires I salvaged from a busted Kurzweil synth, I don't remember which calc bubbles with a faux exactra board courtesy of my fiance, and Roy's t-track. Like my other Heiland Vader, I'm more than likely going to put this one up for sale.

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  14. RPF Premium Member thd9791's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 9:45 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #14

    pics of the barbican saber - maybe they can help
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  15. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Jan 22, 2017, 10:15 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #15

    Thanks for the pics. One can never have too much reference when it comes to these things.
  16. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Feb 7, 2017, 9:28 AM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #16

    TheIronGAMING said: View Post
    Even if they are, I'd still take one. Anything is better than the resin part!
    The latches came in... and they're terrible. Rounded tops, they aren't wide enough; a total mess. I might try modelling something up in sketchup to 3D print. I'll post some pics later when I get access to some Wi-Fi (plus I've got some updates on the other sabers).
  17. RPF Premium Member parfaitelumiere's Avatar
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    Feb 7, 2017, 10:09 AM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #17

    Replace the bubbles, I have some good for sale if you want in the junkyard.
  18. RPF Premium Member thd9791's Avatar
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    Feb 7, 2017, 12:39 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #18

    Saw this again - i have my theories on the ROTJ vader prop. here they are.

    The two screws in the "control box" area most likely are on the lock tabs. If you line up a graflex with no clamp the slots go in different directions, but the square areas with the tooth are right above one another.
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    so generally, if you were to center a bolt there, and one on the top half, the area between the screws in the clamp box is the space between the halves, measures from one bolt to the next. This includes the rest of the flash tube and the gap between the halves.

    I think this works because there is something like this
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    in there, but it butts up against the top half of the bulb socket...and extends to at least the last row of allen screws, which is down near the clamp area.
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    glue residue on the back half maybe..
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  19. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Feb 7, 2017, 1:49 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #19

    Thanks a bunch, @thd9791. That info really helps! I've got a couple of Roman Graflex replicas and a Graflex Shop one on the way; I'm sure I could use those to help line up where the clamp box and screws go.

    ROTJ Stunt

    The shroud and control box arrived from Shapeways. I had to do a bit of routing to the inside of the shroud with the dremel to get it to fit over the red button shoulder. I still need to source a thumb screw for it. The control box looks pretty sharp. I now need to get the right screws to be able to secure it to the body.
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    Here are some pics of the latches that I got. Maybe they could be serviceable, but I'm not quite ready to settle. I could try filing one into a better shape, but it still won't be accurate enough for me to justify drilling a hole into the shell in order to mount it, and since I'm going to be painting the top, I'm not wild about gluing it in place, either, since removing it might take off more paint than I would want. Hmpphhh.
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    ANH V1 Mk. 2

    I got the Todd's costumes grips trimmed and epoxied onto the Parks MPP. I have a WannaWanga bubble strip ready to trim, but word on the street is the SlothFurnace is going to be making replica exactra circuit boards. I want to wait until I have 1 or 2 in hand before I make the next move. I'm really happy with how this has turned out so far. I may or may not try to mask the chipped paint on the shroud.

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    ROTJ Hero

    I got the WannaWanga t-track trimmed, epoxied, and screwed onto the saber. I couldn't find any screws that were the right shape, so I ended up buying some wood screws and filing the screwheads into shape before painting them all satin black. The endcap on this thing definitely sticks out more than the Parks MPP or any of the Heilands that I've owned. I warmed up the t-track a bit with a blow dryer, then pressed them to the body of the saber to get them to conform a little better. Did I mention that this thing weighs a ton? The tubing that Hasbro used is incredibly thick. Handling this one feels like serious business!

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    Also, @parfaitelumiere, ever the salesman
    I've got one of these already
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ID:	705048 I'm waiting for one of Roman's MPPs (or the off chance that I score a real MPP) before I hack her up, though
  20. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Feb 8, 2017, 11:08 AM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #20

    I made a few adjustments to the Heiland-based ANH and ESB sabers. They're up for sale if you want them (in the JY). To be specific, I sanded the seam lines of of the clamp on the ANH saber, painted it satin black, and affixed proper screws to the bulb release. with the ESB saber, I ditched the faux Exactra board for a slightly cleaner look.
  21. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
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    Feb 11, 2017, 10:41 AM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #21

    After some extensive reconstructive surgery, I think that I might use this ball tension catch after all! I started by rounding off the corners of the flat part near the mounting screw hole with a dremel and hand file.

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    On the actual piece, there is a lip that goes around the circumefrence of the flange of the catch. The piece that I received has no such lip; the boxes that houses the ball bearing continue to the bottom of the catch.

    I masked off the area of the catch with tape that I wanted to remain intact and then took a hand file to the sides of the boxes in order to create a lip. This step was super tedious! It probably took an hour or so to file down both sides. I worked on it while listening to a podcast (multi-tasking ftw!). All in all, I maybe only took .5 mm off of either side, but it really helped the boxes to visually stand out from the flange

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    The ball bearing boxes on the actual prop are rectangular. Simply nobody makes them that way anymore (they just don't make them like they used to!). All of the catches that I've seen in the wild have rounded tops. In order to remedy this, I used a cutting wheel bit on a dremel to score the crap out of the top and sides of the bearing boxes. I then mixed up some JB Weld epoxy putty and put a couple blobs on top of the boxes. After the putty cured, I then spent about another hour (again listening to a podcast) filing the top and sides into the correct rectangular shape.

    The catch wasn't quite wide enough (it should cover most of the allen bolt head with just a bit peaking out of the sides). In order to remedy this, I cut a few strips of plastic from an old gift card and glued them around the circumference of the catch, making sure to keep the top edge of the plastic level with the flange of the catch. I trimmed up any overhanging plastic, then blasted the whole thing with 3 or 4 coats of filler primer. The result is what you see here:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I also managed to get a template printed out and I've marked the holes for drilling on the upper shell. I think I'm going to keep the stock 2.0 core and have the bolts thread into that. It might be kinda difficult tapping the threads in the the holes that go into the ribbed section. Anyone have any advice on the best way to approach this? For the initial hoes, I definitely need to use a drill press, which I've never used on metal before. The last time I used one was literally half my life ago while in high school, so any advice on drill bits/speeds/technique would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by MCM; Feb 11, 2017 at 5:19 PM. Reason: getting the darned pictures to work!
  22. Sym-Cha's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2008
    From
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Messages
    4,680
    Feb 15, 2017, 1:54 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such - BALL CATCH PLASTIC SURG #22

    Now that's a real propmaker's solution to those door catches ... well done sir

    Cha´m
  23. Mystery Chunk RPF Premium Member PoopaPapaPalps's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2010
    From
    IA, USA
    Messages
    2,173
    Feb 15, 2017, 6:34 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such - BALL CATCH PLASTIC SURG #23

    I wanted to let you know that your hybrid endcaps for your Heilands convinced me to try to make one of my own for my conversion should the day ever come. Well, that day came today...

    ....And I completely made a botch job of the "correct" endcap.

    I made it work out for me in the end but I just want to say this was all your fault.
  24. Mance Vader RPF Premium Member MCM's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2015
    From
    Baltimore
    Messages
    479
    Feb 19, 2017, 11:50 AM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such - BALL CATCH PLASTIC SURG #24

    PoopaPapaPalps said: View Post
    I wanted to let you know that your hybrid endcaps for your Heilands convinced me to try to make one of my own for my conversion should the day ever come. Well, that day came today...

    ....And I completely made a botch job of the "correct" endcap.

    I made it work out for me in the end but I just want to say this was all your fault.

    There was one point when drilling out the hole for the ANH endcap the the metal sheared in a really screwed up way. I seriously thought that I had screwed up the endcap for good. Thankfully, the shearing didn't extend too far out from the center of the end cap and I was able to ream the hole to the correct size with a dremel. I think I have pock marks from the bullets I was sweating
  25. Utini! RPF Premium Member TIGCreations's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2016
    From
    Coruscant
    Messages
    412
    Feb 19, 2017, 12:13 PM - Re: MCM's (Mance Vader) Darth Vader saber projects and such #25

    MCM said: View Post
    The latches came in... and they're terrible. Rounded tops, they aren't wide enough; a total mess. I might try modelling something up in sketchup to 3D print. I'll post some pics later when I get access to some Wi-Fi (plus I've got some updates on the other sabers).
    I'm still interested in a ball catch.

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