Introduction: Quicksilver: a Steampunk Aethersaber Instructable

After the popularity and praise the Broken Butterfly brought me I have finally gotten around to the bountiful requests to create an instructable, not merely a slideshow, on how I made the thing. Without further ado, I give you the Quicksilver: Aligned Particle Non-Newtonian Mercury Blade; another, steampunk Aethersaber.


Step 1: Materials

Well I didn't really snap any pictures without the intent of having them for other steps. But here's a basic shopping list of the materials I used, and some of the tools

Materials

All these I found in my local hardware store
6 in x 3/4 in cut off riser
1/2 in flex hose adapter
1/2 in riser extension
3/4 in saddle joint
1/8 in plexiglass

I found these in my local electronic supply store
2025 battery holder
22 gauge  solid copper wire
22 gauge quick connectors
10 ohm resistor
7000 mcd white led
push button switch

And these were at a thrift store or laying around
silver wire
spatula
silver leaf
O-rings

Tools
Soldering Iron
Coping Saw
Vice (I love the thing don't know how I ever got by without one. My first project using it and LOVE)
needle nose pliers with wire cutter
assorted files and rasps
power hand sander
power drill
x-acto knives
super glue
hot glue gun

Step 2: Building the Handle

Now this part isn't too difficult, not doing anything fancy yet. I punched a hole in the riser and fed the wire into it, just to hold it there. Then I just ran the wire up the threading of the riser. The only tricky bit was the collars where the riser was meant to be cut. I took my knives and cut out some notches for the wire to run through, and then I filled the larger gap beneath the collar by sliding on an O-ring. Once I got to the top, one more hole to anchor the wire and pull it tight.

Step 3: Building the Guard

I apologize in advance, some of the pictures in this step are blurry.

First thing first is you want to take the flex adapter and trim it down. Otherwise its way too long to do anything with. Just some quick work with my coping saw. This is where we're going to mount the button. If it still isn't quite the right size go ahead and take the x-actos and open it up a little, just shave down the plastic until the button slides in a bit better.

The next thing I did was I took the saddle joint, and opened it up. We're only going to use half of it. To make it easier to place there is a hole, and a gap, so one side can remain connected while the other is slotted into place and then tightened. To make the guard a little more symmetrical I just opened the hole into a second gap and rounded the two off a little. Also there was a small foam pad that I just got rid of.

After that it just didn't quite seem like enough. From the local thrift store I found a fancy looking little spatula. I bent it around the riser extension, and took some more of the silver wire to secure it. its really easy to tie things in with wire, and as long as you're neat it adds, rather than detracts from the appearance. Just be sure to wind coils tightly, or leave gaps that you can re-thread the wire through to tighten coils you've already made. Any Boyscout that knows how to whip a frayed end of rope will understand that.

Step 4: Building the Blade

This is one of those steps where I don't have too much of the process. I have the steps it was preformed in though.

First things first. You want to have the guard section of the saber separated from the handle.

After that, get some rough measurements of the saddle joint. in the first picture I have the main body of the blade, and two smaller chevron like plates to help it fit a little better in the pipe.Once you have an idea of what you need, make some rough cuts on the plexi. Its good to be precise, but if you're not professional, and know you'll make errors, like me, ere on the side of excess. I just clamped the pieces together in a vice with some cardboard to keep from marking up the plastic. Then I took a file and just rounded the shape down to where I needed it.

Once I had the shape right, using your saw, or knife, or files to hone it down, I got my sander. I went along the edges of all the pieces to smooth them down. I sanded both faces of the chevrons because I wanted them to be more opaque. I also sanded near the base of the blade so when I went to superglue them all together it would adhere better. Keep in mind any mark you make on the plastic will be lit up like a Christmas tree by the end. In this case. because of the name I had for this saber, I wanted to put some swirls and burls on the blade. You could put Kanji, Hieroglyphs, emblems, designs, whatever you want on the face of the plastic and the light will catch it as well as the edges of the sword. How I did the texture on this blade, I just very lightly sanded the blade. I had the power hand sander turned upside down, and grazed the face of the blade on the corner a few times. As long as you go slow you can build a lot of small ones without overdoing it. Go too fast and you have too much. To give it a little more I took some silver leaf, just wiped it on the blade. It clung to all the scratches, but wiped clean off the flat parts.

Once you're happy with the blade, take your LED and line it up at the base. I would highly recommend having the battery handy and testing to make sure you're happy with how its lighting up before you secure it with hot glue. While you're at it, solder the resistor to the positive lead of the led. This helps make sure you won't burn it out quite as fast, although it will work just as well without.

The next part is where it starts to get complicated, but makes things easier to assemble in the long run. You'll probably want to extend the leads on the LED. When you have the saddle joint, extender, and flex adapter, take the flex adapter off. Line the blade up in the saddle joint and secure it with more hot glue. Make sure the leads are long enough at this point where if you had the adapter attached, both would still extend out of the bottom.

Step 5: Wiring

Alright, below if just a really simple circuit, the one we're trying to make. Sure it won't look exactly like this, but only because it has to fit inside of a sprinkle assembly.

Now, when we go to start putting this thing together it gets tricky. My technique comes from having torn wires and leads and all sorts of things going wrong that leads back to rewiring the whole thing. I've built 3, and this is how I eventually have gotten it to work. 

First, run both leads from the LED clear through the adaptor and screw it on. this way neither wire twists in the process. After that take a little hook and fish the positive lead through the hole for the button. Solder it to the lead of the switch, and while you're at it solder the wire onto the other end. Crimp on the quick connects, I used the males, to the open lead off the switch, and the negative lead from the LED. Feed the positive lead through the hole and out the bottom, and then push the button into place. If you have excess wire, good, it might not go back in as easy but when you go to screw the halves together it has more room to flex and not break.

Now that the top half is ready to go lets return to the handle. I found out by chance the 2025 battery holder fits almost perfectly on the bottom of the 3/4 inch riser. The positive lead is on the outside but drilling a quick hole solves that. Solder your wires to the battery mount and feed them through. The negative just goes right up the handle, the positive gets inserted through the hole in the side and then follows suit. Crimp on the female quick connects and good to go.

Here's the part where everything can go wrong. If you have exposed wires they can cross, if you have short wires they can tear, if you have weak connections they can break. These are not huge issues, but if it doesn't work, check those. The simple version is, we're screwing the two halves back together. I gave the wires in the handle a twist in the opposite direction so they would actually uncoil when I went to screw the pieces together. Connect the quick connects, again making sure everything is insulated. After that just screw the handle back into the adapter.

Once everything is together and still working, go ahead and take the hot glue again. Attach the battery mount to the base of the handle, and make sure the button is secure. You can take a razer and trim the excess once its cool.

Step 6: Finished

Once everything is all cleaned up, any excess glue trimmed, or fingerprints wiped off, clip in the battery(unless you're like me and have had it in the whole time to test regularly) and you're ready to go.

Below is a link to the Broken Butterfly, the saber that started it all for me.
https://www.instructables.com/id/The-Broken-Butterfly-A-steampunk-aethersaber/

I'd love to see, and add, any pictures of sabers people create themselves. Have fun and be safe. Thanks for the support and enthusiasm.

The last three images are of the saber I made for my girlfriend. It has a slightly different design to allow for the longer blade. 

Comments

author
BuilderBro1 (author)2015-06-07

If you take apart a small or large flat screen tv it has some kind of material in the screen that guides light through out the whole screen.

author
peyton14 (author)2014-05-16

I made one like it! I need to make a sheath, then ill have a 'ible up!

author
bendog38 (author)2011-05-06

what do you suggest for the blade since I cant get my hands on plexiglass?

author
peyton14 (author)bendog382014-05-16

Ask around! I got some plastic stuff from my tech teacher. maybe sheet metal if you can't find some, then have holes in the blade.

author
c j r p (author)2013-09-26

would it work with a torch instead of a hose piece

author
KappaHat (author)2011-10-08

Hey, ElusiveGreen! Here is my project that was inspired by your 'ible. Thanks for posting! https://www.instructables.com/id/Flintlock-Gun-Blade/

author
Zebidiah Granger (author)2010-10-17

5 stars!!!!!!!!!

author
xd12c (author)2010-09-23

You can also get Liquid Electrical tape & seal each connection, helping to prevent shorts.

author
naruto the ninja13 (author)2010-08-10

can you tell when its on durring the day, outside, or when the lights are on?

author

Needless to say it will work best in the dark. Inside with the lights on you can generally tell along the edges and especially near the tip, some of the etching lights but its faint. If you're somewhere bright, namely outside or sunny rooms you'll be out of luck: the drawback of using a single LED

author

if you used a few more leds would it be more visible?

author

It depends on how many you use, how bright each one is, how long the blade is, and how much detailing or etching you put on it. Like several LED's, on a short, plain blade, would be the brightest combination I imagine.

author
ChakatSilverstreak (author)2010-08-12

Spatula? Looks like an absinthe spoon to me... very fancy, I like the look.

author
GMer56 (author)2010-07-31

I just gathered up the materials for my aethersaber. Mine is going to have a hose leading from the base of the 'saber to a backpack boiler thingy to make it look a little more steampunkish. I can't wait to begin! I don't have money for Plexiglass, (all the materials are coming from our junkpile) so I'm using a coathanger and some blue thin transparent plastic (from an old cheap poncho).

author
ElusiveGreen (author)GMer562010-07-31

The backpack sounds good. If you do want to give plexi a shot, try asking if they have any scrap they can't resell. Because I can't afford plexiglass either XD , and thats how I got mine. I work in a home improvement store and when customers get plexi cut and don't want the scraps they would just get thrown out. You could also use the plastic fusing technique to get a thicker sheet. I've only seen it done with plastic bags, but It might work.

author
GMer56 (author)ElusiveGreen2010-08-01

The plastic fusing technique is interesting, I may look into that (I wonder if you can use milkjugs... I may need something hotter than an iron though, maybe some thermite? lol), but the blue raincoat seems perfect, I'll post pics if I ever make it. Meh, nearest hardware store is 10 miles away (and I don't think they cut plexiglass), and the nearest home improvement store is over 40 miles away. I sometimes hate living in the middle nowhere, but at least the scenery is nice and when the apocalypse comes... B)

author
ElusiveGreen (author)GMer562010-08-01

I'd be torn. Sometimes it'd be nice to get away from it all and have some peace and quiet. If I had a cabin up in the mountains I'd be out hiking all the time, not on the computer lol

author
martzsam (author)2010-07-28

Just throwing this out there, but it would be waaay cooler with a red LED.

author
ElusiveGreen (author)martzsam2010-07-30

Well thats the beauty of it. You can use any LED. I chose white because I was going to call it Quicksilver. I plan on making one called Flamberge for my friend once he gets back from basic training, and I'll use red for that one.

author
martzsam (author)ElusiveGreen2010-07-30

That makes sense. This is an awesome instructable. You should be very proud of your work. Keep it up! Sam

author
matstermind (author)martzsam2010-07-29

or blue

author
louwhopley (author)matstermind2010-07-29

or green

author
kcls (author)louwhopley2010-07-29

or purple

author
martzsam (author)kcls2010-07-29

or any other color that isn't white.

author
pyro1324 (author)martzsam2010-07-29

black...

author
martzsam (author)pyro13242010-07-29

A black light? That would be waaaaay awesome. But do they make LEDs like that?

author
pneu6 (author)martzsam2010-07-29

Yes! they do, I have some and they are BEAST.

author
BeanGolem (author)martzsam2010-07-29

Or maybe throw a thin layer of UV reactive paint on the blade that looks clear under normal light, but use UV LEDs.

author
martzsam (author)BeanGolem2010-07-29

That would be epic

author
StickStoneBone (author)kcls2010-07-29

or Heliotrope, or Chartreuse!

author
jringling (author)2010-07-29

Very cool! This is going on my "to do" list... soon... Question: Why 1/8" plexi? I'd think that would be fragile... I'll probably try it with 1/4" plexi

author
wsanriv (author)jringling2010-07-29

Some times having material hanging around makes them useful even thou they are not the most recommended. But I agree smacking someone around with 1/8 could be a bit fragile, that what you meant right?? :P

author
ElusiveGreen (author)wsanriv2010-07-30

Well I guess thats the trick. I never planned on smacking someone around with this one. Even if you had a thicker piece of plexiglass, such as 1/4, as soon as you elongate the blade it will want to flex. It won't be good for say, a larp weapon, You see the same issue with metals. It has to be treated to be stiff, but that will inherently make it more brittle. The one I'm putting together for my girlfriend is 1/4 inch, and at about two and a half feet in length the blade bows under its own weight. You would need a stabilizer no matter what, unless you have a stiffer piece of plastic. Again I'm getting mine out of the scrap bin at work so it might not be the choice material. Some aspects won't vary terribly much though. I'll upload a picture of that one and add it to the final slide. not finished, but also a little different in design.

author
jringling (author)wsanriv2010-07-29

Yeah... I'm thinking the 1/8" might snap off easily... My only experience with plexi is 1/4" and it if flimsy at times...

author
ElusiveGreen (author)jringling2010-07-29

I said 1/8th because its what I had. XD 1/4 might be better but at the same time, it isn't constructed for impact, at least not yet. I am building another with a "full tang" if you will, but the longer the blade is the more it wants to flex.

author
Fieldownage (author)jringling2010-07-29

It really depends on how are you going to handle it? Sure, 1/8'' plexiglass is a bit more fragile than 1/4'', but take my word: thicker piece of plexiglass = hard/slow/annoying to cut (for example, sawing thick pieced usually melts area getting sawed, so you have to go back and forth to get a clean cut).

author
wsanriv (author)2010-07-29

Some time ago while working with glass fibers we where doing somethings like this and if you hide the source of light, the effect in the sword edges will be a bit more dramatic. at least that is my thought.

author
3isles (author)2010-07-29

a really cool look could be from using LISA its an acrylic sheet. Its edges glow neon looks like its lit. check it out at this link http://acrilex.com/pdfs/fluorescent.pdf Maybe you could get scraps or samples if you contacted them.

author
imthatguy1125 (author)2010-07-28

How much was the plexiglass at your local hardware store, mine sells 1/8 inch plexiglass for 40 bucks

author

Something you can do about that. Is keep an eye out for when they're cutting things. I work at a Lowes so its easier, but they will just throw away the scraps because they can't be sold. See if they'll let you grab a couple even if they're discounted its not like you need a whole sheet.

author

Ok cool thanks

author
J-Floyd (author)2010-07-28

I may have skipped through this stiep, but what creates the foggy look in the blade? The effect is really what makes it look amazing.

author
ElusiveGreen (author)J-Floyd2010-07-28

Glad you said something I may have skipped that I'll double check. Basically I just very lightly sanded the blade. I had the power hand sander turned upside down, and grazed the face of the blade on the corner a few times. As long as you go slow you can build a lot of small ones without overdoing it. Go too fast and you have too much. To give it a little more I took some silver leaf, just wiped it on the blade. It clung to all the scratches, but wiped clean off the flat parts.

author
J-Floyd (author)ElusiveGreen2010-07-28

That's really neat. It creates such a unique effect that gives it the steampunk-ish look instead of just having a dull plastic blade.

author
ElusiveGreen (author)J-Floyd2010-07-28

I did gloss over that part a little. I updated it, thanks for pointing it out.

author
ElusiveGreen (author)2010-07-28

I have to say yours is more practical. So don't go saying mine is better. =)

author
ElusiveGreen (author)2010-07-28

Go for it, I look forward to someone trumping me. I love awesome original ideas more than winning

author
cursed_kross (author)2010-07-28

I really like the scratch detail on the blade, really adds character. Though it reminds me more of cyberpunk rather than steampunk

author
nickodemus (author)2010-07-28

Ohhh that's awesome... It would be a really cool effect if you etched the plexiglass with some sort of design...

author
Lithium Rain (author)2010-07-28

Pretty!

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