"You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
It's that time of year again, Star Wars day! (May the 4th in case you missed it). Last year I came up with the 3d printed Thermal Detonator so this year I decided to make another Star Wars related Instructable. I couldn't find many 3d printed Lightsabers here on Instructables, so I thought it would be a good idea to share this one designed by Jacky Wan (also known as Valcrow). I had fun printing it and putting it together, but I had even more fun painting it.
With varying lightsabers featuring in the movies and the Clone Wars animated series, as well as numerous Star Wars video games, there are lots of different designs. This is a replica of Obi-Wan Kenobi's third lightsaber, he constructed it during the Clone Wars and it was the one he wielded for the rest of his life.
This Instructable is made entirely out of 3d printed parts, but what really brings it to life is the paint job. Be sure to pay particular attention to this, patience you must have my young padawan.
"This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times… before the Empire."
- Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Star Wars: Episode IV
Step 1: 3d Print and Assemble the Parts
The STL files for the 3d printed parts are included in the attached ZIP file, 3d print them using the instructions below:
- Everything is designed to be mostly hollow, print with a low temperature (depending on your filament) and use a slow speed for best results.
- Part 8 and 9 require slow printing due to their size. Print them 2cm apart on the print bed at 30% infill.
- Brims and supports are not required for any of the parts so do not use them, they will interfere with the fitting later.
- Print everything with a ~0.15mm layer height.
- Once printed, test fit the assembly as illustrated by the included images, making sure to assemble in the alphabetical order shown.
- The clamp is the most complicated part and the final pin contends with a lot of friction, but it's going to hold the whole thing together. You may need to shave off a few mm's from part 8 or 9 to get a good fit.
Note: The 3d parts used in this Instructable were designed by Jacky Wan (aka Valcrow) and are provided under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. For more information on Jacky Wan and his 3d printed lightsaber design, check out his article on Ultimaker or visit Redicubricks to see more of his work.
Step 2: Painting and Finishing the Parts
To paint the Lightsaber and apply a weathered effect I used the following colours, but feel free to vary the colour to suit your preference. Use the image of the completed saber as a colour guide:
- Metallic Gold/Brass
- Metallic Silver
- Matt Black
To create the weathering effect, you'll need the following additional items:
- Salt crushed sea salt works best
- Small paint brush for applying water
- Clean and dry toothbrush
Lightly Sand the 3d printed parts with a fine sandpaper to smooth and prep the surface prior to painting (I used a P800 grit). Take care to remove any loose bits and dust after sanding, I find that a tack cloth works well for this.
The pieces are then primed using a surface primer and left to dry for 24 hours.
First Coat of Colour and Paint Weathering
To create the weathering effect we will first paint the parts using what will be the rust / corrosion colour. In my case I used a couple of coats of copper, then left them to dry for at least 24 hours. You need the paint to be absolutely dry for the next stage. I don't plan on corroding every piece, only the non-gold/brass parts.
Tip: Follow the instructions provided with your paint and pay close attention to the safety guidelines. I used rattle/spray cans, if you have access to an air-compressor paint kit it will yield better results.
The Weathering Technique
The weathering effect is achieved using the salt and water. With the paint brush apply water to the areas that you want to show signs of corrosion, focus on the areas where moisture and dirt would naturally collect (such as in and around grooves).
Take the salt and sprinkle it over the wet pieces, you'll find that the salt will stick to the wet spots and begin to crystallise. Once the wet areas are covered in salt you'll want to leave it for at least an hour to let it dry thoroughly.
Once dried you can gently blow off the loose bits of salt, then spray paint the Lightsaber pieces in the final colours (I'd recommend at least two coats). Leave for another 24 hours to dry thoroughly.
Removing the salt for the big reveal
This is the fun part, using the toothbrush remove the salt. You can brush fairly vigorously, get all the salt off and reveal the saber with its finished weathered look. If you are happy with everything, seal in a clear lacquer to protect the paint finish.
You can now re-assemble the lightsaber as per the previous step, hopefully it still fits together nicely. If you have any difficulty you may need to lightly sand any tight areas until it fits properly.
Tip: Bring your finished saber to life with some special effects editing (see final image).
Note: For a really good video tutorial on painting your Lightsaber, check out this guide on Redicubricks.