Introduction: Sword Art Online: Elucidator Prop Sword!

Picture of Sword Art Online: Elucidator Prop Sword!

I have been making props for over a year and a half now and I was recently commissioned by my friend to make the Elucidator from Sword Art Online. This was a fun commission for me to do and I want to share how I made it and how you can make one yourself!

This build is relatively easy, even for beginners and only requires a couple of basic power tools which are widely accessible to most people. (chances are you already have the power tools needed in your household) This entire build was made only with hand tools, but if you have access to big tools, (like a band saw, or a drill press) take advantage of using them.

This build uses a layering process as opposed to a solid piece being carved; this means that layers are applied to build thickness. This process is a great way to build lots of different kind of props because it means that symmetry is maintained and accuracy for detail is easier to control.

This build took me about 30 hours from start to finish over the course of 2 weeks so don't expect to make a decent prop if you rush it! Take your time on this build and the pay off will be much better.

Step 1: What You Will Need:

Picture of What You Will Need:

The list of requirements are as follows:

Materials:

MDF sheets (Metric: 1-1.5mm, 3mm and 6mm) (Imperial: 0.04-0.06, 1/8" and 1/4")

250grams/8 oz of 2 Part Epoxy Putty (Milliput, Apoxie sculpt)

High impact styrene (Metric: 1mm) (Imperial: 0.80")

PVC pipe (Metric: 25mm outer diameter) (Imperial: 1" outer diameter)

Pine dowel (same outer diameter as the PVC pipe inner diameter)

Threaded rod (Metric: 6-12mm diameter) (Imperial: 1/4-1/2" diameter)

Filler (wood filler, body filler)

Tools:

Jig saw (or similar electric saw)

Power drill (or drill press if you have access)

Various Files/Rasps

Various clamps (about a dozen)

Filler/Putty spreader

Hacksaw (for cutting metal)

X-acto knife

Orbital sander (optional)

Dremel rotary tool (optional)

Consumables:

PVA/Wood glue

Gorilla glue (Expanding Polyurethane glue)

Sandpaper (60, 80, 120, 200, 400, 800 grit)

Cheap liquid Super glue (check out step 7 to see why you want cheap liquid super glue)

High build/Filler primer

Black/Silver spray paint

Matt clear coat

Masking tape

Step 2: Templates

Picture of Templates

To start with, you will need the templates of the pieces for this project. On the link below, I made a full size blueprint and templates for you to download for free. All measurements are on the templates.

(You will need to click on the image to find the full size blueprint)

Once printed, these templates need to be transferred to your thickness's of MDF. Be sure to mark your MDF with the thickness's so you don't get the pieces muddled up.

Step 3: Cutting and Initial Shaping

Picture of Cutting and Initial Shaping

Once your templates have been transferred to your MDF sheets, they need to be cut out using your saw. I would highly recommend the jig saw for this since they are cheap, easy to work with and you can cut all the pieces using that tool. When cutting your pieces, make sure you cut on the outside of the line, this means you will never take off material that wasn't supposed to be cut off.

Once all of the pieces are cut, I would recommend cleaning up the edges by sanding and filing any areas that are scruffy or jagged; doing this now instead of later will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Step 4: Glueing

Picture of Glueing

The pieces now need to be glued together, I recommend glueing the 6mm/1/4" to the 1.5mm/0.100" and glueing the 3mm/1/8" pieces together separately. The 3mm/1/8" pieces will be glued later on in this build.

To glue these together, apply a small amount of wood glue to the bases and secure with clamps; you don't want too much glue otherwise you'll need to wipe off the excess and you don't want to use too little, otherwise the bond won't be strong.

You will need as many clamps as you can get your hands on to ensure as much optimal pressure as possible. something to note is don't clamp the MDF too tightly, otherwise you might leave an indentation of the clamp.

Step 5: Sealing and Epoxy Clay

Picture of Sealing and Epoxy Clay

With all of the pieces glued together, the pieces need sealing. This is to protect the MDF and to prime it ready for sanding and prepping. This can be done in many ways; I chose to do a layer of PVA glue over the MDF. You can also use wood glue, lots of filler primer, super glue (as I later demonstrate in this build) or you can just straight up use MDF sealer.

Once sealed, you can now apply the Epoxy clay all around the gaps; this is used to create the bevelled edges of the sword. 2 part Epoxy clay is mixed with the ratio 1:1 and are blended together until the colour is uniform. (colour depends on brand and type)

The working time for Milliput/Apoxie sculpt is about 30 mins so you will need to make multiple batches. Just be patient and apply inbetween periods to fill every edge. One great advantage to Epoxy clay is you can use water to manipulate the clay, so you can wet your finger and run your finger across the clay and spread it out evenly.

Curing time is around 4 hours and it cures harder than rock so you'll know when it's done but if you want to play it safe, leave it to cure for a whole 24 hours to absolutely ensure maximum strength.

You may notice that the clay doesn't look uniform and smooth, this isn't an issue with Epoxy clay because it sands and files beautifully.

Step 6: Filing, Sanding and Smoothing

Picture of Filing, Sanding and Smoothing

Once you have ensured all of the clay is cured, you will need to file and sand all of it to a smooth shape. I recommend filing first to remove high spots and blend low spots so the clay is flat. run the file up and down the blade at a 45 degree angle along the whole way on both sides to ensure similarity.

Once the clay has been filed, sand with 60 grit, 80 grit and lastly 120 grit to make the clay incredibly smooth.

With the epoxy clay shaped and smooth, the surface needs smoothing aswell. I applied water based wood filler on the sword using a filler/putty knife, once it had dried, I sanded the surface with 120 grit, and then 200 grit.

Step 7: Glueing the Extra Pieces and More Sealing

Picture of Glueing the Extra Pieces and More Sealing

With the sword and extra pieces now smooth, you can now glue the pieces to the sword. Repeat the same process as the first glueing step shows, ensuring there is enough wood glue and that you line up the pieces before clamping.

After the pieces have been glued together, you may notice the tick gap at the base of the sword, this area needs sealing and I found using cheap super glue works great because it soaks into the MDF, so when you sand and file it later, it makes it rock hard and smooth.

You may notice the image for the styrene pieces, these are supposed to be on the sword but I never added these on the sword because I preferred the sword without them. These pieces (if you desire to have them on your sword) can be cut out of 1mm/0.80" styrene by using an X-acto blade or scalpel.

Once cut out, super glue the pieces to where they should go; refer to the blueprint to see where exactly they need to be placed.

Note:A tip for cutting out the pieces is to actually score the plastic instead of cutting all of the way through, you can cleanly snap off styrene when it's scored so you don't need to force the blade the whole way through.

Step 8: The Hilt/handle

Picture of The Hilt/handle

With the sword now close to completion, it's time to move onto the handle. For this, you will need to use your 25mm/1" diameter PVC pipe. You need to cut a piece that is 20cm/8" long.

With your PVC pipe, you will now want to insert your pine dowel. The outer diameter of the dowel has to be exactly the same as the inner diameter of the PVC pipe; PVC pipe usually has an inner diameter 4mm shorter than the outer diameter. For this instance, a 25mm outer diameter PVC pipe will have a 21cm inner diameter so the dowel will have to be 21mm thick.

When you know your thickness's, insert the dowel; you may need to hammer it in with a rubber mallet if the fit is tight, if the fit is loose, you may need to use Gorilla glue to fill the gap. (A tighter fit is much more reliable than a loose fit; a tight fit means that the dowel will never budge because it's wedged.)

With the dowel fixed in place, a hole needs drilling into the hilt and the sword base so the threaded rod can feed through. I am using a 8mm thick threaded rod so I drilled a 6mm hole into the sword base and the hilt.

The threaded rod needs to be cut to length, I decided to cut mine 7.5"/18cm long.

Once the rod is cut to length, it needs to be secured to the base. Squeeze a small amount of Gorilla glue into the base and feed the threaded rod into the base; to do this, feed the threaded rod into the chuck of the drill, then slowly spin the rod into the base.

With the rod secured to the base, the hilt can be twisted into the base. It is optional that you can Gorilla glue the hilt to the base but the point of making it threaded is so you can unscrew it and do work on the hilt separately from the base.

Step 9: Refining the Base and Sculpting the Pommel

Picture of Refining the Base and Sculpting the Pommel

(Note: The silver and red paint seen on these images is not necessary, I only wanted to see the shine of the silver.)

With the hilt sorted out, it's time to refine any areas that need attention. In my case, I needed to patch a seem at the bottom of the base; I used Epoxy putty to fill this. Epoxy putty was also applied to other marks along the sword. When they have cured, they are sanded and filed down to shape.

With everything smoothed out, I secured the hilt to the base with the Gorilla glue, as mentioned in the last post, this isn't necessary, it was just my personal choice.

I sculpted the guard and pommel with Epoxy putty in two different periods, the first pass was sculpting the guard and the edge of the pommel. Once cured, I sculpted on the second half of the pommel. This was later sanded to shape.

To aid with sculpting, I wetted my finger with regular water, then smoothed and blended the clay around the hilt and sword base by lightly applying pressure with my wetted finger. This saves time when it needs sanding after it cures.

Step 10: Priming and Painting

Picture of Priming and Painting

This is the last step to completing the sword.

To start with, the piece needs priming; this promotes adhesion for the paints that will be applied afterwards and gives a nicer surface to work on.

I recommend using 2 coats of high build primer to start with, once the coats have cured, they need sanding with high grit sandpaper, starting with 200 and 400 grit. repeat until smooth and apply 1 final coat of primer and sand with 800 grit; this will make the surface very smooth.

With the piece primed, you will now want to start adding paint. (I used flat black and silver) To start with, 2 coats of silver are sprayed all over the sword.

Once the paint has had time to cure, all areas which need silver edges were taped up with masking tape, this is so when the black paint is applied, the silver edge won't be painted over. You need to be very patient with this and you need to be sure the masking tape is straight.

Once the tape is applied, 2 coats of flat black are applied to the sword. I suggest letting this set for a few hours before removing the masking tape. If there are any areas where the paint has "bleed", (bleed means any paint that has leaked through the edge of the masking tape) you can touch them up with acrylic paints and a paint brush.

When the taped is removed, 2 coats of clear coat are applied to the sword to protect the paint job and to give a shine to it.

Step 11: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

Just let the clear coat cure for 24 hours to ensure the clear coat has cured and voilà! The sword is complete!

Here are a few shots of the completed sword I grabbed. I hope you guys like this instructable and more importantly, I hope this instructable is clear to follow.

Feel free to give any feedback on this instructable, as I am always tweaking some of the steps to make them a little simpler and easier to understand.

Comments

XanojNukz (author)2016-07-25

Is it possible to get the pieces laser cut? My father owns an epilogue laser and it can cut through wood easily, I am just wondering if it would effect the outcome of the sword. I have ADHD and my hands shake quite a bit so I am worried about the cutout being ruined from the saw.

Billy Mapes (author)XanojNukz2017-05-09

I feel you man. I have ADHD so my parents don't trust me with these kind of tools, but i Loved SAO soooo, it really sucks

JoshuaGuess (author)XanojNukz2016-07-25

If your laser cutter is big enough, definitely! MDF can be laser cut and if I had the option to laser cut my pieces, I would definitely pick that instead of cutting it by hand. If anything, having a laser cutter will yield better results as the sword would be completely straight! If your laser cutter is too short, you would need to design the vector in chunks with connectors so each piece can lock together; just my two cents

XanojNukz (author)JoshuaGuess2016-07-25

Wow! Thanks for the quick reply! Our laser grid is 5 feet by 3.5 feet so it's plenty big. Plus for a guy as short as I am, the sword would be better if a few inches are left off.

JoshuaGuess (author)XanojNukz2016-07-25

Wow that's pretty big! I wish I had access to a laser cutter that size. If you do make the sword, be sure to show me pictures as I love to see work made by people who use my instructions!

XanojNukz (author)JoshuaGuess2016-07-25

Will do! I plan on getting the wood for it as soon as possible. Our local Home Depot was out of the 1/8 MDF sheets. Gonna try another location once I get the chance. If not, then our local store gets new ones this Friday. Thanks again for all you're help

XanojNukz (author)XanojNukz2016-07-25

I just now realize I am commenting on a 2 year old post..

Darmander (author)2016-09-27

We're trying to make this and I'm not sure if you're responding to comments or not still, but I was wondering if you have to cut out as many things that are on the blueprints? (there are 4 different "swords" on the blue print, 2 with the same width.

For example, if you use this http://imgur.com/a/MGryd how would you glue those pieces together from bottom to top? Like is it literally the first one (1) as the base then 2, 3 and 4 on top of it? Or is the first one just an example and you use (2) as the base with 3 and 4 on top of it?

:| Sorry for the long complicated question.

Darmander (author)Darmander2016-09-27

Actually, assuming the base goes in the middle, right..?

Turtlegus (author)Darmander2017-01-04

Did you ever finish this sword? I was curious because i am making one now!

JoshuaGuess (author)Darmander2016-09-28

Now that I look back on that template I made 2 years ago, it is a little confusing looking at it at someone else's perspective so I'll try and clarify it for you.

(From #1 to #4), #1 is just the overall sword as one piece for reference, #2 is the "core", #3 goes on one side of #2 and #4 goes on the otherside of #2, like a sandwich or sorts, then the rest is filled in with epoxy clay.

(From #5 to #8), #6 goes on top of #5 and #8 goes on top of #7. All of the numbers (except for #1) only need cutting out once.

Hopefully that all makes sense but if not, just shoot me a PM and I'll help you out some more, and thanks for commenting.

Turtlegus (author)2017-01-04

Awesome build!! I am making one for my son and this is so helpful because i dont know anything about this guy or his swords!!

MessiM (author)2016-05-27

Going to use this base method for a kill la kill scissor blade.

JoshuaGuess (author)MessiM2016-05-27

Awesome!

Agrestecrafter727 (author)2016-05-14

This is a great Instructable!

Thank you!

LiamB22 (author)2016-04-13

Hi I am planning on making this sword for a cos play and would like to know what size paper you printed the blueprints on.

Thanks in advance: Liam

JoshuaGuess (author)LiamB222016-04-13

I printed my blueprints at a printer store so I got mine printed as one big sheet, however if you were to break down the blueprints into parts, you could print the length of the sword with 4 Letter/A4 pieces of paper and tape them together. Hope this helps

LiamB22 (author)JoshuaGuess2016-04-13

Thankyou

JohnD103 (author)2015-08-14

Two questions: #1. How durable is the sword shown above. Like hardness and strength. And #2. Would it be possible to make a PVC version of this?

JoshuaGuess (author)JohnD1032015-08-15

#1. As far as strength goes, it's easily strong enough to hold its own weight and it can be swung around but I wouldn't really want to forcibly hit things with it as MDF isn't really made to withstand impact. #2. If you mean like PVC sheets and pipe then I would definitely say so; you can make this with all sorts of materials depending on your application and use for it.

elisel1 (author)2015-07-24

hi, I'm making this for my kirito cosplay and I was wondering what the width of the blade. I saw earlier that you said 4.2 cm, however this confused me as to which blade you were referring to? If you could tell me the width of all the blades please.

JoshuaGuess (author)elisel12015-07-27

On my template, the 1.5mm sheet of MDF is 4.20 cm wide down the length of the blade shaft and the thicker 6mm sheets are 3.10 cm wide down the blade shaft. Hope this clears it up.

EPICsamurai (author)2015-05-29

where did you get the blueprints from

JoshuaGuess (author)EPICsamurai2015-05-30

I made it myself using basic imaging software, specifically for this 'Ible so those who want to make the sword can download it for free.

endou (author)2015-05-18

smooth

flinjager123 (author)2015-03-16

First off awesome build! I'm putting a price list together right now. But I'm having trouble finding MDF that is 1-1.5mm thick. Any other suggestions? Also I noticed your wrote 0.80-0.100 inches. This is incorrect as 0.100 is 1/10 and .080 is 8/10 or 4/5 which is almost an inch. It should be written as 0.080-0.100 (or simply 0.08-0.1). Just a little math problem for you. Even though I live in USA and use imperial measurements daily, I find it stupid and prefer metric... Anyway! This is an amazing build and I can't wait to finish it. Thanks for the instructable.

JoshuaGuess (author)flinjager1232015-03-20

Thanks for letting me know; I'm surprised no one noticed it before now. I actually got it wrong completely, 1mm is 0.04 and 1.5mm is 0.06 (I believe so anyway) and I've updated it. As for finding the MDF, model shops are your best bet as thin MDF can be used for model making. I got my stuff from here. http://modelshop.co.uk/Shop/Item/MDF-sheet-500-x-1000mm/ITM7014

Jharmainyack. (author)2015-02-06

Do you think I could make this out of foamboard? I'd have to work around though, since the only foamboard I have is 4.7 mm thick.

I don't see why not, although obviously it won't be as strong as wood. I guess if you layered the foamboard 3 times, (making it 14.1 mm thick) you can use an x-acto or utility knife with a steel ruler and bevel the blade and the curved areas; that's just one way of approaching it anyway.

garrett.ward.9655 (author)2015-01-27

How big is this In Real Life

The full length from the tip of the blade to the pommel is 110cm/43.3 inches; Step 2 on this Instructable shows the measurements on the blueprints.

Lunareclipse32 (author)2015-01-07

Duuuude this thing is awesome +1 well done

seamster (author)2014-08-20

Nice sword! I looks awesome.

JoshuaGuess (author)seamster2014-08-20

Thanks!

mcroner (author)JoshuaGuess2015-01-04

can you make these two for around 100$ and minus the fancy on the sword if you can ill see with my parents

JoshuaGuess (author)mcroner2015-01-05

I'm afraid I'm not able to do outside commissions, what with my college study and my part time job, I'm simply not able to invest the time needed to make these items.

mcroner (author)JoshuaGuess2015-01-04

oops forgot to tell you i want it with wood

LarryM1 (author)2014-12-06

I just started watching SAO; I got recommended to watch it, and in the anime, its a heavy sword, i'm thinking of making it as my one-handed training weapon, and adding a metal weight in the center of the blade might act as a strengthener and make it more like Kirito's blade, so, what is this swords weight?

mcroner (author)LarryM12015-01-03

actual sword would be 72\3 pounds

JoshuaGuess (author)LarryM12014-12-07

Well I can't say for certain how heavy it was because I do not own it any more, but it was fairly light and it could be wielded fairly easily. If you want to use this for training, I wouldn't recommend making it out of MDF, instead I would recommend a hardwood like red oak or poplar and carve it to shape; this also means you won't need to use a metal weight to support the length. Hope this helps.

LarryM1 (author)JoshuaGuess2014-12-10

Thanks for the info, I actually have been carving a red oak plank, cheaper, and it is looking really great, I'll flash a pic of finished product.

PrashantaN (author)2014-12-22

what is the width of the blade?

trying to make slighty variated version of this so it does not take up as much material.

bjohnsen1 (author)2014-12-10

What was the width of the blade?

JoshuaGuess (author)bjohnsen12014-12-12

Imperial is 1.66 inches (or 1 2/3 of an inch). Metric is 4.20 cm

l.a.g.team501 (author)2014-10-28

how did you print the template?

Well in my case, I had access to a massive printer so I could just print it in one go. It's unlikely that people have access to a massive printer so in your case (and most others), you'll need to print the image in sections and join them together with tape once the sheets are printed out.

Alternatively, you could go to a printing shop and pay them to print out the image on a USB stick at full size; that's the only other solution I can think of.

tvrox23 (author)2014-10-14

Why did you use MDF and is there another material that could be used instead?

JoshuaGuess (author)tvrox232014-10-15

MDF is simply the material that I wanted to use because it's cheap and I like working with it. You can use other materials that you prefer, such as PVC sheet or other kinds of wood; it's really down to what material you like working with and what tools you have on hand to use.

BadZombie (author)2014-09-27

how long did it take for you to make this?

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Bio: Howdy. The name's Josh and I make dope stuff, mainly real life props from video games as well as other odd entities from time ... More »
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