This is a tutorial to make a light up and unlocking replica of the Jedi Holocron as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Animated.
This can go from a "locked" configuration to an "unlocking" configuration, and then to a "unlocked" configuration, and back again.
What you will need:
-STL files for panels, corners, and core. (Provided)
-Dimensional drawing for magnets (Provided)
-3D printer or use 3D Hubs
-1/16" thick sheet of clear plexiglass
-Plexiglass cutting tools (scoring tool and/or plexiglass shears) or laser cutter
-100 x Grade N52, 1/16"dia x 1/32" thick Rare Earth Neodymium Disc Magnets
-1/16" drill bit and hand drill
-Tamiya transparent blue spray paint
-Testor Model Glue
-Black acryllic paint
-Gold Leaf Rub N' Buff
-Latex gloves and rag
-Lighted Rotating Base
Step 1: Design
Starting by assuming the square dimensions of the holocron would be 3" x 3".
I sketched my base patterns first in Autodesk AutoCAD to get all my features figured out.
Based on the pattern seen on screen (Reference shown from the show), 4 unique parts can be created:
Example of method to model the pieces:
-> Extrude a box profile on one side
-> Pattern the shape around a center point 1.5" offset from the edge (center of holocron) to get 4 sides
-> Extrude box profile on top side
-> Mirror shape to the bottom side
-> Extrude triangle shape on angled face in towards center
-> Pattern the extrude around center for 3 other faces
-> Mirror features to get bottom features
-> Extrude triangle + Arc shape (front face) with straight lines in horizontal and vertical planes
-> Pattern shape to get top face using rotation axis of outside top edge
-> Pattern shape to get side face using rotation axis of outside side edge
-> Cut the bottoms flat to the 3 point plane of the out-most corners
Panels x 2:
-> Extrude Shape
I have included my modeled files for everyone to use.
Next 3D print:
-6 Side Piece
-8 Side Piece Angle
-8 Corner Piece
On your own printer or through the printing service of your choice, I used a mix of Shapeways for the core and 3D Hubs for the corners and panels.
Step 2: Cleanup and Magnets
All the 3D printed pieces may require some sanding, filing, or other cleanup.
Now for the hard part.
The next step is optional, but makes the prop really amazing.
I've worked out how magnets can be positioned to allow 2 positions of the corner pieces without having the magnets totally exposed. I have included a diagram of how they can be placed.
->Using a hand drill for 1/16" bit size, drill 6 holes about 1/32" deep on each corner face of the core in the positions as shown on the diagram.
->Determine which way your magnet is, drop a little bit of crazy glue into the hole, and glue a magnet in place. I had to use an exacto blade to hold the magnet, and slide it off into the hole using a pencil (or other non metallic instrument) to drop it in the hole. Make sure that all magnets are the same polarity in the same direction.
->There are 8 corners to repeat this process on.
-> Repeat the process on the 8 corner pieces at the same dimensions, make sure the polarity of the magnets is opposite to the ones on the core.
When finished you can now change the corners from locked (cube shape) to unlocked (star shape)
Step 3: Painting and Rub N' Buff
First, paint all the surfaces with black acryllic paint and let dry.
I always do this before Rub N' Buff cause it makes the gold metallics really pop.
Time to use rub n' buff. Rub n' buff is a waxy oil paste that you apply to the surface in small amounts, often rubbing it into the piece in a circular motion. When the wax dries which takes seconds, you can buff the surface to make the wax shine like polished metal.
I use disposable latex gloves for application, if you don't the wax will get all over your hands and will take some effort to remove, but it will wash off.
Apply some gold leaf rub n' buff to all surfaces of the pieces, the side and angle side pieces only need to be fully covered in rub n' buff on the front and side faces.
Buff all sides with a rag to get some shine going.
Step 4: Interior Panels & Final Assembly
Here's another tricky part.
Get your plexiglass cutter ready cause here we go:
-Cut 6 squares approx 2" x 2" (Core)
-Cut 8 triangles approx 2" side lengths, you could cut a square then cut it into 2 triangles (Core)
-Cut 24 triangles approx 1.62" on bottom length, and 1.15" on other sides making it an isosceles triangle (Corners)
You may have to trim/sand these down later.
Make sure you can slip this one triangle piece inside the core through it's "window frame" in the core.
Peel off one side of the protective film on the plexiglass, and using any grit of sandpaper, rough up the side on each piece. Then spray that side with Tamiya transparent blue spray paint, the sandpaper gives it a frosted look.
When the pieces have dried. Start assembling the panels with the core piece using Testor's model glue along the inside edges of the core. Affix the plexiglass in place pushing outward from the inside. Glue the side pieces to the outside of the plexiglass pieces centered on the panel.
Glue all pieces except 1 triangle piece and it's side piece.
Drill a 1/16" hole with the hand prill in a spot that will be covered by the side panel in the remaining triangle piece.
Using a paperclip to hold the piece, apply glue to the edge and slip it into the core. Then use the paper clip to pull the piece into place and hold while the glue sets.
Glue the last side piece in place covering the hole from the paperclip, the piece is now sealed.
Glue the 24 triangle panels to the inside of the corner pieces, 3 per piece.
If you decided not to install the magnets:
Glue the corner panels onto the core in the desired configuration.
Step 5: Display & Lighting
Your holocron is now complete, now to display.
I use an LED light stand turntable to display my holocron which can be found on amazon.
The magnets are very daunting, but if you can get through it it's worth the hassle to be able to convert it back and forth.
Here are some videos of the Holocron on the stand glowing in the different modes: