Introduction: Rey's Dark Side Lightsaber
With the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, I thought it would be fun commemorate the saga by building Dark Side Rey's Lightsaber. Even though she didn't have huge significance in the movie, the Lightsaber she held has an interesting design to where it has a swinging function in order to open. In this Instructable, I will show you my step by step process on how to not only make the Lightsaber itself, but to also mimick the iconic swinging motion.
You will need the following in order to complete this project:
- 3D printer (I use the Ender 3. It is a fantastic option for beginners and is user friendly with a great community. It is by far one of the best for the price!)
- 3D printer filament
- Sand Paper (100 and 150 grit)
- Wood Glue
- Wood Fill or Bondo
- Basic Tweezers (For cleanup)
- Assorted Paints (I used metallic spray paint for the body and acrylic for the details)
- Auto Fill Primer
- Small Paint Brushes (I would recommend getting these at the dollar store to add in details)
- Fold-able Cane (This isn't from amazon but this is the exact cane that I used)
- Bar Clamps (Really strong and robust. You will never buy another set ever again)
- Calipers or Measuring Tape (I've done all of the measuring for you. But if you want to change anything you might need these)
Disclaimer: I earn an affiliate commission when you help me as a college student/creator by purchasing using these amazon links! Thank you for your support!
Step 1: Reference Photos / Measurements
Your final prop will only be as good as the attention that you put into this step. The key to prop-making is to have quality reference photos and accurate measurements. If you pay attention to these details now, you will save a lot of head-ache later I will not include photos here for potential copyright issues but there are plenty on the internet that you can find!
I tried to pick a picture that would give me the best idea of the size and tried to make those photos as bright as possible. There may be newer/better photos since this Instructable has come out - so be sure to check! I've included my 3D model as a reference.
Next I measured out the cane that I purchased, the only thing that I am disappointed with in this build is that the cane that I purchased does NOT fold symmetric from the middle. One side is slightly longer than the other. This is why it is important to pay close attention to the measurements! Fortunately, I have done the heavy lifting as far as measurements are concerned so you shouldn't have to worry about them.
Once the cane dimensions are finally determined, we can quickly and efficiently render an exact 3D copy of the cane as a reference to get a perfect fit later on when all of the pieces are finally printed.
Step 2: 3D Modeling / 3D Printing
The name of the game for 3D modeling Lightsabers in general is having a good grasp of the revolve function in Autodesk Fusion 360 sign up for free if you are student here!
Lightsabers have really nice cylindrical shapes and symmetric patterns. The revolve function is perfect for making those kinds of shapes. (Visualization of the revolve function is found in Picture 1)
While I do have the files already ready and available for you here, I will also outline my process in 3D modeling it so that if you want to do a similar process in the future, you can do it with a step-by-step approach. If you could care less, go right on to the next step! :)
First, I 3D modeled the cane. With our accurate measurements that we measured in the previous step, this part is incredibly easy. We just sketch half of the cane and then revolve it around the axis. I made a mark to indicate where the cane folds out as well so I don't 3D model over the area where the cane needs to rotate at.
Next, I used similar dimensions to Lightsabers that have already been made before to give me a general idea of how big I wanted this Lightsaber to be. Once I had a pretty good idea in mind, I modeled a solid Lightsaber base while hiding the cane I just made . After adding all of the little details to the Lightsaber, I turned the "cane" piece back on so both were visible at the same time ( with the Lightsaber overlapping the cane piece). Then I selected the cane sketch and revolved it within the Lightsaber piece in order to cut a whole that will be where the cane will slide in later (Picture 2). Don't worry - I offset the dimensions so that it has a little bit of clearance. Also at this stage, I split the body of the Lightsaber vertically so that it would rotate about where the cane opens up. I also cut the body horizontally in the center so the printed Lightsaber pieces would close around the cane. Otherwise, it would be impossible to slide it on.
Finally, after I have the Lightsaber cut into pieces (in order to fit the print bed), I sliced the file and after 16 hours of printing, several components of a Lightsaber are ready to be assembled. Each component of the lightsaber has a corresponding half so make sure to keep track of which one belongs to which (Picture 2)
STL files are attached.
Step 3: Assembling the Lightsaber
Now that you have the pieces printed, it is time to secure them to the cane. There might be a better adhesive that I am not aware of, but wood glue has worked so well for me in the past (also it is really cheap and you don't need a lot to get the job done) that it is my personal recommendation.
Before you want to start gluing things down, you want to make sure the pieces are in their right spots. (You know the saying, "check twice glue once") *Remember* the cane is NOTsymmetric so while the pieces will be very similar, but they are not the same dimensions so be careful!! Also make a note of where the center of the cane is so you don't accidentally glue it shut. (Picture 1)
Once you have verified that the pieces are indeed in the correct places by laying them out in their appropriate places. Again, they only fit in 1 spot so you may need to move some of the pieces around to where they fit exactly.
Next, spread glue along the shaft of the cane and also the entire inside face of the pieces. (Picture 2) Carefully line up the seams of the pieces and clamp them together using the bar clamp. Make sure it is clamped tightly - but not so tightly that the piece breaks or warps. If you don't have several clamps to clamp all pieces immediately, wait 24 hours so that the wood glue is completely dried before removing your clamps. Otherwise, you will see that the glue will naturally want to separate.
When gluing, you will see that wood glue will leak out of the seams. To reduce clean-up time later, take a wet paper towel and wipe the seams so the exposed wood glue is removed from the seams.
Working from one end to the other, glue each piece and its counterpart to the Lightsaber Pictures (3-6). Once you are done, and all of the pieces are dry, your Lightsaber should look like (Picture 7-8) Also, you can tell if you did it right if the Lightsaber splits properly at the seam of the cane (Picture 9).
Now that the Lightsaber is fully assembled, it is time to clean it up a little bit and get it ready for painting.
Step 4: Clean-Up and Seam-Filling
While I did my best to keep the seams of the Lightsaber clean, there are still some discrepancies that we need to remove (glue, print defects etc). (Pictures 1+2)
I took some tweezers and I pulled the extra hanging support material and dried glue off so that those parts are completely removed. Once that was removed, I applied wood filler to the seams to close up any opening in the Lightsaber (this is due to little impatience with one of the pieces and as a result one of the pieces started separating). Since it is easy to sand off, I applied the wood filler to all seams to make sure it looks really good. Wait for the wood filler to completely dry. (Picture 3)
Then take your 100 grit sand paper and sand those seams until they are smooth with the surface. For an extra close finish, use your 150 grit paper on top of that. *Note* The dust that comes off the piece while you are sanding is very fine and can be detrimental to your health if you are inhaling it. Be sure to wear proper face ventilation while you are sanding in all cases.
After the seams have been sanded smooth (Picture 4), I applied Auto-Primer filler which gets rid of the annoying print lines and any additional minor seams you might see. When you spray the piece, and it has dried, you may need to sand down the primer a little bit in some places as needed. Apply a total of 2 or 3 coats (depending on how well the piece gets covered) and it should look like (Picture 5). This auto primer is great as well because it will assist in filling minor gaps and covering hard-to-sand print lines. Avoid spraying too much in a concentrated area - otherwise you might accidentally fill in the cosmetic lines within the Lightsaber itself.
When you are done with the overall cleanup of the piece, it is time to paint.
Step 5: Painting
Painting in the case of this build shouldn't be too difficult. Following a general reference photo (Photo 1), I used a general gray-metallic spray paint which worked nicely. The only things that aren't metallic gray are the lofted areas, the small notches towards the center and the spacing in between those notches (Picture 2). The colors for these are black and hot rod red. After the spray paint, I taped off the lofted areas and hand painted them over with black acrylic. Then I painted the notches black and then painted over the internal spacing with red. Whether this was the most efficient method or not is up for debate, but this method seemed to work well for me.
A tip so you don't create a big painting mess is to buy some cheap dollar store paint brushes and cut the bristles to the exact width you want them to fit withing the smaller notches. This helps so you don't have to go through and re-paint any accidents you may have made when painting in such close quarters. (I learned this the hard way)
Step 6: Finished!
When you have finished painting, you are completely done with the Lightsaber. Now you can pull the Lightsaber apart which will allow you to swing it. With a little bit of practice, you will be able to swing it and lock it into place like Dark Side Rey in the movies! If you wish to make the Lightsaber light up, I would recommend checking out seamster's fantastic Instructable here for more details. You will find that the technique found there (and measurements) will translate very easily to this Instructable.
I hope this makes a great addition to your Dark Side Rey Cosplay, Halloween Costume, or just as a fun prop to have around!
Thank you for checking out this Instructable and thank you for your support. If you like this Instructable, please leave a vote for it on the 3D printed contest page here . I am determined to win a contest in 2020! :D Thank you and I will see you on the next one!
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