Intro: Darth Vader Costume With Voice Changer and Sound Effects
With Rogue One just around the corner, this Halloween I decided to finally live my childhood dreams and become a Sith Lord. To do this, I made a DIY Darth Vader costume, complete with a fiberglass helmet, lighting, sound effects and even a voice changer (Videos on step 14). Although this may seem like a very daunting task it was really a lot of fun, and I hope it can help or inspire you in a future project. Once underway, the process went very quickly and it taught me a lot of fun new skills. This is my first Instructable, so if you have any comments of critique please let me know. I am also currently in the Instructables Halloween, Circuits and Speakers contests, so if you like it please vote for me! I would really appreciate it. Without further ado, here is how to transform yourself from everyday person into a towering evil cybernetic lord of the Sith!
Step 1: Materials
While making this costume, I tested out a ton of materials in order to see which would work best. As I was making this on a college student budget, a lot of the materials are either improvised or reused from previous projects I've completed. I will however try to remember and streamline all of the various bits and pieces I used throughout this project.
For the making of any pepakura, here is a standard list of materials you will need:
-Fiberglass Weave (Optional)
-Water Putty (Used to fill cracks, optional but reccomended)
-Apoxie Sculpt (Same as water putty)
In addition, for the lights and sound effects I used the following
-Adruino Uno (or equivalent) x2
-Arduino Protoshield (optional but reccomended) x2
-Adafruit Electret Microphone Amplifier - MAX4466
-Switches (your preference)
- White LEDs x4
-Red LEDS x8
-Wire (Stranded and solid core)
-A Medium Sized Speaker
-3.5' Aux Cable
-Servo Extension Cables (Optional)
For the bodysuit:
-Faux Leathery Pinstriped Black Fabric, 3 Yards
-Thick Black Cape Fabric, ~5 Yards
-Black Leather, ~0.5 Yards
-Fake Leather Gloves
-Wooden Spoons or Dowels
-Old Sports Sunglasses
-Paint (Gloss Black, Gunmetal Grey, Clear Gloss)
- Foam Core Board
- Soldering Iron
-A Whole Lotta Sandpaper
-Green Plastic Folder
-Section of Plastic Tubing
Step 2: Intro to Pepakura
In order to make this costume, I used a free program called Pepakura Designer 3 (http://www.tamasoft.co.jp/pepakura-en/). Pepakura is the process of taking a 3D model and breaking it down into 2D parts, similar to a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Once broken up, you can print out these 2D pieces out and glue them back together into a physical replica. This allows you to make highly accurate and perfectly scaled models with relative ease. For this project, I used models I found on The Replica Prop Forum (www.therpf.com) and the Facebook group The Pepakura Library ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/PepakuraLibrary/). The files I used were already unfolded, which was a great help and saved me a lot of time. These websites are a great resource for these types of projects, and I highly recommend you check them out. Also, I would like to give a big thanks to Fierfek for providing the .pdo files I used in this costume.
Once you installed Pepakura Designer, you'll need to import your files. Once you have a file opened, the screen will be divided into the 3D side and the 2D side. You can use the program's built in tools to obtain measurements and scale the file to your body size. You can also highlight individual parts to see how they translate from template to model. The 'Check Corresponding Faces' tool comes particularly in handy when reassembling your model, however it is not necessary.
Step 3: Assembling Your Model
In order to help prevent warping later on, I printed my templates out on thick card stock rather than plain letter paper. Before you print, make sure you have the right paper size, and be sure to turn on both "tabs" and "numbering" in the settings. This will create alternating numbered tabs on the edges of your parts, allowing you to match edges and glue them together far easier. Although you can use whatever type of adhesive you have on hand, I personally prefer working with a high temp micro hot glue gun.
After you print your templates, it's time to make your parts. First, you're going to have to cut out all the pieces along the bold black lines. As you are doing this I suggest you sort them into piles in order to keep track of which pages they originally came from. This makes it much easier later on, so you don't have to dig through 20 pages of parts in order to find the one you're looking for. After you cut out each part, fold it along the dotted lines. I also like to write the page number on the back of each part, just in case it winds up in the wrong pile.
Now you are finally ready to start assembling your model. There isn't too much of a trick to this, it is mainly just matching up each of the corresponding faces using either the numbers or Pepakura Designer's 'Check Corresponding Faces' tool. This is going to take a good while so I like to watch Netflix while I work. The time it takes to cut out all the parts and glue them together depends on both the complexity of your model and the speed at which you can work. The higher resolution your model is, the more parts it will have and thus the longer it will take to finish. This means that the whole process could take you anywhere from half an hour to even a few days. If you are not familiar with pepakura, I recommend you start with a smaller model first so you can get the hang of the process. It is very easy to accidentally glue the wrong faces together, especially on the larger projects. This is one of the reasons I like to use hot glue, as it dries quickly but is still easy to fix mistakes.
Step 4: Hardening Your Pep: Fiberglassing
Once you finish your model, congratulations! Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go. Although you might be satisfied with just a paper model, if you're going to wear it as part of a costume you're going to need to reinforce it with something stronger. I tested out a number of materials for this process, and my process differs slightly from the traditional approach. This is a complex process that requires you to work with some strong chemicals, so make sure you wear some form of respirator and work in an open and well ventilated area.
First, you need to laminate your pep with fiberglass resin in order to make sure it is strong enough to maintain it's shape later on. A helpful tip I've learned is to use a silicone basting brush rather than ruin your good brushes or waste money on disposable brushes. This is because once the resin cures you'll be able to just pull on the end of your brush and all of the hardened material will pop right off. This will save you from constantly searching for new brushes and will save you a lot of money.
Once you apply a coat of resin, you need to wait a few hours while the resin cures. This is an exothermic process, so the chemicals are going to start heating up as they cure. This also means that your project will cure faster if you do it in warmer temperatures. The same amount of hardener that allowed me to cure my resin in 30 minutes in early September took nearly six hours to cure in late October. Keeping this in mind, I suggest you start earlier in the summer if you want to finish in time for Halloween. Luckily this is a pretty hands off process so you can do other things while you wait for it to dry.
Step 5: Hardening Your Pep: Rondo
Once you're done laminating your pep, you might notice that it is still rather fragile. This is because the first step is not meant to harden your pep so much as it is meant to maintain the structure through the hardening process. There are a few different ways to harden your pepakura, the two most popular being Fiberglass Weave and Rondo. The Fiberglass Weave method involves gluing a cloth made of tough glass fibers to the inside of your model and allowing it to soak in fiberglass resin. This is the stronger method, but it is also very heavy and quickly adds excess weight. The second method is the process of mixing the liquid resin and Bondo putty into a goopy mix called "Rondo". This allows you to create a mixture with the added strength of resin along with the extra volume of the Bondo. In addition, you can alter the ratio of Bondo to resin in order to suit the needs of your project. Unfortunately, this comes at a price, as it is also more brittle and lacks the rigid structural support of the fiberglass weave. I mainly used the Rondo method in my project, though I used a hybrid method reinforcing the rondo with fiberglass weave in places I wanted extra support.
In order to make your Rondo, mix your resin and bondo in a 1:1 volume ratio in small batches. The largest amount of Rondo I would recommend mixing at one time is about 3/4 of a solo cup. After you have achieved a uniform consistency, it will usually start slowly bubbling. Luckily for us both bondo and resin have similar chemical makeups, allowing us to use either hardener for this mixture. It can be pretty tricky to estimate how much hardener to use however, so I usually just dump an excessive amount in and work as quickly as possible.
The easiest way to start the reinforcing process is to do what is known as a slush cast. Simply put, this involves pouring a large amount of Rondo inside of your helmet and shaking/tilting it until you've covered the entire inside surface. You could also attempt to brush it on, but this is a lot easier and way more fun. Just make sure you keep an eye out for drips as they can easily get on your clothes or shoes. Don't be worries about any rondo seeping through the cracks of your pep, as you're going to have to sand it later anyways. I also suggest you set it down on a drop cloth or clean work space to dry. I left my helmet to dry on my asphalt driveway and accidentally made homemade concrete by fusing rocks to the top of my helmet. This was a real headache when sanding later on. At certain points of the costume such as the face and dome of the helmet, I laid down a layer of fiberglass weave before a second layer of rondo. This was to provide added reinforcement and prevent the rondo from flexing and cracking. I actually later on regretted not using fiberglass weave on the shoulder piece for just these reasons. I only used a very thin layer of Rondo on the shoulders, and the access cut I made for my head severely weakened it's structural integrity. This is causing the pep to flex under it's own weight when held or set down improperly, which in turn is starting to cause cracks in the surface. Despite this, it survived a full week of wear and tear, it just would have been a relatively easy change that would have made it
Step 6: Hardening Your Pep: Bondo
By now, your pep should be nice and hard. Unfortunately, it still has a very geometric look as the outside is still mostly paper. In order to get a nice smooth finish, you will have to apply a thin layer of Bondo to the outside. Mix up your autobody filler as per the instructions, and apply a thin coat covering the model but leaving details visible. Remember, the more you put on the more you will have to sand down later. Don't be afraid to break it up into sections, as you're going to have to put on multiple layers anyways.
Once the first layer has dried, start sanding down the filler in order to get a smooth surface. Be prepared for this to take a while. Using a dremel or electric sander speeds it up greatly, but makes it much easier to accidentally sand too much. Eventually, you're going to start to notice imperfections and cracks in your outer layer. You can smooth these out by adding another layer of bondo and sanding again. Alternatively, if the imperfections are small you can try using spot putty or clay to fill the gaps. Remember, always wear a respirator while sanding bondo. The particles can be dangerous to inhale, and its better safe than sorry.
This might also be a good time to think about any cutouts you will have to make to your pep. For my helmet, I had to cut out the eye holes, the mouth vents, and the entire back of the helmet to fit my head in. Keeping this in mind, I made these cuts before I wasted any bondo hardening further and making my life more difficult. Cutting through the rondo layer will be tough enough as it is. One thing that made it much easier was drilling pilot holes to give me more room to work and less material to cut through. This let me fit my dremel inside the work space easier, and allowed me to break off pieces in smaller sections.
Step 7: Hardening Your Pep: Filling the Gaps
Two materials I found to be very helpful for this step were Apoxie Sculpt and Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty. Apoxie Sculpt is a clay-like epoxy that you can mold while you work, allowing you to buff out details and have more control over your sculpt. Unfortunately, it has a very long drying time, so it can significantly slow down your progress. Water putty on the other hand is a water soluble powder, which allows you to custom tailor the viscosity of your mixture to your needs. By adjusting the ratio of water to powder, you can make it goopier or runnier. When I needed to fill a big dent, I would use a goopier, dough-like mixture. In order to help smooth out the surface though, I would make an extra watery batch and drizzle it over the surface of my helmet. Then, I would take paper towels and run them down the surface, wiping the extra putty away. This was especially effective because the paper towel would slide over the surface, leaving the putty trapped in the cracks behind. This was a very quick way to achieve a mostly even surface, and saved me the headache of applying layer after layer of bondo.
Step 8: Getting a Smooth Surface
Once you have gotten your surface level, it's time to smooth it out. You're probably going to wind up alternating between smoothing and filling, because as you continue working you will notice all the parts you missed earlier. One thing that made it easier for me to spot all the imperfections was applying a thin coat of paint before I sanded. This was because the sandpaper would not be able to get into the gaps and cracks of the helmet, leaving any imperfections a different color than the rest of the helmet.
Initially I was sanding it down by hand, but eventually gave in and bought more sandpaper for my mouse sander. Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I would just skip straight to using a power sander. Seriously. Even if you don't have one it is worth buying one just for this. I got more done in an hour with this than I did with two full weeks of hand sanding. Spare yourself the trouble and just go get one already. I'll even lend you mine if you're nearby.
While you're sanding, start with a rougher low-grit sandpaper and slowly work your way upwards. I started at 60 grit for trimming down all the raised bumps and imperfections, and finished off with 220. This left a notably smoother finish and made the project look much better as a whole. Even if you think it looks fine when unpainted, any gloss on the final product will make the scratches 100 times more noticeable.
Step 9: Painting (Helmet and Shoulders)
At the risk of ruining Star Wars for you, the paint scheme of Darth Vader's helmet is not one color, and it's not actually symmetrical. Although it shows up looking like it is all gloss black, the face portion is mostly gunmetal grey. I found a nice diagram online (once again, thanks www.therpf.com) that illustrates this well.
In order to get a nice finish I first primed the helmet and mask with a nice dark undercoat. I actually did this a few times, because the first few times I noticed blemishes and had to go back to fix them. Although this seems like a lot of work, if you don't fix it early on it will be much harder to fix later. I didn't have any gunmetal spray paint for this part, so I bought small bottles of acrylic gunmetal paint and filled in those sections by hand. It also helped to tape off sections that I wanted to remain black.
Later on, I decided that the gunmetal I had purchased was showing up too bright on camera. In order to tone it down I mixed in a little bit of black to create darker shades of gunmetal, then slowly added more to get the shade I wanted. When I was fully satisfied with how the colors had turned out, I did a once over in a coat of clear gloss to ensure that the acrylic gunmetal had the same finish as the black. For the shoulder armor, the original gunmetal looked fine so I didn't bother repainting it a darker shade.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Now that you have your helmet hardened and painted, its on to the finishing touches.
To create the eyes for my mask, I bought a cheap pair of sports sunglasses and removed the lenses. Then I used a dremel to sand down the area around the eye holes in order to help them fit better. Then I just taped off the main section of the eyes and held them in place while I hot glued the edges. I used a copious amount of hot glue here, both to make sure they were secure and to help fill in the gaps. After wearing the full costume I found that the lenses I used were prone to fogging up, so I treated them with RainX antifog spray in order to help maintain visibility. Although this did not prevent it completely, it greatly improved visibility and prevented the worst of the fogging.
In order to make the silver tusks for the grill of the face mask, I used a drill and a dremel to act as a mini lathe and whittle down a wooden dowel into the shape that I wanted. Then, I drilled a tiny hole both partway into the tusks and through the front of the mask. Then I pushed a picture nail in through this hole, allowing the tusks a peg to rest on. Once they were in the right place, I added in just a bit of hot glue both on the inside and outside of the mask to secure them in place.
For the mouth grill, I bought a small amount of chicken wire from my local hardware store, and cut out two triangular shaped pieces to rest inside of the mask. After I glued these in place, I layered a thin black mesh behind these in order to provide a breathable backing and prevent anyone from seeing inside the helmet. I added the layers one at a time to reduce waste and find the right level of transparency to obscure my face from the outside.
Finally, I added in a folded piece of upholstery foam to the top of my helmet in order to both increase comfort and help it sit on my head better. When I wore this out, I also wore a black balaclava to keep my ears out of the way while I put it on and to hide any skin or hair that might show. I also found that placing two pieces of upholstery foam around my ears helped the fit and prevented the sides of my head from getting squished.
Step 11: The Suit
Once I had an idea of how the helmet would look, I needed to figure out what to wear for the rest of the costume. The gloves and boots I were able to buy online, and just bought whatever was cheapest but had the best look. The jumpsuit, cape and robe I had to make myself. By 'myself', I of course mean I had my wonderful mother help me with most of it, as she is an amazing seamstress, while I am mediocre at best. As always, she was an incredible help and made this go much faster. If for whatever reason you cannot talk my mom into helping you sew yourself a Sith Lord outfit, the process was still pretty straightforward and hopefully you'll still be able to figure it out anyways.
First, I went shopping in order to find the right fabric. The jumpsuit portion of the costume needed a nice leather look, and has one inch pinstripes running down the length of the fabric. Although I wasn't able to find an exact match, I found a few fabrics that had the right look and feel. Eventually I settled on the fabric that had thinner stripes, but the right color and a shiny faux leather style coating. For the cape, I chose a heavy opaque fabric that was a deep black and had a nice drape to it. I ended up using 3 yards of the pleated fabric and five yards of the cape fabric. Once cut, the fabric started to fray around the edges so I used my soldering iron to cauterize the ends.
In order to get measurements for the body of the jumpsuit, I found a nice fitting pair of pants and sweater and used them as a template. This made it much easier than trying to start from scratch. For the cape, we made a template out of pattern paper and adjusted it as needed. Before cutting into the important fabric, we made a test panel out of some old scrap that we had lying around. Eventually, we settled on a four panel design that had a nice length and a great draping effect. We also added in a leather collar extending about one inch around the lip of the cape. From previous experience, I made sure to include a pocket in the pants in order to keep track of my phone and wallet while wearing the suit.
For the inner robe of the cape, we used the same fabric used to make the cape. Although we were running out at this point, we were able to make the front the same fabric, and the back out of a thinner more breathable fabric. This not only saved us a trip back to the fabric store, but made the costume more breathable. When fully suited up the costume gets very hot, so this was a welcome relief. We also added three pleats along either side of the opening to create the right look.
Step 12: Codpiece
During the sewing process, we also managed to dig up a large piece of black leather that my mom had purchased for another project ages ago. Stealing it for myself, I decided to use to for both the codpiece and the leather portions of the belt. In order to give it a nice base, I drew the shape out on a piece of 1/4" thick foam I had and cut it out. Then I trimmed down the general shape of it until it both fit me and looked right. Once it was the right size, I cut out the middle section and a triangular piece of the bottom. This was so that after I glued it back together, there would be a slight curvature. Then, I glued the big sheet of leather onto the face of the foam and cut off the area around it, leaving a little excess. This was so that I could wrap it a bit around the edges of the codpiece, hiding the foam underneath. Once this was complete, I repeated the wrapping process on the center piece and glued it into place.
Step 13: Circuitry
With that done, its time to get to the fun stuff. To provide lighting and sound controls for my costume, I used two Arduino Unos, each stored in one of my belt boxes. Each of these Arduinos had their own power switch located on the far side of their respective belt boxes. This just acted as a cutoff for the 9V batteries powering the Arduinos.
On my left side, I had the lighting from the belt and chest soldered to a protoboard which I could then easily snap on and off my Arduino (schematic above). For each belt box, I wired two white LEDs in parallel for the green lights, then one red LED for the outside of the box. Then, I wir ed six red LEDs into three sets of parallel in order to provide lighting for the chest lights. Then I ran wires from each of these lights down to my waist. I also added in quick disconnects using servo extension wires to make it easier to take on and off.
On my right side, I had my sound system. In order to get my Arduino to act as a voice changer, I bought an Adafruit Waveshield and followed their helpful guide (https://learn.adafruit.com/wave-shield-voice-changer/overview). Like the lighting controls, I also found it very helpful to use a protoshield to solder in all the components. Once I had completed their tutorial, I tweaked their code a little until I found a sound that worked for me. Then I modified the code to use individual switches rather than a large keypad. Originally I planned on using magnetically activated reed switches, triggered by a magnet in the index finger of my left glove. Unfortunately the ones I purchased turned out to be glass and kept breaking while in use, so I just used regular push buttons instead. These I ended up placing on the left chest box next to the power switch for easy access and a low profile. I wired one end of the switches to the 5V rail of my protoshield, and the other end I wired to their respective pins. I also used a 10k resistor between each pin and ground to ground the circuit and stop potential errors. Lastly I used another servo wire to extend the microphone to my helmet, and provide a quick disconnect for easy disassembly.
In order to provide a sound system for my costume, I placed a large Samsung speaker inside of the chest box. I used a 3.5' aux cable in order to connect this speaker to my Arduino. This provided me with a very loud and very discrete way to blast my sound effects without revealing the source of the noise.
Step 14: Code/Testing
For the lighting, I just wrote a very simple script in order to set the belt LEDs high, and then toggle the chest lights in a set cycle. The sound effects however were much harder. I eventually figured it out, but the code I used is still very rough. I created new variables for the switch and counter such as "reed1" and "breath". The purpose of these was to detect once the Arduino had detected the pin high, then trigger a certain sound effect from a preset array. If you wanted to, you could easily add more sound effects to more buttons, or create a way to cycle through the array.
I also noticed that occasionally I would get bad feedback from the speakers, usually when anything touched the pins of my Arduino. In order to help prevent this I insulated my Arduinos by wrapping them in spare latex gloves I had left over from the bondo stage.
Lastly, I found that once in full costume, the echo inside the helmet made my speech more distorted and harder to hear. This made me sound less "Dark Lord of the Sith" and more "Broken Drive Through Machine". Unfortunately, the only real method I found to combat this was to speak loudly and enunciate all my words. It also helps to stand in quieter areas, as the mic is actually very sensitive and will easily pick up surrounding noises.
I have included both of my code files, so feel free to take a look at what I was using and how I modified the regular Adafruit Voice Changer code. It is pretty rough as I cared more about it working than looking polished, but you should be able to get the gist of it. Also be aware that in order to compile the voice code, you will need to import the adafruit freqcount library
Step 15: Chest and Belt Boxes
In order to make the actually containers, I just made simple boxes out of foam core board. I measured out the correct measurements from my PDO files, then cut out a simple geometric template from the material. This was to save myself the hassle of having to apply more bondo. I cut the edges at 45 degree angles so that they would all fit together nicely. I also achieved a nice sloping effect by only cutting partially though the board and making a channel for the board to fold.
Once the sides were all cut I taped the boxes together on the outside to get get an idea of how they would fit. Then I made any necessary modifications. After they were perfect, I glued the insides of the box with copious amounts of hot glue. Then I removed all the tape, leaving the boxes nice and clean. Finally, I drew and cut out all the holes for the future button locations.
Step 16: Buttons and Lighting Covers
In order to make these lighting covers for the belt box, I cut templates out of a green plastic folder and taped them into boxes. Then, I filled them with hot glue in order to hold them together and better diffuse the light. For the buttons, I cut a wooden dowel down into small equal sized sections. I couldn't find a wooden dowel that I liked the size of, so I really just used the handle of a wooden spoon instead. Then I used a section of textured pipe from lowes at the bottom vent component.
For the chest components, I tried a few methods. Sculpting, foam and hardwood all turned out less than desirable, so I finally settled on balsa wood. This made it easy to work with, and simplified the process greatly. To make the buttons, I glued a few layers together and then cut them down into 0.5"x1" strips. Then, I sanded them down in order to achieve the correct angled look. The chest lights were a bit trickier. I used a very similar process, but instead of sanding them at an angle I used my dremel's sanding drum to make nice concave bevels around the top edge of my rectangles. Then, I cut out a rectangular hole and hollowed them out. Finally, I taped off the top of the pieces, turned them upside down and filled them with hot glue. This was both to reinforce them and help diffuse the lighting. When I removed the tape, it left the top of the glue nice and level.
Once I had both sets of lighting covers complete, I tested it with the circuitry from before and glued the LEDs in place. Then I waited until after the painting to glue them into the chest box.
Step 17: Painting (Chest and Belt)
Before you add in all of the paints and electrical components, you'll have to paint the chest boxes. For mine, I wanted a nice weathered finish. To achieve this, I started with a flat black undercoat, then painted them bright silver. Then, I painted them a uniform black. Once the paint dried, I ran some rough sandpaper over the boxes to leave scratches in the paint and expose the silver underneath. This gave the boxes a weathered metal look, and helped create the illusion that they were old and worn. To paint the various buttons and rods, I taped off the surrounding areas so as not to leave any drips. Then I just gave them a quick coat with acrylic paint.
For the chest lights, I painted them similarly to the buttons, but kept the top area made of glue sectioned off with tape. Then, once they had dried I removed the tape and painted the top with a light coat of red paint. I also tested my lights to make sure they could still be seen shining through this layer of paint. Once all of this had dried, I glued the remaining lights into their respective boxes.
Step 18: Strapping System
In order to actually wear this whole creation, I created a system of straps and buckles that let me take this on and off as easily as possible. I mainly used one inch backpack buckles and nylon straps I had from a previous project. For the belt, I also used an old nylon belt I had lying around to serve as a solid base.
To secure the chest box, I had one loop going from the top of the box, around my neck and back. Since this easily fit over my head, it wasn't necessary to add in a clip. I did however end up extending it later on, as it needed to hang a couple inches lower to fit nicely under the shoulder piece.
For the belt boxes, I used Gorilla tape and buckles to attach the boxes onto my belt. I taped one end of each buckle to the side of the box, and then used the buckle to attach the box to the strap. Then I made a similar system for the codpiece, and glued a 2" leather strip between the boxes in order to hide both the belt and the wiring. Lastly, I glued the belt buckle to the center of this leather strip.
For the shoulders, I just made a simple two strap system for each side. This provided the right amount of rigidity without needing to make an excessive weight of straps. I would have used just one strap in the center for more mobility, but the cape is very heavy and I valued the silhouette of the shoulders over the added mobility. I also added in more upholstery foam just to make it more comfortable during long periods of wear.
To attach the cape, I used just under 10" of pluming chain secured only on one side. I both sewed and glued the left end to the collar, leaving the right end free floating. Then I added a metal slide clip to the right side of the collar allowing me to connect and disconnect the chair as needed. Then, in order to stop the cape from sliding down and throttling me, I drilled a small hole into the center of the shoulder armor and used a bent nail with the tip cut off to act as an anchor hook to hold the cape chain in place.
Surprisingly, the helmet and mask fit together so well that I did not need to use any sort of system to keep them in place.
Step 19: The Lightsaber
Having already made so much, I decided to splurge a bit and by myself a nice lightsaber to complete the costume. For this, you can use whatever you want, but I bought mine from www.ultrasabers.com. These are stunt grade lightsabers with built in lighting and sound controls, so they can get very expensive very quickly. These sabers are completely programmable, allowing you to change the blade color and sound effects at any time. They also have built in motion sensors, allowing them to make noises when swung and flash upon contact. The cheaper alternative to this is to purchase one of their grab bag sabers. These are random sabers that were made with slight manufacturing defects that have now been refurbished. Once you purchase one, you can choose a blade color and they will send you a random hilt design. While this does cost a mere fraction of the price of a real stunt saber, the blade is significantly dimmer, you can only have one color and there are no sound effects. Luckily, I happen to have both of these options, so I have included a few pictures for you to see the differences and effects of different lighting. Keep in mind that their location on my wall is directly underneath my bedroom lights, so the grab bag blade does not seem quite as washed out in person. I also made a quick demo video to give an idea of what the saber looks and feels like in person.
Step 20: You're Done! Welcome to the Dark Side
Congratulations! You're officially a Dark Lord of the Sith. Go out and enjoy yourself. Just try not to force choke too many innocent people, and keep your kids far away from any planetary space stations you might be building.