This Instructable includes dangerous power tools, sharp objects, sparks, fire and fuel. Always treat such objects with respect and care and read proper instructions on how to use such tools and be careful where you use them and light fires. The goal of this instructable is to make a relatively authentic sword so be careful!!!
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Step 1: Design
This sword is not from How to Train your Dragon Two but is actually from the latest television season Dragons: Race to the Edge design and is only of the actual blade not the handle. I've always loved How to Train your Dragon and admired Hiccups amazing inventions and wanted to recreate one of his more interesting tools to show off during Halloween (I dressed up as Hiccup)
A fully functional flamethrowing, gel excreting handle will come at a later date. I am including pictures of the handle in case you want to make one of your own using traditional handle making techniques, the blade will still be able to catch fire though don't worry.
This is a long project that uses dangerous and difficult tools so I suggest you take it slow for safety and accuracy reasons, but once you're done you will have gotten more proficient with your tools and will have enjoyed the experience and experiences to come!
I have attached two Solidworks object files that are still able to be edited in case you want to change the design or measurements to be more aesthetically pleasing to you. Also included is the STL file that you can use later for 3D Printing. The measurements in the design are as accurate as I could make based off all the pictures I took and are reasonably to scale based off the TV show. Later I will also make a Fusion 360 file so others who don't have access to Solidworks may edit it too
Step 2: Materials and Tools
Angle Grinder (mine is a 4 1/2 inch Dewalt) - Used for cutting the basic shape of the sword
Metal cutting discs required, metal grinding disc optional but helpful
Dremel Rotary Tool - Used for cleaning up the shape, detailing and making safe for use
Metal cutting discs required (heavy duty=best, Diamond bit and premium metal cutting wheel=satisfactory), metal grinding disc required, sanders optional
Bench Grinder - Used for taking off material and rounding edges of blade
Low grit and high grit required
Vices - Used for stabilizing the metal while cutting and grinding
At least two vices are recommended or some other way to stabilize the steel
3D Printer - Used for making a referential sword
(Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer, Flashprint Slicing Software, Soldiworks Design Software.
Not required but very helpful
Gloves - Used to protect from sharp edges and heat of the fire
Be careful not to get gloves caught in rotating tools!!!
Make sure they are fire proof!!!!
Lighter - Used for lighting the sword on fire
Deburring tool - Used for initially getting rid of sharp edges
Ball Pein Hammer - Used for dulling parts of the blade
1 - 4in x 36in x 1/8in plain flat steel bar (available at scrap piles or some hardware stores)
A 3 in wide bar may do based off your own personal design
Blue painters tape (because the 3d printed pieces needed to be taped together)
Required only with the use of the 3D Printer
Squirt Bottle - Used to carry fuel and spread along sword blade
Denatured Alcohol - Used as a fuel mixture
Hand Sanitizer - Used as a gelatin substance for fuel misxture
Rags - Used for cleaning up steel shavings and fuel from blade
Step 3: Planning
Initially the CAD design did not fit the size of the steel I got even though it is accurate to the TV show. So during the 3D printing phase I, and you, can stretch the design to fit the 3 or 4 inch wide (depending on your preference) by 3 foot long steel flat bar. While the design is accurate, the size of the steel I got felt more comfortable in the hand. Once you find some steel that you feel comfortable with (whether larger or smaller (maybe you're making it for your kid? Or you enjoy pumping iron?)) you can adjust the measurements in the slicing software (I used FlashPrint but the STL file is compatible with most slicing software) and 3d print a nice thin stencil design for tracing onto your steel flat (I used a FlashForge Creator Pro). Its best to give you a little wiggle room in case the cut design doesn't look as good as it does on paper (so to speak). Remember to always measure twice or thrice and cut once so as not to make any mistakes.
Step 4: Warning!!!
The next steps use tools that can be very dangerous! Use proper safety procedures, make sure you have a clean working space, have proper fire safety on hand, best to have someone observing in case of incident, have proper first aid, and use common sense. If you don't know how to use these tools get a professional to use them for you, I am not liable for anyone that uses these tools improperly.
Step 5: Cutting
First clear your work area so that you have plenty of space to move around and access whatever materials you may need in case of an emergency. Make sure there are no flammable materials around (like the very fuel we will be using later on)(or sawdust). Wear proper clothing for using an angle grinder (closed toed shoes, no long sleeves, non flammable pants, safety glasses, earplugs and a mask, take off all jewelry and if you have long hair, cut it off or tie it up out of the way)
Using the angle grinder
As angle grinders go, mine was a single speed 4-1/2 sized grinder. You can go to home depot and get a couple better metal cutitng wheels than the one that comes in the package. (I didn't even go all the way through one cutting wheel) First set up your area for cutting. Get some vices set up in a way so the you have easy access to cutting your blade and are stable enough to hold it steady during cutting. yet versatile enough to move the blade for the next cutting phase. Look at the pictures to see my chosen set up. When you begin cutting, start off slowly by make some guiding cuts. In order to make a guiding cut you take the angle grinder and press into the material on the outside of the drawn line gently, just enough to take a bit of material. Follow the outside of the lines as best you can taking only a little bit of material as you go. Again go as slow as needed to prevent mistakes. Taking off the small amount of material along the lines will make grooves that the angle grinder will automatically want to follow along The angle grinder is sometimes difficult to make precise cuts and might want to jump around on you, the guiding cuts will help lower the chances of this. Once you have your guiding cuts for your first cut go ahead and take long slow strokes along the guided cuts to slowly take off material until you cut all the way through. Do the same on the reverse side and repeat for the rest of the sword.
For the interior cuts on the prongs be careful to not take off too much material, they are the identity of the blade and it would be a shame if you accidentally cut them off. Really for the entire sword you want to leave some extra material along the drawn lines, this extra "beef" on the blade can and will be taken off the blade. Take the blade out of the vices and move it down when needed, you don't want to potentially damage your vices by accidentally getting the grinder too close and cutting them. I can't stress this enough but go slowly, it may take longer but there's less chance of mistakes or worse injuries if you go slowly.
Step 6: Cleaning Up the Cuts
The pictures are placed in order of operation.
First you take the rough cut sword and place it on some paper for tracing that will be later cut out. With this cutout you will be able to place it onto the sword and fold/flip the cutout to see how symmetrical your sword is, don't worry if its not that's why we left a little bit of beef to our design. Place the flipped cutout onto the rough-cut sword and trace out the design, one prong might be longer than the other, so just trace the shorter one because we obviously cant add more material. Once the cut outs are equal and you have traced the new design onto the rough-cut sword you can start using the Dremel rotary tool.
Some tips for using the Dremel
Use some of the highest speed settings you can, but go slowly. Less is more in this case, small movements will make smaller mistakes. I personally used heavy duty cutting wheels (A twenty five pack is available at home depot) I didn't even use all of them. I used a premium metal grinding wheel too but it did not work as well. Do use gloves, at least for the hand holding the sword because it can still be sharp and there will be sparks and metal flying. Now simply cut along your new lines, will be much more difficult than using the angle grinder but that means less mistakes. After you have made the cuts, switch out for the Grinding wheel (this is an actual grinding wheel not a premium metal grinding bit) and use it to round off the interior edges of the blade seeing as they will not be able to be accessed by the bench grinder. Little sanding wheels can do this too just not as effectively. At this point you may use the Dremel to cut or grind the sharp points to rounded points for safety. Do not use the bench grinder to round the sharp points at the tip of the sword or arrows
Using the Bench Grinder
You must be careful using this tool, the parts are very heavy and move at high speeds!!! Now assuming you know how to use this tool you will have it bolted down and probably high a low grit and high grit wheel on your grinder. You may have a lot of beef on the outside of your blade,try to keep bench grinder away from the prongs for safety reasons and because it could take off too much material too fast. Keeping the material perpendicular to the grinding wheel will take off material faster but is more likely to get caught in the wheel so be careful! Having a lot of material is ok, if you feel confident go ahead and use the low grit grinding wheel to take off a good amount of material BUT still leave a good amount on there, remember less movement is more. So you're done with taking off lots of material, switch over to the higher grit wheel. If your not confident with your abilities or dont have as much beef as you would like, go ahead and start off with the higher grit. This will take longer but it is safer because it will take less material off. At this point you have it to the size of your liking from working with the dremel and bench grinder (go ahead and move back and forth between using these tools to make the sword look and feel better to you). Now is the time that you us the bench grinder to round (or sharpen) your blade. Rounding the blade is as easy as sliding your blade along the high grit wheel at different angles, usually 30, 45, and 60 degrees.
Repeat steps, switch tools as needed, go slowly and make sure you have your design how you like it before doing any cutting
Step 7: How the Sword Looks
This is how the sword looks after all the cuts, grinding and shaping has been completed.
Step 8: Fuel and Fire
For the fuel all you need is four things, all available at Home Depot
- A squeeze bottle (one similar to a ketchup bottle)
- High alcohol concentrate Hand Sanitizer (70% will do)
- Non-Toxic clean-burning Denatured Alcohol Fuel
All you have to do is put a 1-to-1 ratio of the denatured alcohol and hand sanitizer into the squeeze bottle and shake it up really well to mix the solution.
Hand sanitizer is flammable on its own but difficult to light, the denatured alcohol is easier to light but the viscosity is much too high. (its too runny) The mixture together gets the best of both worlds with it lighting easily but not running off the blade much. (its also got an awesome color when lit)
I chose this combination because it will not burn overly hot (still can burn you though) and because it will actually put itself out in a matter of seconds for safety reasons.
Step 9: Lighting Inferno
- To light the sword, go outside (best results are at night) uncap the squeeze bottle and put the tip to the metal and squeeze out a line about a half inch wide all the way along the center of the blade while holding the flat of the blade facing up to reduce chances of dripping.
- Make sure you are not lighting the blade near anything flammable, trees, leaves, houses, gerbils etc...
- Put on your flame resistant gloves, hold the flat of the blade upwards and light your lighter and put the flame directly to the gel fuel on the blade and watch it light up.
- Again this mixture will only last a short while, you may play with other fuels but I have found this is the most safe while still retaining the desired effect (Kids and parents absolutely loved the demonstrations on Halloween)
- Have fun! BUT BE SAFE!!!!