After the popularity and praise the Broken Butterfly brought me I have finally gotten around to the bountiful requests to create an instructable, not merely a slideshow, on how I made the thing. Without further ado, I give you the Quicksilver: Aligned Particle Non-Newtonian Mercury Blade; another, steampunk Aethersaber.
Step 1: Materials
Well I didn't really snap any pictures without the intent of having them for other steps. But here's a basic shopping list of the materials I used, and some of the tools
All these I found in my local hardware store
6 in x 3/4 in cut off riser
1/2 in flex hose adapter
1/2 in riser extension
3/4 in saddle joint
1/8 in plexiglass
I found these in my local electronic supply store
2025 battery holder
22 gauge solid copper wire
22 gauge quick connectors
10 ohm resistor
7000 mcd white led
push button switch
And these were at a thrift store or laying around
Vice (I love the thing don't know how I ever got by without one. My first project using it and LOVE)
needle nose pliers with wire cutter
assorted files and rasps
power hand sander
hot glue gun
Step 2: Building the Handle
Now this part isn't too difficult, not doing anything fancy yet. I punched a hole in the riser and fed the wire into it, just to hold it there. Then I just ran the wire up the threading of the riser. The only tricky bit was the collars where the riser was meant to be cut. I took my knives and cut out some notches for the wire to run through, and then I filled the larger gap beneath the collar by sliding on an O-ring. Once I got to the top, one more hole to anchor the wire and pull it tight.
Step 3: Building the Guard
I apologize in advance, some of the pictures in this step are blurry.
First thing first is you want to take the flex adapter and trim it down. Otherwise its way too long to do anything with. Just some quick work with my coping saw. This is where we're going to mount the button. If it still isn't quite the right size go ahead and take the x-actos and open it up a little, just shave down the plastic until the button slides in a bit better.
The next thing I did was I took the saddle joint, and opened it up. We're only going to use half of it. To make it easier to place there is a hole, and a gap, so one side can remain connected while the other is slotted into place and then tightened. To make the guard a little more symmetrical I just opened the hole into a second gap and rounded the two off a little. Also there was a small foam pad that I just got rid of.
After that it just didn't quite seem like enough. From the local thrift store I found a fancy looking little spatula. I bent it around the riser extension, and took some more of the silver wire to secure it. its really easy to tie things in with wire, and as long as you're neat it adds, rather than detracts from the appearance. Just be sure to wind coils tightly, or leave gaps that you can re-thread the wire through to tighten coils you've already made. Any Boyscout that knows how to whip a frayed end of rope will understand that.
Step 4: Building the Blade
This is one of those steps where I don't have too much of the process. I have the steps it was preformed in though.
First things first. You want to have the guard section of the saber separated from the handle.
After that, get some rough measurements of the saddle joint. in the first picture I have the main body of the blade, and two smaller chevron like plates to help it fit a little better in the pipe.Once you have an idea of what you need, make some rough cuts on the plexi. Its good to be precise, but if you're not professional, and know you'll make errors, like me, ere on the side of excess. I just clamped the pieces together in a vice with some cardboard to keep from marking up the plastic. Then I took a file and just rounded the shape down to where I needed it.
Once I had the shape right, using your saw, or knife, or files to hone it down, I got my sander. I went along the edges of all the pieces to smooth them down. I sanded both faces of the chevrons because I wanted them to be more opaque. I also sanded near the base of the blade so when I went to superglue them all together it would adhere better. Keep in mind any mark you make on the plastic will be lit up like a Christmas tree by the end. In this case. because of the name I had for this saber, I wanted to put some swirls and burls on the blade. You could put Kanji, Hieroglyphs, emblems, designs, whatever you want on the face of the plastic and the light will catch it as well as the edges of the sword. How I did the texture on this blade, I just very lightly sanded the blade. I had the power hand sander turned upside down, and grazed the face of the blade on the corner a few times. As long as you go slow you can build a lot of small ones without overdoing it. Go too fast and you have too much. To give it a little more I took some silver leaf, just wiped it on the blade. It clung to all the scratches, but wiped clean off the flat parts.
Once you're happy with the blade, take your LED and line it up at the base. I would highly recommend having the battery handy and testing to make sure you're happy with how its lighting up before you secure it with hot glue. While you're at it, solder the resistor to the positive lead of the led. This helps make sure you won't burn it out quite as fast, although it will work just as well without.
The next part is where it starts to get complicated, but makes things easier to assemble in the long run. You'll probably want to extend the leads on the LED. When you have the saddle joint, extender, and flex adapter, take the flex adapter off. Line the blade up in the saddle joint and secure it with more hot glue. Make sure the leads are long enough at this point where if you had the adapter attached, both would still extend out of the bottom.
Step 5: Wiring
Alright, below if just a really simple circuit, the one we're trying to make. Sure it won't look exactly like this, but only because it has to fit inside of a sprinkle assembly.
Now, when we go to start putting this thing together it gets tricky. My technique comes from having torn wires and leads and all sorts of things going wrong that leads back to rewiring the whole thing. I've built 3, and this is how I eventually have gotten it to work.
First, run both leads from the LED clear through the adaptor and screw it on. this way neither wire twists in the process. After that take a little hook and fish the positive lead through the hole for the button. Solder it to the lead of the switch, and while you're at it solder the wire onto the other end. Crimp on the quick connects, I used the males, to the open lead off the switch, and the negative lead from the LED. Feed the positive lead through the hole and out the bottom, and then push the button into place. If you have excess wire, good, it might not go back in as easy but when you go to screw the halves together it has more room to flex and not break.
Now that the top half is ready to go lets return to the handle. I found out by chance the 2025 battery holder fits almost perfectly on the bottom of the 3/4 inch riser. The positive lead is on the outside but drilling a quick hole solves that. Solder your wires to the battery mount and feed them through. The negative just goes right up the handle, the positive gets inserted through the hole in the side and then follows suit. Crimp on the female quick connects and good to go.
Here's the part where everything can go wrong. If you have exposed wires they can cross, if you have short wires they can tear, if you have weak connections they can break. These are not huge issues, but if it doesn't work, check those. The simple version is, we're screwing the two halves back together. I gave the wires in the handle a twist in the opposite direction so they would actually uncoil when I went to screw the pieces together. Connect the quick connects, again making sure everything is insulated. After that just screw the handle back into the adapter.
Once everything is together and still working, go ahead and take the hot glue again. Attach the battery mount to the base of the handle, and make sure the button is secure. You can take a razer and trim the excess once its cool.
Step 6: Finished
Once everything is all cleaned up, any excess glue trimmed, or fingerprints wiped off, clip in the battery(unless you're like me and have had it in the whole time to test regularly) and you're ready to go.
Below is a link to the Broken Butterfly, the saber that started it all for me.
I'd love to see, and add, any pictures of sabers people create themselves. Have fun and be safe. Thanks for the support and enthusiasm.
The last three images are of the saber I made for my girlfriend. It has a slightly different design to allow for the longer blade.