The Liquid Blade of the Three Deserts




About: I am a British Graphic Designer and Photographer, when I am not working, I spend my time making an array of projects. I used to make a lot of props, but now I spend most my time building crazy cameras and sh...
Be sure to vote for me in the Epilog contest. Cutting shapes out of card is pain, so I need a laser to do it for me!

I have owned a set of samurai swords for a short while now. They sit nicely on my shelf, and are a great display piece. I however wanted something unique. There are two ways to get unique-

1. Spend alot of money on getting a custom item built.
2. Build one yourself.

I opted for the latter.

I have never done any metal work in my life, so I chose to buy a cheap blade, then recycle that into my own sword. I faced a problem here, as I wanted my sword to be purely decoration, something someone can pick up and enjoy its aesthetics, but unable to cause major harm, I purchased the sword of ebay, but i struggled to find a listing with a 'non sharp' blade, most buyers ignored my questions.

Finally i found one, a shortish sword, straight, one sided, pretty much what i was looking for.


The Liquid Blade of the Three Deserts is made up from a poly-bicubit liquid metal held in place with gravitational magnetic fields. Based on the 'Melon sword' concept, the magnets hold the liquid in an impossibly thin alignment, spanning only a few atoms wide on the sharp edge. A small reserve of liquid metal in the handle allows loss and healing of the blade.

The blade is given extra functionality with the spear tip located on the scabbard. When sheathed the sword can be used as a lunging spear. It also then doubles up as a two handed weapon, sword in one hand, spear tipped scabbard in the other.

Located in the handle is a gravity modifier, this has several purposes, the first is regulate the blade, and hold it in place. Second is to provide a perfect balanced blade no matter what stance, or how the blade is held. Finally, it can be clocked into over drive to deliver a 37 fold blow.

The name of the blade comes from when the overclock feature was first tested, the sword was ramped up to full power, and one brave individual strode out into the test zone, a swift swing brought the sword down onto the desert floor, only to crack the entire coastal region into three, creating The Three Deserts.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools (greeness)

Most of my projects are based around reclaimed materials. Before you go and buy loads of thick cardboard or leather, use your brain, ask around. Most places are happy to let you have a little card, even if they recycle it!

Materials (greeness)
  • An old sword (green if you recycle one)
  • Cardboard (no matter what type you use waste card is everywhere, I got mine from a Print works)
  • Leather (ask your local leather/furniture workers, no doubt they will have 'unusable' scraps)
  • Metal (all my metal bits came from my 'metal junk draw', a must for any recycler)
  • PVA glue
  • Epoxy Resin

  • A dremel esque tool, mine is a parkside from my local lidl
  • Stanley knife, and plenty of blades.

Step 2: The Ebay Sword.

The sword arrived quickly, the actual piece was very well crafted, straight, and sturdy. Thankfully also non sharp.

I had been watching the latest hellboy movie when I was thinking around the hand, and how it would work. You can see the swords from the movie below. I was somewhat influenced, and took a few design features to work into my own.

The first step was to cut off the handle from the sword, once I had the blank sword, I laid it on some paper, and drew around it.

I then went about sketching the shape of my handle, I wanted a slight curve, which was easily added into an extra section after the actual sword handle had finished.

The last picture is one that i cleaned up so that you can print out and adapt it to fit your own sword.

Step 3: Bulk Up the Handle.

Now we have the shape of our handle its time to start cutting out some shapes.

For mine I used a thick vellum cardboard, but one could easily use mount board, or plywood.

The first stage of the handle is made by using three sections of card, using your template cut out three bits exactly the same. Then, either using the template, or by placing the sword. Cut out a recess for the metal of the blade. For me, the thickness of the blade was the same as my card.

I checked everything fitted together ok, and that i was happy with the feel.

I then glued the three sections together around the sword, this was tricky as I used two glues.
Where card joined card I use PVA (Elmers) glue. Where card joined metal, i used two part epoxy resin.

Sandwich the card together, and hold it tight using a vice, or some clamps. I left mine over night to let the resin cure fully.

Step 4: Finish Bulking the Handle.

I wanted a good weight to my sword, now I had an extra 20cm or so on the handle, the sword need to balence better.

Firstly using your template mark where the bottom of the metal handle sits inside.

For weight I find that coins are ideal, they're stackable, so you can get the correct depth easily.
I dug out my hole cutters, and found ones suitable. I used three stacks of 2 pence pieces.

Carefully cut out the holes, make sure not to hit the metal handle inside, and that there is plenty of space around the holes.

Once cut, I then cut out two more sections from my template. I used epoxy to glue the metal coins in place. I then glued the two extra template sections, one either side. Tape or clamp, and allow to dry over night again.

Step 5: Scabbard.

Using the sword handle itself as a template. I cut two long sections of Vellum card. I then attached two long thin bits of card either side of the sword.

I glued all this together with PVA.

Next we need to make our spear tip, I drew up another template, this one specifically fitted into a grove in the top of the scabbard. I used three layers of card. The two outer layers had a full cut out to fit around the scabbard, where as the middle section had an extra tab left in place for slotting into the scabbard.

Don't glue the spear tip in place just yet, as it will make the next step easier.

Step 6: We Want Smooth!

Now we have the bulk of the handle done. Obviously the handle wants to be nice and rounded and smooth all over.

Two tools needed here, a stanley knife, and a dremal.

Essentially, were sanding off and rounding all the edge and corners, take it slow, if you take too much off, its a pain to re-build it up again.

On the spear tip there is alot of card to remove to get the shape we want, so i suggest taking a stanley knife and 'planing' most the card off before sanding it down with the dremal.

Once all is nice and smooth you can go ahead and glue the spear tip in place.

Step 7: Leather the Handle.

I decided to use some of my good quality leather on the handle.

I started off by glue a decent size piece to the area around the hilt, one the face is glued down, you can then carefully cut and shape the leather and fold it round along the edges. This will be tricky, so take your time, if you get gaps don't worry, as you can fill them in with little bits of left over leather.

I used PVA (Elmers) glue to hold this in place.

The rest of the handle is alot easier, I cut out strips of leather about 20mm deep. Starting at the top I wound the strips down and around the handle. At the very top i cut a slant onto the first strip, this allows it to follow on at the correct angle, and will differ depending on the depth of your handle, and your leather strips. Its best to wind this piece around dry before gluing, just to make sure all is ok.

Finish of the bottom of the handle by wrapping the leather round onto the bottom, trim and fit it to get a smooth finish.

Finally, I added the 'Gravity Modifier' this was made from an old perf wheel. I cut out a circle from the leather to recess the wheel into the handle. Mask off your leather and then epoxy the wheel in place.

Step 8: Leather the Scabbard

The bulk of the scabbard was made using a tanned leather.

I cut a rough rectangle out, and stretched it around the scabbard to check the fit. I glued this leather in place using PVA (Elmers) glue, while the glue was still wet I used a curved needle to stitch the join, a bit of tension here helps the leather fit and stretch around the scabbard easier.

At either end I finished it off with a bit of the handle leather, the PVA glue acts like water and gives the leather a slight give, enabling one to mould it around the shapes.

A final addition was to cover the spear tip with an aluminium duct tape.

Step 9: Three Deserts Emblem.

I took a piece of the darker leather and wrapped it around the scabbard. I then wrapped some paper around the outside of that.

On the outside of the paper a drew a simple symbol of three humps to symbolise the three deserts.

Once these two bits are taped around the scabbard, I then carefully cut through all three layers, the paper, the dark leather, and the original tanned leather.

Once cut out, i then inlaid the dark leather into the gaps of the tanned leather. Kind of like a leather 'veneer' effect.

I repeated the process using a metal washer further down also.

Step 10: The Completed Sword.

Thats it, a few further extras might be to etch your own design into the sword blade, or to add a tassle of sorts to the spear tip.

Personally, my favourite part is the sword handle, it has a great solid feel, and the leather work is visually, and physically very aesthetic.

I hope you enjoyed the read, and can get to work modifying those cheap swords into something a bit more special.

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    151 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Puttin the leather into warm water before using it, makes it more bendable and lowers the risk to rip it on the bent edges.

    Best solution to glue it, imho, is to use the leather workers' glue. After drying (you have to put it on both glueing parts) it sticks like hell, which might make it easer to tear it around edges


    8 years ago on Introduction

    by the way sorry for the rant 2 years after you made this weapon. i think it looks awesome and it inspired me to recreate my own hilt and scabbard. but take it a step further and make it out of wood.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Its ok, you are allowed to rant, but did you try googling 'Melon Sword' The entire epilog was made up, using my imagination. Including the fake science.

    Like all great science fiction, I made it up to add a false realism to the idea.
    Which you managed to fall for in spewing out that rant.

    Thanks for the compliments, I would very much like to see your variation if you can spare a few pictures.

    Try not to get to het up about things, it is just the internet, its mostly for fun.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    lol i know it was all made up. im not trying to say it was based off anything. i was merely stating that fact that you are allowed to have an imagination.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    "Based on the 'Melon sword' concept, the magnets hold the liquid in an impossibly thin alignment, spanning only a few atoms wide on the sharp edge." Actually, a well-sharpened blade is often only an atom or so wide at the edge. Still it's a nice sword, and I especially like the spear point.

    14 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, a well-sharpened blade is several thousand atoms wide at the edge. You can never actually get a one atom cutting edge due to the weak force. The single atoms simple fall into a more stable position onto the atoms below.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    First of all, edges tend to be rounded, so saying how thick they are doesn't make much sense. Thick where? How far back are you measuring? I could have a blade about as sharp as a basketball, and technically, if I measure in the right place, the edge will be about 1 atom thick... That's not a useful means of quantification. What is used instead usually is edge radius. And diamond blades are made with a radius of about 10 nanometers. Given that a CC bond length is about 150 pm, that would be approximately 70 atoms. I'm sure experimental ones have been made smaller than that, and this is a radius, remember, not the width of the absolute tip of anything. It gradually ramps up from 1 or 2 to 70 over the course of the edge's roundness. I have no idea how that translates to your pretend sword, because you're not using standard measurements. Also, no matter how sharp your sword is, it wouldn't be that much more useful than normal sharp sword, because you still have to have the strength to wedge two sides of an object apart up to the WIDEST part of your sword. If I want to cleave a boulder, I have to have the striking strength to peel apart the rock the entire width of the BACK of the sword. Which would be hard enough with just inertia to overcome, but add in the fact that the front of the boulder is still intact, and now we are talking about BENDING the boulder outward with just my arm muscles. Not going to happen. Sharpness doesn't really do that much for you after a point. Much more problematic, however, is your whole "overclocking" thing. Overclocking a field that holds material in a certain shape would do nothing more than hold the material in that shape even more securely... It would not in any way lend extra force to any blow.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, thanks for your comments, but its sci-fi. Science Fiction. Google that last word if you wish! It only has to have rough groundings. The 'idea' of the sword is merely fantasy loosely based on science. The discussion that began on this thread was merely two creative people musing of the workings of such a sword. Before you interjected it with science, simultaneously destroying all creative outcome.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Okay... From wikipedia (may as well use that, it's not exactly empirical): "(Science fiction) differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically-established or scientifically-postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a 'literature of ideas.'" Yeah, some of it is tantamount to magic, but it's traditional to still "explain" such events in terms of some kind of unknown technology that makes sense. Splitting a geographical feature into three pieces is something that needs a lot of explaining. For instance, the postulation of mythical elements that have a near infinite capacitance potential, etc. I'm not like disgruntled or anything. I'm just constructively suggesting good storytelling practices - there are certain rules of thumb which have been perfected by the sci-fi community to ENHANCE the impact of creativity, not destroy it at all. The best and most creative sci-fi stories don't just lay out unbelievable things with no plausible explanation of any kind; it makes for a less engaging story that is harder to get lost in. Instead, they explain things in plausible ways. Star Wars has it's midi-chlorians, Dune has reasonable backstories for pretty much every tiny thing out of the ordinary you can think of, Asimov based all of his stories pretty much on realistically achievable future technologies (another route), etc. Are you claiming that all of these productions lack any creativity??


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    About star you really think a lightsaber applys to your arguement??? Exactly so why not just let these guys do what they wanna do and lighten up?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Lightsabers are just energy swords. What is there to explain about them? They have some sort of crystal that focuses energy like a laser in phase (which is indeed discussed), and that allows you to cut through stuff in the same way as a laser does. They don't slice mountains in half or create hailstorms. They just cut stuff (often very slowly, at that - not really any faster than a real life thermal lance for big metal doors), and it's fairly believable. Also, if you'll notice, I never complained about the part of the instructable where he says a field holds the sharp edge of the sword, which is the equivalent to a lightsaber, and which he DID explain. I complained about the much bolder "it split a desert into three parts," which needed a lot more explanation and had none. I also complained, because in addition to being unexplained, the "supercharge" notion actually contradicts the field that holds an edge. As I said originally, it stands to reason that if you supercharge a shape holding field, it will just hold a shape more tightly. Claiming that the sword gets more power instead is confusing and seems like you baited and switched us about what the sword actually does. It feels like a prop department mistake, almost (like that scene in deliverance where they shoot the guy with a rifle, and he has an arrow in his back later). The narrative is broken, it feels campy, and it's just poor practice. Nor can I think of a single example in famous sci-fi pieces where something similar is done. (Lack of explanation, yes, that happens, but still infrequently.)


    oki do you have any imagination at all dude for all we know the liquid sword could be made tom. and further more look at the definition of si-fi again. look at the things that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD puts in that category. I will list some of the things for you: anime ( which lol by your terms of def. to science fiction is impossible) light sabers ( which yes are lasers but still haven't been fully developed yet), cyborgs( which yes by true science they can exist but still by your def. don't) zombies( which again don't truly exist yet but still possible). those are just some of the things that are under science fiction. So you saying that oh the liquid blade could never exist out of science fiction nor in science fiction is irrelevant, why? BECAUSE IT IS MADE UP!! i mere thought up story behind why the sword was made and how. It doesn't matter if it is based off of some sort of realistic concept. Ill give you another very very good example. The rail gun, I'll bet that 50 to 100 years ago if you went to the military and said hey i have this idea for a gun that shoot a magnetically powered piece of metal at an object past the speed of light and sound using electromagnetism they would either throw you in jail or killed you for being a spy. so that ends my rant on little ignorant people that have no imagination. thank you and have a nice night.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    If this is all you do for your day. You need to get a life. It is make believe for a reason. Use your brain and think "outside the box"


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    No, I'm claiming that your taking things way too seriously.. I never said anything about the sci-fi community destroying creativity, that was purely aimed at yourself. If you really want to think up a scientifically correct version of how it all works, then feel free. Personally, I like to think up original ideas, that are way out of line with our current understanding of science. You mention great authors like Asimov, whom at the time, his ideas were way beyond any actual scientific understanding, and still are today. Thats what makes him great, the fact that even today, his ideas still seem like they are in our future. Think outside the box my friend.