Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Since I made two lightsabers already (Luke's lightsaber from Return of the Jedi and Obi-Wan's lightsaber from New Hope), I've decided to keep the ball rolling and do another one. This is one of the 'clan sabers', which is supposed to be a common design that was used by several different Jedi at the same time. I like to associate a name with a lightsaber, so I picked Ki-Adi-Mundi, who was carrying a lightsaber like this in the Attack of the Clones.
I must say, I don't like the idea of these clan sabers... to me it seems like they were too busy/lazy to create unique sabers for the secondary characters, and thought the audience won't notice. That I understand, but I don't like that they didn't even keep the use of the lightsabers consistent throughout the movies. For example, Ki-Adi-Mundi uses a different clan saber in the Revenge of the Sith, not this one.
Just like all of my projects, it all started on a piece of paper. I have a notebook where I keep all of my ideas about lightsabers and stuff around them. Once I had an idea about how I'd go about making this, I created a 3D model to see if there could be any problems. It is not unusual for me to change some things along the way,, but mostly I just stay true to my 3D model.
First day of actually making something. I've established a workflow, where I make the pommel first, and then continue up to the lightsaber emitter (the 'head' of the lightsaber). I do this, because the pommel is the supporting part in holding the whole lightsaber together. Once the pommel is finished, I can simply stack the other pieces on top of it.
Next part is the 'booster', as I like to call it. I kept the terminology from when I was making Obi-Wan's lightsaber. I didn't finish it completely, just the stuff I can do on a lathe. I still need to do some drilling, but that's for another day. I then skipped one part, because it involves a lot of milling, and I have to carefully think it through, because I don't have access to a milling machine. I can do a little bit of milling on the lathe, but it's very limited so have to be smart about it.
Anyway, I continued and finished the handgrip part. Then I skipped some more parts, but this time it was because I didn't have the material I needed. I started working on one of the most complicated parts of the lightsaber, which is the 'neck' part. I found a knife with a small radius, but it's not nearly enough, I'll have to finish this another day.
I planned a lot of milling and drilling for today. I started by finishing the booster part, which needed some drilling and thread cutting. I still don't have the pieces that will go into these holes, but I usually leave the little stuff for the last day of making, so it's all done for now.
Now for the part I skipped the other day. I carefully planned all my cuts and milling angles for this part. I don't really like the milling process on the lathe I'm using. I'm eyeballing most of it, so it's not a very precise process - but for most of the work I do, it's precise enough. Anyway, it took some time, but I finished it. It's by no means perfect, but it'll work until I can get my hands on a milling machine and a rotational chuck. I usually paint the pieces as a last step in the building process, but this time I wanted to see the final version as soon as possible - just in case I had to do the milling again. I spray-painted the parts black and then I removed the excessive paint on a lathe. I'm fairly happy with the result. The pommel still needed some milling/drilling, so I've decided to finish that as well.
Now was finally time to finish the 'neck' part. I had to cut the radius without a knife of that shape. It took forever, but by removing the material by hand and using a metal file to get rid of the edges, I finally achieved what I was looking for. I could then cut the part from the rest of the aluminium rod and finish the other end of the part. Creating this part took way longer than I expected, but I'm very happy with the result.