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.
There's a part between the handgrip and the neck part I just finished that I still didn't make, so that was the next piece on my list. I still had some time after I finished this part, so I started working on the last piece (the emitter) as well. I managed to finish all the outer shapes of this part. I still need to cut a thread inside of it, so I can screw it onto a threaded rod that holds the lightsaber together, but that's for another day. It was a busy day, but I could finally see the main body of the lightsaber together.
I continued where I had to stop the day before. That means I finished the inner parts of the emitter and cut the thread that goes through the whole piece. Then I could finally screw it onto the threaded rod with the rest of the parts and I could finally hold it in my hand as one piece. Now I could finally cut the threaded rod to its final length. To make it less obvious that it holds the lightsaber together, I cut a little shape at the end of the rod. This really made a difference in the final assembly.
This was the last piece of the body of the lightsaber. Now was the time to make the buttons and other stuff that goes on top of the saber. The piece I wanted to do next is supposed to be made from brass. I found a brass screw, so I didn't have to order a brass rod online and wait for it. I couldn't use the screw as it was, because of its dimensions, but I still saved a lot of time. I ended up with a nice brass screw for my lightsaber. I wanted to make the next part from aluminium, but it proved to be too soft for the diameter I needed. That's why I ended up using another screw, which I repurposed for my needs. I had some time left, so I made the Covertec wheel as well. It was quite tricky to make this, but I managed to finish the whole part.
The last day of making this! I finally received the tool I needed to do the knurling on the last screw. I first did the knurling, mainly to test it, and then I cut the final shape and the thread. I noticed that there's a screw in the head of the main screw, so I drilled a hole for it as well. I then cut the thread so I could put the little screw in there. That was basically it, I could then cut the piece to its final length and add it to my lightsaber. The last piece that needed to be done was the control box. After that, the lightsaber was finally finished.
I'm amazed at how fast I was able to make this lightsaber in comparison to the previous two. Anyway, here's the final assembly if you're interested in how I put all the files together: