I was commissioned by a good friend to create Takuto’s Star Swords from the anime Star Driver. For those that have not seen Star Driver, they are basically light sabers on steroids.
The tricky part about these swords is the fact that the whole thing needs to glow, and if it needs to glow, then the whole thing needs to be transparent. I had my work cut out for me.
I started out by creating myself a master sword out of 1/4 inch MDF.
I used google sketchup to help me create a 3d model so that I could get all of the dimensions correct. I then glued all of the pieces together accordingly.
The next step I bondoed up the gaps and smoothed it all out. I also coated the entire sword with wood glue to help smooth it out and to prevent the silicon from biting into the MDF and tearing apart the master (yes I have done that before).
With the master created, I am now ready to start creating my 2 part mold. Though it won’t be used as a true 2 part mold as I need the 2 halves separate. To help me create the 2 part mold I cut some foam board to act as a split board so that the split is nice and even.
I propped it up with some clay as seen below.
I then proceeded to fill in the gaps with clay and created some “keys” with clay on the split board. I used clay pottery tools to help level the clay and scrape it.
I then proceeded to put on 3 layers of Smooth-On’s Rebound 45. Each layer was applied 1 hour apart. Then 6 hours after the final layer, the first half of the mold was done. I used cheap chip brushes to help brush on the rebound 45.
Next I trimmed off excess silicon and edged the mold with painters tape. This is to prevent the pasti-paste that I plan to use for the mother mold from adhering to the foam board.
And below I have covered everything with pasti-paste.
Next, we will want to measure how much resin we will need for each mold. You can use water or if you don’t want to get everything wet, use a bag of rice. I measured both molds to be about 40 oz each, give or take a few. I then set up the molds and made sure they were as level as possible before I began mixing resin and pouring.
I used Tap Plastic Clear-Casting resin as my resin of choice. I also added green and blue dye respectively for each sword. Oh man, look at all the resin I had to mix! Thankfully this resin takes a full 6 hours to cure.
Now just pour in the resin! The thing I found about this resin when it is poured into such a massive mold is that it does shrink considerably. I had to mix some extra resin and pour more in to fill in the space. Not a big deal, but it did add time.
The next step is to use a router to hollow out each half piece that was cast. I completely forgot to take a pic of it hollowed out. Here is a pic of me securing it for routing though.
Here is the best picture I have of it routed out. I am basically test fitting the AA battery case and a couple of LEDs wired up. I also sanded the resin to give it a more frosted look so that the light diffused more. I used my trusty random orbit sander for the job, using 150 sand paper.
Next, time to wire up the LEDs! I used this guide http://www.slothfurnace.com/sabers/ROTJLuke_01.html to help me with the wiring and picking out LEDs. Can’t go wrong with the people that make light sabers! I basically got some copper wire from Lowes and soldered all of my LEDs to it. I used about 20 LEDs here.
And a close up shot. My soldering skills are not exactly the best. 😛
And it glows! These were some nice super bright LEDs.
5mm Green LEDS (Joe Knows Electronics brand)
Forward Voltage: 3-3.2
Luminous Intensity: 25,000 mcd
View Angle: 15 degrees
Same specs for the blue LEDs except a 10,000mcd Lunimous Intensity.
And to secure the LEDs inside the swords, hot glue.
And here is the whole thing secured.
Time to glue the 2 halves together with some E-6000! Clamps were also used to hold it together.
And finally, the battery holder was held into place with velcro. The side of the hilt is completely open to give easy access. Plus the hand goes there so you can not see the ugliness when they are wielded. I do not have a shot of this part however.
And finally, the swords are complete!