Lightsaber Upgrade Pt. 2

Just a quick follow up to yesterday’s video.  This one details some configuration changes I made to the board, including changing sound fonts and changing my blade flicker settings.  I also increased the swing sensitivity.  I love how simple this board is to configure.

Meanwhile, adding blog posts with my phone is a pain in the ass.  But, I didn’t have time to post this before leaving the house. ::)

Lightsaber Upgrade

Some of you may remember my Aeon LE V4 stunt saber I got many months ago from Ultra Sabers:

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Now, some people complain about the look of Ultra Sabers, saying they’re too plain looking. Well, to each their own is all I can say to that. To me, this is a wonderful looking hilt that I lucked out in getting, as I ordered it as a grab bag, which is their random hilt buying option. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to upgrade this wonderful looking saber for sound, so today I did exactly that.

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Another Switcheroo

After having fun with my Dark Sentinel yesterday, switching it to green and going with the opposing silver switch with the black bezel, I decided I wanted to do another. So, I grabbed the switch that came with that saber and the other grab bag saber I got in that order, my Aeon V3. Sentinel Yellow is one of my favorite colors, ever since I first played Knights of the Old Republic. I pad $10 extra per saber for this color on my Aeon V2s, so I was for sure going to use this LED, even though I switched one of the V2s over to orange. So, I decided to put it in the V3. I really like how this looks.

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Going Green

Not a huge customization here. I got this Dark Sentinel from Ultra Sabers some months back, during the second Summer Raffle, I think. I couldn’t afford to enter the raffle, so I bought a couple grab bags, I got this hilt and an Aeon V3. The Dark Sentinel came in Fire Orange, which is a nice enough color, but not necessarily my favorite. I have a friend who really likes orange blades, so I plan to give him an orange saber, just not this hilt. A while back, I transferred the orange LED to one of my Aeon V2 hilts, which I plan to give to him eventually. At that point, I left the hilt disassembled, because I couldn’t decide what to do with it. I thought about doing some sanding, but I still haven’t decided if I want to turn this into a two tone hilt. And, if I do, I can always do it later. I have a big upgrade planned for my Aeon LE V4, in fact I want to add sound and Flash on Clash to it. To get FoC, I’ll need a Tri Cree LED anyway, so that means the green LED in that hilt is up for grabs, as is the silver latching unlit AV switch. So, I decided to switch all of that over to the Dark Sentinel, as I have two black hilts with blue, but I don’t have any with green. I also decided to give the hilt a hint of silver by transferring the AV switch, but only the switch. I used the black bezel, to make it look more like the switch is built in and not just tacked on. I really like how it came out.

Before:

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A Tale of Three Sabers

This is my eighth order from Ultra Sabers, constituting Ultra Sabers #10 and 11, with an entry in the Winter Raffle, which earned me Ultra Saber #12. Here’s a group shot of my order and winning sabers, then we’ll break down everything into a review:

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Left to right: Dominix LE V4 in Guardian Blue, Dominix LE V2 in Adegan Silver, Lost Gray in Consular Green

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Lightsaber Build

Well, I built my first lightsaber today. I decided to do my first one using a Dominix V3 hilt from Ultra Sabers. This hilt wasn’t very expensive, less so than ordering parts and putting one together. Since I had a lot of other stuff to buy that I won’t have to buy next time, (soldering iron, solder, etc.) I figured to keep costs down on the saber itself. Now, just to be clear, this isn’t a money saving way to go, as opposed to buying the saber itself from Ultra Sabers. Complete with blade, this saber is $69.99 USD. I paid probably a bit more than that for all my parts and didn’t get a blade. Plus, I ordered electronics from another site, so I had to pay for shipping there as well. This is more of a challenge thing than a money saver. Truth be told, you can’t build a saber of this quality for less than Ultra Sabers charges for them.

Anyway, this is what I started out with:

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I have my hilt, LED, thermal tape, optic holder, optic, switch, heatsink, resistor and battery holder.

And, of course, I also had wire, heat shrink tubing, soldering iron, solder, heat gun, safety glasses, wire snips, tweezers, helping hands (soldering tool) and electrical tape.  I wasn’t going to use the tape, but I accidentally ordered the wrong size of heat shrink tubing and I can’t find small enough locally.  I didn’t want to pay for more shipping, so I just went with electrical tape.

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Lightsabers

I mentioned the lightsabers I own in my previous post.  Since I mentioned them, I figure it’s only fair to show them.  These are my seven Ultra Sabers stunt sabers:

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Left to right: Initiate LE V4, Sentinel V4, Aeon V2, Aeon V2, Aeon LE V4, Aeon V3, Dark Sentinel V4

All of them are stunt sabers, meaning they have no sound.  But, I can pretty easily upgrade all of them, except the two Aeon V2s.  Those are thinner, so putting sound in one of them would be problematic. While these are “plain” hilts, the upgrade possibilities are nearly endless. Also, if one were to try learning lightsaber combat and/or spinning, any of these hilts would be ideal.

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Looking forward

Halloween is going to rock this year.  UPS delivered my costume last night.  It only took a few days to get here from Shanghai, China, which isn’t bad at all.  That extra money I paid for shipping was worth it.  The boots came from a more local place.  Anywho, I won’t wear the cloak at work, and the belt is kinda crappy, but the rest ain’t bad.  I’m on the fence about wearing these pants or some khakis, but I’ll decide that as the date gets closer and I see the weather forecast.

The outer tunic, tabards (long strips over the shoulders) and obi (long strip around waist) are all 100% linen and really nice.  The inner tunic is shirt weight cotton, good for not over heating.  The cloak and pants are polyester.  All told, not bad for $90. (Amazon)

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Sorry for the bathroom pics, I needed a full length mirror.  😉

The saber is from UltraSabers and the fact that it makes the belt sag that much speaks to the quality (and heaviness) of the saber, and the crappy quality of the belt.  I’ll order a new belt after Halloween.  Meanwhile, I’ll probably just pick up a brown leather belt at work that will work for the day.  I can use it afterward to keep may pants up.  😉

Chromed

I chromed the lightsaber hilt. Fortunately, chroming something in one 3D program isn’t all that different than doing it in another. All you have to know is what the settings do and then fool around with diffusion, specular, glossiness and reflection settings. Also, it helps to know where to put the environment map. One thing that’s easier is using a node-based texture system with everything done in one window, as opposed to what I had to do in TrueSpace, which involved using multiple windows and was a big pain in the butt at times. (but easy once I got used to it)

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So, that will pretty much do it for this object. I mostly just created it because I like lightsabers and because I wanted to start off with something simple(ish) to play around with modeling settings. Ironically, this is actually the 2nd hilt I started, I hit a creative wall on the first one, so it’s currently in limbo. 😉