Designing a new ID
After removing the original acrylic, I took measurements and designed a replacement in Illustrator. Obviously, I have my own unique specifications as a Lothcatsaberologist, PhD, and part-time Smuggler, so I wanted to make sure that was highlighted with updated faction icon and a smiling Lothcat. (Slight note: I modified the design so that I wouldn’t have to desolder the battery to switch out the acrylic in the future. Compare the Illustrator screenshot with the final lasercut version to see the small change I made.)
After completing the design, I used a lasercut to engrave and cut it out of engraver’s acrylic. Blue painters tape was used to protect the surface during engraving. After a successful quick fit test in the original badge, I moved on to updating the enclosure.
Since I was going through all this trouble anyways, I wanted to spruce up the original enclosure too. I sanded off the obvious “THIS IS A TOY” signs such as copyright text and injection molding/sprue leftovers, but left most obscure, cool things like the battery info and serial number.
To prep for future painting & weathering, I used Rustoleum 2x primer as a base coat, followed by Rustoleum 2x Paint + Primer in Black. For best results, I always spray in light, quick coats in full sunlight, and slowly build up to complete coverage. You can see the progression of my first light, splotchy coat to last below.
Soldering and Desoldering
To remove the original acrylic, I had to desolder the electronics board from the battery holder. The design change I made now allows me to slide the acrylic in and out after the case screws are removed, so it was time to solder the PCB board back in the case. I used the new acrylic to make sure I left enough clearance.
With all the electronics and base paint coats completed, it was time for reassembly and tested. Thankfully, the electronics still worked.Final Custom Stormtrooper ID
For the final touch, I did some painting and weathering on the enclosure. Done!