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And finally done! A Savi’s Workshop version of Dark Rey’s Double-sided lightsaber from The Rise of Skywalker, complete with a working latching hinge. Designed in Sketchup, printed in PLA on a Makerbot Replicator 2, then hand painted & weathered with acrylics and spraypaint.
I first started designing the pieces back in early December before there was any good reference material available. The best I could find at the time (besides screencaps from the trailer) were a few low res photos of an upcoming prop replica that left a lot of details up to the imagination. Even the official TROS Visual Dictionary didn’t offer anything at all on this saber, so I had to take a few creative liberties due to the lack of details. One day I’ll like to revisit this again and make a much more screen accurate v2 version.
This was the first set of custom Savi’s scrap I ever designed, so it was definitely a big learning experience. I had previously made a reference drawing of the hilt, so I used that as a starting point to plan out how to change some of the proportions of the Dark Rey saber design to match the different Savi’s scrap parts: The Emitter, Top & Bottom Sleeves, Switch Plates, and Pommel. Using Sketchup, I designed each piece then test printed them in PLA to check fit and proportions.
The biggest surprise for me was that the Savi’s sleeves themselves have a very subtle top thread for securing themselves to the switch plates. Without this thread, the sleeve can freely rotate around the saber thanks to inertia from any significant movement. Movement like… trying to whip out a folded hinged lightsaber into its staff configuration. *cough cough* >.> A huge shoutout goes here for Bright Sun’s Savi’s Workshop Base Pieces on Thingiverse. Analyzing those pieces helped me understand how I almost accidentally murdered myself, and helped me figure out the correct threads to add to my pieces.
Designing the Hinge Mechanism
I was stumped for weeks on how to make a safe and secure 3D printable hinge. I wanted to require as little assembly as possible, especially to minimize potential break points. I decided to try to design most of the hinge as a Print-in-Place (PIP) model– basically, an articulating 3D model that prints as one single piece. I designed the hinge Pin to sit inside of the hinge Knuckle with a .5mm clearance. The hinge pin diameter is large enough that it’s incredibly strong & durable, even at only 15% infill. I haven’t had one break on me yet, thankfully.
I try to reduce the need for supports as much as possible by designing with overhang-safe angles or flipping model orientation on the bed, but this PIP design limited some of my options. Overhangs on circular shapes are problematic due to the inability for the slicer to accomplish bridging on curves, and this design had a major overhang underneath one of the connectors. I solved this problem by building in my own “supports” in the form of a thin .4mm wall holding up the overhang. After printing, this wall is cut or snapped away, and then some light sanding resolves any remaining rough edges.
I also really wanted the saber to confidently lock into its staff position automatically when unfolded (because nothing looks less cool then taking a min to manually secure your saber with a pin or something after an impressive unfolding). This locking latch was the part that held me up the most– I needed to make sure that it wouldn’t break when the hinged saber snapped into place.
Ultimately, I decided to incorporate actual metal fasteners and springs into a rough design idea, and printed up a small stand-alone test (see gif below). When it worked, I incorporated that design idea into the hinge itself. The bolts are secured in a way similar to lasercut T-nut joints, with a nut inserted into an opening for the bolt to connect to.
When I first tested this design with actual lightsabers, the hook part snapped clean off, never to be found again. I reprinted the part with 80% infill (instead of the previous print’s 15%), and haven’t had any problems since. 😀
Painting & Weathering
Once all the pieces were done, I lightly sanded a few major imperfections here and there, but mainly just jumped straight into spraying Rustoleum High Build Filler Primer. Spray, sand, repeat, then moved on to Rustoleum Silver Metallic & Red Metallic as a durable, thick base coat. Black saber parts were then taped off and sprayed with black matte. then one more test fit before wrapping it up with final detail painting and weathering.
To match the Dark Rey saber’s metal finish, I mainly just sponge-brushed a gun metal acrylic paint over the silver base coat. For the Emitters, I drybrushed some blue metallic acrylic to make a light gradient into the silver. For final weathering, I used black acrylic as a “wash” without watering it down, and then silver sharpie + silver drybrushing for the worn paint on the black saber parts.
Of course, I took it for a spin (*rimshot*) on Batuu. To make travel easier, I also designed a belt clip for holding both lightsaber blades. (For the record, I’m 5’2″ and these are the shortest blades offered by Dok’s.)
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Overall, I’m incredibly happy with how this turned out. I definitely have some plans in mind for a better V2 in the future, but V1 is done for now.