Hey, makers! It sure has been a while since we did a Practical Print, so we’re excited to be coming back with a pretty epic one.
For the next few weeks, we’re going to walk you through our steps of designing, building, and testing custom lightsaber mounts for the Anakin Skywalker ForceFX lightsaber and the Darth Vader ForceFX lightsaber. We took this project on for a client as part of our early trials of our newest 3D Printing Service offering. We hope you enjoy this walkthrough, and if it sparks any inspiration in you and you want to pursue a project of our own, let us know!
Since this was going to be an entirely custom model from start to finish, we needed to understand the parameters of the project, the use case, and any design specifications required. Our client wanted to mount two lightsabers to the wall vertically, where the mount
was to be as unobtrusive as possible. Of course, we wanted to make sure the lightsaber itself was not blocked when it was turned on, so the mount had to be only at the hilt.
Here’s photos of the two hilts that we needed to design mounts for.
Since they’re both very different in their geometry, it was also going to take two different approaches to designing mounts for them, so we’ll go over each hilt individually to call out any specs that needed to be accounted for. The primary goal of these mounts was to essentially pull the hilts against the wall from behind.
The 3D modeling platform we used to accomplish these designs was Rhinoceros 3D.
Darth Vader Lightsaber
The Darth Vader lightsaber was fairly straightforward. Because it has the two small notches in the back, we wanted to create a mount that has a canal that the notches can slide into. Then with the mount attached to the wall, the lightsaber could be held in place. Because we didn’t want too much downward force pulling on the top portion, we were also going to design a bottom mount which would just hold up the bottom of the hilt and give it something to rest on.
Our client also required an opening at the bottom of the bottom mount because she had a ribbon cable that would need to span from the lightsaber’s battery compartment to the wall via an AC/DC battery adapter.
Anakin Skywalker Lightsaber
The Anakin lightsaber proved to be a bit of a challenge. The hilt design has nothing in the back for us to cling to, like the Darth Vader one does. But in order to keep the lightsaber upright and secure, we were going to need some way to “pull” it in towards the wall. We decided to approach this mount with a hinge design. The top part of the mount was going to wrap around the lightsaber hilt and click into itself to lock the hilt in place, somewhat like a seatbelt. The hinge would allow the lightsaber to be mounted and removed easily.
The bottom hilt would be similar to the Darth Vader bottom hilt. The only difference between these two bottoms would be the circumference (since the two hilts actually differ in size) as well as the “backbone” since it needed to be designed to be flush with the hilt bumpers.
Next we took the necessary measurements of each hilt so that we could get the dimensions just right in our models for a perfect fit. From there we could make the proper design decisions to to efficiently and effectively hold the lightsaber in place.
Excited to see how these mounts turn out? Come back next week for the Build step and see how we modeled each piece.