first build: 89Sabers Mace Windu Dec 14, 2019 9:55:03 GMT -5 sandpeople, darthbrooks, and 4 more like this
Post by toddf on Dec 14, 2019 9:55:03 GMT -5
First, a little background: I'm completely new to the custom saber world, but my background is engineering. I'm an engineer at NASA Langley Research Center and a mentor for Triple Helix, a FIRST Robotics Competition high school robotics team. At the 2019 world championship, it was announced that the 2020 season will have a Star Wars theme. We get the full details in January, but a game teaser video was released in September. Some of the kids on our team are considering wearing cosplay to our competitions this year. I started looking around at light sabers, and since our team colors are gold and purple I was immediately attracted to the Mace Windu light saber. I decided to do a full build for myself, and bought a 2nd hand 89sabers empty hilt. Last night I finally "finished" the hilt install. The design will continue to evolve, and I have some ideas for improvements. But, I'm ready to share some details about the design and build.
As an engineer, I very much follow the "form follows function" philosophy in my designs. In this case, my design goal was to prioritize the functioning of the completed saber over ease of making changes to the software. I figure that once the thing is set up, I won't be messing with it as much as using it. That might be an erroneous assumption, but that's what I'm going with for now. The 89sabers Windu hilt is quite cramped inside, with a larger diameter section towards the pommel and a reduced section towards the blade. There is a chokepoint where there's a machined block holding two pushbuttons near the front. Because I placed highest value on operational functionality, the larger cavity is nearly filled with a replaceable 21700 battery. I went with 20A Acebeam batteries with integrated charge ports. That way one battery can be powering the saber while the other one charges on a USB charger. Batteries are swapped in throughout the 2 day competition to keep the saber operational. The number of batteries I need to keep on chargers will be determined by the at rest current draw of the hilt as well as how often I fire the thing up.
For max functionality, as well as small size, I went with a Proffieboard. Because minimizing at rest current draw is important, I ultimately want to go with a Proffie 2, but I missed the window for the group purchase and had to go with a Proffie 1.5 on this initial install. Since I'm planning ahead for a board swap, I used connectors on the low current board connections.
I used the robotics team's 3D printers for iterating on the chassis design. Starting with a simple battery holder, I tweaked the dimensions and added features until my 4th iteration was ready for installation. Since this was my first build, I was very careful and deliberate hooking things up. I started with the sound, which took a couple days to get working. Then I added a neopixel pogo pin connector. Running the wires for the LEDs through the chokepoint was challenging, but doable. I finished up last night with a working hilt with an illuminated blade plug.
I'll wrap up this initial post with pics of the finished hilt, progress pics to follow shortly.