Saturday, August 11, 2012
Some of you might remember this vintage flashlight I bought almost exactly a year ago with the hazy idea of turning it into a lightsaber:
Well, with my Lady Vadore costume shaping up in a timely fashion, John and I were able to squeeze this in as an extra accessory. I won't make you wait for it this time, either; here's the finished product:
[heavenly chorus singing]
As you can see, it also makes a nifty night light.
This is a relatively simple mod that you can probably do with any vintage flashlight. The one essential piece you'll need is a plumbing extension pipe, which you'll want to cut down at an angle for the business end of the 'saber:
(Or get John to do it for you. I'm sure he won't mind. :D)
To disguise some of the scuffs and scratches that came from drilling the pipe, John came up with the brilliant idea of sanding the metal to give it a brushed look. The inside of of the pipe is especially beautiful because it's a bright brass - so it's kind of a shame no one will see it with the LED in place.
Here's the sanded/brushed pipe with the light inside:
Once you have those two pieces joined, it's really just a matter of jazzing up the body with doo-dads to make it look less like an old flashlight and more like a steampunk lightsaber.
I started with the grip:
I wanted black vertical lines to resemble Vader's actual lightsaber, but the leather strips I tried first were too thick and looked all wrong. John found the solution in screen splicing, which is a hard rubber cord with one flat side and one rounded:
Next I dug through my junk box and found a few leftover scraps of brass mesh from our radio makeover. We used E-600 to glue strips of it on the top and bottom, plus a small "control panel" section below the switch:
Here I'm testing out different sparklies on the control panel. I decided I wanted one to look like a little dial, though, so I went with this metal button instead:
I also discovered that the original switch was the perfect size for a rhinestone. It's glued directly to the original button, so the switch even still works!
The bottom end of the flashlight had a big Eveready logo on it, so to cover that I cut a circle out of my brass mesh, and then topped that with a silver gear and dome button:
The last thing we did was fill the threads on the pipe with epoxy putty:
...and then paint that band a flat black. Now from a distance the band just looks like a rubber ring:
And that's it! The only things I had to purchase (other than the original $4 flashlight) was the rubber splicing and plumbing pipe. Oh, and also the LEDs, but since we got a bag of 12 and only used 1, I don't think it's fair to count that cost (about $10) in entirely.
Speaking of which, these LEDs are AWESOME. Seriously. They're small, cheap, self-contained, last up to 100 hours each, and come in several different colors. WOOT! I think all of my crafts are going to light up from now on. :)
Here's the LED package, in case you want to hunt some down yourself. They're in the floral aisle next to the glass marbles and other vase fillers, which is probably why most of us have never seen them before:
(I almost wanted to keep these a secret and let you guys think we're wiring geniuses, but they're just too awesome not to share. Heheh.)(Oh, and bring a JoAnn's coupon for these; regular price is about $18 for the bag.)
To light the 'saber all we did was cut out a hole in the original flashlight end, drop a LED down (the hole is smaller than the body of the LED), and add a bit of stiff fabric inside to keep the light in place. Of course it'd be cooler if the flashlight switch controlled the light, but for as easy as this was to do, I think I'll live.
The LEDs are surprisingly bright, so we also stuffed a tiny bit of bubble wrap around the bulb to dim it just a tad:
Although since it will only be pointed at the floor (hanging from my belt) for my costume, the odds of my blinding anyone with it are pretty slim regardless.
Of course, once this was finished I made the mistake of googling "steampunk lightsaber," and now I have SERIOUS 'SABER ENVY. Ugh. They're all so pretty! And better than mine! Must...resist...urge...to make...more...!
I hope you guys enjoyed! And to those of you clamoring for final Lady Vadore photos; paaaatience. I'm waiting for a few extra bits in the mail to jazz up my boots, and then we'll do a photo shoot for ya.
Oh, and check it out: my Vadore mask is starting to make the rounds online! Over the past two days it's been on the Daily What, Fashionably Geek, & Steampunk Costume, to name a few.
I'm always so excited to see Epbot stuff elsewhere on the web; with Cake Wrecks it's a non-stop barrage of scraper sites and content thieves, but with Epbot most everyone is wonderful about giving proper credit, so it's the complete opposite: like getting a friendly "attagirl!" from my fellow geeks. Which just goes to show: geeks are better people. :)
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