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Hobby Article (LED lightsabers)

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1 hour ago, Herowannabe said:

Partially in response to this, partially because I’ve been wanting to post this anyway, please allow me to share a few things that I’ve tried this past week that have NOT worked out well (and one that did). 
 

1. Painting the acrylic rods

I tried taking some clear acrylic rods and experimented with painting them red as well as first priming them white and then painting them. Both methods failed hard. Painting them cuts out too much of the light- down to the point where you can barely tell that there’s a light inside them at all. When I tried thinning the paint / applying less paint so that more light shines through the paint job ended up looking like trash. Maybe there’s a translucent dye or stain or something out there that would do the trick, but if so I don’t know about it. 
 

You’re much better off just buying the lights and/or rods in the colors that you want to use. 
 

2. Sanding the acrylic rods

This one actually did do fairly well at diffusing the light. You still get most of the light coming out of the top of the rod and the area near the base, rather than an even glow, but it’s far better than doing nothing. 

I want to get some of this side-glow fiber optics stuff and compare how it works to the sanded acrylic. I have a feeling it will give better results. 
 

3. Using cheaper conductive paint

That conductive silver paint stuff is expensive. So I searched around on amazon and found a carbon-based conductive paint for less than half the cost of the silver paint. So I bought some and tried it. It technically works, but the resistivity of the carbon is too high and you lose most of your light. So the moral of the story is don’t skimp- spend more for the silver paint. 

First off, thank you so much Herowannabe for your learning experiences/tips!

1. Painting the acrylic rods

Thank you for confirming my suspicion that painting the acrylic rods wouldn't work, I already purchased colored LED's - hopefully that'll do the trick. Worst-case scenario, I can try your other tip and just purchase colored rods.

 

 

2. Sanding the acrylic rods

For my initial trial, I'm going to try using the previously mentioned matte varnish, seeing as colki is saying that it is easier and more effective; however, I am really happy to hear that sanding the acrylic rods does work. I will also try combining that with Darth Sanguis' idea to prevent the issue of most of the light from coming out of the top,:

On 11/1/2019 at 11:08 AM, Darth Sanguis said:

If I had to make a suggestion, based on my time in the lightsaber hobby, to remove the effects you're seeing I'd say use an opaque white or frosted acrylic rod for the blade itself, and if that's not enough glue a small piece of foil (or something reflective) at the tip, then cover it with a drop of hot glue maybe elmers or anything that would adhere and cure opaque white.

 

 

3. Using cheaper conductive paint

The high cost of the conductive paint has already discouraged me from trying that as my first option; my plan is to thread the wires through holes that I've drilled through the minis, which will later be covered with Green Stuff. I'll see how well that works on my first attempt (OG Luke).

If that fails, do you happen to have a link to silver conductive paint that you would recommend using?

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Posted (edited)

Hey Shark - yeah I found using a *good* matte varnish ("DullCote" spray by Testors is what you want) worked just as well as sanding for me. Frankly, both are pretty easy options (I'd suggest you sand the rod before you glue it on).

Personally, the conductive paint thing seemed too tricky and I just drilled holes and threaded the wires through the mini into the base. I've attached an example with Vader, shrunk down to meet the 70kB limit on images here.

Speaking of paint, though, what *is* important is that you give the hand you will be mounting the LED inside a good coat of metallic paint (not conductive, but like Leadbelcher or equivalent) to stop your mini looking like the Amazing Iron Fist as their hand glows when you power on the saber.

shrunk.jpg

Edited by colki
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3 hours ago, colki said:

Hey Shark - yeah I found using a *good* matte varnish ("DullCote" spray by Testors is what you want) worked just as well as sanding for me. Frankly, both are pretty easy options (I'd suggest you sand the rod before you glue it on).

Personally, the conductive paint thing seemed too tricky and I just drilled holes and threaded the wires through the mini into the base. I've attached an example with Vader, shrunk down to meet the 70kB limit on images here.

Speaking of paint, though, what *is* important is that you give the hand you will be mounting the LED inside a good coat of metallic paint (not conductive, but like Leadbelcher or equivalent) to stop your mini looking like the Amazing Iron Fist as their hand glows when you power on the saber.

shrunk.jpg

Thank you so much for your tips! I really appreciate it, colki.

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4 hours ago, colki said:

Speaking of paint, though, what *is* important is that you give the hand you will be mounting the LED inside a good coat of metallic paint (not conductive, but like Leadbelcher or equivalent) to stop your mini looking like the Amazing Iron Fist as their hand glows when you power on the saber.

Oh that's smart! It blocks the light. I would try using it on the tip of the saber too, as Darth Sanguinis suggested earlier.

  

On 11/1/2019 at 11:08 AM, Darth Sanguis said:

If I had to make a suggestion, based on my time in the lightsaber hobby, to remove the effects you're seeing I'd say use an opaque white or frosted acrylic rod for the blade itself, and if that's not enough glue a small piece of foil (or something reflective) at the tip, then cover it with a drop of hot glue maybe elmers or anything that would adhere and cure opaque white. 

 

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22 minutes ago, Contrapulator said:

Oh that's smart! It blocks the light. I would try using it on the tip of the saber too, as Darth Sanguinis suggested earlier.

  

 

Oh, that's brilliant! I was thinking of trying to use foil but your idea sounds way simpler.

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