View Full Version : Malefactor - A Darkside CF8 Saber (Version III)

10-20-2017, 09:16 PM
Hope I'm posting this in the right place...

Greetings, saber fans!

I've been trying to finish my second saber for literally years, and it's been delay after embarrassing delay. To my infinite satisfaction, there are no more delays. I started this saber with a PC 2.0, but always meant to include more features and options with it than were financially available to me at the time. I was also still very green, and did not have the correct tools to make it happen. I'm happy to say that time is behind me.

Before I get to the meat of it, I should note that I've replaced my X2 RRRR with an LZ4 RGBW. The red channel alone can take up to 2.5A, the other three can run up to 3A. The brightness this thing puts out is obscene. I am having to watch my settings in order to avoid generating too much heat. I'm happy, though: Because of the fact the LED can handle more power than the board puts out, I don't have to lose brightness on single-channel colors anymore. I can run 2A Red, or 1500A Red, 500mA Blue. Or anything else, really.

WARNING: Pic Heavy Thread!


Switch Box From Hell:

The Business End:

Tried to get a good shot of the discs, but got this instead:


I knew there was a way to get a CF8 on top of some 18650s. Every disc I tried had some problem or another I couldn't get past. I ended up turning down some Delrin on my lathe, then center-drilling with a 1/4" drill bit and parting off 1/4" thick discs for the mill. I used a stack of two parallel bars to guarantee a flush and steady position in my rotary table's three-jaw, then centered using the 1/4" hole and measured 0.18 "from center" to start my drilling for the stick pack. I drilled in steps, to avoid unnecessary material strain, eventually boring out a 3/4" hole for the stick pack. 18650s are a little under 0.750", but with the needlessly thick heat shrink I got from Cable Organizers, I needed the extra room.

The slots for holding the main and satellite boards were milled out using a Dremel cutter (199-04). I had to cut a pilot slot, then incrementally widen it until the board would friction-fit. Let me tell you: It was no picnic getting the slots deep enough that they would correctly grip the board, but shallow enough to give clearance for the onboard components near the edges.

You can't see the PCB in these shots, because of the length of the slack in the wires to the LED, but it's shunted all the way to the tip of Cell 2. I needed that room to fit the pack into the chassis. I'll try to get a shot of how I accomplished this tomorrow, but the basic method was to run an extra-long solder tab from "battery center" to the BM tab on the PCB, then do a 90 deg. fold-and-crimp with some flat-nose pliers to run the tab up to the solder pad on the PCB. I wanted to make damned sure that the BM tab was absolutely nowhere near the B+ and B- tabs, to prevent any possibility of an internal short. The center tab runs almost 90 degrees rotated from the +/-. There's no way it's ever going to short, unless the end user grabs the pack in his hands and twists it.

By the way...these Orbtronic cells? 100/10, would buy again. Same goes for the heat shrink. It's durable, easily cut, and comes in sizes perfectly suited to pack making.

Naturally, I ran a JST termination off of the pack terminals. The way I've got the switch box wired, it's best to always unscrew the ribbed/choke combo first, disconnect the pack via JST, THEN remove the switch box. This prevents the possibility of shorting the recharge port against the hilt.

The only end-user serviceable part "should" be the SD card, which is clearly accessible at the pommel, because I've left the speaker on a dangle termination. I wanted that to be a single-piece chassis, but did not have the room. I already had to use a 0.75" extension to get me the room I needed to do this much.

Also of note is the fact I've moved the speaker back to the pommel, so I'm getting MUCH better sound than I did before. The PVC clip idea was cool, but it was a desperation move on my part. I'm glad I was able to correct that. The only regret I have is drilling the hole for the Covertec Wheel in any other position than 90 degrees right of opposite-center, in relation to the switch box. Now I've got an extra hole, and the wheel interferes with my grip. If I had it to do all over again, I'd mount the wheel in the same location, but 90 degrees right of where that is.

Long story short: I have every bit the brightness I had before, and now I have it in every possible color you could ever imagine. And 12 sound banks. And 10 hot-swappable color profiles.

So...Malefactor has a set of new clothes. What do you think?

EDIT: Forgot to mention (and get close-ups of) my custom machined switch bezels. I used the original hex nuts the switches came with, but turned them down on the lathe. Much to my surprise, they were brass underneath the shiny chrome exterior, which I think adds a nice touch of color there.

Also not pictured is the fact I've drilled a pass-through for the board terminal wires into the chassis discs. It was the only way I had room for those wires, and if I had it to do all over again, I'd have drilled a second hole for something else. There was enough space to do it, so why not? Next time. Next time.

Now, if only I could get accurate dimensions for Shapeways, I could offer the discs for sale. I don't want to blow my own horn, but I was really, really impressed with how stable their grip is on the main and satellite boards. I do want to touch it up with some hot glue at both sides of the points where the discs grip each board, but it's honestly very stable as-is.

10-21-2017, 08:24 AM
Aaand a midnight test run: