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Thread: Building your own Blade = Pain in the ...

  1. #1

    Default Building your own Blade = Pain in the ...

    So, I'm working on a special project (I will be doing a full posting on this subject, when complete a few weeks into September), and out of monetary constraints, I am forced to make my own Blade(s), as opposed to purchasing pre-built (as all of mine have been so far). Due to monetary and time constraints, I cannot order different tube/parts/film to try.

    In researching and buying parts for my own saber over a year ago now, and actually building my son's saber last winter, I avoided the "build your own blade" part, as I expected it to be the most difficult part of the building process.

    In this current project, I'm finding that assumption to be true.

    Yes, I read Tutorials (I think Jay-gon Jinn's is the best), but the skill/art of blade making using the clear cellophane wrap is kicking my ...

    I'm using 1" thin walled clear tube (32" length), and getting the ~4.5' of cellophane on the 5/8ths dowel and into the tube works fine. The trouble begins when trying to "unwrap" the cellophane inside the tube (to get it against the ID of the PolyC tube).
    My first attempt, I just slid the dowel out, hopping a bit of vibrations (tapping) would allow the cellophane to unravel, and match the ID of the tube. NO amount of coercion worked, and I had a ~5/8th cellophane tube within a 1" thin walled PolyC tube. Less than ideal.
    My next attempt I stuck a really tiny bit of tape at one end (the cellophane is 40" wide), and tried to unroll it. it becomes REALLY difficult to tell if you are actually doing anything. Once I thought I was done, I cut the end with the tape off the dowel rod, and slid it out. Well, the insides were all gobbledygook, as I apparently had no idea I unwound enough.
    My third attempt was actually a test with a 18.5" PolyC Tube cutoff I had. I "frosted" it with 220 grit, with a buff of 400 grit after. No cellophane inside. This on it's own looks pretty darn good. I'm not sure how it would look on its own, on a full length blade.
    image.jpg image.jpg (different exposures)

    My attempts (and frustration) mirror Kategora's.

    Without the ability to buy different materials, OR a completed blade, I only see three possibilities:
    1) Frost the 32" PolyC tube and hope that is enough.
    2) Frost the 32" PolyC tube, and try only a SMALL (2') amount of cellophane (and IF that works, do more as needed a bit at a time)
    3) Forgo the Frost, and just keep banging on it. Either at a full 4.5-5', or in smaller increments.

    Any advice or sympathy would be appreciated.
    Last edited by bigkevin61; 08-30-2015 at 12:15 AM.

  2. #2


    I don't know if I've been just really lucky but it has worked for me the past 6 or so blades. What I do is I actually use a 3/4 dowel and I usually use about 6-8ft of film and once I have slid it in the tube I will rotate the dowel against the wrap (opposite of the way I wrapped the film on the dowel) and its untightens from the dowel and puts against the tube. Kinda like unwinding a clock spring.

  3. #3


    snilam is right wrapping the film around a dowel is the best way to go, after you frosted the blades.
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  4. #4


    Thanks guys, but the "unwrapping" part is what is giving me fits.

    I rolled the cellophane right off the roll and onto the dowel, trying to minimize potential dust contamination. I fear I am retaining to much static and the wrap is sticking to its self REALLY good.

    How tight do you wrap the cellophane around the dowel? The "bit loose" I've done doesn't leave any "grip" on the dowel to force the wrap to unwind.
    I can try to get it right on the dowel, but that is a challenge in and of itself.

    If this was for one of two, I'd experiment till I got it right, but I have several in an ever shrinking amount of time to complete.

  5. #5


    I kinda press the dowel to one side of the ID of the blade to do the unwrapping process. It seems to hold the outside of the cellophane and allow the inside to spin, loosening the wraps. Also it help if after the first wrap or two around the dowel, you keep the wraps loose. Hope that helps.

    Love your avatar, BTW.
    Darth Fender
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    You over estimate my FLOWERS!

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by DarthFender View Post
    I kinda press the dowel to one side of the ID of the blade to do the unwrapping process. It seems to hold the outside of the cellophane and allow the inside to spin, loosening the wraps. Also it help if after the first wrap or two around the dowel, you keep the wraps loose. Hope that helps.

    Love your avatar, BTW.
    Thanks for the tip. I'm giving it another try tomorrow after work.

    The avatar is a hand built (by me) Tardis Pinewood Derby car. I even had a speaker in it to play the theme song, but the iPod shuffle made it to heavy to race, so it ran with just lights.

    Wiring that up was actually my practice at soldering, before moving onto sabers. (you got to start somewhere, right?)

  7. #7


    I don't even use the dowel. I just roll it up, put it in the tube, then use a finger to unwind it inside the tube. Sometimes you need to bump/shake it to make sure it unravels down the entire length of it as you're unwinding it, but it's been pretty easy for me. In some cases I find the blades easier than making a chassis...

  8. #8


    Two issues that I had were the quality of the cello and static.
    An easy way to dissipate static is to use a dowel rod and push a dryer sheet down the blade.
    This will help prevent dust from clinging and also prevent the cello from clinging to itself.
    The first roll of cello I bought was American Greetings brand it looked bubbley in the package and retained that after winding on a dowel. The second roll was Hallmark brand which was smooth and shiny, it was easy and trouble-free!
    Both rolls were purchased at the same big-box discount store but at different locations. The B&M Hallmark stores are higher in cost so don't bother going there unless absolutely necessary!
    Last edited by Necro; 09-02-2015 at 02:00 AM. Reason: add note

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