A New Hope Darth Vader Lightsaber - Part 3 - Radiator plates
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While I had a bit of time, I sectioned off some thicker brass plate for the radiator section. This saber will have much thicker plates, to enhance the "beefyness" of this saber.

This will be how I drill the first hole through the plates. Once that's done, I can bolt them together, and discard the tape. At each stage, I mark the plates in order, because as I get more work done on these, it's very important not to mix up the order of the plates, as they are drilled.

Here I am using a chamfer/countersink bit to deburr the holes after drilling the first set. This is needed so the plates are as close together as possible. Any space or gap between the plates means brass shavings could work their way between the plates and bend them as the holes are drilled.

Drilling my holes using the motor housing as a guide, it's somewhat crucial here to make sure everything is as straight and tight as possible, as the drill could tilt the plate setup as it goes through it, leaving me with a out of line hole, which means headaches later when assembling the radiator section.

Clamped up and tightened to the motor housing, I use the lathe to SLOWLY remove the corners. This has to be done slow and carefully, as to not bend things. The benefit of the thicker plates is, that they don't deform too much when doing this. Previously, with thinner plates, I'd have several that were deformed and unusable after this step.

The first drill with a 3/8 bit gets my pilot hole straight for the larger hole I want to put down through the middle of the radiator.

Final drill with a 1/2 inch bit.

The fins as I use the chamfering tool to remove more of the burring. You can see one of my original fins from the Graflex ANH Luke beside them. Note how much thicker these are compared to the original one. Once I get more of an idea about where my wires and such will go, I'll stack them up again and drill down through them for wire channel, etc. I'll also probably open up the flat end so that it's more horseshoe shaped.

This is what I plan on using for the crystal mount. A scrap piece of anodized black aluminum, I shaved off a section so that it would fit into the hole drilled in the middle of the radiator fin.

The #1 radiator fin BARELY fits on to the shoulder of the crystal mount. I'll need to flute three channels on the mill for the bolts to go alongside, as well as mill and drill out three other slots for the LEDs to sit in, and probably thread some screw holes for clamping down on the crystal.

So I may need to shorten the radiator section a tad. In the end I would like for it to be just as long as the clamp. The fins need to be a certain diameter, so they'll be shaved down a bit as well. They'll also get some more fine detail as I get time on the milling machine. The plate spacers right now are temporary, I need to go to the hardware store and get some smaller nuts and turn them down into cylinders. Also, I may drop one of the plates to coincide with the six bubbles in the bubblestrip.

Here are the fins after the second pass of milling. I still have a lot to do here, lots of sharp edges I need t o clean up, and some more milling I want to do, but this is the general idea. also visible are the turned down brass nuts that I use as spacers.

A view of the other side, showing the slot I milled out for my wire conduit. I chose to mill it from the outside on this saber, and allow wires to run inside tubing that will lay in that channel.

Here's the crystal mount, machined for the three flutes to allow the mounting bolts to pass alongside, and the flat areas where I will mount the LEDs for illuminating the crystal.

Here the crystal is just sitting in the mount, nothing holding it firmly in place yet, but I wanted to get a sense of the colors and spacing i was dealing with.

With a small battery pack hooked up to an LED in the base, testing for color and light spread. The actual color of this is a deep red, the camera put orange in there for some reason, but it's much prettier in person.

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