The Return Of The Jedi Luke Skywalker Lightsaber - Part 1 - The Grip
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A Return Of The Jedi Luke Saber, with crystal chamber, thin neck, and detachable blade.

The following build took place between November 1, 2010 and December 24, 2010. Normally this kind of thing takes me about 3 or 4 months, this one took two, as I was under a deadline for Christmas.

My initial sketch of the project, I *think* I can get it all in there.

I begin with the key to the project, the collapsable grip section, first I must replicate this part, in hollow 1.5 inch diameter aluminum.

After I got my first groove cut, I measured out 0.32 inches for each successive groove, marked it lightly with my lathe, on each side of the groove, thereby giving me a place to "color in the lines" so to speak, and to take the groove down to a set depth on each ring.

Here are the grooves cut, I have a bit of chatter in one or two, but that's easily solved with some sandpaper. The grooves will be painted in the end, so it won't matter too much. I also made sure to use a slightly more rounded tip on my cutting bit so as to let the inner diameter inside the grooves leave enough material to be strong, with the grip section being hollowed out to one inch.

Here I turned the grip section backwards to cut the smaller diameter behind the grooves. This will fit inside the main rear grip section underneath the control box, and be cut so that I have a retaining ring to let my rods go through for the collapsing bit.

So now it's come time to put one of my theories to the test. I think that if I cut the long end of the drilled portion of the grip off, and use that as a template to transfer my hole pattern to the other pieces, I will be able to line up my holes straight enough so that the rods do not bind up when collapsing the chamber. In the pic above, you can see the indentations of the drill on the main body where I passed the drill bit through the template.

Here is the template cut off the other grip section, flattened and set on top of my main handle. I cut an interior step to let this template fit snug into it, and took it to the drill press to transfer my holes.

I'd say it worked! The rods only fit one way, because the holes are *slightly* imperfectly spaced, but they are STRAIGHT. Which is what I need for me to be able to open the crystal chamber.

Like so. I will have about this much room to open the chamber, and the pommel/battery pack section will go behind this main body section to finish out the length of the handle.

I have about a one inch diameter by 3 inch long section to fill up with crystal chambery goodness.

Like I said earlier, I'll mace a pommel/speaker housing/battery pack section to cover those back rods and finish out the length of the saber.

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