Building Han Solo’s blaster

blaster

 

It’s no secret that [Adam Savage] of Mythbusters fame is a huge fan of replica props, going so far as to make a Maltese Falcon out of Sculpey. This time, though, he’s doing one better for the nerds in the crowd by building the most accurate replica of Han Solo’s blaster ever.

Replica prop gurus already know [Lucas]‘ original prop department based Han Solo’s BlasTech DL-44 blaster off an existing gun – the Mauser C96. Along with this gun, there were a few extra bits and bobs tacked onto this gun, including an old German scope, a flash hider from an aircraft machine gun, and even a few bits of metal from a model airplane.

All these extra parts and greeblies are very hard, if not impossible to find. Thankfully, there are a bunch of very skilled replica prop makers reproducing these parts for anyone who wants a very accurate DL-44 Blaster. [Norm] from Tested and [Adam] assembled these parts into an incredibly accurate replica of the ‘hero’ blaster – by far the most identifiable of Solo’s many iterations of blaster seen in Star Wars ep. IV.

A rifle, handmade circa 1700

rifle

Today, rifles are made with exacting precision and very complex machine tools for milling, grinding, and boring out the barrel. Long rifles have been around much longer than these modern machine tools, so how exactly did gunsmiths create such exacting works of art in an age before Bridgeport mills and Sherline lathes?

In an amazing 10-part video series, [Wallace Gustler] of colonial Williamsburg takes us through the process of crafting a flintlock long rifle circa 1700. All the videos are embedded after the break, by the way.

The first step of making the rifle is fabricating the barrel. This is made from a bar of wrought iron, hammered into a tube around a mandrel, and welded together in the forge. With the help of a primitive hand-cranked lathe, the barrel is then bored out and eventually rifled with the help of a cutting tool that is constructed more out of hickory than tool steel.

With the barrel complete, [Wallace] moves on to the lock. Again, everything is fabricated by hand nearly entirely from materials that could be sourced locally at a new world colony in 1700. Spring steel is one of the exceptions of to this desire for local materials, along with a few bits of brass that were recycled from imported sources.

A gunsmith must be a master of metalwork, of course, but he must also be an excellent wood-carver. The stock of the gun iw made from a huge sugar maple board, carefully carved to accept the barrel, lock, and the custom cast brass pieces.

The result is a masterfully crafted flintlock rifle, capable of picking off a target at a few hundred yards. [Wallace Gustler] manufactured nearly everything in this gun by hand, an impressive display of skill for a master, but an inspiration to anyone who would want to work with their hands.

[Read more...]

Thundercats, HO!

sword

[Tony Swatton], blacksmith, armorer, and prop maker, has built hundreds of custom swords for hundreds of movies and TV shows. He’s also the maker behind Man at Arms, the YouTube series where weapons from your favorite shows and movies are recreated, be they improbable weapons from a James Bond movie or a sword from a cartoon. This time, he recreated the Sword of Omens from Thundercats. It’s a work of art in its own right, and amazingly practical for a cartoon sword.

The Sword of Omens is one of [Tony]‘s more complex sword making endeavors he’s done. The grip is made of seven different pieces cast in bronze, while the hilt of the sword is over a dozen of different pieces of steel welded together. The jewel in the sword was cut from a piece of glass, carefully ground on a lapidary wheel to a perfect dome.

Of course, this isn’t the only weapon from popular media that [Tony] has crafted. He’s also done Oddjob’s hat from James Bond and Finn’s golden sword of battle from Adventure Time.

 

Custom driver board for paintball gun

custom-driver-circuit-for-paintball

[Gabe's] been wanting to do some embedded development for years, and his other hobby of playing paintball recently provided him with a test project. He’s been working on a custom driver board for his paintball gun.  Don’t be confused by the name, GCode is a mash-up of his name and the fact that he wrote the code for the project. It has nothing to do with the G Code CNC language.

At first this might seem like a trivial hack, but this Viking paintball gun has some serious velocity and throughput so he needs a reliable control that won’t just start shooting randomly. Another thing that [Gabe] took into consideration was monitoring the loading process to make sure the paintball is full seated before firing. All of this is handled by that tiny little Femtoduino board. it interfaces with the guns hardware using the connector board mounted above it.

There are several videos sprinkled throughout the build log. But we found the officially sanctioned 12.5 balls per second mode and the ridiculously fast auto-fire clips the most interesting. It should come in handy when on the run from paintball shotgun wielding opponents.

[Read more...]

The making of a katana hand guard

tiger

Even though the handmade portion of Hackaday is still in its infancy, we expected to put up a post on traditional japanese sword making by now. What [Kelvin] sent in to the tip line far surpases the artistry of forging a katana by hand. It’s a tsuba, the hand guard for a katana, and over the course of two videos (one and two), you can see this masterpiece of traditional metalworking techniques take shape.

Tsubas usually come in a matched set, one for the katana, or long sword, and another for the wakizashi, a slightly shorter sword. [Ford Hallam] was asked to construct the tsuba for a katana that had been lost to the sands of time. Fortunately, a black and white photograph of the original as well as the matching wakizashi tsuba were available for reference, making the design of this tsuba an exercise in replication.

The piece of metal this tsuba was constructed from is made out of a slightly modified traditional alloy of 75% copper and 25% silver. After the blank was cast, many, many hours of scraping, filing and hammering began before the design was laid out.

The craftsmanship in this tsuba is, quite simply, insane. There are about 100 different pieces of metal inlaid into the tsuba to emulate the tiger’s stripes, and hundreds of hours of work in hand carving every leaf and every bit of fur.

Even more, no power tools were used in the creation of this hand guard; everything was crafted using the same methods, tools, and materials as the original tsuba. A masterful piece of craftsmanship, indeed.

[Read more...]

Making a bow from scratch

bow

With Hackaday’s new handmade category we have the option of covering a wide range of builds – everything from jet engines designed on paper and built on manual machines, to old-world crafts made with the most primitive tools. This time, we’ll be looking at making a longbow from scratch, the work of [Billy Berger], a project that covers everything from selecting a tree to tillering a bow to make the best possible weapon.

European-inspired longbows are usually constructed out of yew, but in [Billy]‘s native east Texas yew is a little hard to come by. He eventually selected a small Osage orange tree for his bow, stripped the bark, split the log, and started crafting his handmade bow.

The most important part of making a bow is ensuring the back of the bow consists of only one growth ring. With a drawknife, [Billy] carefully planed down the back of the bow so only one of the tree’s growth rings was visible, then began shaping the belly and sides of the bow.

Wood is a natural material, and when freshly cut contains a lot of moisture. As [Billy] was working on his bow, some of the moisture left his piece of Osage, leading to some twists and turns in the lumber. There’s a solution to this that mankind has been doing for millennia – fire bending the wood. By covering the wood in some sort of animal fat ([Billy] used olive oil), you can hold a piece of wood over a small frame without scorching. Using the crook of a tree as a vice, [Billy] twisted the wood, giving him a perfectly straight bow.

There’s an amazing amount of work that went into this bow, not surprising given that [Billy] is only using hand tools and primitive woodworking methods. Still, the completed bow is a work of art and a masterpiece of craftsmanship. You can check out all four parts of [Billy]‘s demo below.

[Read more...]

Timelapse of the 3d printed gun being printed.

Once the DoD requested the 3d printed gun files be removed from the internet, a couple things happened.

  1.   The Streisand Effect went into full force. The file was shared all over and can still be found easily.
  2.   I suddenly realized that I was going to be printing a 3d printed gun and doing another article on it even though I had just written an opinion piece about how I don’t care.

I’m not above admitting that it is childish of me. I was told I couldn’t have this thing and suddenly I knew I had to make it. I see it with my kids all the time. Toys can sit in a corner collecting dust for ages, but the second it is in threat of being removed, they have renewed interest, at least for a few minutes.

I figured, if I’m going to be childish about it and print a gun that a) won’t work because I don’t have the right printer, and b) I won’t use anyway because I don’t generally play with guns, I might as well make a fun timelapse video of the more recognizable parts being made.

It initially seemed like it was going to be quick and easy. However, I quickly found that just printing this thing was going to be a time consuming and frustrating task.

1. the scale on the individual files was way off. 

I suspect this has something to do with the printer it was designed for. It seemed very close to being 1 inch = 1 mm. Not a completely uncommon problem. Manually resizing got some files to look right, but I found many simply wouldn’t resize.

2. Almost every single item had errors.

If you’ve done 3d printing, you’ve found that a model can have all kinds of issues that will stop it from printing correctly. I found every single item for the gun had errors. I actually learned a lot about how to repair non-manifold items from this exercise, so it was good in the end.

Some items, like the hammer and the hammer springs simply would not print. I ran them through systems to repair them and fix errors. It would say that everything was fixed, but when I tried to “slice” them for printing, the software would crash.  This means that my gun is incomplete. It has no hammer. Not really that big of a deal to me.

photo(53)

the whole gun

photo(52)

Note that it is missing the hammer mechanism. More on that later.

photo(51)

disassembled

Do I care now?

Nope. I climbed to the top of the fridge and got my cookies. I’m a happy child. The reality is that a zip gun is still cheaper, easier, safer, and more reliable.  Here’s an example.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,705 other followers