DIY Star Wars Challenge

If you read my post from last week, you read up on how I made our older son’s General Grievous costume a little more “up to code” for about $9.  Although it was an enjoyable build, I also recognized that it was a short-lived construction that will last about a week.  I also (selfishly) wanted something for myself.

With the second season of The Mandalorian coming out at the end of October, I knew I wanted to create the iconic Amban phase-pulse rifle of the main character.  You know, the one that literally makes other people disappear into dust.

Image taken from The Mandalorian, Season 1.  It has been used on multiple news articles and commentary, so should be safe to use here.  Right, Disney?

As I researched various avenues of creating this, I learned several things.  Most of the DIY builds you find online require a 3D printer.  Much to our children’s disgust, we do not own a 3D printer.  It would also cost a decent amount of money to buy the designs as well as the filament to print it.  Other builds required a list of items from a local department store, and I was not in the mood to spend a lot of extra money on this project.

This is when I decided to challenge myself.  My garage is filled with leftover wood, PVC pipes, and other items from previous projects.  Instead of purchasing more raw material (thus creating more waste), I decided to see if I could create the pulse rifle with leftovers.  The goal was to keep the cost of this to as low as possible.

As this build is a challenge build, it is NOT meant to be a perfect rendition of the TV show’s rifle model.  I utilized a combination of spare wood and PVC pipe for most of the rifle model.  I drew out the plans based on other DIY models I found online and organized the supplies I had to work with.  I could have gone out and purchased an iron pipe for the rifle barrel, but that would have significantly increased the weight and complexity of the build.  Plus, after last week’s build, I had plenty of leftover PVC to use.

Tools used in this build: Band saw, hand miter saw, orbital sander, Dremel, super glue adhesive

Materials: 2×6 wood, 2×2 wood scraps, 1/4 inch thick wood scraps, 1/2 inch PVC, other various scrap wood

The first thing I did was find a scrap of 2×6 wood.  I wish it would have been longer to increase the length of the gun stock, but I will take what I can get.  I sketched out the design of the stock and body of the gun.  I cut this out using my bandsaw, sanded it down, and then used my drill and a couple boring drill bits to create channels for the main gun barrel (1/2 inch PVC pipe) and lower rod (left over wooden dowel). 

I also wish I would have trimmed the gun stock on the back for a better shape, but oh well.

The next part of the build was the wooden feature part way up the gun barrel.  I chose a 2×2 left over piece of wood, drew an X on the side to determine its center, and again used a boring bit to drill a hole straight through for the PVC pipe.  I cut the shape with the bandsaw, sanded it down, and it was ready to go.  I also etched the lines on each end with the band saw to add some character.

Having the clamp on the table top really helped keep the piece straight during drilling

The next step was to add the details to the gun’s body.  I used leftover 1/4 inch thick wood and roughly drew out the pieces needed for the design.  Again, this was not a perfect replica due to the size of the gun body, but it worked for what I had.  The band saw was utilized again, edges finely sanded, and then wood glue and clamps were used to attach the details.  Once this dried, I utilized my trusty Pewter Spray paint (the same I have used for literally every other project) to spray the body. 

The little detail in the “octagon” was done with a Dremel hand tool.  Not perfect, but luckily I doesn’t have to be.

The gun barrel and scope were made out of PVC pipe.  These were cut to size and sprayed black.  The two brackets for the scope were made using PVC connectors for 1/2 PVC cut in half.  Other 1/4 inch thick wood was used to attach the half-PVC connectors to the gun utilizing a super glue adhesive and were spray painted with a gold spray paint. 

I forgot to take a picture of the brackets after assembly and spray paint.  These PVC connectors were trimmed and cut with a hand saw.

Now for the most important part – the end of the gun.  This is meant to be a metal “fork” where the shots are fired from.  The iconic look was sketched on a piece of cedar fencing I had leftover using no more than a pencil and the edge of a book to draw my straight lines.  No measuring was done other than a rough estimate.  This was cut (again) with my bandsaw and sanded.  The piece to attach the fork to the gun barrel was made using a thicker wooden dowel which was cut with the bandsaw into a rough cone shape, sanded, and then the channel for the fork was cut with the bandsaw.  The other end of the dowel was processed using the drill and boring bit to fit the PVC gun barrel in place. 

Using cedar fencing let the end of the rifle still be lightweight and keep stress off the PVC barrel.

The fork and connector were glued together, some wood filler filled the gaps, and the fork was spray painted with a base pewter color.  Once dry, a shiny blue and purple spray paint (2 cans the boys picked out) were used to give a “burned metal” effect to the fork to give the visual of previously heated metal. 

To get the burn effect I sprayed the purple spray paint followed by the blue.  I directed the paint down the middle opening of the fork, allowing the perimeter spray to color the interior edges.

After having all the pieces ready, it was all glued together and left to dry for a day.  The alignment wasn’t perfect, but at less than $15 for the build (1 blue spray paint, 1 purple spray paint, a couple PVC connectors), I am happy with the result.  However, now our older son wants me to buy a rifle sling so he can wear it around.  At ~$30 for the sling, I am not sure I want to invest two-times the cost of the build, but maybe in the end it would be worth it

I may consider aging the body with watered down black paint.  The trigger is also just wood cut to shape, painted, and glued in place.

I actually really enjoyed the challenge build.  Most of my wood scraps are now too small for a large build, but you better expect more of these in the future.

What is something you have done recently that was meant to be a challenge?  Parenting is always a challenge, buy make sure to test yourself outside of the normal day-to-day.

Imperfect Dad, MD

Lifestyle medicine Week 3

Weight beginning of the week: 191 lbs

Weight end of the week: 190 lbs (small changes)

What I changed this week: Mindfulness.  It is extremely important.  If you saw my Instagram/Facebook post about this, I decided to start a Happy List.  At the end of the day (and the boys are in bed) I take a few minutes to write out 10 things that made me happy that day.  Too much of the time our minds stay focused on the frustrating aspects of life.  As our mind gets used to this thought process, it is a lot easier to get frustrated about literally everything.  However, if we get our mind more comfortable with thinking happier thoughts, it is much easier to utilize this pathway in our other daily situations. 

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