As children we picked up knobbly sticks and imagined them fiery swords to slice through anything. The true magic of DIY and 3D Printing is turning those dreams into reality. Making became a passion for all of us and that’s why a large part of the core of DIYElectronics is the Communities we share our passion with and grow together. This impressive fantasy sword project was forged by Brendan Jackson, a South African cosplayer, game designer, and founder of Jax Cosplay on YouTube. We met Brendan through our DIY Community Discord where we were blown away by his awesome sword, Arcamira, and the inspiring story behind making it.
All my life I have been obsessed with the fantastical. Consuming all media I could get my hands on, be it books, films, or games to somehow sate this desire and longing for a world of fantasy and adventure. A humble stick on the ground would become a wizard’s staff, a knight’s sword, or an archer’s bow.
I was also fortunate enough to have a passion for making and creating instilled in me at a young age by my grandfather. Spending every afternoon with him in his workshop watching him tinker and create showed me the beauty making.
After high school I chose to pursue studying the field of game design and digital art, a field that I hoped would allow me to combine my passions for making and creativity with fantasy and fictional worlds. Well boy did it deliver!
Last year in my Honour’s year of studies we were presented with the most beautiful final project of all… do what you want. From there the ideas began to flow until one idea cemented itself so firmly in my mind, I knew I would have to pursue it – to build a fantasy sword.
Designing the Fantasy and the Sword
I decided that I wanted to create an original design to showcase my abilities not only as a maker but as a designer, and in order to complement this, I decided to do some world and lore building as well so as to establish the fantasy world that this sword exists within.
The basic summary of the lore is that a king destroys a powerful gem with his sword and the magic and power of the gem is absorbed by the sword granting power to those who wield it. The sword’s name – Arcamira: The Peace-Bringer
Having created the world for this prop it was time to start sketching some concept designs of what the sword would look like. In the end, I probably did over 35 different sword sketches before I settled on the elements I wanted to include and could create a final design.
The final design of the sword was inspired by many historical and fictional swords such as the bold geometric shapes of the swords of the dwarves of Erebor in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, and the handle part above the cross-guard by the Scottish claymore and the German zweihander swords.
The Forging Begins
I decided that the majority of the sword would be 3D printed so I got to work using Blender to model up the sword. I made separate models for the cross-guard, pommel, handle and blade. The blade was modelled in 2 pieces so that I could insert ARGB LED lights into the blade.
The pieces were all printed using white PLA so that certain areas of the blade would diffuse the LED lights. I assembled the pieces using some CA glue and then any gaps were filled with wood filler and sanded along with the rest of the sword. The LEDs were glued to a piece of acrylic that I sandwiched between the 2 blade halves before I glued them together. For the lights I used some WS2812 ARGB LED strips and an Arduino Nano to control the light animations. The lights and Arduino were powered by a 3.7V 18650 Lithium battery running through a power-bank circuit so as to provide 5V, as well as provide a method of charging. The electronics were all housed within the handle and the pommel was removable in order to access the electronics if need be.
Every Fantasy Sword Needs That Magic Touch
After this it was time for priming and painting. I masked the runes on the blade where the light would shine through with some Prestik so that no paint would get in there. I then applied several layers of grey plastic primer, some base coats of black spray paint, and then began hand painting the rest of the details on the sword. I weather the blade with some black and brown acrylic paints and then applied some clear spray varnish to lock in all the paint. 2 sections of the handle required some faux leather as well as 1 section on the blade with some eyelets and leather cord. These faux leather parts were also weathered. And with that the sword was finished.
Embarking on this journey I learnt not only new techniques and methods, but also a lot about myself and that I am certain I have found what I want to be doing. Since completing this project I have chosen to further my studies by undertaking a Master of Arts looking at the use of 3D printing in cosplay and prop-making.
This story of finding one’s life passion in making cool props and electronics is an inspiring sentiment that we relate to strongly. We hope you enjoyed this post from Brendan and are as thrilled as we are to see the next Maker venture his journey takes him on. Find Jax Cosplay on Instagram and YouTube. For a more in-depth view on the making of Arcamira, take a look at Brendan’s behind-the-scenes video about his Fantasy Sword make!
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Guest Authors are Makers from the community who have created awesome projects. They have been invited to share their experiences with others on the DIYElectronics Blog.