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Blade Runner Light Umbrella by Erv'

►Another project planned for long. I'm not an ultimate fan of Blade Runner but Deckart's gun and the light umbrella are 2 great props ! The concept of the light umbrella is definitly what I like : props you can use for real.
The project was recently catalysed by Novastar (again !) and his "Rain Sizzle" sound font for my Saber Board called Crystal Focus Saber Core (CF).

I first thought I'll go with a light umbrella you can spot on ebay for cheap. I hoped I'll get  :

  • a mechanical system of the umbrella with no "lock" so that the central rod / tube remains notch free.
  • a ready-to-use central tube, hopefully already light guide since what I bought is said to be a light umbrella (we'll see). The goal here is to use a CF board and an optical guide similar to a saber blade. No high voltage, no neon, no fluorescent tube. It won't be a movie accurate prop replica, I know, but at least it will be almost unbreakable and not as fragile as a neon tube.
  • A big enough handle so that I can install some electronics
What a shame, object received, it's not matching the auction pictures, small handles and the acrylic central piece is a rod, not a tube. Start over, which I like pretty much actually.

►I first took apart the umbrella and I replaced the central rob by some 18 mm OD polycarbonate tube. I had to machine the sliding central piece cause my polyC tube was slightly bigger than the stock rod. The top part didn't have enough plastic to be machine to the right diameter, so I machined the upper section of the polyC tube. The cheap brass nail that was locking the top part on the rod was replaced by headless M3 screws, much better and still removable.



► I first tested using some of my blade diffusion film and polypropylene, just like a normal saber blade. However, I knew that it would be impossible to get the same evenness as a 1" blade since the ID of the tube is too small (it's even smaller than a 3/4" blade). Hence I'll use a special optic cable (side glow) inside the polycarbonate tube and it will be lit by the luxeon LED with no optic.

► Before I get this optic cable, it's time to work on the handle. It's very similar to the design of a saber hilt.
So that all the possibilities of CF can be used, I'll install 4 accent LEDs and the auxiliary button so that I can access sounds banks (why not) but also the audio player. How cool to listen to Blade Runner Sound Track, protected from the rain under your Light Umbrella ???!
Preping the the hilt made out of some TCSS MHS parts I have in stock for a while. PVC tube craddle (viva Dremel-Fu), 14500 li-ion cells (7.4V / 900 mAh) custom assembled as a pack


►The second part of the chassis for the switches and accent LEDs. I'm using some cool light-up switches.


►Let's see how much juice we have left in that umbrella... using the PLI keychain off course !
The first results of the hilt. The tube holder has been custom machined on my lathe to match the tube I'm using. Some details of the accent leds and the light-up switch which LED mirrors the blue luxeon III that will illuminate the central tube of the umbrella.



[15/11/2009]
I received my optic cable. A few tries and I can actually get rid of the diffusion film and lightguide I'm normally using in saber blades. Ideally, the cable should be totally naked but it's not rigid enough to be used as the central structure of the umbrella, and I loose a bit of brigtness when it's inserted in the main tube.
It's driven by a blue seoul P4 @1.2A, simply fantastic. For now, the hilt is just polished aluminium but it has to be coated with something to avoid getting grey hands when moisture comes to the game (expected for an umbrella). I guess I'll powder coat that hilt, maybe just with a clear coat.

Pour la led, j'ai porté mon choix sur une seoul P4 bleue tractée à 1.2 A. Le résultat est fantastique. Pour l'instant, la poignée est toujours en aluminium poli, mais il faudra lui passer une couche de protection pour éviter de se retrouver avec les mains noires avec l'humidité. Un coup de peinture électrostatique serait parfait pour ça.
Pictures are doing a bit too much justice to the umbrella brightness despite of some exposure correction, the video below received a -4 correction but it's still no enough. Still, it's very bright and enjoyable, you can see it by the radiation & diffusion of the light on the floor or on my shirt ! No comparison possible with the Ebay Umbrella I got (that's the second black one I got that is pictured here)



► Demo Video


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