Overview

Make Link's Bladesaw!

 

In this project we built the ancient bladesaw from Zelda, Breath of the Wild.

 

This fully 3d printed prop has a moving chainsaw with tons of NeoPixel LEDs

 

It has lots of detail making this one of our most intricate builds. It’s pretty massive – over 40 inches in length with over 200 neopixels.

It is a pretty fun weapon that can take down guardians by just swinging it around.

 

So we wanted to make this bladesaw look and feel like it’s straight out of game.

 

We designed the bladesaw in Fusion 360 using reference images from the game.

 

All of the parts are printed individually and secured together with hardware.

Parts

 

The Adafruit Cricket and Circuit Playground Express is a fully loaded robotics platform that will drive all of the components.

 

The PCB is secured to the built-in standoffs near the center of the bladesaw.

 

There’s so many things the Adafruit CRICKIT can do. We could take this much further with servos and sensors like the accelerometer or even capacitive touch.

3D Parts

 

The main parts were 3D printed using an Ultimaker S5.

 

Parts are dual extruded to make built-in light diffusion so details printed in translucent filament will illuminate.

 

We used Ninjaflex to create a flexible sleeve for the handle.

 

The design files are free to download and the source file is open for remixing.

 

We used glitter infused filament to give the parts a bit of texture.

Prerequisite Guides

There's resources in these guides that go beyond what's covered in this tutorial. MakeCode guide is all about setting up your Circuit Playground Express board. TheCircuit Playground Express introduction guide walks you through all of the pinouts, sensors and everything you need to know.

Parts

You can find the list of all parts used to make this project linked below!

Adafruit CRICKIT for Circuit Playground Express

PRODUCT ID: 3093
Sometimes we wonder if robotics engineers ever watch movies. If they did, they'd know that making robots into slaves always ends up in a robot rebellion. Why even go down that...
OUT OF STOCK

Circuit Playground Express

PRODUCT ID: 3333
Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We've taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and...
$24.95
IN STOCK

TT Motor All-Metal Gearbox - 1:90 Gear Ratio

PRODUCT ID: 3802
These durable (but affordable!) gearbox motors (also known as 'TT' motors) are an easy, low-cost way to get your projects moving. This is a TT DC All-Metal Gearbox...
$5.95
IN STOCK

Adafruit NeoPixel UV LED Strip with 32 LED/m

PRODUCT ID: 3851
What new iteration of NeoPixel strip is this? Roll out the black light and disco ball! It's an Adafruit...
OUT OF STOCK

Adafruit NeoPixel LED Side Light Strip - Black 60 LED

PRODUCT ID: 3636
Fancy new side light LED strips are a great alternative for folks who have loved and used Adafruit LED strips for a few years but want gorgeous, glowy light emitting at...
OUT OF STOCK

3 x AA Battery Holder with 2.1mm Plug

PRODUCT ID: 3842
Here's another addition to our growing family of AA battery holders. A holder for three (3) AA batteries!...
$2.95
IN STOCK

Metal Ball Tactile Button (6mm) x 10 pack

PRODUCT ID: 3347
Add some steely elegance to your project with these Metal Ball Tactile Buttons. They've got a nice industrial shine to them along with a light blue...
OUT OF STOCK

Breadboard-friendly SPDT Slide Switch

PRODUCT ID: 805
These nice switches are perfect for use with breadboard and perfboard projects. They have 0.1" spacing and snap in nicely into a solderless breadboard. They're easy to switch...
$0.95
IN STOCK

Panel Mount Extension USB Cable - Micro B Male to Micro B Female

PRODUCT ID: 3258
Check out this handy MicroUSB extension cable, which will make it easy for you to enclose a device that has a B type (micro USB host) port. Great if you need to extend the USB...
$4.95
IN STOCK

Thin Plastic Speaker w/Wires - 8 ohm 0.25W

PRODUCT ID: 1891
Listen up! This 1.5" diameter speaker cone is the perfect addition to any audio project where you need an 8Ω impedance and are using 0.25W of power. The speakers are rated...
$1.75
IN STOCK

12mm Coin Cell Breakout w/ On-Off Switch

PRODUCT ID: 1867
Simple but effective - this breakout board has a CR1220 coin cell battery holder soldered on, an on/off switch and 0.1" pitch breakout pins for easy connecting. Great for powering...
$2.75
IN STOCK

Diffused Red 10mm LED (25 pack)

PRODUCT ID: 845
Need some big indicators? We are big fans of these huge diffused red LEDs. They are fairly bright so they can be seen in daytime, and from any angle. They go easily into a breadboard...
$9.95
IN STOCK

CR1220 12mm Diameter - 3V Lithium Coin Cell Battery

PRODUCT ID: 380
These are the highest quality & capacity batteries, the same as shipped with the iCufflinks, iNecklace, Datalogging and GPS Shields, GPS HAT, etc. One battery per order...
$0.95
IN STOCK

Breadboard-friendly RGB Smart NeoPixel - Pack of 4

PRODUCT ID: 1312
This is the easiest way possible to add small, bright RGB pixels to your project. We took the same technology from our Flora NeoPixels and made them breadboard friendly, with two rows...
$7.95
IN STOCK

Premium Male/Male Jumper Wires - 40 x 6" (150mm)

PRODUCT ID: 758
Handy for making wire harnesses or jumpering between headers on PCB's. These premium jumper wires are 6" (150mm) long and come in a 'strip' of 40 (4 pieces of each of...
$3.95
IN STOCK

Premium Female/Female Jumper Wires - 20 x 3" (75mm)

PRODUCT ID: 1951
These female-female premium jumper wires are handy for making wire harnesses or jumpering between headers on PCB's. They're 3" (75mm) long and come in a 'strip' of 20 (2 pieces of...
$1.95
IN STOCK
12 x M2.5x12mm
Blade parts
2 x M3x25mm
TT Motor
5 x M2.5x5mm
Crickit and Wheel
7 x 10x15x4mm Bearings
10pcs. 10x15x4mm Precision Ball Bearings Steel ABEC 1 Rubber Seals
1 x 48-in L x 0.875-in (7/8 x 48 in)
48-in L x 0.875-in (7/8 x 48 in) (we'll need 347mm)

Circuit Diagram

Take a moment to review the components in the circuit diagram. This illustration is meant for referencing wired connections - The length of wire, position and size of components are not exact.

Connections:

Motor Terminal: 

Black and Red wires will connect to the number 2 labeled terminals. 

The 3xAA battery case connects to the Power input on the Crickit.

UV NeoPixel Strip:

The UV NeoPixel strip connects to the NeoPixel terminal. Din on the NeoPixel strip connects to the arrow icon on the terminal on the Crickit on the Crickit. GND connects to GND and 5V to 5V.

Side Light LED Strips

The Handle and End Side Light NeoPixel Strips connect to the A2 and A3 pads on the Circuit Playground Express. Both will share the 3v and GND pads. A single Breadboard NeoPixel will connect to the end of the Handle Strip.

Buttons

Two Buttons can connect to the A6 and A7 pads on the Circuit Playground Express. Both will share the second Ground pad.

MakeCode

MakeCode for CRICKIT and Circuit Playground Express

MakeCode is this programming editor that runs in the Google Chrome web browser. It’s has an intuitive interface that’s both block based and text editor.

It works with Adafruit's CRICKIT and Circuit Playground Express so you can make interactive projects with the on-board sensors and components. You can drag & drop blocks to make interactive programs using lights and sounds without having to solder or learning a new syntax.

You can alternatively upload code directly to the Circuit Playground Express with WebUSB, see the steps to do so here.

Setup Circuit Playground Express for MakeCode

To get started, we'll need to head over to the Adafruit MakeCode website and follow the steps below.

  1. Plug in your Circuit Playground Express with a USB Cable
  2. Press the RESET button. Green light means you're ready to MakeCode
  3. Download the UF2 file and drop it onto CPLAYBOOT.

Install CRICKIT Extension for MakeCode

 

On the MakeCode.Adafruit.Com site, click on New Project. In the list of blocks, select ADVANCED and then EXTENSIONS. Click on the Crickit block that shows up and install Crickit support! You will now have a new CRICKIT bin of blocks you can use!

 

Continue on to learn how to use these blocks. Read the full guide here for more info.

Upload and Test Code

Once you have your CPX setup with the MakeCode UF2, try testing it out by uploading the code to the board. Click the link below to open up the program in MakeCode. Click on the pink edit icon near the top of the title to open the code. This will create a project in MakeCode and allow you to edit, modify and upload the code to the board. 

WebUSB

 

Makecode can also pair with your Circuit Playground Express through a chrome web browser by following this page in our MakeCode guide.

 

Open the project here: https://makecode.com/_0xCWMphEz4F3

With WebUSB, the code edit will upload directly to the Circuit Playground Express without the need to drag and drop file onto it!

Follow the instruction to set up your board and you'll be able to quickly send code to Circuit Playground Express! 

3D Printing

What If I Don't Have A 3D Printer?

Not to worry! You can use a 3D printing service such as 3DHubs or MakeXYZ to have a local 3D printer operator 3D print and ship you parts to you. This is a great way to get your parts 3D printed by local makers. You could also try checking out your local Library or search for a Maker Space.

Edit Design

The design is modeled in Autodesk Fusion 360 and available to edit. You can adjust the pieces to print by moving or adding construction planes to cut up the parts . You can modify the sketches or adjust features in the parametric timeline.

Slice Settings

Depending on your 3D printer, you may need to adjust the slice settings. We printed all of the parts on a Ultimaker S5. These parts were sliced with Ultimaker Cura.

  • Nozzle: 0.8mm
  • Extrusion Width: 0.77mm
  • Layer Height: 0.3mm
  • Infill: 20%
  • Nozzle Temperature: 230c
  • Heated Glass Bed: 60c
  • Print Speed: 40mm/s

Blade

 

The blade is designed as a dual color print. This allows us to have built-in diffusion to minimize the amount of 3d parts required. We used Vertigo Galaxy and Blue Translucent PLA. The Vertigo Galaxy has a gold flakes that gives the sword a rustic look without the need to post process.

 

We used Blue Translucent PLA for the Blade Teeth and sword details because of its UV reactive qualities. The UV NeoPixel help to illuminate the whole Blade Saw!

Handle 

 

The handle is printed in a NinjaFlex.  It prints hollow so we can slip it over our wooden dowel to provide th.e textured design while make it comfortable to hold. 

 

Pommel

 

The Pommel is also designed as a dual color print to allows us to diffuse the eye and mouth details on the design. The coin cell breakout is mounted inside to help illuminate it!

Design Source Files

The enclosure assembly was designed in Fusion 360. This can be downloaded in different formats like STEP, SAT and more. Electronic components like the board, displays, connectors and more can be downloaded from our Fusion 360 CAD parts github repo.

Supports

 

To accommodate design details, the blade parts will require supports. We used the same Translucent material as the details for the supports with a .4mm support Z distance to make is easy to remove.

 

Support material was used for creating the recessed panels.

 

A palette knife or a Spudger can get in between the layers and Flush Diagonal Cutters break apart the supports.

Tapping Standoffs

 

A tapping tool creates threads in the built-in standoffs for fastening hardware.

 

Two halves of the blade are joined together using long machine screws.

Chain

 

The 23 blades are printed in Blue Translucent PLA and illuminated by the UV NeoPixels. The individual links of 1.75mm filament that hinge together to form the chain. 

 

Assemble

Assemble Right Blade

 

Two halves of the blade are joined together using M2.5x12mm long machine screws. We recommend using a long drill bit to make to long the screws to fasten as straight as possible. 

 

Battery Slide Switch

 

To power this project, a slide switch is wired to the double “A” battery pack.


To start, we'll first modify our 3xAA battery holder and wire up an slide switch inline with the power.

 

First, we'll carefully cut one of the wires and then extend each side  with two 87mm long wires. Next, we'll connect these two wires to each pin on our slide switch as shown in the picture. 

 

Remember to add heat shrink to each wire connection and the slide switch pins, before soldering!  

Crickit + CPX + Speaker

The Circuit Playground Express mounts on top of Crickit PCB with the included screws and standoffs. The assembled circuit is then secured with four M2.5x6mm long screws into the built-in standoffs near the center of the Blade Saw.  The speaker can be press fitted into the circular holder.

Slide Switch Mount

 

The slide switch fits into the little holder with the actuator on the outside.

 

Battery packs can be mounted next to the PCB with two M2.5x6mm long screws.

 

Measure UV NeoPixel Strip

 

The bladesaw is lined with NeoPixel strips and wedged in between the standoffs. Measure from the start of one side to the opposite side of the translucent wall. Cut away the excess strip to reuse on the circular wall around the drive wheel. 

 

Drive Wheel Strip

 

Position the UV NeoPixel so they are facing the inside of the drive wheel. This will help illuminate the inside of the wheel and blade teeth. 

Tin Strip

 

Next we'll need to tin both ends of the longer strip and then the start of the smaller strip.  

 

Female Jumpers

 

Now we can make it easier to detach the strips by soldering on female jumper cable to the three pads on the start of the long strip.

Connect to Crickit 

 

Male to male jumper cables can now connect the longer strip to the NeoPixel terminal on the Crickit. 

 

Solder Wheel Strip

 

The end of the longer UV strip will now connect the smaller strip we cut off. We used 150mm long male to male jumper wires to the end of the longer strip. 

 

Once solder, we'll want to align the wires against the walls so they don't block light or create shadows. 

Side NeoPixel Strip

 

Side Light NeoPixel strips are cut in half and then the second half is resoldered in the opposite direction to illuminate the other side of the blade. 

 

Locate the middle of the strip. You'll notice that its actually two strips soldered together. 

 

Use a hobby knife to cut into the silicone sheathing and then pull both sides apart. We'll heat up our soldering iron and then apply heat to the middle of the pads until they both desolder. 

Two Sided Strip

 

Next we'll remove the male wires from the end of the strip. We can the cut off wires to reconnect the strips with one half facing up and the second side facing down. 

 

Now we'll go ahead to solder short female jumper wires to the start of the strip.

 

Make sure to add heat shrink to protect the connections.  

 

Side Light Strip Jumpers

 

Three 150mm long male to male jumper wire will connect the strip to the A3, 3v and GND pads on the Circuit Playground Express. 

 

We'll first tin the A3, 3v and GND pads on the Circuit Playground Express and then use tweezers to carefully solder each jumper wire to each pad.

 

 

 

Prepare Handle Side Light NeoPixels

 

The section closest to the handle will require the same modification the Side Light NeoPixel strip. We'll desolder the middle section of the strip and then reconnect with the second half facing the opposite direction. 

 

 

Single NeoPixel

 

A single Breadboard NeoPixel can be wired to the end of the strip and used to fill the circular section underneath the Crickit.

 

Attach to Crickit

 

We used sticky tac on the bottom of the breadboard NeoPixel to attach it to the bottom of Crickit, right around "C" letter and the screw head as shown in the picture.

 

Handle Strip Mount

 

Next we'll place the strips side to side, making sure both sides are facing the opposite direction, and then fit them so the strips follow the contour of the various design elements as shown.

 

Motor Prep

 

The TT motor will require some preparation before mount. First we'll remove the small plastic nub next to the shaft with our flush diagonal cutters. this will allow our printed gear to fully fit into the shaft.

 

Jumpers

 

Next we'll carefully tin each metal connections on the motor. Two short female jumpers are soldered to each.

 

Mount Motor

 

Align the mounting holes on the motor body to the screws mounts on the blade. Insert and fasten two M3x25mm long screws until the motor is fully seated. 

 

Take note the screws will protrude through to the outer side of the print. We'll add screw nuts to fully secure it near the end of the build or right now to prevent any scuffing on your work surface. 

 

Attach Gear

 

The printed gear fits into the motors shaft and secured with a M3x5mm long screw.

 

Motor Cover

 

Panels are fitted inside to provide support for the chain while it’s in motion. Slightly squeeze both sides and press fit into place at an angle. 

Left Blade Assembly

 

Okay, half way there! The left side of the blade attaches with the same M2.5x12mm screws. 

Wheel Assembly

 

The Drive wheel spins with the help a a barring. We can press fit the barring on to the center standoff and then add the barring washer and M2.5mmx5mm screw on top to prevent it from detaching. 

Button Assembly

 

The buttons will mounts on the opposite side of the Circuit, so will use long jumper wire to make it easy to reattach if we need to debug.  

 

We used 220mm long female jumper wires. To make connections easier, we combined the ground connection into one wire by creating our own "Y" wire.

 

Button mount

We can inserted the button into the built-in holders on the inside. Insert at an angle as you press the button, to press fit into place.

 

Next, we'll need to bend the legs around the back wall to secure them in place.

 

Button jumpers

 

210mm long male jumper wires will connect to A6, A7 and GND on the Circuit Playground Express. 

USB mount

 

The Panel Mount USB Cable includes screws to fasten to. We'll mount it to the port opening on the side of the print.

 

Connect buttons and USB

 

We can go ahead and connect the male and female jumpers on the buttons from here. 

Bearings

 

Ball bearings reduce friction and provide the teeth with a smooth surface. The standoffs for each will be tight if the standoff print thicker near the top. We can use a hobby knife, sand paper or deburring tool  to help carefully shave the top edge. 

 

Teeth

 

23 teeth make up ehe chain. Its made up of linkages that are connected with rivets made from bits of 1.75mm filament. 

 

Wheel Attachment

 

The assembled drive wheel tightly press fits onto the center mount on the end of the left blade part.

 

Left Cover

 

An additional panel is fitted inside to provide support for the chain while it’s in motion. The left side is shorter, so will need to use an adhesive to attach it.

Closing Halves 

 

We can finally start to combine both sides! Bring both sides together and then tuck the excess button wires into the motor cover.

 

Fit teeth over Wheel

 

Insert the end of the blade at an angle with the drive wheel first. Align the chain on to the drive wheel as to close both side together.

 

Fasten

 

Check around the sides of the walls to make sure no strips are protruding, this will prevent the sides from attaching. 

 

Will need ten M2.5x12mm to fast all of the sides together.

 

Don't use an impact driver as the screws will strip.

Motor Nuts

Now we can fasten our motor nuts if you haven't already. 

Greeblies

Various embellishments are glued to the outside. You can also sticky tac them on to test out the positioning of each.

Circuit Playground Reset button

 

The left circle greeblie has a port opening to allow our actuator to reach into the print to activate the rest button on the Circuit Playground Express. 

 

The reset button is used for flashing new firmware or when entering or exiting MakeCode code mode.

Handle Assembly

 

The Ninjaflex hilt fits of the tang, up against the shoulder. It has a tight fit, so will need to twist as we fit it into place. 

 

Dowel

 

We'll measure and cut a 7/8th diameter dowel down to 347mm long. 

 

Fit the dowel into the shoulder.

 

Don't try to attach the dowel first as the it will become more difficult to align handle into the hilt. 

 

 

Pommel Assembly

 

Lastly, we can assemble the pommel circuit. We used a 12mm coin cell break with the on and off switch. Solder a 10mm LED to the SW and GND pins from the back on the breakout as shown.

 

Two rails inside the of the pommel allow the breakout board to fit in place. Position the on and off switch on the end tot easy reach and then slide the circuit into the the pommel.  

 

Fit the pommel over the handle to complete the build!

This guide was first published on Sep 12, 2018. It was last updated on Sep 12, 2018.