Elstree Precision Co Ltd Borden Project

boba87fett

Active Hunter
Hi TDH,

While collaborating with John Haigh from Elstree Precision Co Ltd on the upcoming Elstree Metal Ears run for the ESB Hero helmets, we both found ourselves in need of some additional metal components. John decided that he wanted to make his own bordens and has offered to do a run for us as well. We are on the tail end of the research and development end of the project and looking for your input and feedback before going live with a sale thread.

So, here is where we are at with a huge thanks to John for all of his hard work and devoted time to getting this right! He made the following reference to sum up of his research so far.

Borden line up inc conclusion.jpg


That being said, John decided to make this prototype borden from brass. He turned down a piece of stock to the diameter that he had measured from a raw casting of the ESB Hero helmet. He then added a chamfer by eye to suit the somewhat varied photos.

From the assessment data he had used on the computer, he was able to plot the exact co-ordinates he had achieved on the screen to Elstree's vintage milling machine. After drilling the 3 holes to the diameters that he had measured directly from the raw casting of the ESB Hero helmet, he added the chamfers.

Photographed here through a loupe:

image0.jpeg


Next, John trimmed to the borden to 9mm in length. (He suspects that they were 7-9mm looking at the inside helmet shots of various lineage helmets from the media section of TDH).

image1(2).jpeg


Then came the fun part. After an ultrasonic cleaning, John had the part electro plated in a vintage nickel plate inspired by a metal finishing expert.

image2(1).jpeg


We are quite happy with the results. What he was left with is a dull silver finish with a slight tarnished effect. Quite in keeping with a 40 year old component don’t you think?

image3.jpeg


Seen below though a jeweller's microscope:

image4.jpeg


John is totally happy with the orientation of the holes, but would appreciate some factual data on the hole sizes if anyone has it. So, if you have any info you would like to share, please free free to post it here or PM me if you would like to maintain discretion. We will make sure you get some bordens out of it if you can get us the info we are looking for!!

Even though John has treble checked the size of the larger hole, it does appear slightly larger than the one on the helmet. Maybe a bit of an optical illusion?? But John and I would really like to get it 100% right, so help us out :)

We would really like to know for sure if the ones in the helmet are indeed brass or aluminum (John finds it highly unlikely they would have been stainless steel).

Once we have the data mentioned above, John has said that he is happy to make a run of these for us and that he thinks he can produce them for (can't put the price here or it will be a sale thread, but less than most places serve dinner and an adult beverage plus shipping lol)

So, what do you think TDH? Help us get these right!

Thanks,

Steven and John

image5.jpeg


image6.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Cantina Dude

New Hunter
Another cool project! I think that the dimensions/locations of the holes are all pretty close to correct, but the issue is the chamfered edges on everything. The "Borden" piece on the screen used ESB helmet doesn't really have any chamfers on the holes, nor on the outer edge. It seems that most replicas out there incorporate the chamfered edges to mimic how real plated brass Borden connectors were produced, I suppose since it creates a nice "finished" look. But close inspection of the screen used ESB helmet will show that all the edges are basically hard/sharp edges, or at most the absolute slightest, almost imperceptible chamfer if you really have to. :lol:

Also, the part on the screen used ESB helmet is made of aluminum, not brass. There is some heavy weathering on it, some of which is brassy in colour, but the part itself is machined aluminum.

I've got what I consider a very accurate "Borden" 3D modelled that I feel replicates the piece on the screen used ESB helmet very well. PM me if you think it would help your project. (y)
 

Cantina Dude

New Hunter
I guess I was speaking a little hyperbolically. :lol: My point is that I believe there should be less chamfer when trying to replicate the screen used ESB helmet "Borden" than what is seen on most replicas, including John's here. That's what I meant by the "absolute slightest" chamfer. I'd bet if you backed off on the chamfer on the holes by half or so the holes would look to be the correct size compared to your hero casting. As for the material, first hand accounts of the hero helmet have reported that it is aluminum and I would tend to agree when looking at the way light hits the highlights in photos of the originals.
 

boba87fett

Active Hunter
Awesome! Thanks man.

John is going to work on producing a brass piece with identical hole size and chamfering and then bright nickel plate it to see how it comes out. He is happy to make both types if we can get him the details/photos that indicate a variation.

If anyone else can help source photos of any other versions showing the different chamfering that would be cool. I'll let him know that those with first hand accounts of the helmet believe it is aluminum as well. Thanks Cantina!

John is most interested in replicating the Supertrooper helmet, so info on that borden in the ST/PP1 is very valuable to him specifically.

-Steven
 

boba87fett

Active Hunter
Hi everyone! Here are some updates

The batch of bordens made today were machined manually on Elstree Precision’s old Bridgeport mill which pre-dates ANH.

John has obscured the Co-ordinates on the DRO for obvious reasons.

250802C2-A1F6-463C-A372-A36A79710600.jpeg


The chamfers have been added by eye for each piece. Matching them via an eyeglass to match prototype #5 which has become production piece #1.

0E15F596-81F7-4628-864C-76F25215D8E1.jpeg


One of the masters from Elstree at work.
?hash=4995ef945e047b86abc319af57598803.jpg

Production pieces #2 - #19 (+ #1) ready for plating.

4 prototypes in the foreground along with prototype #5 (production piece #1).

58B6B80C-158F-4762-A0E2-897568D03083.jpeg


All pieces are hand engraved with their numbers on the reverse. Including the prototypes.

4803C0D6-E560-4074-971D-EADE43BB8786.png


More updates to come soon!

- John and Steven
 

Attachments

boba87fett

Active Hunter
Loving these, when will they be available?
They will be shipped stateside with the ears most likely. I‘m hoping by early July and then shipping from me to buyers. Not 100% on the date - wanting to get these and the ears as right as possible.
 

boba87fett

Active Hunter
Here are some more in-progress photos from John today. He and his team are doing an amazing job. I told him that I don't think 20 bordens will be enough, especially because I know I want like 3 lol...

We are going to do the initial run and then reassess the need for a second run that might ship to the US with the Elstree Ears some time around July.

Reference measurements taken on Elstree's 50x magnification optical system.

image0(1).jpeg


image1(1).jpeg


The chamfer & hole diameters are recorded by fibre optic sensor. The hole seen on the screen is the larger hole in the Borden. Small hole just visible in the top left of the viewing screen.

image2.jpeg


Pre-plating polishing of the brass component.

image3.jpeg


Prototypes completed and time checked by vintage timer.

image4.jpeg


Production pieces ready to be plated.

image5.jpeg


Plating underway.

image6.jpeg


Certificate will include a company stamp using the machine used since 1965. Similar to below.

image7.jpeg
 

boba87fett

Active Hunter
Here are the final pieces. John added a little EPcoLTD logo to the side of the bordens, but positioned it to avoid the 2mm visible when fitted.

04A3A08B-D87D-4830-ADFC-25871D6C076A.jpeg


Also in the photo is an example of the laser marking technique on a sample of aluminum which we are considering using to mark the ears kits.

Each of the numbered borden’s is truly unique. Each one machined manually from co-ordinates calculates.

John has purposely plated the bordens at different voltages and times to create a batch like they (may) have done during filming. Elstree’s plating facilities were set up purely for electrical work & this was quite specialised and not suited to heavy commercial or cosmetic plating found in jewellery etc.

What Elstree has achieved is a really nice cross section of finishes. Some are duller than others, some have hints of brass showing through, and some are bright all over.

However, we all know these will now be painted & aged when installed into helmets so is not so important in our eyes. In fact, we believe that it adds character.

D2735BD6-A812-4F26-BED4-E622AC23DB08.jpeg


John is going to update me once the certificates of authenticity are completed & signed. I will start a sale thread in the Cargo Hold and this batch of bordens will then be shipped to the US and distributed.

I am thinking about limiting the purchases to one per person to ensure that more people have a chance to own one. If there is a desire for more, then we will do a second run.

- Steven and John
 
Last edited:
Top