Rangefinder Scratchbuild


Active Hunter
Thought I would do a build on the RoTJ rangefinder, based on SS's tutorial.

(I will update this post with WIP pics).

This is in conjunction with adding a servo to the complete assembly for my helmet.

Using the dimensions that were given by SS, I used a CNC machine at work to make the cast clear acrylic parts.
(I work for a Tool and Die company).

Since the cutting tool was super sharp, the parts came out pretty clear after grinding them. (a little polish to make them super clear). (the yellow marks are from the paint pen I used to mark the x/y axis).

The edges came out razor sharp, cut myself handling them.... :angry

Next step is to build the actual housing.

I all ready have the Hyperdyne "SS" version of the electronic package.

My plan is to use Neodymium disc magnets to connect this piece to the housing. (their super thin). I will be using them to connect the housing to the aluminum stalk also.

I am also going to add a wafer thin piezo buzzer to make the "pinging" sound in sync with the blinking LEDs.

In addition, I am making the "green" lines in the clear part out of cast acrylic rods, so they will "glow" when the unit is in the down position. (similar to what they do in ESB-SE)

Starting work on the housing this week - should be fun!

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Active Hunter
stonerook said:
In addition, I am making the "green" lines in the clear part out of cast acrylic rods, so they will "glow" when the unit is in the down position. (similar to what they do in ESB-SE)

????? What do you mean? You saw this in ESB-SE?


Active Hunter
kbrosseau said:
????? What do you mean? You saw this in ESB-SE?

Here - you have to zoom in on the range finder.
Due to the color process in the film editing, the "green" appears white, but since we have the excellent reference photos of the props, we know that they are "green".

I did a motion capture, frame by frame, and the lines move with the rangefinder, so their not reflections or background stars. 8)



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Saturday Update
Using a scroll saw, sanding, and some putty/superglue/liquid cement,

I am at this stage of the build:

in the last picture, you can see the hyperdyne electronic package that I will be placing in the unit.

I had to un-solder the leds and cut off about 5mm of of the leads to make it sit right in the finder.

Since I am using magnets to hold the finder on the stalk, I have deviated from SingleSeats plans and have a hard base for the bottom of the unit. This allows me to "snap" in the clear piece without having anything hold it in place.

I am still reworking the fiber optics to run light to the green bars - the hyperdyne unit has the white led on the bottom of the board - and the light channels are on top - so I'm going to use flexible fiber optic fibers to move it to the top.

After the final prime and sand - I will be painting it and attaching it to the stalk. I will be using magnets for that - with two pins to place it straight. I figure this will allow the unit to "breakaway" if its impacted - but it's strong enough to stay put in normal use.


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Let me know if you are willing to sell a few acrylic RF bottoms. I am in need of a few for my ROTJ helmets. I have the housings but no acrylic.


Active Hunter
Another update.

I had to adjust the Red LED's and the move the white LED to to fit my enclosure better.

Unless you know how to solder micro-electronics, do not attempt to do this, as it will void your warranty!

I gave up trying to put in a peizo sounder, since I could not fine one small enough that had it's own internal oscillator. But it would be easy to add it if I ever come across one.

This is the way the circuit board will be setup inside the rangefinder:

(Please ignore the "black paint" - this is my working clear part - the real one will be silver)

I'm not too happy with the way the clear green rods glow, so I'm going to paint the channels with a bright green paint. I will put small discs at the end, to mimic the end of the "rod".

Then, I will make a harness of fiber optics from each channel to the white LED. (making a small cap to plug onto it) - this will force the light to the channels, making the paint glow.

Extra light will cause the clear part to glow a little - but not much.

I have just finished painting the rangefinder case, will be finishing it up this weekend. Then on to my next project:

Servo for the stalk!


Once again - want to shout out to SS for his original post on the making of the rangefinder, it motivated me to make my own! :cheers
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Active Hunter
and now for the finished product:

To get the "silver" scratch effect - I did an old technique that I use for armour models.

I first painted the unit in silver. After a day of drying,
I filled up my airbrush with the floor polish called "Future".

After drying, it makes a very good seal of the paint underneath. (warm water for washup).

It usually does not react to the different paints I used - but you should test it first if your not sure. (makes a fine bubbly mess if you guess wrong)

After that - I painted it black, let it dry, then with my trusty knife, I scraped off the black, not too deep, to show the silver.

the future makes it easy to just remove the black - leaving the silver untouched.

after that - a few coats of "dull coat" (testors) and it's done.

Thanks again to ss for his tutorial - and to Hyperdyne labs for the electronics package that powers it up.