Voltron: Legendary Defender Keith’s Bayard and Sword Build

First Keith Photoshoot I did with my sword. Photo by Downen Photography.

Many people ask about my Keith sword and how I made it, so I thought I’d finally write-up a little walkthrough! Hopefully this will help anyone who may have purchased one of my kits as well!

Keith sword design by BTB Cosplay.

Designing the Bayard Sword

The very first step was designing the sword in the first place! Since I already had my bayard design, I had a good starting point!. I designed out the rest of the sword to specifically fit my bayard design in Fusion 360. My sword design is available as blueprints, 3D files, or a 3D kit.

Blade part assembly.

Printing and Assembling the Bayard Sword

The next step was 3D printing all of the parts. I always do a first prototype print just to ensure everything fits together, and this model was a success! I use Matterhackers PRO PLA for all of my 3D printing because it is such a great filament. I highly recommend the slightly higher cost because the quality is noticeable and obvious.

The model is designed with a hollow core down the center that will take a .25″ threaded steel rod. For assembly, the first step is to glue the rod into the sword tip with 5 minute epoxy. Once it has cured, the other pieces can be slid onto the rod (they may need to be screwed on depending on your print). The base of the sword is just wide enough to accommodate a nut. This allows for tightening the pieces together. Spin the base down until the pieces are close but not quite tight.

Using your favorite CA glue or, my current personal favorite for 3D prints, Armor Bond Rigid from BJB Enterprises, apply a thin coat in between each piece, then fully tighten the base against all of the pieces, making sure everything is aligned properly, and let your adhesive cure.

Filled, sanded, and primed.

Once everything is assembled and cured, the dance begins. That dance being the sand, fill, prime, and repeat dance. There are a lot of ways and materials you can use to do this step. As always, I highly recommend using the tools you are most comfortable with to accomplish this. However, here are my favorites. For sanding, I mostly use 3M’s Flexible Sanding Sheets. It’s good for wet or dry sanding though I almost exclusively wet sand. It makes less mess, gets a nicer finish more quickly, and helps your sandpaper last longer by reducing clogs. For priming, I use Duplicolor’s Filler Primer. While it’s a bit more expensive than the Rust-o-leum stuff I used to use, I like it a lot more. It fills better, dries faster, and is just nicer overall. And lastly, for bigger gaps or texture, I use 3M’s Acryl-Green Spot Putty. I was put on to this stuff by Harrison from Volpin Props, and I like it so much better than the Bondo spot putty. It fills better with less shrinkage, dries faster, and bonds better, especially to plastic (like resin and 3D prints).

Drilling holes in the bayard for support rods.

The final step in assemble before painting is making the holes in the bayard for your support rods. Cut two lengths of your threaded rod that are about 3 inches long. Using a hand held drill or a drill press, drill two 1.5″ deep holes in your bayard centered where the indentations are as pictured above.Test fit the rods between the blade and bayard and adjust your bayard holes as necessary to get the blade and bayard nice and flush. I’m not going to cover finishing the bayard itself in this write-up as I have a full write-up on finishing a resin kit using it as an example already available.

Now you’re ready to light it up!

 

The best way for me to show the channels is to illuminate them.

Electronics

The next step is to hook up the electronics for lighting. I know wiring, LEDs, soldering, batteries, etc. can be scary and daunting. This is why I like to take a very easy shortcut when I can and use fairy lights. These nice little sets have a bunch of colored lights on a very flexible, thin wire, and an attached battery pack with a switch. It really doesn’t get easier than that. It’s not a one-size fits all solution, but I’ve been able to use them for many situations.

I specifically modeled the base of the bayard sword with channels to allow feeding LED and wiring. The above picture shoes the LEDs in place before any painting was completed to illuminate the interior spaces. I first feed lights up near the two small rectangles and then shoot a bit of hot glue into each hold. This holds the LEDs in place. I then Hot glue each LED from the strand along the bottom rim of the cavity in the sword. This allows them to illuminate the “arrow” when everything is assembled but without having visible hotspots.

Fully finished Keith sword.

Final Painting and Finishing

Once the electronics are in, it’s pretty straightforward to paint all of the pieces, just a few rounds of masking and painting with black, white, and red. I use some epoxy in the support holes to hold the rods, bayard, and sword blade together. Once that is all cured, the small, rectangular translucent blue pieces are superglued in place. The “arrow” slides in and is only pressure fit as it is how you access your battery pack and on/off switch. I love using Matterhackers Translucent PRO PLA for these pieces because the print striations act as light diffusers with no extra work required!

BTB Cosplay as Keith. Photo by Downen Photography.

Cosplay and Enjoy!

Congratulations on finishing your sword! Go Keith it up! If you purchased a kit or my files and make your own sword, I’d love to see your finished sword and/or cosplay.

BTB Cosplay as Old Man Keith. Photo by Josh Shot Photo.

And if you don’t feel like doing a standard version, do an AU version! I have a lot of fun as Old Man Keith 😀

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