On my inaugural outing with my Imperial Agent costume I was armed with a modified “shell” that I clipped onto the front of my FN-P90. Made from some plastic cable trunking with a real-steel Russian made AK47 scope screwed to it, sparsely sprinkled with greeblies and containing a strip of green LED’s, it was a passable weapon but somewhat clumsy and low rent for an Agent of the Empire.
I started designing the new weapon based on the SWTOR CD-33 blaster rifle, first trying to copy it in Photoshop from the games graphics then cutting out the profile in MDF. This left me somewhat disheartened with the results and the project was shelved for a number of months.
The project came around again and I decided to scratch build a custom weapon. I still had the intention to base the weapon on the CD-33 from the game, but the MDF version had taught me that game weapons rarely work in real life so my blaster would simply be influenced rather than dictated by that design. Starting to design in Autodesk Fusion 360 in January 2016, I almost immediately stalled again when I couldn’t seem to make virtually something that would be of the correct proportions to hold in my hand.
I picked the project up again in September 2017 and had a breakthrough. I had learned to map photographs into Fusion 360 and size them in the virtual space. This allowed me to photograph a physical handgun grip and size it correctly, then build my blaster around it.
By the start of October that year, I had most of the weapon completed including how I would section it for printing and how it was going to be held together. Taking the idea from the original E-11 blaster builds I’d seen on the internet, I designed my blaster around an aluminium tube that would form the core and would hold the batteries should I decide to add electronics.
I printed off a miniature version of the blaster I had designed. When I held the miniature in my hand I realised straight away that while I’d wanted to go for a longer “sniper” type weapon, it would be too unwieldy at full size. I decided to make the blaster modular much like some real world weapons. I cut the barrel length in half and removed the stock, replacing it with a “cap” that would later house the shoulder mount. The intention is to later create a stock that will fit in place of the cap so the look of the weapon can be changed.
Another issue highlighted by the miniature was that the scope I had designed was too simple looking. I decided to use a real world pistol scope, bought one off of eBay, modelled it in Fusion 360 and worked it into the design.
The final design you see below that I settled on I named the CD-33s. The name is to reflect the origins of the blaster as a variant of the CD-33 from SWTOR with the ‘s’ being “Short” or “Special” depending on my mood.
On the run up to Christmas 2017, with the Cd-33s Mark I design complete, I set about carving the design up so I could print the plastic parts and route the aluminium parts. With no “workshop” in my house we had to suffer aluminium chips in pretty much every corner of the house and the constant whine of my 3d printers churning out PLA parts 24 hours each day.
I did some hand finishing of the parts and used Smooth On’s XTC-3D to smooth out the 3d prints then pained everything ready for assembly.
I either I got too excited at this point, not letting things dry for long enough, or I bought my spray paint from somewhere that rarely sells it. After priming and painting my parts, the paint remained fairly soft, and when the gun has been in your hand for a few minutes it almost has a “sticky” feel, though the paint doesn’t actually come off.
The blaster does have space for electronics and I’ve not really got farther than a trigger switch and some RGB LEDs. The intention is to put sound and light functions in it, but I’m struggling to find the time/enthusiasm. These are always multi-year projects so I don’t expect this is finished yet.