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This project is an overview of how to scratch build a Star Wars Rebel Pilot's chest box, and how to modify the white cooling vest to make it more realistic. I referenced numerous websites and learned that there are specific color schemes, and components for the chestbox to be "movie accurate." This is not at all movie accurate in color, function, and hardware, but it is so slightly different - it is even hard for movie buffs to pick out the differences.

The box is powered by an Arduino Uno that has the following functions; It flashes assorted leds on the box when in "idle", it can play a "Pong" game, and scroll a marquees "jedi" banner while playing the Empire March theme.


Arduino Uno, Assorted LEDs, resistors, push buttons, 5 vdc lithium battery, 2" speaker 3W 8 Ohm,, Dual 8x8 LED matrix, 8x8 LED matrix single. These parts are widely available on the web.

Let's get started...

Step 1: Build the Box

I located a drawing on the web for the front view and side view of the box. I printed it out to full scale as referenced by several sites. This is subject to the source and up to you for finalizing the size. I then cut the pieces for the box out of 4 mm acrylic sheet. This included a top, 2 - sides, bottom, and top. The rear or back panel is a thinner sheet of PVC 2 mm thick. I also constructed the top "wedge box" as a glued on piece to the main box.

Glue the box together:

I used acrylic glue, clamps, tape and registration marks to ensure the best fit up of the pieces. The glue really sets up fast so you should test fit all the parts and how you will clamp them, first before applying glue. Once glued up it is very difficult to separate the pieces without breakage. I then sanded all surfaces to remove glue lines and ensure it would take paint. I primed then painted the BASE coat of silver aluminum.

To simulate scratches to bare metal, mix a solution of table salt and water (some people use toothpaste) and apply it on corners and various locations. when it dries, it leaves salt crystals that will be painted over in green that can be broken off revealing the silver paint below. Once crystals are evident, Then I applied green paint over that coat and when dry, chipped off the salt revealing "scratches." I painted the rear cover silver.

The large toggle switches were cut from 1/2" thick acrylic on a band saw as TWO wedges glued together to get the inflection line. I sanded them until frosted, then painted them leaving a spot for an LED to shine through.