Behold the Death Star Turned on a Lathe!

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Woodworking Workshop
Behold the Death Star Turned on a Lathe!

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It is so inspiring to me to see so many makers creating content on YouTube these days, some of it quite elaborate and impressive. It’s one thing to do a project and follow it through to completion. It’s another to mindfully document that project while doing it and posting a resulting online tutorial. It’s another thing entirely to record, edit, and post project videos online (with many makers also posting fully-photographed, step-by-step companion tutorials for the projects on sites like Instructables).

And then there’s the entirely other level of doing something as entertaining and clever as Frank Howarth’s latest, a video for a wood-turned bamboo Death Star that he uploaded for the “May the 4th Be with You” festivities last week. Not only is the project incredible, but the video itself is amazing as it incorporates sounds and visual allusions to Star Wars, uses stop motion and digital effects, and basically infuses the project with a sense of fun and wonder. I couldn’t stop smiling while watching this piece, wondering what was about to happen next (both in the project and in the video itself).

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One of the many glorious things about this build is the way that Frank was able to mimic the numerous panel lines and other surface features of the Death Star. By using small sections of glued-together wood segments of varying hues, he was able to quite effectively create the “busy” surface of a Death Star. Here Frank describes the build:

May the 4th be with you! I have wood turned a Death Star out of bamboo plywood. The build consists of making two segmented halves that seam together at the trench. Each half is made of 9 rings. Each ring has 13 segments. (13 seemed like an evil number). There is one extra ring to help the two halves overlap at the seam. The superlaser dish was turned separately. The hole in the Death Star and the profile of the dish were cut on the CNC router to allow to two to fit together.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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