Well, after a long journey, the sword is mostly complete. I've avoided the pitfalls of feature creep and "good ideas" and stuck nearly completely to the original design specifications. I've made several revisions for efficiency, cost savings, and quality improvements. But this is by and large a physical copy of what I had envisioned many months ago in 3D studio Max. It's standing 64" tall in the corner awaiting being hung on the wall. It's pretty nice to hold it in my hands, knowing it all would work out even better on round two.
It is nice to know exactly what it takes to get this project or a similar one, completed utilizing the industrial processes I've outlined, which not only save time and money, but also allow repeatability and scalability. The human touches such as the hollow grind will make each sword unique, and in time I'll be able to repeat that process with high efficiency, but that's a belt-grinder and hollow-grinding jig away, as well as having a dust evac system, because that aluminum dust was ridiculous. I learned exactly what it would take to laser etch my pattern into the sword, which by the way is a beautiful finish, but cost prohibitive, needless to say, it HAD to be done, so I could see it, as with the majority of things. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but was able to recover from each of them w/o much trouble, there was a ton of learning involved with this project, I hope I can apply this knowledge in the future!