Chitauri Scepter (Loki's Short Staff) - Mk 2

by GlitchTech, published

Chitauri Scepter (Loki's Short Staff) - Mk 2 by GlitchTech Jun 11, 2014


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Loki's Chitauri Scepter from The Avengers (2012)

This a replica of the short staff Loki used to mind control Hawkeye and several others, and escape from the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound. This item is approximately 96 cm long (36 in).
This version is redesigned to increase the ease of building and strength of the joints. It also uses an Arduino Pro Mini with an Addressable RGB strip to animate the crystal and give this item more power.

Notice: This device will not grant you the ability to fire energy blasts or take over the minds of your enemies. Such upgrades are welcome as derivatives.


I initially designed the Scepter when cosplaying as Loki for the Avengers movie release. I decided that every villain needs a weapon and my 3D printer (Replicator Dual, MKI) needed to start earning its keep. It went well but eventually the lights burned out. I decided to do better.

I designed the scepter in SketchUp by taking a side on picture of the Scepter from the movie previews and tracing it. I added what detail I could eck out of the relatively grainy footage. From there, I started until I had a solid block model. I keep all my designs saved in git repositories so that I can back up to any point I have saved and adjust the design from there on. That is what I did with this version of the scepter.

My first scepter used a modified light bulb, a 9v battery, and some blue ant farm gel to make the illuminated crystal. This time, I wanted to do better. I decided that I wanted to try out RGB LEDs and arduino technology inside of a piece for the first time. I browsed through SparkFun's website for hours reading up on LEDs, arduinos, batteries, everything. Eventually, I settled on using an arduino pro mini, a dip switch, and an RGB LED strip.

I went back to the 3D model to design in hollow spaces and access points for the electronics. It took me hours and several prints to get the final spacing right for the components. I hadn't learned the joy of rechargeable batteries yet, so this piece had four AA batteries jammed into the body. That was one of the most difficult design parts. Making the body hold all the batteries in a hidden but accessible compartment. I printed nearly 15 different structures before I finally had something that worked.


Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCbkO0hRC_I

If you want to view the full model in 3D space, check it out on Fusion 360. This model can be rotated around and exploded as needed.


  1. Print
  2. Assemble (not the heroes)
  3. ???
  4. Take over the world
    I printed the staff with ABS, 2 shells, 0.2 layer height, and 10% infill. Some pieces do require support. Included is the staff sliced to fit a Makerbot Replicator in .stl files (may not be oriented for minimal support). If you need to slice it differently, I've also included the .skp file with the original designs in it.
    If you do not own a 3d printer, the design files should allow you to make your own scepter out of wood or other carvable material. Much of the process after cutting out the segments will be the same.
    The software I'm using to run the sceptor is available at https://bitbucket.org/GlitchTechScience/chitauri-scepter-arduino



If you have a bit of skill at electronics/code, the comments in Loki_Ravestick.ino (see the bit bucket page in the instructions) should help you figure out the basic wiring I used.

The LED strip should be connected to ground and +5v at the arduino. From the arduino, the data line of the LED strip should connect to pin 12.

For the DIP switch, one pin of each switch should be connected to arduino pins 2 through 9. The other pin should be connected to ground and +5v as is standard for buttons on the arduino (see this for a guide)

The wires for the LED strip should be about 1m in length, long enough to run up the length of the staff.


  • Join the A sides of the Haft together.
  • Join the B sides of the Haft together.
  • Wire up the electronics and place everything but the unattached LED strip in position.
    ** Do not do final connections of the LED strip to the length of wire running down the Haft. This is done at a later stage.
  • Join the A & B sides of the Haft together.
  • Join the rest of the A & B sides together with the exception of the Gem.
  • Join all the pieces of the large blade.
  • Join all the pieces of the small blade.
    * Optional* paint everything individually
  • Run the wire through the the Codpiece.
  • Connect LED strip to wire.
  • Arrange LED strip inside of Gem and join halves of Gem.
  • Attach Gem to Codpiece to Haft.
  • Attach Blades to Haft.
  • Attach Neck pieces to Haft and Large Blade.
  • Affix magnets to Haft Cover and Haft.
  • Place Haft Cover on Haft. The magnets allow for easy removal to adjust LED modes and replace the batteries.

If you have any questions, send me a message.

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Does anyone have a good solution to cleaning up supports off a print?

I used razor blades and sand paper. Not the best but works.

This is awesome. Printing it out as I'm typing this. Quick question. Could you post an exploded picture of the scepter? That would really help me in putting this together (very visual person. Written directions sometimes go over my head). Also, I'm working with the wiring system for this piece and I was wondering if you ever considered attaching a single LED inside the scepter, adding in a resistor, then running a wire to an on/off switch and battery?

Also, isn't there supposed to be a horn behind the large blade? I'm asking because I've seen a lot of versions with one. Not really important.

Absolutely beautiful and insanely well thought-out piece. You rock my socks, dude.

There is the full model available in the downloads (staff.skp). You can open that in sketchup and see all the parts. I'm not sure when/if I'll have time to make an exploded view.

I don't think so, at least for the screen version I used for my references. I used the DVD release scene where all the heroes are arguing on the helicarrier, right before Banner picks the scepter up off the stand. Course, I could have missed a detail. This was a relatively early piece for me.

Thanks :)

Okay. I'll try that again. The only thing that's getting me is the gem housing. It's driving me buggy. I can't see where it connects to the staff proper.

Here's a view of that area. It is if the piece is cut in half. The gem will sit just on the little cup. Hopefully this helps.


I've also added a link to a quick and dirty Fusion 360 model in the description. This will allow you to explode the model and rotate it around to see how most things fit together.

Sorry. I'm trying your design again, and I had a quick question. How do you turn that Arduino code into something that works with the LED strip and DIP switch? That part is really confusing me.

In what way do you mean? Are you asking how to program an arduino? Or for a wiring diagram?

A wiring diagram would be terrific!


Another person posted this diagram that worked for them. I think that's pretty close to how I did it but it's been a few years and I cannot find the old diagram I used. Technically this could result in floating pins but it hasn't yet for me.

Awesome! Thank you so much for this! Also, Once I saw that version, I was able to whip this up. Not my best work. And because I can't do anything simply, I'm trying to figure out how I can augment this for an RGB LED bulb. Because I can't ever do anything simply. Thank you again!

I know I've been asking a lot of questions, but I'm in final assembly.
How did you arrange the LEDS in the gem for maximum light dispersion?

I spiraled the LEDs in a double helix facing out. Not anything fancy but it worked well.

So, I've been building this staff bit by bit over the past year with some really good results (I'll post pictures of the final product when it's finished), but I've discovered an issue with some of the files.
I originally used the combined haft cover, but I wanted to more easily change settings so I printed the split haft cover.
It turns out that the square notch near the tapered end of the cover (where the magnet is set) is about 1/8 of an inch offset towards the taper from its seat in the actual haft.
I've been able to cut away the section that prevents it from attaching, but I figured you would want to know for a later revision

That is a problem. Wonder how I missed that in my builds. I guess I had enough 'printer slop' that I didn't notice. I will make a note for if/when I do another revision.

A few questions:

1) How many of the pegs do I need? I think I am counting 8?
2) How many LED's did you put into the gem?
3) The switch you linked in the BOM from radio shack is no longer working...do you have a picture of the switch, or a link to a comparable one?
4) Theoretically, could any rechargeable 6V battery go in place of the AAA holders?
5) The little holes in the sides of the haft...I assume they're for alignment pegs, do you have a recommendation for what you used there?
6) Longer question...I'm actually making kind of a display in my media room...I'm making all 5 (eventually 6) of the carriers of the infinity stones, but without the actual stones. Then I will make the gauntlet, with full LED's as stones. It'll look like I collected all 6 objects to assemble the gauntlet. For that, I technically want to make this without the gem. But you made such a cool gem...I kind of want to attach a socket so the gem can come on and off. Think that's feasible?

1) There are 22 pegs used in the model.
2) I fit 21 of the neopixel LEDs into the gem.
3) Something similar to https://www.radioshack.com/collections/switches/products/spst-submini-sw should work. It far exceeds the electrical specs but looks to fit the size requirements.
4) If you can find a battery that fits in the compartment, sure. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the logistics of LiPo and other rechargeable batteries. If I ever remake my Loki costume with this prop, I plan to update the design to allow for rechargeable batteries bluetooth control of the light patterns.
5) The holes along the length of the haft fit the pegs and are for alignment.
6) It might be a little complicated but it could be done. You'd need to design in an attachment mechanism (a magnet maybe?) and add some wire connector to the end of the cables that are fastened in place to not shift when attaching or removing.

Hope your project goes well. If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

What about the 2 tiny holes in say Neck2, what are those for? I was gonna snip a toothpick or something

Oh yes, those. I used 1.75mm filament to align things.

Ok a few more questions:

1) You left the programming interface for the arduino with a header on a wire, correct? If I am gonna set it and forget it, there's no real reason to leave that header on is there?
2) My C is rusty, but it looks like if I can squeeze more than 21 LED's in there, I just need to update the definition at the head of the file, right?
3) By my count, that means I have 8 wires from the Arduino to the dip switches, 3 wires from the arduino to the LED's, and then the 2 wires from the battery need to hit the ground and 5V pins. That's 11 contacts soldered on the arduino, correct?
4) From the diagrams, you're piping 6V through everything, right? The battery packs are connected in series for just straight 6V into all 5V connections? Or is there some modding of the battery carriers so you're using 4.5 with only 3 batteries?

1) There is no real reason to leave the header on. I left it because I was still tweaking and adjusting the coding once everything was installed in place.
2) Yup. Just update the LED count definition. That is the only place that is set.
3) Sounds correct.
4) I actually run the 6v into the arduino (ground and raw) and then use it to pump 5v to the system (ground and VCC)

A couple more questions; I compiled it and built it but from the pictures I'm still missing something.

1) What is the "DATA" variable in the .ino? I assume pin 13 which maps to "LED_PIN" is the data line to the LED's. DATA is mapped to 12.
2) Is the 2nd part of the DIP connected to ground? From the pictures that's what it looks like, but I wasn't sure.

Here's the circuit diagram as I can figure it out now: https://goo.gl/photos/7NMjhEdB5AthuQ936

I was able to ball up 38 LED's in there, but I think it's too many to power off 6V.

1) The data pin is pin which the NeoPixel signal line is connected to. LED is the internal Arduino LED pin (more details on that over at https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-arduino-lesson-1-blink/the-l-led )
2) Correct.

You might be able to, but I do think that you will be drawing too much current with that many LEDs.

So, I've printed most of the pieces of the scepter and am starting to move onto the electronics portion.
I'm having some difficulty figuring out how everything fits and exactly what components to buy (since all the radioshack links no longer exist).
could you post some photos of the electronics and the haft?

The missing items from Radio Shack are two AAA holders (two cell) and a mini SPST switch. I've added a few pictures to this thing (should be at the end) which should help with arrangement of the parts.

The AAA holder looks most similar to https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-aaa-battery-holder-1?variant=20332272325 You'll need two of these.

The switch should be https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-30vdc-0-5a-spst-sub-mini-slide-switch-2-pack?variant=20332087109

these photos helped TREMENDOUSLY. thank you!
some minor follow ups: I'm assuming the switch sits in the little channel all the way on the bottom of the haft?
also, what size magnets did you use?

Correct. The magnets are 1/4" x 1/16"

This was my first time working with a 3D print and I love how it turned out thank you for all the work you put into the model.
Here is my build on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1044454818953632.1073741889.793116487420801&type=3

Glad it worked well! The final version you made looks fantastic.

Thanks, I am going to replace the 9v with a small rechargeable battery and I still have to install an on/off switch.

I had planned for a mark 3 with full rechargeable systems but sadly my Loki costume no longer fits. Good luck!

Question for you all. I have tried over a dozen times to print Neck 3 to no success. Can someone give me some advice? The end pieces are so thin and fragile that it always fails.


I ended up splitting neck 3 and it worked pretty well.

That is what I had to do as well. Full support and raft. I couldn't figure out a better way to design it then (this is one of my earliest designs).

Hey Radioman, i failed at printing (Neck 3) about twice before i just threw Raft and full Support at it and then it printed like a charm. Alot of cleanup, but it worked out well and looks nice.

Heya Glitch! Awesome model! Excellent detail. Have you gotten around to making those wiring diagrams and assembly instructions?

I never did, but I really should. I'll add some comments to the Instructions section shortly that might help with the process. If the opportunity comes up for making another staff, I will document it better.

Thank you for posting the assembly instructions, what is the best 'glue' to use to give a solid connect?. I've printed out nearly every piece and I'm hoping I can assemble it without screwing it up. Also, how many LED's did you end up putting into the gem?
Thanks again!

I joined everything with gel style superglue. Any sort of plastic glue should work fine as well. Hopefully the assembly guide is clearn enough...

I used 21 LED 'pixels'.

Lastly, sorry for the slow reply; I was moving over the weekend.

Could you make a solid little one of these so I could print it in miniature for my sons toys?
Is extremely good by the way.

Added the model. You'll have to adjust the scale for your machine.

You are amazing!!!!! Thank you soooooo much

Hopefully the model works just fine for you. It seemed to for my software.

Comments deleted.

I originally designed it to fit on my Replicator MK1 bed (~9x~6). If you want, my original design file is there (staff.skp). Feel free to modify the parts that don't fit currently.

in the process of doing 1 of these now, been printing parts since boxing day, just loads of sanding and painting next..

Will upload pics once done

Sweet! I'm diving in--wish me luck!

(psst... how about Loki horns?)

Good luck! And I may have a model... just need to finish it off.