I would be interested in helping you.
The full size you want would be very expensive in metal, even in WSF. You would be better having a hollow model which you can spray paint. To make it heavier you could fill the inside. Can you give me some sizes that you want it to be?
I have made Anime models before in the shape of Tsubas. http://www.shapeways.com/search/tag?tag=Tsuba http://www.shapeways.com/materials
Well Naturally, the cheaper it can be made the better - I can always be swayed to the fact that metal isn't necessarily the best option and that another material is better and can be spray painted - In any every what would you suggest.
I would like (ideally) for the length of the actual rod (from tip to bottom of the ball) to be approx. 30cm or 1ft.