Thursday, September 23, 2010

Making your own lightsaber blade

After making lightsabers for a few years, I had been trying to find a ways to make them just a little better, add some flare or something to them.  After doing to surfing on the web, I came across some pictures of people making light up blades for their lightsabers.  They were using stuff called EL wire (electroluminescent wire) wrapped in a hollow clear plastic tube.  I thought the pictures looked great, so I bought everything I needed to make a blade for one of my sabers.  Got it all constructed, hooked up, looking good, turned it on and….well, it was a nice glow, but a far cry from the light blade that I was hoping for.  I had even purchased the brightest stuff I could find.  I was so disappointed that I gave up the project….until…..

One day I was introduced to the wonderful world of Luxeon LEDs after checking out some online auctions.  And being a single LED that uses 4 AAA batteries, it puts off enough power to blind a person if you look in to it, literally.  And with a low power drain, the batteries last a very long time.  So I decided to give the lightsaber blade a second try…SUCCESS!!!  It worked and it looked great.  The blade was so bright you could light up a room with it, and the colors were perfect.  So, here is a way for you to make your own lightsaber blade for a very inexpensive price compared to the ones you can buy already made and still have the same quality. 

First, this is just for the blade itself.  No lighting or electronics information in this blog, you’ll have to wait for a later blog for that info, which I will be doing very soon.  You need a hollow Polycarbonate tube about 40” or so.  Longer is fine as you can cut it down to size very easy with a hand saw or mototool with cutting disc do be the perfect size for you.  You can fine these on the internet for about $7.00 from saber supply sites all the way to plumbing, electronics and plastics suppliers.  Shipping is usually about $3.00 - $5.00 depending on where it’s from since they are very lightweight.  Next you need a rounded tip for one end as well as a little round mirror for the end (the mirror will make sense later).  You can get these kinds of things at any local craft store.  The rounded tip could be a full ball shape which you can cut in half or a half circle, which would be easier and both are gonna run you around $1.00 - $2.00 each.  The mirror pieces will come in a multi pack, which is good so you can get the perfect size, and cost about $2.00.  Last you will need clear cellophane wrapping paper and a wooden dowel rod.  You can also buy the roll of the wrap and a long dowel rod, about half the diameter of the tube, from the same craft store.  The Wrap should be about $4.00 and the rod will be about $.80.  Ok, now lets take these home and make a blade….

Tools you will need are a cutting tool such as a handsaw or a mototool (dremel type) with a cutting wheel, scissors and some epoxy.

Take your Polycarbonate tube and cut it to the length you wish to have your blade.  Try to keep the cut as straight as possible, but it does not have to be perfect. 

Next, take the pack of mirrors and find one that will just fit inside the tube with a little wiggle room.

Now, take your half round plastic ball (or cut a whole round one in half) and glue the mirror on to the flat side of it, making sure you center it and then set it aside for now. 

Now for the inside of the tube.  Take the cellophane and roll out a large section of it.  Line it up with the length of the blade and cut a piece off that is the full length of the blade and about 6’ long.  Take the dowel rod and begin to roll the wrap on to the rod, keeping it centered and lined up.  Now holding on to the wrap on the rod, slide the rod in to the blade and when it is lined up with the other side, let it go.  The wrap will unravel and lessen up and you can then slide the rod out (if you find that you don’t get quite the right look, you can always add not wrap to the inside of the first section you put in). 

Now epoxy the end with the mirror to the opposite end that you cut since it will still be perfectly flat.  Let the epoxy set and BOOM!!!!, you have a lightsaber blade! 

This is exactly how I made my blades you see in some of the videos you see here on my blog.  If you are in to making blades for more then one lightsaber, the cost will be even less per saber since some of the stuff comes in multi packs such as the mirrors and the roll of wrap (one roll of wrap should make about 10 lightsaber blades at the minimum).

I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions or would like more information, please post a comment and I will reply to it quickly.

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