Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon from a
more elegant time...
My First Lightsaber
Not too shabby eh? Actually pictured was my second lightsaber, made in about two days, as a wedding present
for my fiance's cousin, who set the two of us up together. Admittedly in the picture with the blade,
looks rather bent, but I didn't take the time to really screw it in properly, as
we were in a hurry heading to the wedding.
I've based both my lightsabers on the original Obi-Wan Kenobi design from the classic
Star Wars: A New Hope, because they were the easiest to make, with parts readily and
easily accessible. The other lightsabers used now antique camera parts as their hilts
and these are quite costly and often difficult to lay your hands on.
Let me run down the recipe for my lightsaber though for all interested. If anyone does
like my design and makes a saber with it, please email me, I'd love
to see pictures if you have any and hear comments on the design.
|tennis racket tape
|1"x3/4" Galvanized Red Coupler
Belanger, 01-11300 63- 1574-8
|Home Depot (electrical)
|1/2" Galvanized Coupler
|Home Depot (plumbing)
|Super Nintendo Game
|12" Wooden Dowel 1/2" thick
|Wooden Broom/Mop Handle
|Safety Blue Tremclad
What I Did
Before doing any actual assembly, I pre-painted any galvanized pieces with a chrome muffler
paint I had from Canadian Tire, to take that dull look away from them, and checked to make sure
that the parts would fit onto the pieces I intended them to, and in their proper order.
Starting the assembly, I screwed the 1/2" Galvanized coupler onto the end of the 12" wooden
dowel, using contact cement to keep it nice and snug. This I guess would be your
emitter shroud if you want to use Star Wars terms. Since it was double threaded
in opposite directions, I used it to screw the blade into the hilt when complete.
Next I dropped the dowel into the sink drain, filling it with "Great Stuff" and allowing
to dry, to hold the dowel centre. From there, I slipped a large black washer from the
drain kit onto the end of the drain pipe, so it was on the shaft, and I'd glue it into place later.
Once the "Great Stuff" was dry, I attached the 2" shep thing
which was a 2" Galvanized steel cylinder with two screws in either end of a flattened
side. These screws hold the "activation switch". In the original saber, they used
the clamp from a Graflex camera flash, while the rest of the flash parts were used
for the Vader and Luke lightsabers...I couldn't find one, go figure, and thought
that this made quite a nice substitute.
In the original design again, the Lucas people used a British rifle grenade on the drain part to hold the saber. I didn't know where to get an antique WWI/WWII grenade, so I picked up some foam bike grips, which were way too small
to fit on the drain, which was about 1 1/4", and the bike grips, 7/8" thick. So,
improv came to be. I chopped up the foam grip, and slid it (tightly) onto the bit
of dowel still showing, to replace the lawnmower cog in the original design. I like
this a lot, it made the saber quite comfortable to grip, with or without the blade
in the hilt.
Now, we still have about 1/2" of dowel still exposed, where the original saber has a sink
knob. I'm assuming that means a tap or faucet, at least that's what I gauged from the
pictures I had seen, so I trucked out to Canadian Tire, and picked up what I thought
looked relatively close to what may have been used. Boy, did it look terrible. And, it
wouldn't fit onto the dowel, without significant sanding, which wouldn't have been
too bad, since I've got the Dremel, which came into play several times. So, since I didn't
have a pommel for the saber really, I headed back to Home Depot, and found
the 1x3/4" Galvanized Red coupler. Which looked rather good to me, and was threaded
so I could screw it onto the dowel as well. Now, from what I gather, this piece is
used to take a 3/4" pipe and connect it to a 1" pipe, so that means that it's open
on both ends. Well, first we filled it with more Great Stuff (an expanding foam
sort of gunk btw) and added contact cement, and screwed the coupler onto the dowel, which
now was completely covered. The only drawback was the stump was visible through the end
of the coupler. Well, that's where a part from the faucet replacement kit I got came
in handy. With the kit were two rings, a red and a blue for labeling your tap hot or cold
plus a silver metal cap to clip on top the tap and hide the screws and washers etc. This
snapped in quite nicely to the 1" end of the coupler, and covered the dowel stump. As well,
this is where I signed my work, and engraved my name and date on the end of the
Now, it came time to get the grip in place. As I mentioned, a grenade
was used to decorate the pipe originally, and my bike grips failed to fit, so I needed
something to take the place, I could have used black paint, and faked it, but that
would look cheesy I figured, and wear off with use. I set out shopping again, and
found a great substitute, foam, tennis racket tape. The only problem was the roll of
tape had the name of the tennis racket company every few inches, so I couldn't simply
wrap the tape up the shaft in the diagonal sort of pattern as it's intended to be used.
So, I cut the tape at the right lengths, just enough to make it around the saber, with a
small speck of overlap. The tape had a nice "V" or arrow pattern on it, so I decided
to simply alternate directions of the arrows, with each row of tape. Four rows did it, and
I had enough tape left over for my second lightsaber. From there, I glued the large
rubber washer onto the top of the tape line, and it fit rather snugly.
Lastly, I needed an activation switch. Again, refering to the original, calculator bubbles
were used, which were used to display the numbers on 1970's calculators, before LEDs were
around. Okay. I horde stuff. Lots of stuff. But not that much junk. I had actually
read somewhere on the web that a "Little Professor" had the same bubbles, and I remember
having one of those, and probably it still rests in my mother's basement, but I'd be
forever finding it. Plus I'd only be able to use it for one saber, and then I'd be
out of luck. Think, think, think....That's when I read somewhere else, that someone
had used an old computer card for their switch. Well, that set me thinking and I figured they
must have used the bottom edge of the card, that plugs into the boards. I knew I didn't
have any old cards laying around the house, and was really not in the mood to
go find one anywhere, since I didn't want to pay too much for this, since I was just
going to cut it up anyway. So, to solve that, I used the card edge off an old Super Nintendo
video game, that I got used for $2 at work (The great perks of working in a video store!)
So I busted the shell open, and took the card out, trimming the bottom edge off with
the Dremel, and drilled a couple holes into it, measured to fit with the screws from that
good ol' 2" Shep, voila, we have an activation switch. And our lightsaber is pretty much
Whoa, we've got a handle, I know, but where does the saber part come in? Hah, that'd be the
broom handle. I trimmed it down to about 32" and sanded it to a bit of a smooth point, also trimming
up the end that would screw into that handy 1/2" galvanized "emitter" at the top
of our saber. Not finding any flourescent or neon blue paints, I was forced to go with
"Safety Blue" by Tremclad, and I must say it turned out okay, with a couple of thick
coats. Now, I had a lightsaber, with a removable, solid, blade. Perfect for duels, and display.
May The Force Be With You.
Allow Artoo to take you Back.