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Instructions on How to Make a Lightsaber

Dhanya Joy
A lightsaber is a unique sci-fi device, that has been popularized by the Star War movies. To learn how to build one at home, read ahead.
Star Wars movie fans will be able to easily identify a lightsaber, as it is one of the most famous sci-fi devices to come out of this movie series. Also known as a laser sword, it is a unique and versatile device that can cut through almost anything, in a matter of milliseconds.
Instead of a metal blade, it has a column of colored energy and is also regarded as a laser weapon. The blade, suspended in the column, is made of plasma energy, which is emitted by a hilt, controlled by the wielder.
Building a real lightsaber, with the laser ability to 'swish' and 'swoosh' your way through any substance, is sadly, not possible (unless you live in a galaxy far, far away). But it is possible to build a relatively safe, kid-friendly and wallet-friendly lightsaber at home, with a few basic materials and tools.

Build Your Own Lightsaber - A Step-by-Step Guide

Tools needed:

  • Plastic tube or PVC cutter
  • Hacksaw
  • Drill
  • Soldering kit

Phase 1: Constructing the Handle/Hilt

What you need:
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe/tube, 2 inches in diameter, 8-12 inches length (pipe should be long enough for you to hold comfortably)
  • Small push button switch (similar to the red on/off switches on toys)
  • Battery pack (consisting of 2-4 AA batteries)
  • Small motor (so your saber makes an awesome whirring noise)
  • Inner tubes of a bike (to wrap around the hilt)
  • Silver or gold spray paint
  • Decorative nubbins, fake jewels to decorate handle
You can even make the handle out of a metal plumbing pipe. Whatever the material of the pipe, it should be wrapped in rubber or plastic, so that the current from the battery does not shock the person holding the saber. You can also cut a rubber floor mat to use as tubing for the hilt.
  • The hilt of the sword should be long and wide enough for you to hold comfortably in one or both hands. So plan its diameter and length accordingly.
  • Cut the PVC pipe to desired length using the cutter. Smooth off the rough edges at the ends of the cut pipe, using sandpaper.
  • Place the pipe on newspaper and spray paint it in the color you desire. Next, you need to wrap the pipe. Cut the inner tubes into cylinders of desired length and pull them over the pipe, to wrap it.
  • You can completely cover the handle using one cylinder for a complete grip or cut tubing rings and pull them over, with even space between them. Make sure that when you hold the handle, no large area of the handle is without tubing.
  • Time to place the switch for the saber and the battery pack. You can fix the battery pack at the bottom of the handle, by cutting a niche in the pipe, using the PVC cutter.
  • Using the drill, make a hole on the side of the pipe, for the switch. Measure the exact size of the switch, so that the hole holds it snugly. The switch should fit in the hole, such that there is space for the other wires.

Phase 2: Constructing the Blade or Sword

What you need:
  • 2.5 feet long polycarbonate tube (its outer diameter should be less than inner diameter of handle, such that the tube fits inside the handle)
  • 22 gauge solid wire
  • 25-35 LEDs of a single color
  • The length of the tube depends on the height of its wielder. Cut the tube to its desired length with the hacksaw.
  • If the tube is not translucent or clear enough, rub it lengthwise, with sandpaper to whiten it.
  • Mark one end of the tube as the tip of the blade. The other end will go into the handle. It should fit firmly in the handle and not move at all.
  • Measure 0.25 inches from the edge of the tube's bottom. Now wrap duct tape from this mark till the bottom of the tube. This widens the diameter of the tube, so it will wedge properly into the handle.

Phase 3: Fixing the LEDs

  • Observe an LED. It has two metal legs protruding out of its bulb. One leg is shorter than the other, this is the negative of the LED. The other is the positive.
  • You need to attach the LEDs between the two wires, such that all positives are connected to one wire and all negatives are connected to the other.
  • Take two wires and strip off their insulation. Start with one LED. Using the wire as a base, attach the positive side to it, by twisting the LED's positive leg around the wire.
  • Connect the positives of all the LEDs to the wire. The LEDs should sit behind each other, such that the head of one is right behind the tail of the previous.
  • Keep fixing, until the desired length of lights is attained. Once the positive sides are done, take the other wire and start fixing the negatives.
  • You can use pliers to crimp the ends of the LEDs firmly onto the wire.
  • Make sure that the wire wrapped with positive LED ends does not touch the other wire at any point.
  • If the two wires touch or cross each other, there will be a short circuit and the saber won't light up.

Phase 4: Making Electronic Connections through Soldering

  • Time to wire everything together. Basically the LED wires, switch wires and motor wires need to be connected to the power source (battery pack) to work.
  • Each of these wires should be long enough to reach the battery pack.
  • Make sure that the switch is fixed properly and then attach the LED wires and leads, using a soldering set.
  • Attach the blade to the handle, in such a way, that the LED wires protrude out of the handle. Solder all the loads across the battery pack, keeping the switch in between.
  • Then solder all the wires of the motor to the wires of the battery pack, and insert all of it into the handle. Make sure that they fit properly.
  • The wires are to be arranged, so that they are not jammed together, and that the motor shaft is not touching any of the other components.
Congratulations, Jedi Knight (or Sith Lord), your lightsaber is ready for wielding. You can decorate the hilt with buttons, fix-ons and what-not. Be careful that nothing disturbs the switch and battery pack. Time to practice fancy moves with your saber. May the Force be with you...