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Build a light saber

In this tutorial I am going to tell you how to build your own light saber. If you just want to buy a licenced one from the movies you should check out my page Buying movie props. Considered the amount of characters in Expanded Universe (EU) in Star Wars you have a large amount of designs to choose from.

It is possible to make your own design as well. If you want to do it the extreme way you should have access to a lathe, or know someone who have access to one, to make modifications to the hilt. As long as you have access to a pipe you could make a hilt from scratch yourself. For standard MHS pieces the outer diameter (OD) is 1.45", the inner diameter (ID) is 1.25". When it comes to chokes their OD start at the 1.45" and thin down to about 1" for OD with an ID of around 0.5". Other MHS pieces like the ribbed and V-grooved have an OD at 1.45" and ID at about ~1.0".

If you want a custom light saber (US) have build many cool light sabers. They also sell parts so you can build one yourself or customise one you have already bought. You can make one from your imagination or make it look like the light saber of your favourite EU-character. They have a bulletin board at where you can ask whatever you want before you build or customise your light saber. Another great site is The Custom Saber Shop (TCSS), which have a larger selection of parts for customised design but does not have any pre-assembled light sabers as US has. The MHS saber builder at TSCC you can design your own hilt. The tool lets you choose powder coating for the parts as well. As far as I know US does not powder coat the parts for you. TCSS have a bulletin board at The Custom Saber Shop Forums which is helpful as well. The official guidelines at the US bulletin board is that you should not ask to much about compatibility with parts from TCSS and I guess that goes the other way around as well.

Every light saber consists of a hilt, blade and electronics. Even though the electronics is inside the hilt you have to make choices which parts/functionality you want for your light saber. The hilt consists of a pommel (the "end cap" of the hilt), the body itself and the emitter (the "blade holder"-part). It is possible to combine parts for hilts from US and TCSS, and other vendors, as long as they are compatible with Modular Hilt System (MHS). It is stated for every part if they are MHS-compatible or not. MHS parts are all made from aluminium.

It is possible to use couplers to connect two light sabers to make a double blade light saber. If you have a light saber with sound remember to buy a coupling with vents. The same goes for the pommel. If you want to make staff you need the Yari (Pike) Extension. The extensions comes in silver and black. Buying a coupling or parts for a hilt from both US and TCSS note that there are some small differences in width of the hilts but as long as you buy HMS-compatible parts you should in most cases be fine.

When it comes to the electronics you have to choose an on/off switch, batteries, a battery holder, sound board (if you want sound), a LED unit (to lid the blade) and something to adjust the current. For adjusting the current you may choose a buck puck or transistors. A buck puck is more expensive but it makes is easier to build the saber and your batteries last longer. Buck pucks can ONLY use momentary switches and lithium ion cell batteries. The buck puck is better to adjust the current as well. If you are going to use momentary switches you need a 20mA variable resistor soldered to the positive lead. If you choose to use resistors you have to use maths to calculate which to use. You may find a resistor calculator here. It is possible to mix electronics and parts from US and TCSS but the way the LED is attached to the emitter is different from an US-emitter than from an TCSS-emitter. If you buy a LED-unit from US and a emitter from TCSS (or the other way around) it is possible for a workaround for attaching it. If you buy LED-unit and emitter from the same place you make it easier for yourself.

US have several types of blades and so does TCSS. The main difference between the blades are how durable they are when used for duelling. Standard length on blades is 36" but if you use claws or a large emitter you should use longer blade. The outer diameter for all blades (both US and TCSS) is 1" but the blades from US may be somewhat thicker but it is possible to sand it to fit parts from TCSS.

Most parts in electronics comes with wire quick connects, which makes it really easy to connect the different parts inside the hilt. In some cases you may have to solder wires or attach quick connects yourself. Attaching wire quick connects makes it easier to replace parts later and this comes handy if you want a quick change of LED (and color on the blade) or buttons (to match the color of the blade) on your light saber. If you have never soldered before you could check out these soldering guides at YouTube. If you want standard colors on your light saber you could buy a LED-unit with predefined colors from either US or TCSS. They also sell LEDs with several color-options which may come handy. An example: the Luxeon Tri-Rebel Star have (amongst others) the options for blue, green and red light. If you solder and connect the wires from red and green you get yellow light from the LED. If you buy the Luxeon Tri-Rebel Star (or something similar) you have to remember to buy the LED housing parts and a lens as well. The LED housing parts are included when you buy the predefined LED colors and Rebel Star LED & MHS Heatsink Module.

In addition to the parts for hilt and electronics mentioned above is a list of what you need below. Most of the links bellow are to TCSS but US have similar parts:

Here are some informative threads at the bulletin board for The custom saber shop.
Einar Herstad-Hansen © 2002 - 2024