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How to make a Lightsaber ( for Star Wars Day ) | I Like To Make Stuff

Jun 08, 2021
Hi, I'm Bob and I like to

make

things. Today I'm going to

make

a

lightsaber

. If you know me, you know that I'm a huge Star Wars fan and building my own

lightsaber

has always been something I really wanted to do, in fact I've been working on this project on and off for almost 2 years. I ran into a big technical hurdle at one point and put it aside and didn't touch it for about 6 months which kept happening over and over again in that time period, many other projects came up and I'll link some of them in the description which are really awesome versions of a setup very similar to the one I'm going to do here. and of course there are also companies that sell kits that make really beautiful lightsabers and if that's all you need there are some great kits you can get for your costume or just as an accessory but you know how I am.
how to make a lightsaber for star wars day i like to make stuff
I like to do my own things, so I decided to celebrate this May 4th. I'm going to finish this lightsaber once and for all. I've been working on it for several days and I got it done. Let me show you how I did it. The idea was to 3D model and print the grip and to do that I had to measure all the things that were going to go inside with some digital calipers. I got all the different measurements for all the different components and then I moved into Fusion 360 to model it, the whole modeling process took several hours and I'm not going to show it all here, but essentially the process was this.
how to make a lightsaber for star wars day i like to make stuff

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how to make a lightsaber for star wars day i like to make stuff...

I made really simple geometric models of all the components that needed to go inside and then I

star

ted with a basic cylinder from that I just made embellishments on the outside to add details and I was actually making them up as I went along. I am not a professional in 3D modeling at all. I'm figuring it out as I go and if I can do it you can do it too, it really just takes a little practice to figure out what all the tools do and play with the shapes enough until you get them to look how you want them to look eventually .
how to make a lightsaber for star wars day i like to make stuff
I was pretty. I'm happy with the result so I sent it to my slicing software and then to the 3D printer. This was a 24 hour print. The electronic components have a prototype and it is easy to see in this state, so I want to explain it first. try putting it on the grip, that will make everything more compressed and harder to understand. The wiring is a little complicated because it's a prototype at this point, so it would be cleaned up, but there really isn't much here, let's go over it. I have a strip of these RGB LEDs that are wrapped around a rod and will be permanently attached later, but this should give me a fairly even light distribution.
how to make a lightsaber for star wars day i like to make stuff
I may have to make some adjustments there once I

star

t building the blade that is connected to this controller this is a Teensy board and there are a bunch of different numbered versions but this is the 3.2 if you are interested it is a very small compatible board with Arduino it has a lot of features it's a really interesting little product it connects to something called a prop shield and that's an addition to the TC that adds even more functionality. This particular prop shield has an LED controller to drive the blades, it has a motion sensor, and it has an audio amplifier, so just on that add-on.
We're adding basically all the features of the lightsaber. It is quite impressive as the support shield has an onboard amplifier that connects directly to the speaker to power it. The speaker is a 3W 4 ohm speaker. It is not very noisy, but for its size. it makes quite a bit of sound, there are only a couple of controls on this, there are two buttons, one to turn the blade on and off and one to toggle between the colors and those are just plugged directly into the pins on the teen. All of this will run on batteries. I eventually tried it and it works, but I currently have it plugged into the wall so I don't have to mess with batteries and for that I will use four capable batteries.
I will talk about them. in just a second, but I'm going to use this battery holder, it will slide into the grip and it has a 9 volt battery adapter so it's a really simple plug that I can plug right in. It has capacity for four batteries, but not only. any AA, if you buy a typical AA alkaline battery, each one produces 1.5 volts, so if you have four together that adds up to 6 volts, this whole system only needs 5 volts and if you overvoltage it you risk damaging something . Instead of alkaline, I'm going to use these nickel metal hydride batteries.
You will see n MH on them and they are basically just rechargeable batteries. The big difference is that they only put out 1.2 volts, so if you have four of these, put them together. The total is 4.8 volts, a little less than five, but it's much safer and they're also rechargeable, which makes things easier. The last little piece that I'm going to add is just this on and off switch that I'm going to put on. that's inline after the batteries, so it simply cuts power to the rest of the system so you can turn off the blade. Let's do a quick test of everything just to make sure it works before we start putting it together.
The first button turns on the blade. It animates the light, plays the humming sound while it's on, and since there's a motion sensor on the prop shield, I can activate swaying sounds every time it moves. Also, these are all just simple audio files that I loaded into the prop shield and the other one. The button simply goes through a list of colors that I have preset and simply changes it to a different blade color once you choose a color it stays on that color whether the blade goes up or down if you remove the battery or turn off the power.
By default we will return to the first color in the list every time, so if you want it to always start green or always red, you will have to put it first in the list in the code. I think everything works, so now let's break it down and put it on the saber. The sheet will be made of this acrylic tube. It's about an eighth of an inch thick, it should be nice and sturdy, and it's about 3 feet long, so I'm not going to change the. Long, the wooden Dow will run down the center of that tube and needs to be held directly in the middle, so I have a way to do it.
I 3D printed this clear lid, the outside was modeled to fit perfectly inside. that tube and has a small opening on the inside that fits the plug perfectly. Then I made this blade. Assemble the piece. The thickest part down here slides right into the handle. The thinner part at the top fits perfectly into that tube and the hole in the center. fits perfectly on the Dow, this is what we have, this will go on the inside of that tube and will be wrapped in LED and diffusion material, but first I have to cut the Dow and paint it white after some spray paint.
I slid the Dow through the roll of LEDs and used some CA glue to hold them on. I put it on one end and then twisted the Dow to tighten them and space them evenly, then I put some marine glue on the other end and attached it. To dry, my thought at this point was to add multiple diffusion layers that were spaced apart with some space between them, this whole process ended up not working but essentially what I was trying to do was wrap this in freezer paper and use some of spray adhesive to hold it in the space between this and the exterior siding should have helped spread it for the sheet.
I cut a piece of this vellum-like material, rolled it up in a couple layers, and slid it all the way down through the tube. a little sturdier than I expected but I got it after placing the diffusion material inside of this. I slid the Dow rod in with the LEDs wrapped in paper and it just didn't work, the LEDs were too far apart and they were too close to the outside edge you could see, they weren't diffused enough, so I took them off the Dow rod and bent them right in the connection points to bring each LED closer together, the problem is that it shortened the overall length. and I didn't have enough to go up the blade and down the other side, so I looked online and found other LEDs that will work, they are the same type but they are closer together, like these, they are actually the wrong type, I ordered two strips so I can mount them in the center of the tube without the rod back to back, which should put them far enough away from the outside and give me more room to put diffusion material in there, so while I wait.
To get them here, I'll go ahead and finish the rest and just hope the LEDs work as they should. There was one last step to spread the outside of the sheet and that was to go over everything. Using a sander or sanding block, the parts I had taken off the printer so far also needed to be sanded and prepared for painting. Sanding them eliminates some of the construction lines and makes it easier for the filler primer to go in and even. For the surface, I apply two coats of filler primer with a light sanding in between and you end up with a fairly smooth surface.
Now that I finally have this handle printed, I can see that it is too big for the inside diameter of this one. It doesn't change because it's set up to fit the speaker perfectly, but I found that these walls are a little too thick, which makes the outside really big, it feels more like a lantern than a lightsaber, so what about? I'm going? What you need to do is go back and remodel the outside of this, leaving the insides anyway, the switch will stay in the same place, the buttons will stay in the same place, all the things I've already done will fit on the inside, but I'm probably going to change the exterior of this.
I set a deadline of May 4th to post this video and since this print took over 24 hours, I'm not entirely sure I'll have enough time to print the other one, but I'm going to start now and if you see this magically changed shape, That's why I'm going to follow the same process I've done so far, but the model will be updated and it will be a new print since the walls in the new print were thinner, it actually took much less time to print and I'm much happier. with the design. I made sure all the pieces fit together before starting the painting process again.
I sanded everything and covered it with filler primer. I sanded it again, another coat of primer, another sanding and then finished with two coats of metallic silver paint while it dried. I decided to finish the sheet I had my LEDs on at this point, so I cut a piece of this foam packaging. Material This is the material you would wrap around a picture frame if you were going to move. I cut a strip about twice as wide as the sheet so I could bend it over the LEDs. I took my two LED strips and peeled off the adhesive backing. and I glued them end to end, these were longer than I needed and instead of cutting them in advance I waited until I had them glued and cut them the same length.
I used a knife to remove some of the waterproofing material to expose the terminals on the end of both pieces, then I simply pushed the terminals back to back and soldered them together. I didn't show it here, but I wired them up to make sure they still worked after cutting them and re-soldering them, then I simply folded the LEDs into the material and used some packing tape to wrap them around. I can still slide these LEDs out if needed. This took a while, but I finally slid it to the end of the sheet. I used my clear lid with a little CA glue to finish it.
At this point I was already thinking about the next version of this, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time painting, but I decided to take some. black acrylic paint and just went over these grips I had modeled, the only thing left was to assemble everything. I extended all the cables and put connectors on their ends using the heat shrink tubing so I could plug and unplug. All together I added some extension cables to the buttons and switch and ran them through the holes on the outside of the model, they all snapped into place and stayed there with a friction fit which shows how important it is to measure your items.
Precisely when you go to build the model with all these buttons pressed into place, its long extension cables were now hanging at the bottom and that gave me enough space to connect everything in its final form. I wired the switch in line with the power source. I added a resistor to the end of the button wires and tried to cover all the joints with heat shrink tubing to make sure no shorts would occur if it got together inside the tight space inside. of the handle with all the wiring. top I FAL tested everything to make sure everything worked before trying to push it to the grip.
I used some hot glue on the inside of this little shuttle I made to hold the Teensy in the protector. The hot glue just holds it. Instead, make sure none of the cables come out. I added the blade holder and used a little CA glue to hold them together and then ran the wires and just put everything in place. I put a little glue on these joints to keep them there, but it's enough that you could probably break them with aa little force in case you needed to separate them. I pushed everything in and slid the lid off.
Well, it's finally the Moment of Truth. After all this time and unless I made a mistake putting it together everything should work, the power switch should be on and after the code starts running on the microcontroller it will play a sound to let me know it is ready to go. Well, here we go, done, it works, so let's look at the red, green and white colors and the animations. I have four swing sounds in there and it just cycles through them in sequence, so it's not the same sound immediately after each other, but they're pretty similar.
I'm not sure if the camera can actually pick this up, but this thing is a lot brighter than I expected, even in a fully lit room, and it's a little loud, so I'm going to turn it on. As I talk about it, I'm very happy with the result and of course there are a million things I want to do differently next time and I'm going to do a version two of this from an electronic perspective. It's nice. A lot has been done, you don't really need to change anything there, it's very loud, it's very bright and it has enough controls for what I need.
The only real changes will be software things. I don't have a crashing sound when the blade hits something. I need to add that and that's purely software and most of the other changes will really have to do with the model, before I even have it fully printed I've already come up with other ideas about ways to improve it and a big part of that. It is adding a removable panel that will allow me to access all the internal parts to make adjustments instead of having to remove the end cap as is. Now I can access everything and modify anything I need, but it would be much easier if it had a panel that could come off.
Another big thing I want to do is add a button cover over this that rotates back and forth so it looks like a solid button but actually has a function on the panel. top and a function at the bottom and of course I want to hide the power switch so it doesn't look so obviously like a power switch, but I've never modeled any working buttons yet so that's going to be something I'm going to do. do. learn, I'm definitely going to do a version two of the handle and I'll probably end up doing it on my live stream on Twitch, so if you want to hang out with this for a bit, I'll have links in the description for that in general.
I'm very happy to have a working version of this and take it for granted, although I'm very motivated to continue working on it and improve it. I'd love to know what you think about this, let me know in the comments if you have any ideas on how I can improve it. I'd love to hear that too. I have a lot of other videos that might interest you, so be sure to check them out and I'll post a list here of the other Star Wars projects I've done. Don't forget to subscribe and hit the bell to get notified as soon as I post a video.
That's it guys, thanks for watching May the Force. be with you

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