A lightsaber is one of the most iconic movie weapons and is used in the Star Wars movies. Luxeon LEDs give homemade lightsabers the proper glow to make them look like they come from a galaxy far away. The construction of the lightsaber blade is partially determined by the Luxeon LED you're using since they require different power sources. One of the most popular models is Luke's lightsaber from the original Star Wars movie, but you can design the handle however you see fit. Luxeon LEDs run very hot so make sure you have the proper heat sink.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Luxeon LED
- Collimator lens
- Luxeon blade socket adaptor
- 1-inch polycarbonate tube with diffuser
- Battery pack
Choose a design for your hilt and blade. There are several different lightsaber hilt designs in the Star Wars universe that you can choose from if you don't want to design your own. The colour of the blade (red, blue and green are the most common lightsaber colours) will determine what Luxeon LED you use and its necessary power requirements.
Design the Luxeon LED/blade holder assembly by drawing a scale rendering of your planned lightsaber. The whole assembly needs to fit in a hollow tube (lightsaber hilt) made out of either PVC or aluminium, so the design should be very compact. The basic components of the assembly are the LED, heat sink, resistor, socket adaptor, battery pack and switch. You need to make sure that the inner shell of the hilt is wide enough to accommodate the battery pack, but still narrow enough to hold the socket adaptor. Take accurate measurements of the size of your components and find a workable position for each piece on your to scale drawing before constructing it.
Assemble the blade and its power source. Glue a collimator lens to the LED housing so the light is less dispersed. Attach wires to the LED then run them through the holes in the heat sink to the battery pack and switch (red wire to the positive terminal and black wire to the negative). If the LED you're using doesn't have its own built-in resistor you'll need to wire one in between the battery pack and the LED to prevent the LED from overloading. Screw the heat sink to the bottom of the Luxeon blade socket adaptor so the LED is inside the socket adaptor. Fit the polycarbonate tube into the other end of the socket adaptor and secure it in place as per manufacturer instructions. Make sure to arrange the battery pack cells so they will fit into the hilt. Incorporate other technical elements, such as speakers and sound systems, according to your design plans.
Test your assembly. Before working on the finer details of your hilt, make sure that the blade works properly. Make sure the switch is connected properly and check to make sure the heat sink you're using doesn't overheat when the LED is on. You can fine tune your assembly design if you come across any flaws.
Build the outer shell of the hilt. The hilt of your lightsaber can be built from inexpensive PVC or specially machined copper and aluminium.
Tips and warnings
- A Luxeon LED comes with its own heat sink that absorbs the heat generated by the LED, but you may need to use a stronger heat sink to account for the excess heat that's emitted.
- Include a mini speaker in the hilt so your lightsaber makes the proper sounds when it's turned on.
- Attach a D-ring to the bottom of your lightsaber so you can hook it onto your belt.
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