So you have decided to take the final step to embracing the force. Does your path follow the Light or the Dark side? (I hear the dark side has cookies).
What ever side you are on, what follows is how to make a Duel-Worthy Lightsabre. That means, you should be able to wield this sword and bash it against things and other lightsabers with little fear of actually breaking the lightsaber. You may end up breaking other things, but the lightsaber will remain intact.*
Total cost of this project is $60 to $1,000 USD. The wide range in cost all depends of how crazy you get with your design. The cost of lightsaber I built for this instructable is about $160.
NOTE 1: This Instructable is very TEXT intensive.
NOTE 2: Most of the parts used in this tutorial came from The Custom Saber Shop (TCSS). I am not affiliated or employed with them. I am just a customer.
Hardcore lightsaber makers are busy making other sound board solutions in the mid-to-high price range.
Ultra Sound Board 2.5 is currently available and more people are developing new boards. If the trend continues, soon there will be several to choose from.
The Ultra Sound Board is found here:
It is also sold by TCSS.
* the board supports most of the available high powered LED
* Has an overdrive function to send extra amps to the LED
* Supports multiple low power accent LED.
* Has multiple Sound Options
* Supports an auxilary button for clash lock and blaster block.
Wiring of this board is very customizable and feature rich. The maker of the board provides instructions on how to wire it all up. As mentioned earlier the Ultrasaber website also sells completed blades (or complete hilts if you don't want to build your own).
Well, if you have the money and the luck, Then the Crystal Focus is the way to go.
The Crystal Focus can be pruchased from here:
Follow the link to the "Electronic Modules". Just to warn you, these boards are pricey and they are very limited in quatity. Erv sells them in batches of about 80 boards and they sell out in about 5 minutes. He is currently on version 4.x.
To give you an idea what this board can do here is a link to the Crystal Fucus 3.0 Manual http://www.mediafire.com/file/hznmeummyyn/CrystalFocusSaberCoreV3.0-GB.pdf
(I put the file on a different website so as not to overload Erv's website).
A brief description:
* The CF can handle different types of high lumen LEDs. In addition it can provide power to multiple low power accent LED and make them blink in different ways.
* The main LED can be controled to gradually power up, gradually power down, shimmer, and flash on clash.
* Auxillary buttons can be used to add extra functions like blaster blocking, and lightsaber clash locks.
* The true power of the CF is the customizable sound "FONTS". Basically, you can create or download your own unique lightsaber sound. The master mixer of lightsaber sound fonts is NOVASTAR. Here is a link to his YouTube Channel to see the many things he can do with lightsaber sound fonts: http://www.youtube.com/user/greytale.
* The Crystal Focus CAN PLAY MUSIC. ANY music. Just copy it to the SD card.
The sound fonts are stored on an SD card. Thats right, the board has an SD card slot. I will not go into how to wire the Crystal Focus. The instruction manual Erv Plecter provides does a great job with that already. Download the PDF above if you really want to know how it all works.
Well, by now you should have a really fancy metal tube between 10" to 15" long. Perhaps 20" to 22" if you decided you wanted a Darth Maul type of lightsaber. The most common length tends to hover around 11.5".
You also have a plastic "blade".
And last but not least a pile of electronics parts - LED, circuit board, puck, battery, switch, speaker, low power LED.
Ohh, and wire. A spool of it. preferably two colors.
Well, lay them all out on your work table like the picture above and measure out your wires. Remember that space is a premium inside these hilts and a little extra wire here and there tends to eat up all that space.
Where it makes sense, go ahead and solder up parts and wires together.
When it does not make sense to have parts permanently soldered together, use corresponding male and female connectors. Use as small a connector as you can find. I used male and female Header Pins like these:
~~~~~~~~~TEST IT FIRST!!!~~~~~~~~~~~
While the electronics are OUT of the hilt, connect up all the parts and power it on. Does it light up? Is there sound coming out the speaker? Yes?
Ok, now comes the most frustrating part...
Disconnect the wires that are on connectors. Now cram all that stuff inside the hilt. Each lightsaber is different. The layout of wires, switches, and electronics is as unique as finger prints. So I can not really tell you how to do it. Just cram it all in there one way or another. Sometimes a compromise is needed, or a part needs to be abandoned. Or maybe your lucky and there is tons of room.
Reconnect the wires.
I have built several lightsabers and I can tell you that even though I learn a lot from each build, something I have NEVER had is plenty of room.
NOTE: MHS parts screw into each other. Be mindful that you are not twisting up your wires and breaking solder points as you screw in the parts.
Tightens the screws, bolts, nuts. Put in the blade. Tighten the blade retention screw. Hold your breath and move your finger to the ON switch...
POWER IT ON. :)
I accidentally fried one Li-Ion battery on the lightsaber last Monday (11/16/10). I took it a apart to make sure the rest of the electronics was OK. It is. (I should have taken pictures). Total time to take apart 5 minutes.
On putting it back together, it took me an hour! Keep in mind this is the lightsaber I assembled. I had hemostats holding wires in place while I used a needle nose pliers to manuever the connectors and plug parts together. I had so many wires going every which way that I forgot what goes to what! Thank goodness I thought ahead and color coded everything (all negative wires are black, clash sensor is orange wires, speaker wire is brown, switch wires are yellow, etc)
While working I looked at my wife and asked her "Why do you let me do nutty things like this?!" She just laughed...
It is tricky and it is confusing and it can get frustrating.Just step back, take a deep breath and try again when you have cooled off.