Introduction: Cheap Custom Lightsaber

Picture of Cheap Custom Lightsaber

Would you like to Build your own Lightsaber? Battle-Ready, with a good light source and VERY cheap cost? Let me help out.

I got lucky while trying to make a simple Lightsaber for a Cosplay. But now i got bigger ideas, and it's so cheap and easy that anyone can really do it. If you cant afford an $50-100 lightsaber, then, read on!

Step 1: First Step: Modding

Picture of First Step: Modding
The firs thing you must do is Set your path.

For me, i Bought a Toy Light saber. For children, it was small. Totaly made of plastic and real real simple. However, the hilt Looked nice. And it was all that i wanted. It's the one from the image.

I didnt know that these toys had 11 Bright blue leds inside of them!

You can also see the tools i used.

Here is the Layout.

  • Lightsaber toy (costed $7)
  • Durex tape
  • Thin Plastic Hose (the thinest kind. It has to be transparent.)
  • Scisors (Get a small one for precision)
  • Some colored plastic (Mine was worthless, it is just in case you want to experiment.)

The first thing you should do is to Open the Toy up. If your path is to Mod an Toy like this.

If not, your first step is to Actually make a Hilt that you want to use.

Step 2: Step 2: the Inner Works

Picture of Step 2: the Inner Works

Now, if your goal is to Mod a Toy, it's easy. The inner works are already done! These cheap toys are really easy to take apart, and the eletronics are simple (to say the least). You can have never worked with eletronics and STILL know your way around here.

Look the picture.

See how it is Simple? This toy already comes with a Speaker , a On/Off switch (with 1 button for the light, and another for the sound.) the wiring for the leds and batteris is already done. It's so simple that you can actually Port it to another hilt if you want to (but i suggest some knowhow then...)

Se, the wiring for the leds, go up a Colored thick straw that goes inside the blade. That was supposed to make it "cheerfull" for kids. But what it actually does is that it kills the light of the leds. Making them MUCH less brighter. So, what you want to do here, is to remove those straws. The only part of the led that is glued is the base. So, cut around it and you're already home free.

If you plan to build this from scrap, then you should try a simple system like this. Everything this toy do is done with 1 simple Switch and 6 Points of wireing. You should also take notice that you'll have to solder together your own leds. But the next pictures should show you how.

Step 3: Step 3: the Blade

Picture of Step 3: the Blade

Now, if you're modding a Toy, you shoul've noticed a few things:

If you wat a Longer Blade, you'll have to find something as large as the original blade from the toy. A Thiner one you make it too loose. and a Thicker one would be too heavy. Even with the batteries on the Toy is plastic. It is very light. You cant add much weight on the front.

Also take notices that a any replacement ( like Acrilic) shouldnt be 100¨% clear. As it wont difuse the light of the blade properly.

Now, if you're making yourself one, you have a similar deal to handle. You NEED a blade that fits with your Hilt. If you're starting from scratch, i would suggest not using AA batteries. But 9 volt batteries. So you'll be able to add more Leds to your blade. Making it shinier and longer. However, it will cost you more overall.

Now check the pictures: You see the colored Starws? See how opaque they are? That's what's wrong. You need here a 100% clear Transparent Hose. Just as thin as these tubes.

Why? Because the main feature of these tubes is not to "color" the light of the blade. But to shield it. So it will resist impact. The Rubber hose (like the one you may have in your garden) is perfect for that! The fact that you can get one for as low as 50 cent and 100% transparent is a very nice bonus.

Step 4: Step 4: the Glow

Picture of Step 4: the Glow

Finally, the last part.

Up so far it hasnt be hard, right? Did you noticed that we didnt use much on the eletric part of this? That's just it. You can if you want (if it is for safety, please do!) but you dont have to. You simple add the wires to the stuff and it's "Go time".

Which leads us to this final step. If you have been Modding a Lightsaber toy, your job is as quick as done. You have replaced anything inside your toy that have been blocking the light for a Common transparent hose. Now the light will be tons better and will difuse MUCH better too.

You can simply stick it back into the blade (the original or your custom one) and close it up. From there on you can go and mod your hilt. Paint it, add some more parts, maybe some rubber on the grip would be nice too.

If you check the photos, you'll see that it's not a good idea to try and change the color of the leds by simple covering them with another kind of plastic. the light of the leds is too strong. If add a LOT of plastic you can change the color somewhat. But you will kill the power of the leds, making them shine a LOT less. So you can have the leds changed if you like. But it's the only way i know toc hange the color of the toy.

If you're making yourself one, the same rule apply. That's why an Acrilic Tube may not be Ok. You cant paint it, you cant cover it with anything. If you do, you wil lose power and gain little effect. Pick your color first.

Step 5: Step 5: Final

Picture of Step 5: Final

So, you see... your basic raw materials are.

For the Hilt:

3/4 Pvc tube
Metal/Plastic pipe
Whatever extras you want to put in.

And for the blade:

11 Bright leds will give you a good 40cm Blade. 20 Bright leds should give you a nice 80cm one

** You can buy Leds in Bulk easily. 100 leds shouldnt cost you more than $10. You can buy those really "extra powerfull" ones for $1 each if you want.

3 AA batteries are enough. But 4 AA Batteries or a 9v Battery (or 2) can lead you a long way.

If you buy one of these real simple Korean replicas, you can mod your way trough them and make something worth to bring to your homve movies and convetions. I assure you.

These toys range from $4 to $10 at most. Anything over that should be a ripoff.

The mod i used here allow me to do some really strong swinging with no problems and some weak beating too. Try not to hit it too hard. But there is no objections to clashing your saber onto another!

Either way, you can pull a Custom Lightsaber as low as $10 (or lower!) and a really great custom one as low as $30. Full with powerfull light, sound and usable for battle and movies!


Newell_Jalynn (author)2014-01-04

whaaat? confused here

TechNerd1012 (author)2009-07-01

well, if you could figure out how, you could make a nicer blade, even though it might not be cheaper. you could get an air-tight clear tube, and somehow fill it with white smoke and seal it off. not sure if this is even possible, but it would look much cooler, kind of a flowing effect in a way. nice 'ible btw

crickle321 (author)TechNerd10122009-07-19

Rubbing sandpaper on the clear tube would be easier for a hazy look. Keep it simple ;)

aqwiz (author)2009-03-10

Hey, I have the solution to your color change issue, the problem is that the L.E.D.s are emitting a single wavelength of light, (blue) white light can be put through color filters to change it entirely, so if you have the time buy an LED flashlight remove those LEDs and use them with your colored film. the color filters filter out all but the desired wavelength of light, so if the LEDs are white (containing almost all colors) the residual purple/blue/green light will still show through after you have filtered out all other colors, with blue light there are no other colors to filter out.

volquete (author)2008-11-30

nice toys, but if you want a LIGHTSABER not a glowing sword like this one, don't do this.

dustintinsley80 (author)2008-09-20

my kids got a couple of those knock off LS at a 4th of July thing. I get that its a "cheap" custom light saber. But you really are getting what you paid for. My 3 year old and 8yr old broke both of them in less than a few hours. and by broke I mean the completely shattered the hilt. So far I glued one half of 1 hilt back (battery holder/on-off button side) together and turned the LEDs into a battery powered lamp for my living room. Oh yeah my kids didn't break them by hitting the hilt on things that was from hitting the blades together, I'm just glad neither of them got hurt by them.

bumpus (author)2008-06-11

one thing i dont like about the "light sabers" is that the "blade" isn't very long, and throws off the visual beauty of the saber, just my two cents

whitish (author)bumpus2008-08-20

but if its a penny for your thoughts then why are you giving 2 cents when you should only have to give one?

bumpus (author)whitish2008-08-20

Its not mandatory to give one cent, I gave two out of charity. :D

Ricardoaraujo (author)bumpus2008-06-11

You're 100% right. My biggest pain was to try and find a replacement for the blade, because the one that comes with those toys is usuallyf or kids (so, between 30 and 40cm top) for me it was the hardest part. However, the circuit of this thing is really basic and the glow effect is great. So if you have some experience, you can easily mimic it from scratch and make a much more reliable, cheap and powerfull led blade.

Brother_D (author)Ricardoaraujo2008-06-17

Get the make-your-own pack. The blades that come with that are pretty good.

Brother_D (author)Brother_D2008-07-10

oh, i guess this is a "cheap" custom lightsaber.

joe57005 (author)2008-06-11

i could swear i saw that exact lightsaber at starwars weekends at disney last week. (i work there)

coolz (author)joe570052008-06-12

on minimum wage!

joe57005 (author)coolz2008-06-12

minimum wage is what my bosses make. i work for peanuts and free parking.

dabusff (author)joe570052008-06-13

peanuts are delicious! Great Instructable, now if only you could make one out of laser light. I met a guy who said he could do it, but he was drunk and wearing a jacket with patches on it...

REA (author)dabusff2008-08-10

Those kind of people know what they're talking about!

Yerboogieman (author)joe570052008-06-15

in washington (not DC) minimum wage is like $8 something andi make $10 per hour at my neighbors! lol

joe57005 (author)Yerboogieman2008-06-15

i am making slightly (pocket change) more than minimum wage. i was just joking. anyway, i didn't mean to start a tangent. On topic: I bought and modified a cheap non-lighted licensed lightsaber (i chose it because the blade collapses fully into the hilt), so now it has a translucent green blade with lights and sound, and it still fully collapses.

Ward_Nox (author)joe570052008-06-12


Changsta Chief (author)2008-06-15

this was from six flags

ryugatana (author)2008-06-15

CONGRATZ on getting on Gizmodo!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-06-14

Cool! I got one of those sword things too at a carnival, had about 25 or something LED's in it. SCORE! +5/5 stars. (added to favorites)

jeandeau (author)2008-06-13

LEDs are monochromatic light sources. You can never filter the light to what you want unless you start with a white LED which uses phosphorescent material to obtain wide color spectrum. Build a spectroscope. it takes 15 minutes to build the CD and cereal box version. CD spectroscope or an hour to build the super DVD versionDVD spectroscope You quickly learn what light you can get from any source because the spectroscope shows what colors are available from the lightsource.

Ward_Nox (author)2008-06-12

A faily easy wat to tint the blade MIGHT be to coat the inside of the blades tube with Gallery Glass (liquid plastic used for making household windows like stained glass) also one thing to be careful of with these cheap LS knock offs is there cheap and that gives them a change of havening sound chips that change sounds w each use (bugged the crap out of me as a kid and still does) if your able to test the sounds out before you buy it i say do it also even if you making a blade from scratch theres know reason you cant gut a toy LS for parts

TheScientist (author)2008-06-10

to change the colour (or have the ability to if desired) i think you'd be best using white LED's. the other colour LED's emit light only at particular wavelengths, which are more likely to be absorbed by the cellophane you add (the reason that things have colour is because they either emit specific wavelengths, or absorb specific wavelengths) so if you're using white light, the cellophane should give a better result :)

I would use a string of those rgb LEDs so i could set the color to whatever I want.

joe57005 (author)TheScientist2008-06-11

i'd use separate strands of leds each with a different color, and no cellophane.

I though about it, the whole problem is that the Cellophane works like a Filter, "eating" the light away (like Step 5) So, to add more color i need more Cellophane and the more i add, the less color i get... is a trade off that dosent wrok really. I tried paint and nail polish too but it was even worst.

teamcoltra (author)2008-06-12

You may consider replacing the blade with some strong tubing, and el-wire

Ricardoaraujo (author)teamcoltra2008-06-12

But woldnt that defeat the purpose of it being really really cheap?

teamcoltra (author)Ricardoaraujo2008-06-12

not at all... El-wire is like 10 bucks, the tubing can cost as much as you want to pay, but i would reccomend another 20 bucks... but you could get some really cheap tubing (look what you are upgrading from) and be able to hit it on whatever you want.

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-06-12

Nice photos and a cool project. Good Job Oh the video on the slast step is absent.

Mr. TiKi (author)2008-06-11

where did you buy your lightsaber?

Ricardoaraujo (author)Mr. TiKi2008-06-11

It's a really cheap "laser blade" toy, one of those made in "elsewere", y'know? didnt bought on any big stores. The best part is that a led blade is cheap and cause great effect!

duck-lemon (author)2008-06-10

Syper brilliant uber awesome!

Ricardoaraujo (author)duck-lemon2008-06-11

Thanks a lot =P

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