Um, yeah... A bit late here, but I've made this prop for the Star Wars Ep. VII premiere.
I would like to say that, when making this hilt I felt like actual padawan building his first lightsaber. I was trying to make it as personal as I could. I'm a geologist and I like to make stuff, so I've picked up what was at hand im my basement and try to do my best. Of Course I've made some mistakes, but this is what learning is about, huh?
Ok, first things first: I've made this "sword" (in polish we call it sword, not saber, and also I like it that way), and it is done, and completed, so I will not destroy it, and make it again just for this Instructable, but I will try to show you the basics how I've made it, ok? I'll use some workshop garbage, and junk, but you'll get the idea... I hope :) So, after some nice pics, let us go for tools and materials.
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Step 1: TOOOOOOOLS (and Whoosh Sounds!)
Basically you'll need:
- drill (eg. 2-4-6-8)
- metal saw
- sandpaper (not Sandpeople)
- needle for hand leather sewing
- diamond shape leather cutter (or just awl)
- dremel with belt sanders
Step 2: Materials
If you have some cortosis i'll do nicely, but if you haven't use as follows:
- steel (or aluminium, or PVC) pipe
- some leather slices
- 2 sides adhesive tape
- copper wire
- some broken hard drives
- bottle cap
- some foam or cloth
- laser pointer
Step 3: Blueprint (I Haven't Got a Blue Paper, So in My Case It Was Whiteprint)
You have to silent your mind and meditate on the shape of your future lightsaber. It should reflect your desires and skills. Do not try, there is no try. Do or do not.
After completed meditation use a ruler for measuring your two fists combined as for holding your "two hand" sword. For me it is something about 20cm, so I've made it 25cm for a more comfortable grip. My pipe is 2cm in diameter, it's a little bit thin, but leather wrap will make it just fine - you'll see.
Then choose your materials: if you are a Wookie use wood. If not, use a PVC pipe. If you want hell of a lightsaber hilt prop use some steel pipe! Seriously - it heavier, and it lies better in hand.
Now: the imaging part - look what you have at hand, then try to combine it, modife it to fit your plan.
Look what I've got:
Now you see where the idea comes - hard drives has neat caps for rotators - it'll be ours lightsaber emitter.
Those rings, which separates disks will do nicely as head and spacers. Screw will work as on/off button, and wire for same decoration.
Step 4: Use the Force (or Power in That Case)
You have to cut the pipe for the measurements. Then using some sandpaper try to round the edges (dremel tool will do the same and faster).
Now the fun part. You have to put your pipe into a vice, and then try to drill a hole which act as a window for highlighted crystal. I've done this as good as I could do without a drill press. To make the hole longer and elliptical I've used different sizes of drill bits and by drilling a few holes side by side. Then using a file I've combined holes and rounded edges. To fasten work I was also using dremel.
Then you have to measure where your laser pointer power button will be, when you'll put it in the pipe. Mark the spot and drill a hole, slightly wider than the button.
At last drill a small hole (eg. 3mm wide) in the bottom of your pipe. Try to imagine, how you'll be carring it, I've drilled the hole 90 degrees from line of previous hole. The result of it is that I can carrying my lightsaber hilt on my belt and expose the button and crystal on the side.
Step 5: Preparing the Leather Wrap
Now, when you basically have "skeleton" of your hilt you can work on its "skin".
Here is an example of usage copper wire for the decoration purposes. If you'll do so, remember it will influence the diameter of a hilt that needs to be covered by leather.
So, in case of using leather. I want to say, that I don't like killing animals for it, so I only use recycled leather or (just once by far) leather from butchered animals for meat purposes, where leather is gain as byproduct.
My leather comes from old furniture I've come with in trash. I've only make same cleaning and it shines as new.
You can use string to measure the circuit of the hilt with wire, or you can simply wrap the hilt with leather and do it by your eye. Then just cut it to size with help of a ruler.
That leather was not enough for me - as a rule a hilt needs to that wide, that when you grab it, your fingers can't touch palm of your thumb. So I've taken another scrap of leather and then wrap it on previous one, and cut it to size (it is slightly wider).
Step 6: Sewing and Wraping
I think it is the most relaxing part, but also patience is needed - I like to think of it as part of Jedi padawan trening.
I used a diamond shape leather cutter, to cut the holes for sewing, but you can use simple awl, or even a nail.
Then I sew both scraps together with violet flat hand sewing waxed cord.
You can use different technics:
- using to needles is more comfortable, and you can't make mistake with the length of a cord
- using 1 needle is more "primitive", but easier.
PRO TIP: from my experience, when you sew with one needle you have to use 3 times more thread than the length of what you'll sewing.
Now you have to wrap your hilt with sewed leather. I used some 2 sided sticky tape, on it I've putted some wire for the ripples on finished handle, and then wrap the leather. Now it fits nicely, and nothings moving.
To join both ends of leather coverage I used a beige round thread and simply join those 2 stitches.
PRO TIP: to end cord I make a knot and glue it with polyurethane glue, then hammer the knot to flatten it.
Now is the time to cut holes in leather - one for the window and one for the button. Try to do it clean, but if you'll end up with mesh just burn it with lighter or sand it down with dremel belt sanders.
In the end put on glue, or if you have a crew with cap just screw it to the leather - it will be ours lightsaber on/off button.
Step 7: Heart of the Lightsaber
Pick a crystal. For a Jedi padawan it is a huge spiritual journey. For a Sith apprentice it is a huge work in a lab. Either way you'll choose its got to be a clean crystal, with a small amount of inclusions (some fractures or inclusions only give it a charm, but more will block the light). My journey was to Lower Silesian region in Poland, where I found beautiful quartz crystals, which in my region is called mountain crystal. It is transparent - just try to put some light through it!
Of course, when you don't have a source of crystals, you can grow by yourself a crystal of salt in your kitchen (just put great amount of salt in water, and then slowly vaporize it), or use some thick broken glass (have some fun with colours!).
Wrap the crystal with foam, or cloth and slide it down the pipe to the window. For me foam has so much friction, that no glue was needed, but to be sure, you can glue the crystal in place.
Now take the laser pointer, and in my case wrap it in paper, to fatter it a little. Slide it inside the pipe in that way that button slipp into a hole for it. If you calculated everything good, then the crew on the leather should now act as on/off button (some calibration may be needed).
Step 8: Building the Emitter
Now, old hard drives have a beautiful parts. Mostly they are polished, but sometimes not - which we can use to combine different styles in our emitter.
BE CAREFUL, because disks in hard drives are extremely fragile, and when shattered they are extremely sharp and small!
Almost everything can be unscrewed from the hard drives, but the rotors are commonly inserted for friction fit, so a hammer may be needed to dig it up.
When you have your parts try to fit them as well, and as good looking you can and assembly them. I've used a different cap and rotor from a different hard drive, because it has a hole in the center, that could let the light through.
Also I screw a copper wire (I bend some wire in half, then put in the drill, and the other end into the vise and screw it), to have some good looking braided wire act as a coil. And I glued it on the side of a rotor.
Some rings I simply pot on the leather, for two reasons:
- it looks cool
- it covers the difference in leather thickness and cover end of the second layer of leather on top.
Now when the emiter is ready I simply glued it to the pipe and leather (it holed really tight).
Step 9: Bottom Cap
Last part is to cover the bottom od a hilt, to prevent the laser pointed to slip out, and also to cover the "ugly pipe".
I used a bottle cap, which I cover in sewed leather (simple stitch, try what works for you). But now I think I would try to use wood for it.
Either way I drilled a hole in cap, and leather coating, the same as that one on the side bottom of pipe, and put a keyring trough it (it took awhile, but it is possible). Now the cap is both secured, and removable in case of running low with the battery in laser pointer.
Also I use the S-Biner to hang a finished Lightsaber on belt loop.
Step 10: Now, When It Is Finished
Now, when it is finished you have to choose:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.
My Lightsaber is red in colour, but the hilt resembles the classic look of Jedi Knights sabers from Old Republic times.
May the Force be with you.