I love sword play, but not the limited selection of foam or padded swords sold. PVC and pipe insulation are fine, but the swords you can make with them are limited. However, with a bit of plywood and a saw, you can make custom sword of any shape or size.
*Disclaimer: Swords of any kind are dangerous! This sword is padded but it WILL hurt if you get hit hard. Never use it to hurt another living being or someones property! I am not responsible for what you do with these instructions! They are ment only for informational purposes!*
Step 1: Tools and Materials
To make a sword using this method you will need:
A scroll saw or jigsaw (I used a scroll saw, but for larger blades a jig saw is better)
A Rotary tool with a sanding head and a cutting head
3 1" screws (you may need more depending on the blade size)
1/2" PVC pipe
Foam pipe insulation
Optional but recommended:
Large graph paper
Step 2: Design the Blade
Using this instructable you can make a sword shaped however you like. To start I find that it is helpful to estimate the length of the blade. Doing this will give you a base to work off of. Draw the shape of the blade however you like. The finished product will have about 1/2" of foam on the edge so make your blade smaller than you want the finished product to be. If the blade has complex turns it will be hard to add the foam, but it is not impossible to do. The handle will be 1/2" PVC so you don't need to draw it. to attach the PVC there dose need to be a 1/2" wide support where you want the blade with at least 1" of wood above it. I recommend that it is at least 2" long.
Step 3: Form the Blade
If you drew the sword on paper cut it out and either trace the outline, or use clear tape to attach the template to your plywood. If you drew directly on the wood you are clear to start cutting. Don't rush your cuts! it is easy to cut to much off the blade, but don't worry if the edge is a bit bumpy. As long as the general shape of the blade is close the foam will cover up any bumps so the sword will turn out fine. To finish the blade sand the edges using your rotary tool of choice. If the edge is not smooth it may cause damage to the inside of the foam.
Step 4: Make the Handle
Take a of 1/2" PVC and mark the length you want for the handle. From that mark measure 1" for every foot of length from the hilt to the tip and cut there. Now using a saw cut a 1/2" wide slot from the end of the pipe to the mark that starts the handle. Measure 1/4" from the handle along the sides of the pipe and make a mark. From there mark every 1/4" up to the end of the PVC. There should be 3 marks per inch and 1/4" between the last mark and the end of the pipe.
Step 5: Attach the Handle
Take the blade and sand down the handle support so that it fits in the pipe. Insert the blade into the handle and if the slot was cut right the blade should fit in snugly and be held between the two sides of the PVC. Get a drill bit a bit smaller than the core size of your screws and drill pilot holes on the marks all the way thought the pipe/blade/pipe sandwich. Now Screw the assembly together. Using your rotary tool either cut the excess screw off or grind down the tip.
*At this point the sword is usable but NOT play safe*
*To make the sword play safe continue to the next step*
Step 6: Cushion the Blade
To make the sword play safe I used pipe insulation on the edge of the blade. Full sized pipe insulation is a bit too big so I recommend cutting the foam to 3/4 of its normal size. Take the pipe insulation and place it over the edge of the blade. If there are any sharp corners on your blade cut the pipe insulation at angles so it fits on. Using thin strips of duck tape attach the foam to the wood. Using more tape cover the entire blade. The sword is now complete.
Step 7: Make the Scabbard
To make a scabbard for your sword start with a large piece of cardboard. It should be at least three times the with of your sword and six inches longer. Trace the outline of the blade on the card board. If there are any projections or jagged edges on your blade trace from tip to tip and ignore th gaps. This will make it so the blade can slide easily. Cut out the outline and use the inside piece as a template to make another identical side piece. Before you continue, take a long piece of cardboard and make a strip of as wide as the foam is thick at its thickest point. The strip should be taped along the blade edge of the scabbard perpendicular to the side piece. using the same method attach the other side. Now take a long strip of duck tape and put is sticky side up along the open edge of the scabbard. using smaller pieces attach the tape to the sides of the scabbard to make a "roof." This "roof" can also be made with another strip of cardboard. The sword should now be able slide in and out of the scabbard. To finish the scabbard either ad a belt loop or a shoulder strap or both!
Step 8: En Garde!
Even though the blades are padded, getting hit hard will still hurt. These swords should be used with restraint, but they are safer than wood swords, so have fun!