Picture of Darth Maul LED light saber
Create a cheap yet effective dual ended light saber for a sci-fi fancy dress party.

Anyone that has seen Star Wars knows Mr Kickarse 'Darth Maul'. He was different, he had a light saber that had a blade on each end. He didn't say much but you knew he was trouble. Wih this guide you too can be the silent one who looks like trouble. As long as Ewan McGregor doesn turn up with a Force FX your safe.

Step 1: Construct Blade

Picture of Construct Blade
The most expensive part of this project will probably be the LED's. For mine I opted for 50 LED's per blade (100 total). These will light up in 5 blocks of 10 giving the appearance of the blade firing up. My blade length is 1100mm 1000mm of which will be visible so I need an LED approx every 20mm.

Initially I bought 5000mcd LED's assuming the higher the mcd the brighter the lamp. This has not been the case. Quite disappointed with the output of these I then took a gamble and bought 2000mcd with a much wider viewing angle and sure enough they are easily (appear) twice as bright as the narrow angle 5000mcd.

By bending the anode (long leg) at right angles at the very bottom you can solder it to the anode of the next LED which gives us about a 20mm spacing. The cathode can then have your resistor. Im my case I am running of 5 volts so use 150ohm resistor. Your could possibly run one resistor per 10 led's but due to manufacturing anomalies you may get varying brightness
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matstermind4 years ago
is there a way to modify the code to run on a PIC16C57?
powercube7 years ago
Hmm, i wish there were pictures to show the final piece. but anyways. i was wondering if anybody knew a place to get the tube for the blade?. and a good credible yet cheap site for LEDs. and im not looking for the blade to "extend" or sound id rather it simply light up. so i was wondering what all i would need for that thanks
slimguy3797 years ago
pretty cool idea and I love darth maul (wished they showed more of him in any movie he COULD of been in ) but I don't care for your hilt88 just an opinion
this is more like it, ps don't know why it came out as "hilt88"
ItsTheHobbs7 years ago
theres no pic or video so we can see it?
coolmatt7 years ago
"to the people who built this light saber" i was just wondering if it looks like a light saber. thanks
What was the view angle of your LEDs?
pmlemes7 years ago
hey, anyone here want post some Instructable about, how to make one more easier, cause, I live in Brazil and you know, is hard and expansive have access to some things, like those pic projects...i have some projects with some simple electronics, but i just don't have finished because, I'm lacking some info about LEDs, and electronics, if someone have some information about make this same effect of ignition without pic, i would be grateful.....
bommber man7 years ago
im still confused make a more simple 1 dude but this 1 was awsome (forced by state of law)
Slushba1328 years ago
I know at this point I'm kind of spamming but could you let me know what types of resistors you used and where you got the 5 volt regulator? I'm really going to build this so any other information you could give me would be great.
jmumby (author)  Slushba1328 years ago
Hey, On step 3 I have added the schematic and board layout that you can edit in Eagle (free pcb layout software) . You should use methods described on this site to make the PCB. I used clear cellophane as a diffuser I would not recommend defused LED's as they won't be as bright as the clear type. You need to get LED's with the widest possible viewing angle. Where ever you get the LED's from should have the regulator - must be able to take a high current!
Slushba1328 years ago
Hey I know your kind of busy with everyone and everything but I have a couple a questions real fast before I actually buy this stuff. Where did you get your pcb from? And do you know of any place or method to make or buy a pcb thats really cheap? I want to battle with this is polycarbonate tubing the only change I need to make? I found a place that sells diffused LEDs do you think those with the polycarbonate tubing would be enough to get a blade effect or do you think I would still have to buy another diffuser? And could you just draw a diagram on the circuit board picture to let me know where all the ICs and wires go? Thank you very much
Oh one more question do you anything about rechargeable batteries? Like Im looking into powering this with a lithium ion rechargeable battery. Do you anything about making a charger or something like that? Or is as simple as just plug an ac adapter in the wall and let it charge off that?
Ok one more thing (sorry for the multiple posts) How many volts does this take to run? Or just how many batteries did you use and how long does it run before you have to replace them?
Slushba1328 years ago
Hey I'm just wondering is it on this page http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/ ? and if so did you buy the tutorial or the starter kit?
jmumby (author)  Slushba1328 years ago
I did buy a starter kit but for this project you only need the 18x chip. If you have not delt with PICS before you should get the starter kit as everything is good to go out of the box.
Could you put a picture of the back? A schematic would be great, too. I'd really like to see how you hooked it up to a computer to program that thing. Also, I bet you could put those LEDs in a series circuit instead of parallel, giving you a small delay in each block of 10 for better resolution.
jmumby (author)  pinstripebob8 years ago
You can look at a PCB layout herePCB if you are into making your own boards you will just have to make a negative of this one. To connect to the PC for programming I use picaxe microcontrollers which can be programmed via usb. Sparkfun.com have a range of these chips. Because the eye isn't that quick to see each segment light up greater resolution is'nt to critical.
cuanu8 years ago
maybe you couls spill some kind of solvent through the pipe to get the inner side of the tube translucent.
him27hk8 years ago
Wow, great tutorial~ Any good for the sound board? How to build it??
jmumby (author)  him27hk8 years ago
sound board was bought assembled at custom saber shop, see link below.
maestroyoda8 years ago
Excelent tutorial! Is it too dificoult to program the PICAXE 18x, wont the 18A or 18 be enough for this simple task of fireing up the saber blade? I want to program mine so it has 3 diferent speeds of "scrolling". How can one know when the code we wrote is correct?
jmumby (author)  maestroyoda8 years ago
The program would be identical for an 18x and 18a or 18 for that matter. You could change the fire up/down speed with a simple delay. Or you could get real tricky and use one of the analogue inputs with variable resistor to adjust the speed manually!
jmumby (author) 9 years ago
You can get a circuit board layout here http://blog.myspace.com/jason_mumby
There seems to be an issue with that link or your myspace page. I hope every thing is ok with you and it's not down due to life ick.
Sorry this got posted some many times. BTW
There seems to be an issue with that link or your myspace page. I hope every thing is ok with you and it's not down due to life ick.
There seems to be an issue with that link or your myspace page. I hope every thing is ok with you and it's not down due to life ick.
thefunkybat9 years ago
I was wondering how bright your lightsaber is. I built on for cheap with EL wire, which was fine for me except that you can't see it in daylight very well. Also,I tried experimenting with an LED with some spare tubing I had once (I used polypropelene tubing as a diffuser) and it was obviously a pinpoint of light...does your diffuser work as well in daylight? Also, what's the OD/ID of the arcylic tubing you use? I know it's a lot of questions, but building an LED lightsaber that could be comperable to the Master FX ones has been on my mind for some time now.
I'f you look at some of the Vid files you can see how bright the blade is. it realy very impressive
unobomber9 years ago
"Invalid Friend ID. This user has either cancelled their membership, or their account has been deleted." :(( do you have a wiring diagram and parts list please ???
pulse9 years ago
do you have a wiring diagram showing the soundboard, main board, switch, and leds. also do you have the link to where you picked up your sound board?
jmumby (author)  pulse9 years ago
I will post a diagram soon you can find heaps of tips and parts at www.thecustomesabershop.com
Those diagrams would deffinantly be aprecated... the saber shop link apears to be broken by the way.
thank you
thank you
Erlend9 years ago
Might I ask what you payed for the LEDs?
jmumby (author)  Erlend9 years ago
GrimGenius9 years ago
Really Interesting Project, I am interested to know if you had more details on the LEDs that where used. what was the larger viewing angle?
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