There is probably a dozen ways to light up a row of LED's in sequence. I prefer the ant and hammer effect.
I am using a PIC micro and darligton driver. For the PIC I am using the amateur friendly Picaxe http://www.picaxe.co.uk.
These little beastys let the mad scientist out of everyone. Extremely easy to program with the free program software you can get up an running for as little as NZ$20. Initially I was using a 08M and shift register + darlington driver. Due to size constraints I opted for the big brother 18X to free up some real estate. If you make your own I suggest you make your hilt at least 40~50mm Dia so you don't have these size problems. For those not to electronics savvy (like myself) the LED's will draw current, not to much about 20mA. But 10 LED's will draw more current and 100 will draw even more. More than the poor old picaxe can supply. The 18X is cheap in the scheme of things I guess but NZ$15 is NZ$15 so if you were going to try and drive all these LED's at once it would work for an extremely short amount of time then become relatively useless. This is why we have a darlington driver. This chip is designed to drive big loads - it's it's job. If you get the 18X starter kit it comes with a darlington driver chip so your good to go immediately. The ULN2803A can drive up 500mA per output which is massive and can connected directly to the output of the Picaxe. This capacity is well above what we need so should do nicely!
The Picaxe, Darlington driver some resistors to make it all work and an 5 volt regulator fit snugly on my vero board. For the sound I found a site on the web that sells sound modules that make the fire up/down, wave and clash noise. I was tempted to record my own and interface it with the pic but with the time I have this was a quick fix. The pic turns the unit on and off so it works well for my application.
Click on the AVI below to see how the blade looks when it gets fired up.
Keep coming back more to come!
On this page are the Eagle schematics for the igniter board if you don't want to use variboard.