In today's Apprenticeship I'll be teaching you how to make Anakin Skywalker/Luke Skywalker/what appears to be Finn's lightsaber. I'll teach you how to make this lightsaber that has spanned the entirety of the Star Wars Saga cheap and easy Using PVC and an off the shelf thermoplastic
Step 1: Watch the Video
Are you ready to make an amazing replica Anakin, Luke, Finn lightsaber without purchasing an expensive graflex
flash, or owning a metal shop, and do it in less than 8 hours!. Well let's get started young padawans!
Step 2: What You Will Need to Get Started
- 1ft. long 1" Schedule 40 PVC pipe
- 1ft. long 1-1/4" schedule 40 PVC pipe
- Rustoleum Metallic Silver Spray Paint
- Rustoleum Flat Black Spray Paint
- Rustoleum Clear Gloss Coat
- Gold DecoColor Premium paint pen
- 35oz Tub of Polly Plastics or any other thermoplastic (You will use less than 1/4 of the tub for this build)
- Tin Foil
- A bunch of pennies or odds and ends
Full Tools List
- Heat Gun
- Scotch Tape
- Cookie Sheet
- Rolling Pin
- Towels/Heat Pads/ Gloves
- Pipe Cutter (optional)
- Sharpie/Pen/fine tip Marker
- Utility Knife
- Electric Sander/Dremel (Optional)
- 80 grit sand paper
- 150 or 200 grit sand paper
- Painters Tape
Step 3: Shaping the Hilt
First, you need to overcome your fears and discover yourself in a perilous mission to find your crystal.
No, I'm just kidding, let's skip that part and jump straight to downloading, printing, and cutting out the template I made for you at this link
Wrap the template around a 1-1/4" PVC pipe and tape the ends together with some scotch, scotch tape that is
Then mark a line on the PVC 1" from the bottom of your template.
Using pipe cutters or other method to cut the pipe at that line then sand the edge flat and flush
Then draw out the emitter shroud by simply tracing around the template onto the PVC Then slide the template off of your PVC for a moment to cut out the shroud.
I would recommend doing this using a rotary tool as it greatly improves the accuracy and time involved, but if you do not have one then a simple box cutter will sufice, simply heat up the PVC where you want to cut and then it will make it soft enough to cut through like a hot lightsaber through a blast door.
No matter what you use you will want to clean it up by sanding or filing the cut area Replace your template Using a drill, drill straight through the paper and into the PVC on the marked circles on the template
Now young Padawan a Jedi must maintain order in the galaxy so make sure to clean up your space every so often
Step 4: Adding Grip and Switch
Next up, slip a marker under the template mark the 2 edges of the markings in the center of the template and once more remove the template cut the tape with your blade and lay the template flat.
Heat up about 1/2 cup of Polly Plastics moldable plastic and roll it flat on a cookie sheet. I recommend dousing your rolling pin in cool water to keep the plastic from sticking to it. You will want to roll it flat till it is about 1/16 inch thick as even as possible, you may need to re-heat it with a heat gun or something and then do a second roll on it to spread it out enough. let it cool and it will release from the pan.
Polly Plastics also offers pre-flattened sheets and strips if you want to go that route
Use the template to mark the rectangle shape you need to cut out of the flattened plastic and cut it out with tin snips or a strong pair of scissors.
Line the Plastic strip up with the marks you made on the PVC and use a heat gun to soften the plastic and adhere it to the PVC all around.
Then use what I call my Aqua-thermo digitation technique to smooth out the surface by dipping your fingers in some cool water and gently rubbing the surface smooth.
Give the surface another quick heat pass and using a butter knife, carving tool, or other item press in a line a 1/2" from both edges of the plastic.
Then in a process of heating, shaping, and smoothing, between the two lines you just made make many more about an 1/8" apart. Then do the same thing going the other direction essentially making a cross-hatch pattern across the entire middle section of the plastic, leaving the two edges untouched.
Using your template and flattend plastic trace out two of the rectangles by themselves and one rectangle with the switch added to it. Cut them out same as before. The three pieces will fit together to make the entire switch piece on the lightsaber gently heat the adjoining sides of each piece and attach them together making sure to clean up the sides keeping them square as possible.
Then if you would like you can also add some detail to the top of the switch to better match the original lightsaber.
You will attach this piece on the plastic strip in line with the hole that is offset nearest the emmiter shroud.
As before gently heat both surfaces and press them together cleaning up the edges.
Step 5: Making the Emitter
Now using the long white rectangle on the original template page trace two of them onto your flattened plastic and cut them out.
Measure the distance from edge of the emitter shroud before it steeps down, to the top of the textured strip in the middle of the saber and cut a piece of 1" PVC pipe down to that length..
Or you can just cut a 6" piece if you aren't worried about balance. sand down the bottom so that it is flat and flush.
This piece will slide inside of the 1 1/4" PVC pipe even with this point on the emitter shroud.
Using the rectangle pieces you just cut a moment ago you will add the angled coupler look to the top of the emitter. place the first right along the top of the 1" PVC and heat it as done before to adhere it to the PVC and then using the Aquathermodigitation technique smooth the plastic and press it so that it slants out as it moves toward the edge of the PVC Then while the plastic is till warm slide the PVC into place and reheat and clean up plastic as needed.
Then place the other rectangle roughly 1/2" away from the first and repeat the process with a slant in the other direction.
Random side option, you can sand down the inside of the emitter angling down from the edge for an added realistic look, but it is not necessary.
Step 6: Adding Buttons and Tab
Next soften 1 teaspoon plastic in hot water
Roll it a little and heat the end so it becomes sticky, place it inside the lowest hole on the saber and press it into a flat circular base for a button, you may need to remove a little excess that you can use in a second.
Using the excess bit you removed heat and shape it into a round dome button like shape, we will add this piece to the button base we just created. once both are cool, gently heat both sides and stick em together.
Once more with 1 Tsp of plastic do the same thing as before now with the highest hole on the saber leaving the middle untouched.
This time make the button base a bit wider and flatter.
Shape out a small cylinder using another 1 Teaspoon of plastic about 1/4" tall and a slightly smaller circumference than the button base.
Once more using some spare plastic create a little domed button shape again.
Stick this and the cylinder together when the have cooled and then stick this entire piece onto the button base.
Heat up the surface of the cylinder portion and using a utensil press in lines all around the cylinder like a dial would have.
While that cools use your template to trace 4 of the full rounded pieces and 4 of the half pieces onto your flattened plastic. Cut them out as before.
These pieces will be assembled to create the tab portion that sits at the top of the emitter shroud.
Gently heat the surfaces and use the force to assemble them together with 2 full rounded pieces then 4 half pieces and then 2 full on top of that.
Once they are bonded then hit the edges with some heat and smooth them out so it looks like one seamless piece.
Then when it has cooled attach it about 1/4" above the dial button you just made, reference template for placement.
Step 7: Making the Weight Cartridge
Now your lightsaber is all but finished.
Slide a 1" piece of PVC pipe into the bottom of the hilt, mark a spot about 1/8" to 1/4" below the hilt on the PVC and cut it at that mark and flush the edges.
We will use this piece to create a weight cartridge that to give your saber a realistic feel.
Attach 1 TB of softened plastic along the very bottom rim of the PVC this will become the base of the hilt, round of the edges and press it smooth when the plastic is not super sticky but still moldable push the PVC into the hilt and finish shaping the base so that it flows seamlessly between the two pieces.
Once it cools you may need to run a razor along that seam to help bring it loose.
With the cartridge removed use some of your remaining flattened plastic to wrap 2 strips around the cartridge that will help to make a snug fit, keep trying to press the cartridge in as the plastic cools to get a good thickness for a snug fit
Once that is cooled and you can slide it in and out with some effort, you are ready to fill it with pennies, nuts, old batteries, or whatever you would like.
Leave about 3/4" space at the top and press tin foil tight in there to fill the gap. then trace the PVC top on your flattened plastic, cut it out and stick it to the top to cap it off.
Now you have an interchangeable catridge that you can use to add some weight to your saber.
You can also use a flashlight to make a cartidge as well that you can put in as well.
Step 8: The Grip
Lastly, for the black grips at the bottom of the saber you can use the template to shape out the grips with plastic and attach them to the PVC before painting
Or if you want to be all legit hardcore replica you can do what I did and rummage through the rubbish at a local auto parts store and get some old wind shield wiper blades that have been thrown out, cut them down to size and glue it on after painting.
Step 9: Conclusion
There you have it, your completed Anakin Skywalker, or is it Luke Skywalkers, I mean Finn's lightsaber?
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This were Jedi Mind tricks, in case you were wondering ;)
P.S I have struck an awesome deal for you in obtaining Polly Plastics. If you send an email to email@example.com with the subject heading Plastic_Apprentice Promo. They will send you an amazon promo code for 20% off a 35oz. tub of Polly Plastics! Just tell them you saw my tutorial and take advantage of the savings!
P.P.S if you end up making this lightsaber, please send me a picture of it, I want to see your awesome work! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy, and until next time Cosplay on my Friend!