Introduction: Practice Lightsaber

Picture of Practice Lightsaber

Monster funnoodles with a glued wooden handle make excellent training tools for your next duel with Darth Andy.

Step 1: Summary

Picture of Summary

Tested in the meddle of combat, durable and hard hitting foam lightsabers have taught my padawans much in the way of the force. Costing only a few credits each, they have helped shape their bodies and minds. No blood has been spilled but a battle is well remembered by the combatants.
Not recommended for under 8 years old, anyone who decides that the sword is best used with the wooden handle end out, or going up against professional baseball players. I have not had any injuries for the past 3 years with up to a dozen teenaged boys going at it at once. Still???

Step 2: Gathering the Materials

Picture of Gathering the Materials

There are three main items to buy. A monster funnoodle (3 3/4 inches in diameter, about 60 inches long and has a one inch hole in the middle) ($7), a 1 1/4 inch dowel 48" long ($3.75), and Loctite Quick set 5 minute epoxy with a dual delivery system ($3.00).
The 60 inch long Monster funnoodles are easy to obtain at Toys R Us, Sports Authority, or most pool places. Other brands of large pool noodles can be used as long as they are dense foam with a regular cylindrical shape and has a one inch hole in the middle.
The smaller, regular funnoodles (2 3/4 inch diameter with a 3/4 inch hole) can be made for smaller kids but use a 1 inch diameter dowel and a 6 inch handle.
The dowels and Loctite epoxy can be bought at Home Depot.
Epoxy is the best and does not melt the foam. I have found no other glue to hold up (Elmers, woodworking glue, etc). A friction fit will ALWAYS work loose leaving the user with a billy club instead of a sword. Drilled holes and wire ties rips the foam to shreds.

Step 3: Measuring to Cut

Picture of Measuring to Cut

The 60 inch long noodle needs to be cut in half. The dowel cut into 16 inch sections with 8 inches being inserted into the hole leaving an 8 inch handle. I used a chop saw but any sort of saw will work. The dowels can be made longer (18-20 inches) but DO NOT make the handles any longer than 8 inches. Longer handles means more banged up fingers when fighting in close quarters. Less than 8 inches into the foam will lead to premature failure due to excessive flexing. Too much wood put into the foam will be hard to insert and lead to a solid hit stinging a lot!

Step 4: Rounding the Dowel Ends

Picture of Rounding the Dowel Ends

The dowels can be inserted a lot easier if the end is rounded first. The handle end is safer with a rounded end. I had a belt sander but whittling or sandpaper can be used. 45 degree bevel for about 3/8 of an inch.

Step 5: Assembly and Use

Picture of Assembly and Use

Mark the dowels with a circle 8 inches from one end. Put a bead of the dual feed epoxy about 3/4 inch long into the hole in one end of the noodle. Mix with a pencil or a plastic straw for 20 seconds or so. Insert the dowel and twist it down into the foam until it is flush with the 8 inch handle mark.The mallet can help you insert the dowel if it gets stuck. Tada! Hand to nearest kids (they can make me grow old but they cannot make me grow up) and watch the fights. They can be swung really hard and connect with a loud boom without it hurting much.

Step 6: Failure Analysis

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These are EXTREMELY durable swords. I have seen fights last for hours with people gasping for breath (me mostly) and no appreciable wear and tear (on the swords). Leaving them outside in NOT recommended as the handles will start to go and the UV will attack the foam. Under cover is fine to keep the rain and wind off. Do not leave too long in a pool without letting it dry out. The foam will eventually start to chip off in places but they stay straight and still have their cushioning effect. The ends will start to rat up a bit. Too short a handle will cause the foam to bend too much and it will rip at the end of the dowel. I guess you could pad the handle somehow to protect your fingers. You could also varnish the dowel but I found the dowel and the foam wear about the same so when one goes, the other is ready to go too.

Step 7: Other Weapons.

Picture of Other Weapons.

I have tried a regular funnoodle stuck on both ends of a one inch dowel to create a dual lightsaber but it is very unwieldy and hard to thwack someone. I have also created a dagger using 9 inch large foam, 6 inch dowel with a 3 inch handle. That can be used as an off hand shield to protect yourself or a nasty close in weapon.
May the force be with you!


flapper501 (author)2013-06-17

As noted by user Spaceman-Spliff,

"Do not use wood for the core! I tried that a couple of years ago and the stupid things always broke - once there were even splinters sticking out of the foam - rather dangerous."

Here's the link to that ible' :
Just thought that might help a bit.

flapper501 (author)2013-06-17

As noted by user Spaceman-Spliff,
"Do not use wood for the core! I tried that a couple of years ago and the stupid things always broke - once there were even splinters sticking out of the foam - rather dangerous."

Here's the link to that ible' :
Just thought that might help a bit.

p01ss0n (author)2012-09-03

Or you can try something that will last longer:
Variety of sabers and swords for real sport`s training.

johnpombrio (author)p01ss0n2012-09-03

Excellent Find! I cannot locate a US website. Anyone? These may fit more in the actual sword training type of product like:
NOT something I would hand out to the kids!
BTW, Gave all my foam swords away when I was visiting a boy scout camp during a star party there. What a great home for them!

p01ss0n (author)johnpombrio2012-09-05

As far as I know there is`n one in US but they ship it worldwide. I can help you with translation and ordering if you want since I know the language and this stuff is made in my city. Also I`ve tried it out (I have four of those) and I think It`s also great for adult sword and saber training. You don`t need any protection (maybe except for head - I used boxing helmet but it`s not necessary).

johnpombrio (author)2008-10-19

Well, it is official, I found that a company named Mashoonga has started selling foam swords.
Good for them! Little pricy at $20 for 2 at SAMS club. It is made of a polycarbonate core that seems to run through the foam. The diameter is of the smaller noodle size instead of the giant noodles that I use. The foam is dense that I have only seen on a couple of brands of noodles. The length is exactly the same as mine, in both the handle and the length of the foam (they are probably cutting foam noodles in half!). They also put a nylon "sock" over the foam to prevent dings and tears (good idea). The handle is still hard but has a nice rubbery coating on it which will help mitigate head bashing with the handle. Not quite as little kid friendly as the core seems to go through the whole sword and the foam is denser and harder.

All and all an extremely good product and highly recommended.

ilpug (author)johnpombrio2012-07-01

My friend has some, they break really easily.

johnpombrio (author)ilpug2012-07-02

Where do they break? I would guess in the hollow core polycarbonate handles somewhere inside. I never did like the idea of brittle plastic as a core.

ilpug (author)johnpombrio2012-07-02

One broke about a foot along the shaft, and another snapped cleanly at the handle.

Brother_D (author)johnpombrio2009-04-04

Now, why would I buy that when I can make an extremely better one for like $6?

Travelsonic (author)johnpombrio2009-01-15

This could be good, but it could be bad for those who go into boffer related business - especially if this company tries to patent them (which, despite there clearly being "prior art" isn't impossible given how broken our system is)

hyperkubus (author)2012-06-12

This is basicly a 'Pompfen' and is used for a sport called Jugger (

LilPurpleCow (author)2012-01-15

Just randomly... This totally reminds me of a "Struggle Bat" from Kingdom Hearts 2.

:) I will have to go make one of these. Or a collection of these.


thing 2 (author)2009-05-21

you could use pvc pipe for light weight and softer brace, so it doesn't hurt when you get hit by the wood part

johnpombrio (author)thing 22009-05-22

Not PVC. It has a couple of nasty features. It is almost impossible to slide in without ripping the foam up. PVC is very hard to glue to the foam, even with epoxy. Tried and failed miserably with PVC. Wood works fine!

Travelsonic (author)johnpombrio2009-08-08

"It is almost impossible to slide in without ripping the foam up" I've done it quite successfully, guess it is just the noodles I use having just a big enough hole for the pipe to slide in easily. As for gluing, I would recommend using 3M Super 77 Adhesive Spray if working with PVC/noodle. Sprays on easily, you'll have to wipe it up with a paper towel off the noodle at the bottom of the pipe near the handle, but that noodle is not coming off. :D

james927 (author)2009-06-19

It's dark out so I haven't ran out to the pool yet to try this, but just one question, why don't you put the dowel all the way through it? The foam would pad it and it would be stronger... or is it not to flexible anyway? I saw nerf swords at walmart and they have a rod straight through them ($13). I'm used to fighting my brother and little kids with wooden swords and this seems like a great way to pad them so we'll stop hurting each others knuckles. I have a shield made out of half a pallet but when you add spikes to the end so you can punch with it... safety goes down fast. Also, fyi, "grade stakes" (gardening stakes) are what we use for swords and we sell them for $.50 each, so seems cheaper than a dowel. Farming stores probably sell them, just grind the point down and round the handle... Just my thoughts, sorry if it's long...

johnpombrio (author)james9272009-06-19

Good question. There are two very reasons for not making the dowel any longer. One is that it is tough enough just to get the short dowel into the hole THAT far (especially with the epoxy starting to stick!). The other is that a lunge (or jab) in the face with a wood dowel close to the end would....err...HURT! The fat noodles with the short dowel do not sag, still lets you poke someone safely, and it is lighter while easy to make. Stick with the dowels to make these swords. The garden stakes may be cheap but they are no substitute. Safety first please! No one has been hurt yet by my swords.

Jesus10555 (author)2006-10-06

You should add a mastercard pun in that paragraph :)

kaerius (author)Jesus105552008-08-19

monster funnoodle: $7 dowel: $3.75 Loctite Quick set 5 minute epoxy with a dual delivery system: $3 hitting your brother with a foam lightsaber: priceless

Travelsonic (author)kaerius2008-10-19

:monster funnoodle: $7 Rip-off, IMO. has them for about $3 each.

MegaMaker (author)Travelsonic2009-06-14

At Wal-Mart $4.

johnpombrio (author)MegaMaker2009-06-15

There are foam noodles and there are foam noodles. I have seen at LEAST 4 different brands of noodles and the difference in the quality and wear factor is considerable. Some of the really cheap ones you can pluck the foam out with your fingers and they droop a foot just by holding them out. If you are going through the trouble of making one, buy the best quality you can find.

MegaMaker (author)johnpombrio2009-06-16

The $4 ones were monster funnoodles.

Travelsonic (author)johnpombrio2009-06-15

Which is why I recommend poolcenter. Consistent, good quality noodles.

MegaMaker (author)kaerius2009-06-14

"hitting your brother with a foam lightsaber: priceless" Agreed. But, of course sometimes it also costs a grounding.

Oroka (author)2009-04-11

Awesome, now I don't have to worry about cutting myself with my real lightsaber.

snelpiller (author)2008-12-25

This is actully pretty good if u wanna do a lighsaber effect in vegas or aftereffects, makes rotorscoping easy

magganrchy (author)2007-05-06

My brothers and i have been making these for a while, if you wrap duct tape around the outside, at least partly then it will stay together better, and you should use pvc pipes instead of dowel rods, because dowel rods break. (i think the size was 1/2, but it might be 5/8)

WurdBendur (author)magganrchy2008-07-02

I strongly recommend using a cloth cover. Duct tape will make it hit harder. Cloth will protect the foam in the same way and actually make it softer. For a quick and easy cover, I use tube socks. You can tape the bottom onto the handle or just let the elastic hold it in place. And I agree on the PVC. 1/2" is popular, but I prefer 3/4" pressure pipe (with a 1" outside diameter) because the size makes a better handle. If you do use wood for the core, you should tape it up first in case it breaks, to hold the pieces together and to contain splinters.

johnpombrio (author)WurdBendur2008-07-02

cloth covers would be great but a tube sock or socks would be impracticable. These suckers are 30 inches long! Perhaps panty hose? There is NO WAY to make a one inch dowel 2 foot long break. I used them on my kids playground equipment and as long as they do not rot due to weather, they last forever with the full weight of kids climbing up and down them. Gotta trust me, no way. Dozens of noodlesmade and used, all 1 inch dowels never a splinter. Getting pvc pipe into the noodle is such a nightmare. It rips the foam so easily, even if I bevel the front edge. Even epoxy does not hold it in place. Try building one as I suggest, it works great!

WurdBendur (author)johnpombrio2008-07-03

My two swords are 24" and 25" long, which is notably longer than usual, and each is covered by a single tube sock. And these weren't even the largest size I could find. I just got them because they were black and I thought white socks would look silly. You can also stretch them out before you put them on. But if socks really won't work, you can just sew a rectangle of cloth into a cylinder and close the end. You could use panty hose, but I'm not sure they'll do much good because they're so thin. By the way, 30" is probably too long for the people using them, especially if they're children. I think the longest boffer blade I've ever seen is my brother's at about 38", and that thing is a monster. As a rough guideline, your blade should only reach from the ground to your fingers when your hand is hanging at your side, at least for beginners. Much longer than that and it starts to become unwieldy. And you're right that a 2-foot-long 1" dowel will probably never break. They're just usually longer than that, extending most of the way up the blade. It keeps the blade straight and prevents people whipping it around shields or other swords. Any dowel that long will eventually break, which is why it's best to use a flexible core such as PVC or fiberglass if it's going to be that long.

Travelsonic (author)WurdBendur2008-10-19

"By the way, 30" is probably too long for the people using them, especially if they're children. I think the longest boffer blade I've ever seen is my brother's at about 38", and that thing is a monster" My hand-and-a-half sword is about 42 inches. Boffers can be quite large, and that is without touching two-handed weapons.

WurdBendur (author)Travelsonic2008-11-19

But how much of that is blade? That's the length that matters. I've seen tremendous weapons, but almost always with relatively short blades. The measurements I gave are just the blade.

johnpombrio (author)WurdBendur2008-11-19

Yep. 28-30 inches is a monster. These are also the BIG noodles. Reason? The big size prevents really hard hits due to just trying to swing something that large. The thick foam cushions the blow. But it makes a mighty WHACK sound when it hits. The longer length prevents more "body contact". The new retail Mashoonga swords are same length blade (28" with 7" handle). They use the smaller noodle with a very good dense foam AND a cotton sleeve. The handle is a polycarbonate (lexan) hollow tube that runs the length of the sword (with a smaller sized noodle, a full length core is a must). Funny thing is that my larger diameter sword is LIGHTER. The M's are excellent swords and highly recommended if you see them in Toys 'R Us or BJs. I still do not like a full length core but M seems to have some way to prevent the end from sticking out of the foam.

WurdBendur (author)johnpombrio2008-11-21

Most people who use pool noodles let it extend about 3-4 inches past the end of the core, so it shouldn't come through. You can also cut off a small piece and stuff it in the hole to make it safer.

Travelsonic (author)WurdBendur2008-11-21

Not just pool noodle, IIRC NERO does require 2 inches off the pipe for the pipe foam boffers.

Travelsonic (author)johnpombrio2008-11-19

It may be for little children, the intent of the stuff used here, but outside of that - say college LARPS or event-run LARPS, 28-30 is nothing. Longer length, if you use it correctly, can give you a good advantage with regards to range, so long as you aren't up against a dual-wielding maniac of an opponent.

WurdBendur (author)Travelsonic2008-11-21

I wouldn't say it's nothing. It's larger than average for blades, after you throw out the giant fantasy swords that few can wield effectively. Those would be better as shields anyway. I've learned to use long weapons fairly well, but at some length they become impractical. I also found that I became much better at using my shorter swords once I had got used to my brother's monster great sword.

Travelsonic (author)WurdBendur2008-11-21

My claymore boffer is only about 5 inches longer than the real sword (which is about 55 inches long).

Travelsonic (author)WurdBendur2008-11-19

My newest hand-and-a-half/broadsword has blade of only 32, shorter than my old hand-and-a-half but not by that much really though the length in my last post I gave was for overall weapon meaning that if I wanted I could make a small pommel, decent hilt, and have a blade that exceeds this while still fitting in the broadsword/hand-and-a-haf lengths limits of the college larp I am involved with.. The claymore I made has a blade of about 40 inches in length. Overall length is about 63 inches.

johnpombrio (author)Travelsonic2008-11-19

I guess it comes down to weight. It is surprising how light my foam swords are, mostly bubbles I guess! That an only a two foot piece of 1" dowel. Easy to hold one handed and my wrist does not hurt to swing it or when someone hits my sword. As my wrists bother me (I'm OLD), that is saying a lot. That is why I can recommend my swords to any age. The youngest to swing and hit me had diapers on and was holding onto Mom's skirt to balance. That is how light my swords are even at over 35" long overall. This length have anything to do with a real sword? errr, no. BTW, I have finally held onto a REAL sword the other day, not just a rapier that I used for fencing in college. IT WAS HEAVY AS HELL-O! I would die very quickly if I really had to defend myself with it.

WurdBendur (author)johnpombrio2008-11-21

It it was more than a pound and a half or so, it was probably not accurate.

Travelsonic (author)johnpombrio2008-11-19

"hat is why I can recommend my swords to any age. The youngest to swing and hit me had diapers on and was holding onto Mom's skirt to balance. That is how light my swords are even at over 35" long overall." Depends on what you use. A 38 inch boffer made with pvc will be heavier than one made with graphite core for example.

johnpombrio (author)WurdBendur2008-07-03

Ahh, boffers again. THESE ARE NOT, AND NEVER WERE, INTENDED FOR BOFFERS! Please do not confuse the readers here. My swords are nothing more than play toys intended for fun. They are thick, long, unwieldy, and definitely not in any way meant to represent a real weapon. Boffers are an accredited means of play acting battles. I wish someone here would start a boffer section so I could point them in that direction.

WurdBendur (author)johnpombrio2008-07-03

They're boffers by any definition, but I understand that they aren't for serious combat. I was just commenting about the blade length.

johnpombrio (author)magganrchy2007-05-08

The duct tape would be a great idea to keep the looks but not so good for combat. These bad boys do get chewed up. With the fat noodles tho, missing chunks do not seem to matter in the least and I never had one come to pieces. I also do not know how the tape would affect sliding blows, the soft noodles do no harm and the tape may leave scratches to bare skin. PVC pipe..hmmm, donno if the epoxy would stick to it so not sure how well the handle would stay on. Grip would also be an issue as the plastic is slippery enough without a sweaty palm. The square edge would also chew up the inside of the noodle when inserting it as it could not be tapered. There is no weight so the sword would be unbalanced. the end sticking out would be a hazard and would need some sort of plug to protect someone poking at you with the wrong end. No, I would stick with wood dowels. NEVER have seen the dowel break. The size is thick enough and the length short enough that I cannot even imagine what could break it. Let outside to rot for 2-3 years, maybe.

magganrchy (author)johnpombrio2007-05-27

No i'm telling you we repetedly broke brand new dowel rods. The Duct tabe holds quite nicely and doesn't cut skin Sliding blows are no problem For a grip i used electric tape wrapped around it in a coil fashion so it overlaps slightly IT doesn't damage the noodle at all to put it in, it's just a little harder to shove in there as hard as it is to go in, it's terrible to pull back out so i had NO troubles as far as that goes The weight is absolutly no problem...i'm trained in sword fighting and i have no difficulty if you're going to be thrusting then cut a tennis ball in half and stick it to the top...otherwise just don't make it stick out...i thought that was obvious In my experiences everything you have said about PVC being bad is just dead wrong, and everything about PVC is better than anything about Dowel rods (except maybe $.30)

johnpombrio (author)magganrchy2007-05-29

We are talking about two different things. I am NOT making boffers (see below). Boffers have solid cores and are made for thrusting and generally more realistic swordplay. My swords are NOT boffers. They are made to be played by 6 years old and up (but I have had a 4 year chasing everyone). Boffers are SERIOUS WEAPONS and should be used with adult supervision and practice. My swords are just hit them until your arms get tired. My swords cannot really be thrust as they are MEANT to bend, not poke. I DO NOT RECOMMEND A SOLID CORE! PERIOD! They can hurt someone badly. Your swords are breaking because the wooden handles are WAY TOO LONG for my project. I would never recommend your method to anyone that is not, In your words, "trained in swordfighting". I would really rather see you start a new instructable about how to make a boffer rather than confuse people here..

Travelsonic (author)johnpombrio2008-03-30

Yes, one should be supervising little kids with using these, but unless you are stupid in your construction - like overtaping until you have a solid piece, using unsafe core material (I stick to 1/2 inch PVC (hollow, not solid), or graphicte pipe core personally), not leaving enough foam off the end of the PVC pipe on the blade/pommel, or not using thrusting tips on yours, they don't, or aren't supposed to hurt at all. The LARP I am in for example (granted I am a college freshman) starts players on 1/2 inch PVC & pool noodle, or pvc & pipe insulation boffers before going to the "ultralights" (insulation & graphite pipe) so players can practice how to control thier swings as to avoid player caused injuries or accidents because ultralight boffers, especially when baseball swing-ed can be quite painful. NORMAL swings however can be rather painless however.

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