Instructables
Picture of Steam punk light saber
This an ongoing project to build a laser light saber with a retractable blade,
 
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Step 1: Starting point

Picture of Starting point
A battery powered tape measure! :)  If you extend a tape measure, fold it back on itself, it can be pushed in and out and remain stiff....

Step 2: The design

Picture of The design
PIC_0001.JPG
PIC_0002.JPG
The drawing shows a three laser mount that rotates around the guide for the tape measure blade, the laser beams project out to a bounce mirror then bounce up again and so on.

The blade comes out of the mount (shown left of first picture) goes round a guide at the top (shown to right of first picture)
Second picture shows the actual top end.
Third picture shows the rotating laser mount

Step 3: Laser mount and power

Picture of Laser mount and power
sliprings01.jpg
brushes01.jpg
brushes fitted02.jpg
First picture is the plastic mount for the lasers, inside is a tube and a pair of bearings to allow it to rotate
Second shows the slip rings which will connect the supply to the lasers.
Third shows rings fitted and the brushes ready to fit
Fourth shows it all assembled.

Step 4: Motor drive unit

Picture of Motor drive unit
motor running01.jpg
TLtryout01.jpg
This  mount drive is a small motor ang gearbox that drives the lasers around via a belt drive.
Second photo shows it rotating....at speed!
Third shows the lasers when stationary

Step 5: Assembly

Picture of Assembly
subassembly01.jpg
subassembly02.jpg
These pictures show the drive to rotate the lasers, the slip rings that transfer the power to the lasers and the tape measure body.

Step 6: What next

Picture of What next
This will not be finished by the closing date of the wicked lasers competition so here is an impression of the finished item.
The sleeve at the right hand end of the handle will hide the end of the blade when closed.

There are 3 movies, the first shows the blade extending in daylight.

http://www.vimeo.com/21548348

The second shows the lasers lit and the blade extending.

http://www.vimeo.com/21549102

The third one shows the lasers lit and the blade retracting.

http://www.vimeo.com/21547573


This is a work in progress and I know it will never look like a real light saber but as a punk build it has an appeal to me

Regards rog8811

PS: no distinct humming sound or the crackling sound struck way back then. Hope you make with the humming & crackling sounds!

Hi, Rog. Cool stuff. I was able to make a light saber using an old car's motorized antenna way back 1991! LED's (green & white mix - where you attached the laser) were used alternately to produce the color hue of Luke's saber. I covered the antenna (glueing the tip) inside the saber's toy that extends when flipped, then glued the other end at the base. It extends & closes faster! I made one for my cousin using red LED's (he wanted to be Darth Vader - since he has the "mask & voice synthesizer). Handles used were old metal flashlights (I needed the switch with the red button), since i'm a penny-pincher, had no work then). Sold our Saber toys at ebay for $50 (Luke's) & $40 (Vader's). Now my son (12 y/o) is into electronics, he wanted me to help him build the same model of Luke's saber. Hope I would have the time to build another (since I'm busy at work). Hope you could build the same & upload the video here. "May the FORCE be with you!"

Hi, Rog. Cool stuff. I was able to make a light saber using an old car's motorized antenna way back 1991! LED's (green & white mix - where you attached the laser) were used alternately to produce the color hue of Luke's saber. I covered the antenna (glueing the tip) inside the saber's toy that extends when flipped, then glued the other end at the base. It extends & closes faster! I made one for my cousin using red LED's (he wanted to be Darth Vader - since he has the "mask & voice synthesizer). Handles used were old metal flashlights (I needed the switch with the red button), since i'm a penny-pincher, had no work then). Sold our Saber toys at ebay for $50 (Luke's) & $40 (Vader's). Now my son (12 y/o) is into electronics, he wanted me to help him build the same model of Luke's saber. Hope I would have the time to build another (since I'm busy at work). Hope you could build the same & upload the video here. "May the FORCE be with you!"

Hi, Rog. Cool stuff. I was able to make a light saber using an old car's motorized antenna way back 1991! LED's (green & white mix - where you attached the laser) were used alternately to produce the color hue of Luke's saber. I covered the antenna (glueing the tip) inside the saber's toy that extends when flipped, then glued the other end at the base. It extends & closes faster! I made one for my cousin using red LED's (he wanted to be Darth Vader - since he has the "mask & voice synthesizer). Handles used were old metal flashlights (I needed the switch with the red button), since i'm a penny-pincher, had no work then). Sold our Saber toys at ebay for $50 (Luke's) & $40 (Vader's). Now my son (12 y/o) is into electronics, he wanted me to help him build the same model of Luke's saber. Hope I would have the time to build another (since I'm busy at work). Hope you could build the same & upload the video here. "May the FORCE be with you!"

freeza362 years ago
"Light Sabre" is spelled Light Saber.
rog8811 (author)  freeza362 years ago
Thanks for letting me know....life changing moments like this are so rare.....
they truly are.
RJ_Cyberboy3 years ago
Awesome! Now.....it just needs to be finished and 'punk'd'.
sypher3 years ago
that is awesome, did you machine all of it?
rog8811 (author)  sypher3 years ago
Yes, all done from raw materials machined to my own design. I am in the fortunate position of having full workshop facilities at home.

I could not survive without a workshop :)
glitchus3 years ago
If you've ever read any Larry Niven, He had a far more workable solution (and even before George Lucas's "Star Wars Ep. IV") to the "lightsabre TM" although not quite as pretty. It basically involved a mono-molecular chain that was extended by a magnetically suspended ball (which I believe was accented in 'safety orange' or some other way so that you knew where your 'blade' was located. It was also sharper than nearly anything. Larry also had adjustable 'flashlight lasers' that are probably closer to modern reality than any other "weapon" in sci-fi. But the best tool/weapon he had envisioned had to be his "digging" tool, which resembled a shotgun and tore apart the molecular bonds of nearly any material, making rather nice big holes in, well, nearly anything.
chicopluma3 years ago
awsome, it's much better than the lithsabers toys at sale, it's a shame that companies don't look for durable toys
mcmonte3 years ago
It's a great approach to a "realistic" lightsabre. I'm aware it's a work in progress, but have some questions and suggestions.

Rather than install a larger and heavier motor for rotation, have you tried increasing the voltage to it so the rotation speed is increased? Perhaps LiPo batteries (smaller, lighter, more power). I ask this because there's a noticeable black "stripe" or strobe effect happening.

Also same question/comment/critique for the tape measure extension speed. To my eyes it looks a little slow to extend.

Last question: after you folded back the tape measure for increased rigidity, did you test its resistance to G loading by whipping it about? Like jab, parry slice moves etc? I wonder if it might fold briefly before straightening again.

I'll be following with interest!
rog8811 (author)  mcmonte3 years ago
Rather than install a larger and heavier motor for rotation, have you tried increasing the voltage to it so the rotation speed is increased? Perhaps LiPo batteries (smaller, lighter, more power). I ask this because there's a noticeable black "stripe" or strobe effect happening.

The rotation speed of the lasers is quite high, the camera struggles with filming it, to the eye it looks much better due to persistance of vision.  Speed of rotation is not a problem.

Also same question/comment/critique for the tape measure extension speed. To my eyes it looks a little slow to extend.

The tape measure is extended and retracted using a friction drive with a rubber wheel against the tape, I tried increasing the speed but I just got drive slip.  I have yet to look to see if I can increase the friction pressure.

Last question: after you folded back the tape measure for increased rigidity, did you test its resistance to G loading by whipping it about? Like jab, parry slice moves etc? I wonder if it might fold briefly before straightening again

No, This was never going to be a fighting device, the only thing I knew was that if you extend a tape measure and double it back on itself it is quite rigid.  I had seen a motorised version and thought " I wonder if I could make a light sabre out of that :)
He he - I will stick to my steampunk laser blaster myself thank you! Cool project though!
Kiteman3 years ago
Oooooooo.......

I am so looking forward to the finished product!

Are you going to polish the markings off the tape?

Oh! Does it stay rigid when you wave it around and say "zhuum, zhuum"?

rog8811 (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
I am looking at painting the number side black as it is inside the loop and hardly seen.

As to the Zhuum Zhuum.... It is not stiff enough for serious waving about but it is sturdy enough that you don't need to treat it with kid gloves.
Instead of painting it black, what would happen if you used reflective paint?

http://store.newlevelmotorsports.com/nilirepa.html
cool and as usual Rog you make some cool stuff I'm still around too and still playing with my lasers just no time for LPF lately.
rog8811 (author)  thejunkmonger3 years ago
Nice to hear from you TJM, I enjoyed being a part of the laser community at a very exciting time and still enjoy building laser related stuff, I just find I need to steer clear of the forums as they took up too much valuable time.

Regards rog8811
SenKat rog88113 years ago
Rog ! Good to see you are still into lasers after all this time - long time no see, bud ! AWESOME instructible - simply amazing what you do with your mind - I am perpetually impressed with your projects, I had no idea you are on here !! I do so hope you win the contest, this is the most unique lightsabre I htink I have ever seen !
rog8811 (author)  SenKat3 years ago
Hi Greg, nice to see that you are still around also! :)
I am no longer active on the forums but yes, the ideas keep coming and, if the idea is there, it has to be tried!

Thanks for the possitive comments

Regards rog8811
vader4063 years ago
GENIUS!!!!!!!
codongolev3 years ago
I was thinking about making a lightsaber using a laser, a beam expander, and a small smoke machine. the only problem piece would be the small smoke machine, but one could easily be built with a battery (or butane for more heat) powered soldering iron, an aquarium pump, and some copper tubing.
unanonymous3 years ago
whats the difference between a saber and a sabre?
rog8811 (author)  unanonymous3 years ago
One spelt correctly one spelt wrongly, I know I should have corrected the drawing but at least it gives you something to point out, well done!
awesome, reminds me of a chainsaw light-saber!
awesome now go finish it!!
caarntedd3 years ago
Great idea. Awesome. I can't wait for this!
TechKid673 years ago
This is pure genius