The purpose of this build is not to create a cheap light saber clone, nor a realistic looking one. The goal of this is to create the perfect combat light saber.
Goals: Create the lightest, fastest light saber which can stand up to full adult combat without breaking and without injuring anyone. Many of the light sabers I see use PVC which is heavy and can/will injury your opponent. This saber is as light as a tube of cardboard from wrapping paper. They can take a full force swing from a poly carbonate blade, and they are wicked quick.
The hilts, are designed to be comfortable, light weight and provide good grip while looking close to a "real" light saber.
On my last birthday my awesome wife threw me a little kids style star wars birthday party. One of the fun activities she planned was a light saber battle. She bought a bunch of toy light sabers and we all drank and dueled with toy light sabers (very geeky but super fun). After the party my brother and I would occasional duel with our toy light sabers. These toys quickly broke due to their cheap plastic design.
I looked into buying aluminum hilt, poly-carbonate replica blade light sabers on the internet. It occurred to me though, that these could break bones. The Math: (Weight of a poly-carbonate blade ~3 pounds OR 1.36078 kg [note: this is a rough estimate]) * (75 MPH tip speed OR 33.528 meters per second) = 45.6 newtons. To put that into perspective: A 45 caliber bullet weighing 12 grams or 0.012 kg would need to travel 3800 meters per second OR 8500 MPH to have the same force. I understand a bullet acts more as a needle than a blunt force object as a light saber would behave, but the point is clear, getting hit at 75 MPH (full swing for a skilled Jedi) could certainly break bone.
I started the process of building the best light saber for dueling. A saber that was light, fast, strong, repairable, that glowed.
Step 1: First Version
Step 2: Making the Mold
Step 3: The Rig
I got the rod on ebay for about $30 with shipping each. 18MM ID. X 20MM OD. X 1000MM Length.
I spent roughly 20 hours trying different mold making techniques, and failing miserably before I got it right. Now I can make a light saber in a bout an hour start to finish.
Biggest lessons learned:
1.) just let the silicone dry 100% through
2.) use noob silicone if youve never made molds before
3.) a vacuum chamber would be awesome if you can afford it (I couldnt and got lots of bubbles I had to sand/fill)
4.) pour the resin extremely slow (You should have ~10 mins before it starts hardening, so try to pour it over 9 minutes. The slower you do it the better the results).
The total cost for this project was over $500, but it can be much cheaper.
$30 carbon fiber rods from ebay
$90 in silicone (I recommend use PlatSil 71-10)
$10 mold release (optional, i didn't really need it)
$30 resin/epoxy for casting
$1 pipe insulator 1/2" (go for the harder foam ones)
$5 colored duct tape
$5 glow in the dark paint (use lots)
Check out other crazy projects on my blog: http://whats-matt-building-now.blogspot.com/