Introduction: DIY Skywalker Lightsaber Tutorial
This build is based on the Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber from Episode IV. I've simplified some of the design elements with the goal of creating a simple and affordable prop build. The cost of materials is very low. I will provide alternative methods of production for those who do not have or cannot afford the tools I used.
Download the Template and print actual size. Watch the video to see it built.
Skywalker Lightsaber Video Tutorial
Again, this is an approximation not a replica. Feel free to change, remove, or add anything you see fit.
safety glasses or goggles
dust mask or respirator
dremel or rotary tool
sandpaper or sanding sponges 80 grit and 220
drill press or power drill
¼”-¾” step bit (a drill bit that tapers wider)
1/16” drill bit
hot glue gun
needle nose pliers
drill press vise or bench vise (optional but will make drill much easier)
MATERIALS & HARDWARE
5” of ¾” diameter SCHD40 PVC pipe
5” of 1” diameter SCHD40 PVC pipe
7” of 1” diameter thin wall PVC pipe
x1 1” PVC coupler
x1 piece of flat plastic ½” x 4.5” (I used a small plastic measuring cup)
x1 plastic pill box 1” x 2” x ½” x1 1” emt plug
x2 hex cap screws
x2 sheet metal screws (not sure of the size used but must fit and hold in a 1/16” hole)
x1 picture hanger x1 emt cap x5 furniture bumpers (comes in pack of 16)
x1 sheet of EVA self adhesive craft foam 2mm (any color, will be painted over) x1 roll of athletic tape (any color, will be painted over)
x1 toggle switch
x1 9v battery
x1 9v battery terminal
x3 3v blue LED diodes
small gauge heat shrink
clear tape (for the template)
Lighter (BBQ or Bic work just fine)
approximately 2’ of small gauge electrical wire (I used an old broken ethernet cable)
*NOTE: Use whatever paint works best for you. I'm currently restricted by weather.
red paint black acrylic paint
Step 1: PVC PIPES
Download and cut out free template. Measure and cut PVC pipes to length. Most hardware stores will sell it by the foot and cut it for you. Take advantage of this if you are lacking the proper tools for cutting it yourself. Sand All pieces then trace template. Drill vent holes on the emitter piece. Use rotary tool to trim emitter to shape.
Step 2: Control Box and More
Trim control box down to size. I used a large pill box and cut it down to 2" x 1" x 1/2".
Mark hole for toggle switch on the right top half of the control box. Cut hole and trim toggle switch if needed to achieve snug fit. Use a sanding drum to bevel the control box to sit flush on the coupler.
Measure and cut 5" of 3/4" SCHD40 PVC pipe. From the top, measure down 3/4", and then 1" down from that mark. Wrap athletic tape between marks until it fits snug inside the top thin wall PVC pipe. Wrap more tape around the bottom of the 3/4" thin wall so it doesn't rattle around.
Use step bit to drill holes for socket cap screws. Hot glue top half of saber to the 1" PVC coupler.
Use needle nose pliers to remove tabs fro EMT cap. Hot glue EMT cap to bottom of 1" thin wall PVC pipe. Mark and drill holes in EMT cap. Attach picture hanger (d-ring) to EMT cap using screws. Fill bottom of PVC pipe with hot glue to reinforce the EMT cap. Fill bottom half of control box (pill box) with hot glue (this will reinforce box and allow smoother gluing to 1" PVC coupler).
Step 3: Grips, Emitter Ears, and Coupler
Heat seal self adhesive EVA foam sheet using a heat gun. Measure and cut x5 of each size pieces of foam. Adhere thiner foam grips to the center of the wider grips then attach to bottom lightsaber part.
Trace emitter ears template onto a thin piece of plastic. I used a cheap plastic measuring cup. Cut and sand piece. Bend emitter ears backwards around the 3/4" PVC pipe and through the square hole then glue into place. Drill marked hole through 1" PVC coupler and 1" thin wall PVE (now attached by socket cap screws). This hole will allow space for toggle switch cables.
Step 4: Wiring
Twist LED diodes together using the diagram. Seal off connect diode leads with heat shrink (lighter will shrink plastic around leads). Check (and continue throughout) to make sure the diodes and other elements are wired correctly using the battery in its terminal. Attach wires to diode leads, seal with heat shrink. Use larger heat shrink to seal and reinforce all LED diode leads. Feed diode wires down through from the tip fo the saber emitter. Attach wires to toggle switch and seal with heat shrink. Feed toggle switch wires through control box and fit toggle switch into place, secure with hot glue. Feed toggle switch wires down through PVC coupler through to the bottom. Hot glue control box into place on the PVC coupler. Wire up toggle switch, battery, and LED diodes together. Twist wire to displace slack and friction fit bottom PVC pipe with grip into place. Secure LED diodes at top of emitter with hot glue.
Step 5: Painting
Mix elmer's glue and water then brush on to EVA foam grips. This will help seals more pores to allow for easier painting. Please feel free to paint the lightsaber however you like. More than tools, ease of painting can greatly differ. Typically for a realistic metallic finish, I use a gloss black undercoat spray paint with a silver or chrome spray paint. Be sure to mask off the LED diodes before painting.
In this scenario, I was only able to spray paint the gloss black before the weather turned too cold to paint outdoors. After that I used a silver Testors model paint and used a paper towel to wipe it on. Be creative, what works for some won't for others.
However see fit, paint the grips, and emitter vents black and the socket cap insides red.
Step 6: Control Box Details
Possibly the most simple and also final step is adhering the transparent furniture bumpers to the control box. They are just a tad to big to fit all five perfectly vertical so place the first one just a bit above the top of the control box. I find using tweezers helps and a lot and you're less likely to jeopardize the adhesive this way.
There is a video linked for this tutorial which is my first. Please comment for future tutorial requests. I have more lightsaber templates designed.....Ep I Obi-Wan, Ep II Anakin.
Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018
4 years ago
Hey there! Do you have any pictures of the lightsaber on? I would love to see the lighting effect it creates. :D
Reply 4 years ago
Here's two shots one with four 3v LED diodes and one in complete darkness. It's much more visible in low light settings but you could add a reflective surface on the inside to make it shine brighter and further.