Introduction: Lightsabers for Learning Basic Electronics

About: Christopher Judd is the CTO and a partner at Manifest Solutions (, an international speaker, an open source evangelist, the Central Ohio Java Users Group ( and …

This project was created for the kids conference, KidzMash, that is associated with developer conference called CodeMash. It was designed to teach basic electronics in a fun way by creating fun and playable lightsabers. Some of the goals were to make something durable, use no tools that could harm a child, be completed by a variety of age groups with guardian assistance and be completed within an hour while being inexpensive ($2.09 per unit) enough to scale to a hundred or more participants. This does require a fair amount of pre work prior to the event to prepare the tubes and create the kits.


Step 1: Clean Bubble Wands

Remove the bubble solution from the bubble wand. To make a hundred, I had to empty a lot of them so instead of flushing the solution, I found a preschool willing to use the bubble wands and give them back to me empty.

Once empty, remove any stickers and clean left over adhesive with OOPS! or Goo Gone. Clean inside and outside of bubble wand with soap and water.

After the bubble wands have been washed find a place to dry them. I 3D printed bottle drying racks that worked out nicely.

Step 2: Prepare the Hilt

Pull the stem out of the hilt (handle). There will be a black plastic stopper in the handle. Remove that. I drilled a lot of holes and then rammed it on a screw driver to break it. Then I pulled out the broken pieces.

To make more room for the battery, I also dremeled out some of the plastic in the bottom's arch.

Drill a 19/64 hole in the side for the switch.

Step 3: Create Kits

Fill sandwich bags with:

  • 3 batteries
  • LED
  • switch
  • short red wire
  • long red wire
  • long black wire
  • string (optional)
  • diffusion paper

Step 4: Make Battery Pack

Electrical tape 3 batteries together with positive touching negative. Fan end of long red wire and tape it to positive end of battery pack. Fan end of long black wire and tape it to negative end of battery pack. Cross red and black wires together and then tape to batteries to prevent wires from easily being pulled out from under the tape.

Step 5: Test

Hold red wire to long lead of LED and black wire to short lead of LED. The light should illuminate. If not try squeezing the batteries together. If that works use more tape to squeeze batteries together tighter.

Step 6: Wire Switch

Feed long red wire through on switch and then wrap wire around itself. Tape to to make sure it stays. Repeat wit small read wire.

Step 7: Add LED

Bend long lead on the LED into a V shape. Then wrap the red wire around the V and squeeze the V closed and used tape to make sure it stays together. Repeat with short lead of LED and black wire.

Step 8: Test

Press switch and the LED should illuminate.

Step 9: Assemble Hilt

Insert battery as far into the hilt as possible. Next push the switch through the hole in the side. It will probably be a tight fit so you can use a string to help guide it through the whole while pushing it from behind. Finally secure switch will only the nut. There is not enough room for the washer so you can discard it.

Test again and make sure the LED illuminates.

Step 10: Insert Diffusion Paper (optional)

Optionally, to get a better glow throughout the entire tube roll up and insert diffusion paper. It is really easy to crease the paper causing a bad spot so be careful. I like to roll it lightly using a pencil and use the pencil to help insert it.

Step 11: Assemble Lightsaber

Screw tube onto hilt and test.

Have fun and may the force be with you.