Have you ever wanted a lightsaber? Maybe you already have one, but you feel it’s inadequate; too thin and short to satisfy your big lightsaber dreams. Never fear, for now you can satisfy that deep hunger you’ve had in your life for a larger stick that lights up!
This instructable will guide you through the steps of making a nearly 2 meter tall lightsaber, because WHY NOT.
Step 1: Materials
For this lightsaber, you will need the following:
PVC pipe: 4 inches in diameter, 1.5 meters in length
5 white LED strips: 1.5 meters in length
Red and Black wires; around 1.9 meters in length
Additional smaller wire pieces (3 to 5 centimeters in length)
Clear plastic laminate sheet: 60 cm in width, 1.7 meters in length
Large green roll of paper: 1.3 meters in width and 1.7 meters in length
- Connector between blade and handle
- 4 inch pipe to 6 inch pipe joint/connector.
PVC pipe: 6 inches in diameter, 30 centimeters in length
6 inch pipe stopper
12 volt battery
Thick Black Paper
- Additional Materials
Masking and scotch tape
Step 2: Step One: Solder LED Strips
First, the LED strips need to be soldered to a wire that will later be connected to the battery. By soldering all LED strips to two wires, it takes away the need to connect each LED strip with alligator clips to individual pieces of wire.
Take the five white LED strips that have been cut into 1.5 meter pieces, and cut a generous piece of red and black wire; each piece at around 1.9 meters long. Using the right sized notch on the wire cutter, remove around 10 centimeters of the rubber casing from one end of the each of the wires. Cut five 5 centimeter pieces of red and black wire; these will be the short bits of you will directly solder to the LED strip.
Grab a cutting mat and place a pair of helping hands on it. The cutting mat will catch melted solder if you accidently drop any. Plug the soldering iron, and while you’re waiting for that to heat up, place a small amount of water on the sponge to wipe off any solder that may be left on the iron after you’ve used it. Red wire will be used to indicate the positive side and black will be used to indicate the negative. If you don’t know which side is positive, check with a battery. Using the clamps on the helping hands, place the end of the LED strip in one and a short piece of wire on the other, making sure that the wire is the corresponding colour of the side of the LED strip it’s touching. Using the hot solder tool, heat up the copper part of the LED strip and the wire simultaneously, then melt the solder on top, so it encases the copper piece and wire. Do the same on the other side, but with different coloured wire. Repeat for all five LED strips, remembering to wipe the soldering tool on the sponge if there is any solder left.
After all the strips have been soldered to the shorter pieces of wire, grab the 2 meter long red wire and clamp the end with the 10 centimeters of exposed wire onto a side of the helping hands. On the other side, grab an LED strip and place soldered red wire from that LED piece in the other clamp. Solder those together, like the picture shows. Repeat, trying to evenly space them out. Repeat for the black wire.
Step 3: Step Two: Stick the LED Strips.
After soldering all of the LEDs, they should be connected to the two longest wires. Take the soldered wires and LEDs and the body of the blade (PVC pipe that has been cut to 1.5 meters). Place the pipe upright and tie the end of the longer strips to a small dense object that can be dropped through the pipe, such as a roll of scotch tape or a large bolt. Standing on a slightly higher surface, like a coffee table*, carefully lower the wires (which are being pulled down by the object it’s tied to). Alternatively, you could just prod the wires through by using a long stick, like a meter stick (although it falls a bit short because the pipe is 0.5 meters longer). Afterwards, the top of the pipe should have LED strips poking out of it, and the soldered wires should be just under the rim of the pipe, while the bottom of the pipe has the two longer wires sticking out if it.
In order to try and find the most visually appealing way to use the LED strips, I experimented with different ways of arranging and sticking the LEDs onto the pipe. One way that was suggested and tested out was putting wedges under the LED strips so they were distanced from the pipe the LEDs faced inwards rather than outwards so that the light was reflected from the pipe. It was thought this way would make the light glow rather than just shine through the diffuser so that you could see the strips. This method did make it glow, but the downside was that the brightness was significantly dampened when the plastic sheet and the green paper were placed over it. This method may have worked better with more LED strips.
I settled on simply taping the LEDs so they went straight down the pipe to maximise the light it gave off, but I didn’t want the row of lights to be so prominent through the green paper, so I decided to make the plastic outer layer as wide as possible which meant it was going to be 6 inches in diameter (same as the handle). However, after arranging the strips so that are evenly spread out but before taping the LED strips down, use electrical tape to secure the wires and the soldering. There is a chance that the solder might fall off or the exposed wires might touch, shorting the circuit, and you want to avoid that. Tape the LED strips so that they go straight down the pipe and spread them out evenly around the pipe. Starting from the top, straighten out each LED strip then tape them down at regular intervals with scotch tape, and try to avoid lumps.
Fit the body onto the 4 inch-to-6 inch pipe connector. It should fit so that you can take grab the body and the connector will be secure, but if it isn’t, tape the pieces together. Make sure to thread the black and red wires through the joint.
*Standing on a coffee table is optional if you’re tall enough.
Step 4: Step Three: Diffuser and Diffuser Adjustments
As mentioned in the previous step, the diffuser would ideally be 6 inches in diameter; large enough to diffuse the light, but not so wide that it doesn’t fit snugly over the 4 inch-to-6 inch pipe joint. I found it easiest to get the lay the plastic sheet on the ground and place the 6 inch pipe piece at the end and just roll it, like you’re making kimbap. There is overlap, but it doesn’t matter since the plastic is clear. Tape the seams and slide it off the 6 inch pipe, then slide it onto the 4 inch pipe. Adjust the size of the pipe to so it fits over the joint by taping and retaping sections of the diffuser. After adjusting the diffuser, tape the bottom to the joint, so that it stays relatively centred on the lower part of the lightsaber.
Using a similar wrapping technique, placing the green paper on the group and gently place the lightsaber on top. Wrap it around, taping the seams. Then, cut off the overlap and tape the seams again. It helps to connect the battery to the lights and see where the overlap is since it will appear darker.
If there is excess plastic and paper that goes beyond the pipe, cut it off.
Although the bottom of the diffuser won’t wobble around because it’s taped down, but top might. To make it more stable, you’ll have to insert a ring fills the space between the pipe and the diffuser. Since the diffuser was made using the 6 inch pipe, take the pipe once again and trace the inside of the pipe onto a piece of cardboard, and cut it out. Then, trace the outside of the 4 inch pipe on a separate piece of cardboard and cut it out. Place the 4 inch cardboard piece roughly in the middle of the 6 inch cutout, and trace around it. Cut a 4 inch hole in the middle of the 6 inch cardboard and place over the 4 inch pipe. This should make sure the diffuser isn’t lopsided or wobbly at the top of the lightsaber.
Grab the excess green paper, and place the 6 inch pipe piece on top and trace it again and cut the traced circle out. This will cover the wires on the top. Tape it on.
Step 5: Step Four: Handle and Button
Using a drill, drill two holes, about 2.5 centimeters apart on the 6 inch pipe (the handle pipe). After you’ve drilled the holes, stick it onto the connector so that the black wire just goes straight out of the bottom on the handle; you’ll be using the red wire to make the button. Thread the red wire through the top hole, and thread it back inside; make sure the there is a lot of wire left outside of the handle. There will be a loop sticking out of the holes; using a wire cutter, cut and expose a centimeter of wire on either side by removing the outer layer of the wire.
Cut a small long rectangle out of the hard black paper and fold it roughly in half; one side should be slightly longer than the other. Fold that slightly longer piece so that the piece of paper, so the button looks like a wedge. Place copper tape like the picture shows (C and C.T mean copper tape). Assuming the paper clips are the exposed red wires, stick them to the short piece of copper tape. This is your button.
Stick it on using hot glue; placing it near the holes allows for the unsightly wires to be hidden.
Step 6: Step 5: Final Touches
Using the alligator clips, connect the wires to the battery; red for positive and black for negative. Since the battery will be placed inside the lightsaber, use electrical tape to tape the alligator clips to the battery. Place it inside the pipe and close it with the 6 inch pipe stopper.
Cut off the excess LED strips that may peek through the diffuser and the handle, and use a thick tape “tidy up” the area between the blade and the handle by taping around the perimeter.
Step 7: Step Six: Enjoy the Lightsaber!
You're done with your lightsaber! You can now venture forth without a constant yearning for a disproportionately large lightsaber.