Intro: How to Make a Great Lightsaber Hilt Cheap From Scratch!!
I made this lightsaber with materials that I had laying around so it only cost me time and brain power. This was made for a friend of mine for his birthday. His last name is cut into the side and the colors come from a combination of two of his favorite.
Each step tells you the materials and tools you need! The great part of this project is that parts can be substituted to add your own custom feel to this!
Check out the YouTube video to see the build process happening! (Do not need to watch for build... But it would be awesome if you did!)
I used what I had laying around but if you don't have all the materials you can get them from these links. You'll have a ton left over of most of the materials, so you can make more!
LEDs - http://goo.gl/6hDfTc
Wire - http://goo.gl/gNWzRr
Battery holder - http://goo.gl/mH35SO
Circuit board - http://goo.gl/i2A1q0
Foam film - http://goo.gl/Xc3U2e (for defusing the LEDs)
Step 1: Prepping the Transparent Parts
If you don't want parts that light up, then skip this step and continue with parts that can be used to replace the transparent ones. I'm using old PS3 game cases that I don't use anymore.
Needed: Your main hilt tube (PVC or some other type of plastic tube), as many game cases or sheets of clear plastic as you need (I used 4 or 5), paper, pencil, superglue, and sandpaper
1. Stand the PVC pipe, or other plastic tube, up vertically on a piece of paper. Trace around the base of the pipe. This will make the template for cutting the circle.
2. Use the paper circle as a guide for cutting plastic circles from the PS3 cases or sheets of clear plastic (whichever you chose to use).
3. Sand down both faces of your circles to prep them for gluing and wipe them off with alcohol.
4. Put a few dabs of super glue on the circle and spread it around with something to make an even coat then squeeze two the circles together until they stick.
5. Repeat this until you have your desired length with the cases!
Step 2: Cleaning Up the Joining Pieces
Here, I used my lathe ( Instead of the lathe you can use a Dremel) to shape it and sand it down the way that I wanted it. The following instructions are for the use of a lathe. The jig is just the piece of wood that I turned to fit a specific drill bit.
Needed: Lathe (Dremel will work) and sand paper
1. Drill a small hole in the middle of the plastic circle, then drill a a bigger one to fit it on the wooden jig. Pressure fit it on.
2. Turn the parts until they are the size and shape you want.
3. Cut some wooden pieces down that will fit snug into the tube or pipe. Make sure they have the same hole as the light up parts. (These are for connecting the light up parts to the tube.)
4. Use some fine sand paper to sand down the plastic. I use 600 - 3600 grit to make sure it is really smooth. Plastic polish makes it look very nice! If you're on the lathe then turn it to a low RPM.
Step 3: Finishing the Joining Pieces
After we have out pieces all turned and sanded, it's time to assemble them!
Needed: Parts made previously, two thin nails, a drill bit the same size as the nails, and superglue
1. Two small holes need to be drilled on both sides of the larger hole (For the nails). If you choose to do this without the see through parts then just do one in the middle. Do this to all the pieces.
2. Test fit all the parts together.
3. Take a nail and put dab of super glue on the tip and slide it trough one part at a time. After the parts are together squeeze them together.
4. Test fit them in your tube and if they are a little loose wrap electrical tape around it until its just a little snug and put a dab of super glue where the seam is. (Let that dry before fitting it again)
4. These parts are done!
Step 4: Doing the Main Part of the Hilt
You can add as much or little to the main part of the hilt as you want. This one will be pretty simple. I will only cutting out a name for it.
Needed: All of the parts for test fitting, all parts you wish to add, all tools need for what you want to add (I will use the dremel and drill), and a few screws to secure the parts together
1. Test fit all your parts to see where you want your screws (These will keep your parts together)
2. Use your drill with a drill bit smaller that the screws to put holes where you think they'll be less noticeable (I did it on the side and back of the hilt)
3. Drill a hole for your button. I prefer mine at the very back of the hilt close to the top. Start with a small bit then go up in size little by little until you reach a hole big enough for your button.
4. Take it apart and add all of your extras. If you want to see mine, then continue reading the next steps and if not then go to the next section.
5. To cut out a name lay out a template and trace it with an xacto to score it in the plastic.
6. Use a drill to make a pilot hole the insert the Dremel in and follow the lines. Take it slow so it doesn't drift off.
7. Clean up the holes with the xacto
Step 5: Making the Emitter Shroud
The look of emitter shroud can be made in made in many different ways. Sketch out how you want it to look and follow that. I just wanted a simple angled shroud.
Needed: Miter saw (hand saw or Dremel will work instead), and more of the same tube the main part of the hilt is made from
1. Sketch how you want the emitter shroud to look
2. If it is more complex, then use a Dremel or handsaw for your design. I will use the miter saw to cut a specific angle.
3. I set it too a 30 degree angle and and cut the shroud.
4. I use a Dremel to give a taper to the top of the shroud.
Step 6: Electronics
If you do not wish to add electronics then skip this step. Since this is so customizable I'm only going to show a diagram of my wiring and other options that are similar.
When choosing an LED, use this calculator (http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz) to check what resister you need in relation to your power source. It is the easiest way to find out what you need. A cheap flash light can be taken apart for most of these parts.
Needed: Your choice of LED (mine are purple), power source (im using 3 AAA), thin wire, foam sheet (for defusing), clear plastic sheet, solder, soldering iron, helping hands (optional)
1. Diagram number one is what I did. The parts colors show where I have them. The parts are lined with the same color as the position.
2. Diagram number two is with cheap flashlight parts.
Step 7: Assembling the Light Up Parts
These are just pictures of how I set up my electronics. There are a thousand different ways to do this.
Needed: All of your parts for lighting up your saber (transparent parts, LEDs, wires, anything else needed)
1. I wrapped them in foam film and put them in the transparent joint parts.
2. I made cheap plastic parts to hold my LEDs and soldered them down.
3. I connect all of them to the circuit board that was in the flash light.
4. After that i connect it just like in the diagram pictures from the last step.
5. The battery is glued down to the pommel and can easily be switched out.
Step 8: Painting! (Almost Done)
The painting process can be as expensive as you want it to be. I use krylon paints and they haven't failed me yet.
Needed: You choice of paint colors, clear coat, sand paper (400-600 grit), rubbing alcohol, and a cloth
1. Sand down the parts you wish to paint.
2. Wipe down the part with the cloth and rubbing alcohol to make sure all the dust is off.
3. Lay out your parts in a well ventilated area.
4. Follow your cans instructions on how to prep.
5. My two parts had my screw holes, so I put those in and tied them up to help get every part of the hilt.
6. Start your painting! I use shot burst that pile up over a while to a nice even coat and do the last part of number four.
7. After the color is nice, repeat the coating process but with the clear coat. I suggest about 3-4 coats of this and wait about 15 minutes between each.
8. Wait the recommended time to handle before the next step.
Step 9: Assembling the Whole Thing
THIS IS WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Only you know how to fully assemble your custom lightsaber hilt, but here are some tips!
1. If your batteries are glued to the bottom like mine, assemble the top first.
2. Wire to your switch then glue it into place then put in your emitter shroud and run the wires down.
3. Leave your wires long enough to pull off the pommel, so you can switch out your batteries.
4. Glue down your wires after soldering them to help secure.
5. Solder connectors to each wire instead of soldering directly to the other wires or boards. This will make it easier to repair, switch out for different parts, and do any other work needed.
6. Last: make one for someone, take pictures, and share them!