Disclaimer: This project uses some power tools and basic wiring skills. I did some basic research on voltage and always used protective gear while cutting, painting and sanding. Don't do anything you are not comfortable with.
This is another paddle that I made for a co-worker who was switching to another command. This seems complicated but is relatively simple. This is one of the first ones that I have made with lights so the power source and switch are a bit bulky. I have found better ways to do both which I will explain later on. (You don't need to know his name, so I blurred it out)
-Paddle= around $20
-LED light strip for cars= $15 at Wal-Mart
-Blue matalic paint with sparkles= About $6 at Wal-Mart
-Blue 550 cord= $4 for 20 ft.
-Plastic toy light saber= $10 at Wal-Mart
-Sheet of plexi-glass= $3 for 1 square foot at Lowes
-Clear paint sealer
-5 Min epoxy w/ hardener (or other strong binding agent)
-Automotive electric switch= got a bag of 10 on Amazon for about $8 (the switch in the picture is rather large and would be much better if you can find a button or press switch.)
-Dremmel with sanding bit, etching bit, cutting disc and routing attachment
-Heavy duty stapler
Step 1: Make a Hole
I started off by cutting a square hole (with the routing bit) into the middle of the paddle blade. I just did a straight cut though. This made it so that the lights were visible from the front which looked terrible. I didn't have enough space to put a lip around it with the routing bit, so I spent a lot of time making one with wood filler and sanding it smooth. I suggest leaving enough room to go back through and rout the back of edges of the hole to create a lip on the front that will hide the lights.
Then I sanded off the protective clear coat on the blade and spray painted it that sparkling blue, and sealed with with acrylic paint sealer.
I then hot glued the LED strip to to the hole with the light facing inward. The strip I got from Wal-Mart was already wired and only needed to be connected to the power source (which i'll get to later).
Step 2: Etch the Design
Here, I cut out a square of plexi-glass that fits snugly into the hole. I highly suggest using rounded corners for this part, because it's easier to fit it on with the LED strip.
Stencil out the pattern you want on it (this was his rank and name, but you can really do anything) and etch the back of the glass. Etching the back will give the front side a smooth surface and looks a bit cleaner. You will have basically the same effect by etching either side, I just like the front side being smooth. Just etching the outline didn't catch as much light as i'd hoped, so I went back through etched out the entire letter. To get that frosted snow look around the edges, I sanded around the edges and made it rough to catch more light.
After etching, fix the plate into place and secure it with hot glue. (you could use any other binding method, but hot glue is really easy. As long as it's snug.) I then took the back of an old picture frame, and cut it to fit into the back of the hole and hot glued that into place as well. I made sure that the back was smooth by removing the excess glue.
The "ripples" on the front are where I used the wood filler (like clay) to build the lip. I didn't really do a good job of sanding it down before painting over it.
Step 3: Where's the Power?
The power source was actually three hobby batteries wired together to get the 12v needed to power the lights. You can put the switch any where in the circuit as long at it is between the battery and the lights.
After wiring the switch, the battery and the light together, I mounted the battery and switch to the back of the paddle using eye screws, picture mounting wire and hot glue. I then covered them in wood filler and painted it to match the rest of the blade.
If I was to do it again, I would use a smaller switch and mount it up in the hilt. I would also use a more compact power source that is easier to hide.
After the power was set, I wrapped the whole handle with a simple spiral all the way down the length of it.
Step 4: Make the Hilt
Here's where the light saber toy comes into play.
I cut the handle into two pieces (along the seem to make it look better). I removed the plastic blade part, and the guts of the handle. I had to use my dremmel for this and even needed to sand some of the paddle handle down to get it to fit properly.
I tried a bunch of different techniques, but in the end I ended up pouring a bunch of epoxy into the handle to keep the two halves together and clamped it down. It only took a night to dry, but I left it clamped like that for three just to make sure.
Finally I burned the rebel symbol into the hand grip and mounted the hanging mount. There are some things that I would change in the future, But I think that over all it turned out pretty good.