How To Build A Lightsaber Prop

Click Here For Instructions
On the Construction of a 
Hardware Store Lightsaber
In 20 Minutes.

Your Lightsaber, want to know how to make it Glow?
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Three things about Lightsabers before we start.

  1. Lightsabers do not truly exist, therefore there are no rules about building Lightsabers.
  2. Any Lightsaber that you can build will never cut anything using light.
  3. You cannot make a visable beam of light 3 feet long!

There are a few things that you need to consider when designing a Lightsaber.

  1. A Lightsaber's construction reflects the mood and character of the person who builds it.

  2. A Lightsaber Hilt (handle) is nothing more than a container for the essential Lightsaber components such as:

    Power Cell (there are as many sizes and shapes of SW power cells as there are Batteries)

    The Crystals needed to generate and focus the light beam.

    A switch to turn the Lightsaber on and off.

  3. There is no right or wrong way to build a Lightsaber

  4. It's your Lightsaber, have FUN with it.

Now, keeping the above in mind, let's have a little history lesson.
For those who know all about the items used to make the prop Lightsabers used in the original Trilogy, skip ahead, as for the rest of you...



Graflex Camera Flash or Lightsaber?

Luke Skywalker's first Lightsaber (given to him by Obi-Wan) was built out of an old 1940's Graflex Camera Flash.The middle section clamp holds the flash to the camera. The Emitter is the clamp that holds the flash bulb.

After adding windshield wiper blades for the grips and sliding the bubble display from an old calculator into the clamp the Lightsaber was born. Add a D-ring to the end so you can hang it from a belt and there you go.

The same was the case for Darth Vader's Lightsaber. It was constructed from a Heiland Flash, wiper blades and a few other add-ons. Since then Lightsabers have pretty much been made out of Aluminum, turned on a lathe (Luke's ROTJ saber and most of the EP1 sabers)

So, now that you know what it took to make the original Lightsabers, you can see that it is really easy to make one of your own.




What stuff could I use for a Lightsaber Body:

  • You can try to get a Graflex or Heiland but you will pay a fortune on Ebay.
  • There are some other Flashes that work, newer Graflex (Graflite), Peak, King Sol
  • I like using the Chrome Plated plumbing pipe available at any home improvement store.
  • An old metal flashlight
  • A new Aluminum flashlight
  • PVC pipe
  • Aluminium Tube
  • Wooden Dowel (Closet Rod)

What stuff could I use for Lightsaber Grips:

  • Order Grip material from Blast-Tech (aka Yoda's House)
  • Rubber Strips
  • Large O Rings
  • Rubber Plumbing Seals
  • Wire or Cord wrapped around the handle (like Darsha Assant's in Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter)
  • Rubber Grips from Tools
  • Rubber Floor Mat (cut and rolled around the tube)
  • Non-Slip material (for ramps, running boards)

How do you design one?

I don't know, that's up to you. A Lightsaber should have the following :

  • A Place for the Light Blade to come out.
  • A switch that would turn it on and off.

That's really the only things that you would need if you were building a real Lightsaber.
Other things that you could add would be:

  • Grips to hold it well
  • Knob's to control Blade Length and Intensity
  • A method of attaching it to your belt (clip, ring, hook)

Now if you want to be "Authentic" then you need to make sure your saber is the right size and shape to hold a power cell and the Crystal's needed to make the blade. Again, in the Star Wars Universe there seems to be as many sizes and shapes of power cells as there are different types of batteries here in this Universe.

Take a hike to Home Depot, Lowes or your favorite Home Improvement store and wander around the plumbing section.
Or walk around your backyard (or your friend's!) and see what's laying around. You never know what you might find.
Try putting this piece onto that one, What if you used one of those and two of those. See what you can create.

There are numerous Websites out there with terrific instructions on how to build replica's of Luke's ANH and ESB saber as well as good looking replica's of Obi-Wan's EP1 saber from pieces you get at the hardware store. These are commonly referred to as Hardware Store Lightsabers and some look really, really good. Please refer to our Links Page for those sites.

For a look at how I built a Lightsaber in about 20 minutes, click here.





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