Thursday, December 9, 2010

1£ Store lightsaber

The RPF hosted it's second annual dollar store lightsaber building contest this November. As I have still to find a job this was a great opportunity to stave off cabin fever and keep the modeling skills sharp. The 20£ cutoff insured I could afford it. I used the following parts, minus the ones that are crossed out. Mind you I've just moved to the U.K. so I had to do the whole thing with a Dremel.

Concept sketches

I dremeled out the crystal chamber window from the wee little flashlight, as well as the "vent holes" on the side. This flashlight was great, as I could use it's two screw off ends to attach it to the other internal segments. The crystal itself was cut from the invaluable ice-scraper's acrylic blade. For the internal mechanics of the crystal chamber I cut apart the accessories from the "Funtastic Police Play Set" which had a lot of great textures.

For the emitter I used the top screen from the microphone, but hollowed out the middle, then cut lenses from the pen and closet light to color and diffuse the LED's from the flashlight. I then glued these to the hollowed top of the flashlight.

Here it is all together. The wire is stripped from the microphone cord. I was hoping the mic
would have some cool electronic guts, but it was totally empty inside. Thanks Poundland.

For the shroud I used the Aquafresh tube. They were polyethylene, and if I had to choose a least favorite plastic it would be polyethylene. Nothing sticks to it, it gets all hairy when you cut it, and sanding it is a ghastly nightmare. But the tube fit nicely, so there you are.

For the pommel I wanted something that had interest and spoke to the rest of the saber. I used two sections of Aquafresh cap, the reflector cup from the flashlight, and some of the EVA foam.

To light the crystal I needed a seperate light source from the emitter, as it's battery supply wouldn't cover enough LED's to light both. I used the blue LED rig from the ice scraper (why do you need a light up ice-scraper?) and cut it down to fit in the base of the crystal chamber. I then used some of the microphone wire to run the switch to the handle.

Next the unthinkable happened and I dropped up my DSLR taking photos during the build. So, the contest ended up being a lot more expensive than 20£. I am such a dumbass.

I finally figured out I could focus by getting it in range physically and manually shooting. I'm still out a spendy lens, but here it is. I used the decorative mirror the landlord put up to make my tiny flat seem bigger for the backdrop. For the paint scheme I was inspired by McQuarrie's original sketches of the stormtroopers holding sabers. The sabers they were holding in the concept sketch looked suspiciously like Obi-Wan's, so I pushed the design to look more sinister and mass produced. Initially I wanted to do a more elaborate paint job using some blue details, but ran out of time.

I think my favorite bit is the crystal chamber. The only part I ended up using from the bike pumps was the bit holding the crystal and the power switch. The blade adjustment knob is a screw cap from the corkscrew sanded flat. I was really impressed with how sturdy the switches from dollar store crap were.

The grips are cut from two layers of the EVA foam sheet. I couldn't believe they sold that stuff at Poundland. That was the biggest score of the whole build. The charge port is the tip of the pen used for the emitter lens.


  1. impressed as always. can't wait to see what's next.

  2. I have no idea why it thinks my Google account is Piddles The Incontinent Cat.

  3. Yay! Finally getting to see it. I'm impressed you cruised through a store and saw that saber in those items.

  4. Umm, who IS piddles the incontinent cat?

  5. Hey, I'm currently building my own lightsaber but am struggling to find objects with the same diameter, for you have any tips? Love your work by the way.