Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Build a Star Wars Jedi Light Saber

Jedi Light Saber
In a couple of days, you could build your own Star Wars inspired light saber. All you need is a few items from a home improvement or hardware store.
Supplies: (Follow links for images.)

-1-1/4" pop-up assembly
-1-1/2" extension tube, 6" length or 12" length
-1-1/2" faucet hole cover
-1-1/4" polywasher or 1-1/4" slip joint
-packaging tape to increase tension fit as needed

The below is dependent on how you want to decorate the handle. I used vertical felt strips for the yellow one and craft foam for the purple.
-1-1/2" rubber washers
-felt roll
-drawer liner
-craft foam
-split loom conduit

For the blade portion:
-1/2" PVC pipe
-spray paint
-1" vinyl tube
lightsaber handle
Top left: Faucet hole cover. Top right: Extension tube. Bottom left: Slip nut. Bottom right: Pop-up assembly with polywashers in place.

Tools Used:
-table saw for cutting PVC, a hack saw would also work
-razor blade for cutting the vinyl tube and split loom
-heat gun to reshape the vinyl tube
-scrap wood and nail to make a jig for painting the PVC

Process:
Take the pop-up assembly. You don't need the lever, rod or drain plug. Slide the 1-1/4" polywashers over the unthreaded end. (Also, you could slide the slip joint over the unthreaded end to catch the extension tube. That is optional. I did not do that) Then slide the unthreaded end of extension tube over the unthreaded end of the pop up washer. This should be a tight fit, if not, use tape to increase the tension fit. In two of mine the fit was perfect, in the other I used packaging tape wrapped around the polywasher for a better fit.
lightsaber hilt
Finished hilts.

The rubber flange, drain flange, and plastic nut can be positioned differently on the threaded end, or not used.

For the 12" extension tube, I cut it, rounding the top and slitting it down the side, placing it over the threaded end of the pop-up assembly. I left the smooth end exposed at the top, and used a file to smooth the cut edges. A worm gear over a polywasher keeps the tube from opening up and moving. Split loom is in the opening of the extension tube from the pop up rod opening to the worm gear.

Place the faucet hole cover in the threaded end of the extension tube on top of the accompanying washer. Then screw the slip nut into place.
A few details like screws or a hanger could be added. 
lightsaber handle
Faucet hole cover and slip nut in place.

If you are content for just a hilt, you're all set. If you need a fully functioning light saber, we need the 'blade' portion of the sword.
lightsaber handle
A finished hilt.
Cut 1/2" PVC to length. I used 30" on the shorter sabers and 42" on the longer saber. Sand the lettering off so it won't bleed through the paint, and lightly sand the entire tube, 220 grit or even 400 will be fine. Clean it by wiping it down. A nail in a board is enough to make a jig for painting. Start with a light mist coat, wait five to ten minutes and then add another mist coat, slowly building up the paint. This will ensure a better finished product. The third for fourth coat should be sufficient.

I wanted to protect the paint and used vinyl tube. I could not get it to stretch enough to insert the entire PVC tube into, and ended up splitting it down one side. To save money, you could wrap the PVC in packing tape for paint protection. The vinyl tube did add quite a bit of weight. This isn't bad as it slows the speed of the swing down.

I sanded the lettering off the tube and taped at the base, middle, and tip to retain the vinyl tube shape.

You could use a 1.25" clear vinyl tube, but this will not fit inside the pop-up assembly and is a bit too large for the PVC tube. I wrapped packaging tape around the bottom of the PVC tube for a tension fit inside the pop-up assembly.

The light sabers I made are tension fit- no glue. They hold together well, even through a few light saber battles. If any part feels loose, use packaging tape to increase the tension.
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