Lightsabers & Blasters EL lightsaber

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by McLean, Jan 14, 2004.

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  1. krillindb Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2002
    star 1
    Hey guys, I'm the prop master at my school and our spring musucal is gonna be kiss me kate. But there is a catch, all the taming of the shrew scenes are scifi! So you know what that means! We are gonna have a lightsaber fight and I must say that so far it is looking insanely good. SO on to the topic I will be making five sabers for this play. We just ordered the wire and inverters today. Each saber will have 4 strands of highbrightness short life wire. Seeing as we only need it for the one play and the fact that it is cheaper we don't have to worry about it lasting too long, they just has to make it through 3 shows with a 5 minute fight in each. not too shabby. Also to increase the brightness we will not be difusing the wire. They will be far enough back that the audience won't be able to see teh individual wires. Now all I have to do is order the polycarbonate and I can start building. Does anyone have any ideas on how to permanently attach the blade to the hilt?

    Man what have I gotten myself into?
  2. LukeSkiewalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    star 4
    I think someone else asked that but it was never addressed. I'm sure you will get several ways to do it though. I think Jedi-Loreen's idea would work for perma 'tach. The only thing I would do different is have a bolt that goes all the way into the poly carb blade. I would say you would still want to have the pvc adapters do that you have added stability of the blade.

    just my 2 cents ;)
  3. OrGaZmO Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2004
    at coolight.com does anyone know how bright the high brightness wire is? and would it be good to use to make a lightsaber blade? and what inverter should i use from there?
  4. Annaerullo Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Well, *some* of my questions were answered; that's alright. I'm still chugging away anyway. Aren't we all? :)

    I just bought my el wire from CooLight. I expect it will arrive w/in the next couple of weeks; I'll try to post my findings after I test it.

    To Jedi_Ranger_007: I, too, have my own design ideas, and one of those includes my disdain for the "plug" at the end of Parks' sabres and others'. I imagine you share this feeling, since you asked. I do have one idea, but it will require a bit of calculation and precision cutting of the poly/plastic tubing. My thought is, if you slice the tip of the tube in such a way that the ends meet up to a round tip, superglue or clear epoxy it, it *should* look a bit better. I haven't had much success with this yet, though. It is harder than it sounds. I have tried to cut it into two sections (like an observatory dome), and four sections (like an 'X'). I believe that something will be needed to clamp over and around the tip to set the adhesive and to give it shape. Haven't found anything yet. I want to do this with both inner and outer tubes; that way the diffuser will be basically the same on the tip as it is round the length of the blade. I am sure it will work, if I can just get the cuts right!

    If anyone else has better ideas, or has tried anything that works, it would be nice to hear! Like I said, the "plug" approach just annoys and distracts me (suspension of disbelief, and all that).

    In order to keep the blade more secure in the hilts, I am using a BNC connector instead of the 1/4" phono connector. It is used in similar applications (as the phono cx) and includes a sort of twist-lock mechanism in its design. Just a thought.
  5. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Hey, OrGaZmO (interesting user name.... :p), from Coolight, I would recomend the 9V inverter IFW 5541-2K, the 2Khz one. Though you could go with the 3V IFW 3294-BL, if you want.

    As for telling you how bright the high brightness wire is I don't know how to answer that, it depends on your point of reference. All I can tell you is that it's about 50% brighter than the regular EL wire.

    If you're making a blade for yourself, you can certainly use whatever 2 conductor plug you want. I originally bought a Lightech kit to put into my first hardware EL saber. I decided that I didn't want to pay $85 each time I wanted a different colored blade, so I taught myself how to make them. That's why I use the plugs that I do. And now that I have made them for others, I need to keep to the "industry standard" so that they fit different sabers.

  6. Jaareth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2004
    star 1
    WOW! i just got my M2 from parks today..holy moly talk bout a bright green blade! that its too cool! omg i think im gonna cry....but instead ill go play with my lightsaber lol, ew that sounded like a bad jedi joke LOL.
  7. TheWizard Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2004
    I got my Master Replicas Force FX Luke lightsaber 2 weeks ago and wow am I impressed! just under 2lb with batteries loaded, very nice to swing about and duel with, two of my friends got one each too, another Luke and a Darth saber. Rechargables really don't last as long as alkaline batteries, they aren't as bright though you can only tell if two sabers are side by side, each with different types of battery, the good thing about rechargables is you don't have to shell out a shedload for Duracells everytime the sound loses pitch/volume and the blade goes dim.

    We setup a camcorder today when we were dueling and although the camera picture is pretty grainy (not DV unfortunately) it still looks really good, my friend who has the other Luke saber broke his... we figured out how to take it apart and fix it.

    The hilt is one single piece of machined aluminium (apart from the switch box & screw on cap on the bottom), the motion sensor is glued into the base of the blade which is in turn screwed into the small tube holding the electronics. The battery pack holding 6 AA's presses up against the electronics section to further help hold it in place. It broke at the first hole used to fix it into the electronics tube, so he snapped the end completely off, made new holes and it fixed it back in.
    The blade glows using a strip of EL paper which is curled round inside the tube, it doesn't need gluing in place at all, about 1.5 inches of paper had to be cut from the end to make it fit inside the now shorter tube, the saber is now back to perfect working condition :)

    Interestingly the Darth blade glows up in sections when turned on like the 'real' sabers from the films. They can take a good walloping without breaking as we've found out, anyone want me to put up a videoclip of our playing? :D


    I still want to make my own lightsaber(s) sometime and my friend wants a Darth Maul one as he's quite capable of swinging a staff that size without looking like SWK.
  8. Jaareth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2004
    star 1
    cool! the EL ones are awesome...one thing bout my m2 from parks...i went to buy a new battery...(played too much with it lol) brought home the battery...and found out..it wont fit in the battery holder! took them back and tried another...wouldnt fit...only the energizer would fit...so if they change thier battery size...im in deep trouble :(. other then that...its an awesome saber! i had a blast showing it off to my friends, i had to get them all drool bibs when i first pulled it out and fired it up lol.
  9. Jedi_Outcast77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2003
    star 4
    I'm sure this has been asked before, so my apologies in advance, but I just wanted to ask if anyone here has the Parks Echelon and what you think of it? What color blade did you get? What do you think of the saber overall? I'd also like to ask the same question about the Parks Graflex?
  10. Jaareth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2004
    star 1
    well i dont know too much bout the echelon..but it looks nice. i myself got the green blade..its the brightest...and bright isnt the word...i couldnt believe how bright it was...in a dark room it lights it up as clear as daylight! so green imho is the way to go..and...your cannon at least with lucas's desires lol.
  11. LukeSkiewalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    star 4
    Interestingly the Darth blade glows up in sections when turned on like the 'real' sabers from the films.

    Well from what I have read the Vader uses LED's instead of/in combination with EL paper. That's how you are able to get the "power up" effect. Hopefully my next saber will have that effect by using the Graflex reborn board I have.
  12. Jo-Daulas Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2004
    my question is...if i spent the time to build these..would they stand the test of a beating. This is regarding Loreen's design..would the tubes you bought work..
  13. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    (this is _3MD_PsychoSniper from the previous page, I switched usernames if anyone cares)


    my planning for mine is coming along a little further. I took apart my old toy saber and removed the circut boards and wiring and plan to use it with mycustom one so I can have sound too. What Im planning now is to disable the motion sensor (a spring over a metal rod, it shakes more than a certain ammount, it closes a circut and the saber impact sound effect comes) but disable it in such a way that it can be reinabled. For my hilt, Im currently planning to get a peice of plumbing pipe thats someware between 3/4 inches and 1 1/4 inches around and use grip tape on it for the texture, maybe also get some of these hockey stick blade things that are good grip material, and cutting them in such a way that they look in place and putting the grip tape over it in a pattern that covers the seam as well. Im going to take a end cap and screw it on as the bottom of the hilt, and proably access the batteries and internals of the hilkt through that.




    Also, for the UV effect, Im planning on getting some kind of UV bulb that is long and straight (but no more than .50/.75 inches around) an fitting it into a clear PVC pipe, and securing it with a generous amount of clear silicone glue which Im hoping will diffuse it as well, also assuming I can find a UV bulb in the propper shape would their be any propper power source for it ? I was thinking that if I have to, I could have a large battery in the bottom (maybe a recharagble one like in a 100,000 candlepower handheld spotlight) and Id just make the bottom 1/4 of the hilt a little wider and blockier (which would also act as a good counter balance for the blade, assuming the blade is heavy.)



    Does that sound like a sound plan so far ?
  14. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    I thought this was a thread for EL sabers. Not "flashlight" sabers. :p

    With the blades I make I use the same polycarbonate tubes that Lightech uses in their blades. They are strong, but somewhat flexible. I have been unable to find the thicker-walled tubes that Jeff Parks uses for his blades.

    Some people argue that a little "give" to the blade is good, because it can take some of the strain off of the plug at the end where it connects to the inverter.
  15. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    It might wind up as a EL saber, who knows.


    And since the pple in this thread (you especily) seem very knowledgble of the mechanichs behind it........



    Basicly, Im considering EL or neon bulb. If I do Neon, main issue will be power source, as it'll be large, but a good counterweight when the blades attached.



    EDIT

    as far as stress at the attaching point, Im going to have two rown of 3-4 screws an i1-3 inch's apart height wise, so the clear PVC pipe holding the blade is well supported. Also that would do well in holding a dowl rod of proper size for dualing.
  16. krillindb Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2002
    star 1
    Hello everyone. I just finished building 4 EL sabers today for my school play(3 single bladed and 1 double bladed). They are very simple hilts, the blades are fixed and cannot be removed. There is no diffuser whatsoever seeing as the audience cannot see it up close and we used high brightness short life wire to achieve maximum brightness. Lemme tell you the lime colored wire is really bright, you can see it in normal indoor light. You still cannot see it outdoors during the day though. I will try to snap a few pics on monday and post them here. And we have tested their strength by dueling, they hold up very well, no damage whatsoever.
  17. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    Has anyone ever uses a 4ft .25in diameter neon tube for the blade ?

    Theres a company bout a mile from were I live that does custom neon stuff (ranging from cars, to store signs) and Im going to try to find something there that can run on several 9V batts.
  18. TheWizard Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2004
    "Interestingly the Darth blade glows up in sections when turned on like the 'real' sabers from the films."

    Well from what I have read the Vader uses LED's instead of/in combination with EL paper. That's how you are able to get the "power up" effect. Hopefully my next saber will have that effect by using the Graflex reborn board I have.



    We persuaded our friend with the Master Replicas FX Darth saber to take his apart today, turns out there's no electroluminescence anywhere in the blade but a long strip of evenly spaced red LEDs set inside a length of white foam (the kind used in packaging) which is used as a diffuser, with the LEDs split up into 6 segments electronically to get the blade to 'grow' from the hilt as it lights up.

    The LEDs explain why his batteries are still going strong while we (with our EL bladed versions) have changed ours a few times already.

    His blade was cracked inside the hilt also from too much duelling... I checked mine and it's still intact :)
  19. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Neon is very bright, I've seen a few saber blades using this. But it is also very fragile. You cannot duel with it.

    As people know by now, that you can duel with an EL blade.
  20. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    ah,cool. I dont plan to dual, so thanks.

    Now I just gotta find some neon thats the right size that doesnt need to be plugged into a wall and reinforce it, proably with clear sealent and a clear plastic pipe.


    EDIT

    have the neon blades yove seen looked good ?
  21. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Yes, they do look good, I've seen green and blue, in person.

    Like I said in the PM to you, get a piece of polycarbonate tubing to put that neon into. It's strong and transparent.
  22. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    With luck, I'll find a suplier that puts the neon tube in some strong material that can take shock.
  23. zhi-don_aquintas Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2002
    star 4
    ok...master saber builders, i am in need of advice. as most of you know LT sells an adapter that is pretty much universal. it is made of aluminum and 5 inches long by 1 1/4 wide. the hole that runs through it is just a little larger than a saber blade. it also has a thumbscrew mounted in it to secure the blade. the plug and mount goes in one end and this is inserted into the main saber body right behind the emitter shroud. question: what can i buy to replace this? i have made 2 sabers, the 2nd EL and although i solved this problem with some jury rigged parts, i need advice for the others in our fan force who want to build sabers. this unit costs $40 and right now LT is temporarily out of stock due to conventions. anybody got any ideas? we are dueling with these so pvc or other plastic is pretty much out of the question.
  24. Feezle-Nuts Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2003
    star 4
    How thick is the foam difuser in the FX Vader? Do you think it is possible to replace it with something thinner to make the saber brighter?
  25. LukeSkiewalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    star 4
    anybody got any ideas? we are dueling with these so pvc or other plastic is pretty much out of the question.

    From an Earlier post in this thread

    LukeSkiewalker:

    Jedi-Loreen: I was thinking about this and had a question...

    For the blade mount in my next saber, I will be using a piece of 3/4" PVC pipe and making a slit in it to shrink the ID down a tad, then hollowing out 2 1" PVC plugs that fit nicely into a sink pipe. The PVC pipe will be tightly held inside the plugs and I'll JB Weld it all together, sand and paint it.

    I'll be drilling and tapping holes into the plugs (before attaching the pipe to them) so that I can use screws to hold it in the hilt, after I JB Weld the female connector coming from the inverter into the bottom. The top screws will be decorative and stick out from the hilt, while the bottom screws will be set screws that screw into the grip, through the pipe and into the PVC plug. At least that's the plan.

    When doing this method how do you do a blade screw (or for that matter are you using one because I don't see it listed)? I would think that frequent tightening and loosing of a screw that is in PVC pipe would eventually cause stripping in the hole.

    The only way that I can think of that this mounting method would work is if the pvc was recessed a bit from the top and you had two or three blade screws above the pvc. I am just having difficulty picturing this in my head since all I have used in the past is the lightech adapter.

    Could you clarify this? When I make a hilt I using have the hilt mapped out completely on my head before I make one. This is the one part that I am still having some problems with.


    Jedi-Loreen:

    You do have a good point about stripping out the threads that hold the blade screw. I'll be using a thumb screw to hold the blade, threading the PVC plug and sleeve.

    As I said in an earlier post, I've tried this blade mounting method on a smaller scale with my lightdagger, but it holds 5/8" blades that are only 20" long and not very heavy. The thumb screw seems to hold just fine with no sign of the threads stripping in the PVC.

    However, a 3/4", 40" long blade will be heavier (and be swung harder and faster) and in more need of being well secured.

    You have me rethinking my design. I now think I should perhaps incorporate a nut recessed and secured into the PVC plug, so as to not worry about stripping out the PVC with repeated loosening and tightening of the blade screw.

    Perhaps I'll buy another plug to sacrifice for a test to see how well it's going to work, since I can't do the real parts that'll go into the saber till I cut the hilt and drill the holes in it for the set screws that will hold the assembly inside it.


    Hope this helps
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