Lightsabers & Blasters Jedi-Loreen's EL Lightsaber Blade Tutorial

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by Jedi-Loreen, May 6, 2004.

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  1. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    FYI

    I was looking at the Coolight.com website. The inverter that I recommended in a previous post is now called the IFW 5681-2K. It used to be under 9V inverters, but is now under 12V inverters. It is the same inverter I have used, but now it probably doesn't have the 9V battery clip on it, but will run fine on just 9V.

    The same link address as I used in my above post about it is still valid.

    http://shopping.netledger.com/s.nl/c.ACCT76399/sc.2/category.12/it.A/id.37/.f
  2. Darkooze Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2004
    I was unable to locate the 5/8" OD, 1/2" ID polypropylene tubing size at the recommended site, but I was finally able to locate that size at a local hardware store. Thanks!

    Darkooze
  3. CaptKieranFlar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2001
    star 4
    About how sturdy are the blades when completed? I would think the torque on the connection between the blade and hilt must be extreme, so probally would have more of the blade within the hilt the harder you want to hit it.

    Assuming I make mine 'well', (always a factor ;-) ) about how well do they stand up? Are we talking 'stage' combat, or can my friends and I actually hit the blades together?
  4. DARK_PADAWAN Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2004
    star 3
    Would the completed electronics fit into a Graflex?
  5. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Darkooze, I don't know why you think I use polypropylene tubing for the diffuser. I use polyethylene, it's stated clearly in my parts list. I tried the polypropylene, and I didn't like the diffusion properties, so I went with the polyethylene.


    CaptKieranFlar, How sturdy are the blades? Well, polycarbonate is one of the strongest plastics made. Unfortunately, because the wall of the tubing I use is only 1/16" thick, the tubing will flex when you hit it against something. So for that reason, I don't recommend full power hits during dueling, it just doesn't look right.

    Parks uses a 1/8" tubing for his blades, so his blades don't flex as much, but I have been unable to locate any tubing like that. I'm not sure how well my diffuser tubing would fit inside it, either.

    I drill a slightly oversized hole in my connector housings, so the connectors sort of "float" inside the tubes. So there should be minimal torque or other strain on the connectors themselves.

    DARK_PADAWAN: "Would the completed electronics fit into a Graflex?"

    I can't really answer that question, never having seen a real Graphlex flash handle in person. It should fit inside the diameter, but I don't know the length of space that is available.


  6. jabba974 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2004
    star 2
    I've been customixing my parksaber with a wrinkle coating from vht. seems pretty cool so far . Has anybody else tried this? If so what do you think?
  7. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    What the heck are you talking about, jabba974?

    If it's about the lightsaber hilt itself, please take your question over to the "Your Lightsaber" thread. This is a thread about lightsaber blades.

    If not, then I still don't know what you are talking about doing to your Parks Saber.
    :p


  8. Kaladin Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2005
    Thanks for writing this tutorial. It is about impossible to get the information you gave anywhere else. I have assembled almost all the parts required to make my blade now. However I have a couple of questions for you.

    1. Before I found out which inverter you use, I ordered the pipsqueek driver from coolneon.com. Is this one going to be enough to make the blade look right?

    2. When you are talking about making a "bend in the EL wire, that is because you are running a long strand up and down the blade right? And if this is the case how many times should it go up and down the blade? I only ordered enough wire to make it up and down, but not back up. If you think it would look better with "three strands" I will just order more wire.

    3. Do you solder the two fine wires from the EL wire to a piece of that copper tape or just go straight to the speaker wire?
  9. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    You're welcome, Kaladin.

    First of all, I don't use that silly piece of copper tape the wire comes with. I solder the EL wire right to the speaker wire. Just follow the instructions on that link I put in my tutorial.

    That Pipsqueak inverter will be fine. Just not as bright at the Lightech inverters.

    I usually run 10ft of EL wire for my own blades, because my inverter can handle it, but for the Pipsqueak, I would only recommend 7ft, which would be one "bend" in the wire for the look of two strands.
  10. BescinPrix Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2004
    star 1
    Jedi-Loreen, I know this thread is about the blades, and not the hilts, but could you share pics of a couple of your full sabers? I am interested in seing how you managed the "emitte" part of the sabers.

    Thanks!
  11. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    I've really only made one full sized saber for myself, and one smaller one I call a "lightdagger" that holds smaller diameter and length blades. Though I have helped other local Fan Force member make EL sabers.

    You may mean how did I solve the problem of holding the blade in the hilt? I used a piece of PVC inside the hilt, held by screws from the outside and hidden by screw covers that look like black buttons. The female connector is glued and screwed into the bottom of that. I made my first EL saber back in '02, and might do it differently today.

    Some of the people in my group whom I've helped make sabers have bought the aluminum adapters that Lightech sells, but they are about $40, I think.

    If you'd like to check out my saber, go see my Yahoo Photo albums (in the "Lightsaber" album, of course! :p ) I don't have a picture that really shows the emitter end very well, though. If I had a digital camera :oops: , I could snap a few and put them in my album, sorry, I don't have one. [face_blush]

    Jedi Loreen's Photos

    If you have any more questions about my saber, you can PM me.

  12. Spongerd82 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Jedi-Loteen, I just wanted to say thanks for the tutorial, it has been a great help. I acually used smaller OD but thicker walled polycarbonite and just got smaller polyethelyne and 5mm high-bright wire. The blade is much more stiff and the "diffuser" you thought of works great. I do have one question though..What is the differance between the original and the newer pipsqeek inverter? I know the older one is smaller but is it still 9-12 volts? Thanks again Jedi-Loreen!
  13. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Yes, the voltage is still the same with the newer Pipsqueak inverter.

    Where did you get that thicker walled polycarbonate tubing, Spongerd82? I've been looking for something like that, but haven't been able to find it. I would like to be able to make stiffer blades.

    See? I don't know everything, you guys can help me out, too!
    ;)
  14. Spongerd82 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2005
    I got it from McMaster also: Part # 8585k53. It is 1/8 inch thick instead of 1/16. I used 3/8 od, 1/4 ID for the diffuser. I did not use any bushing just really strong glue. I did have to get a smaller stereo connector though. I also used these cool little acrilic half balls from usplastics for the tip of the blade. They are under acrylic shapes. They fit perfect!
  15. asdasd Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Whos blades are brighter ....Lighteck or Parks sabers?
  16. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Parks blades are brighter, but this is a discussion on making blades, not buying them. But I will continue in this vein temporarily.....

    EDIT: Now I see that you were redirected here, I guess this is the closest thread to ask your question.

    Personally, I'm not all that impressed with Lightech's blades, even though they use double core EL wire, which, theorectically should be bright. My blades, using single core wire, are brighter ( I know, I have compared them side-by-side), maybe because the wire strands are closer together inside the diffuser tube, and not flopping around inside the larger space of the polycarbonate tube.

    I didn't realize that McMaster had the thicker polycarbonate tubing. They are the first place I bought my first tubes from. I'll have to go check it out, thanks for the info, Spongerd82! :)
  17. surlygirlie Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2000
    star 4
    Yep, I redirected here because I felt it was at least tangentially related, and this would be the most likely place to get the clearest, most informed answers.
    ;)




  18. asdasd Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2005
    hey thanx for the reply! sorry im new to the boards :)
    as for parks blades bing brighter ,GOOD hehe i just bought one was unclear on that point.

    also im unclear on the wire versus the paper? i tought parks was the paper kind?

    another thing was the red that lightech uses compaired to parks red blade , has anyone put those side by side, which one is closest to the movies?

    thanx agine for all the input!!!
  19. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Parks doesn't really have a red blade, it's more of a pink, which has always been sort of a sore point with Parks Saber enthusiasts.

    And yes, Parks blades use the EL film, as opposed to wire, which Lightech uses.

    Lightech makes a true red blade, but I don't think it will work too well in a Parks saber, if at all.

    My local group has a lot of Sith and Darkside Jedi, so I make a lot of red blades, some of which go into Parks sabers. And mine do work in a Parks.
    :D
  20. darthtuttle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2004
    star 4
    What type of store would have electroluminescent wire?
  21. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Some people have found lighting kits for cars that use EL wire, but I'm not sure how much wire you get with those.

    Most people buy their EL wire online. I mention 2 websites in the parts list on the first page of this tutorial.

    To make it easier for you, here are the 2 places I like to buy my EL wire from:


    CooLight

    CoolNeon
  22. Spongerd82 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2005
    What do you guys use for the blade holder inside the hilt? I am using a 5/8" blade but i can not find any thing that it will slide into snug. I am putting tape on the 4 inches that go inside the hilt to make it a bit larger. Any ideas would be great. An just so you guys know I have found that a 4 foot high bright el wire running on the hanl held inverters running at 9v is a littile bit brighter than the 7-10 foot of high bright el running on the pipsqeek at 9v. Plus it is cheaper.
  23. Kaladin Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2005
    Spongerd82,

    Not knowing what the inside of your hilt looks like it is hard to say how to attach the blade, however assuming that it is a straight bore of either 3/4 of 1 diameter and assuming you want to hold the blade in with a thumb screw (I know a lot of assuming!)

    What I would do is make an aluminum sleeve that is .003 o .005 clearance both over the blade and under the inside diameter of the hilt. And just drill a clearance hole slightly oversize for the thumb screw. That way the thumb screw would go through the adapter we are talking about and attach right into the blade. The adapter will hold the blade rigid and the screw will keep it from sliding in and out.

    It should be easy to make one if you have access to a metal lathe, and if not, your local machine shop should be able to knock one out for you for about $15. (I am a designer for one myself)so if they want more than that they are trying to rip you off.

    Hope this helps. And hope it is not getting to far into the area of hilts since this is a blade post!

    And thanks for the tip on the acrylic half rounds, I just got mine in, they are sweet! Now I don't have to machine one.
  24. Aridus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Just so its known, I have about 18 3/4" OD x 1/2" ID polycarbonate rods I need to get rid of (the company I ordered from screwed up my order, so I have a lot of extras). Contact me at randomactsofme@hotmail.com for the price if you want one. Thanks.
  25. Marianne_Solav Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2001
    star 2
    Hi Loreen,

    I'm trying to find some polyethylene tubing. When I look online, I often see H.D.P.E. and L.D.P.E. (High density polyethylene and low density).

    Is there one better than the other? More or less translucent? I'm not sure what to choose...

    And when you say 'rigid' polyethylene tubing, is that different than most polyethylene tubing?

    Thanks! :)
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