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. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    AHh... thanks. I hadn't thought of the battery-death thing. Like I said, it was kinda a dumb idea. Thanks though.
  2. darthtuttle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2004
    star 4
    Is there a way to mold polycabonate?
  3. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    What kind of "molding" do you want to do?

    I made a gag blade for a friend a couple years ago, with his help. He wanted a blade with a curve bent into it in so he could wear it and look like he has been stabbed by a lightsaber while he was in his Tusken garb.

    First we fed a piece of rope through the tubing so it wouldn't kink when we put in the curve. Then carefully heated the middle with propane torch. Then pulled out the rope.

    When it was cool, I put a piece of diffuser tubing in each of the straight ends then fed the wire through, doubling it at each end.

    My friend wore it on his back, like he was stabbed down through his shoulder and it was coming out the opposite side near his hip. It was funny, Jeff Parks got a kick out of it.
  4. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    I remember seeeing that the MR Force FX sabers use LED's in their blades, so they can make them light sequentially. Could you use the same techniques as the EL-wire, but with LED's? Just wire them to each other in sequence and stuff them inside the diffuser tubing? It might make the wiring simpler, too. Just attach the 9V clip right to the first LED, and voila. I wouldn't bother making it light sequentially, but it'd still look cool. I have a couple questions though. First, would it be worth it? Would the LED's cost more than the EL, or would it be too much of a pain to wire? Second: could the LED's break inside the polycarbonate? Third, how many lights do you think I'd need to do this?

    Like I said on my previous post: These may be dumb questions, but I get bored easily and these are the thoughts that pop into my head, lol. Thanks for any help.
  5. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    No, that wouldn't work to put LEDs inside a diffuser tubing. It would be too fragile to duel with anyway.

    Plus, you can't just wire up a bunch of LEDs in series and expect them to light up sequentially. You need a lot more circuitry for that, like some sort of clock chips or something to "tell" the LEDs when to light up. Plus, I'm sure, all kinds of resistors and other components.

    EL blades are easy to make, fairly cheap, and durable, that is one of the reasons that there are so many of them out there.

    Sure, LED blades look cool, but they aren't really practical to duel with.
  6. LukeSkiewalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    star 4
    I am not sure about this RedHead (or Loreen) but couldn't you use a Graflex reborn driver to accomplish this? I realize that driver is meant to power neon but wouldn't it still work for the E.L.? I could possibly see why it wouldn't for the LEDs.

    I just thought I would throw this out there.
  7. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    Ahh... now I know...( and knowing is half the battle!) I thought LED's' might be fairly tough. I said that I did NOT want them to light sequentially, and THAT's what would make the wiring easier. I guess they're not practical, then. Here's another little question, based on my thoughts for the LED blade. I was going to throw some high-intensity white bulbs in there, with a flasher chip, to make the little "pulsation" you can see in the movie blades. But, I guess not. (In case you can't tell, I've never done this before, and I'm just wieghing my options)
  8. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    I was just curious why you don't use 5/8 OD tubing for your diffuser. Instead you go for the 1/2 OD, and put bushings at the ends. Is there a specific reason for this? Thanks.

    And a quick question about that inverter from coolight, the "IFW 5681-2K" that you use. It's rated to be 12 volts and run 20 feet of wire, but it'll work fine with 10 feet of wire on 9 volts without burning anything out?
  9. thalor42 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Ive followed the tutorial (great BTW) but I'm concerned about the brightness of the wire in the diffuser. Is it supposed to be that dull? I'm using the TECH LITE IFW 5681 2K as my inverter. Am I using something that cant power 40 inches of EL wire? I've tried several different types and colors of EL wire. Any suggestions on the inverter?
  10. Strydur Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    Well, with the help of all of you and other countless websites I finally got my first lightsaber built. For the handle i used parts from a army flashlight and tube from homedepot. The blade is 3/4" OD 1/2 ID polycarbonate. The diffuser tube i believe is the wrong stuff..i ordered the low densisty instead of the rigid high densitity that jedi-loreen lists. The other stuff will be here in a few days and i hope is a little more diffusing. The tube is 7/16 OD so i have no play inside my tube and do not need any bushings. I also used 3/4 acrylic half balls for the tips. The following pictures are with the saber running on a 9v battery. I have holders comming to make it run off 8 AAA making it 12V which is a bit brighter. I am using the high bright long life wires triple strung. Well anyways thanks for all the info.

    Here is a pic of the handle
    [image=http://home.comcast.net/~compunerdy/handle.jpg]

    This is with the blade turned off and the light on
    [image=http://home.comcast.net/~compunerdy/offlighton.jpg]

    Here is with the blade on and with flash
    [image=http://home.comcast.net/~compunerdy/onwithflash.jpg]

    This is blade on and no flash
    [image=http://home.comcast.net/~compunerdy/onnoflash.jpg]

  11. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    RedHeadKevin,
    I was originally going to be using the 5/8" diffuser tubing, but I couldn't get it into the polycarbonate tubing, even with a lot of sanding, but it was before I tried silcone spray lubricant, so I tried the 1/2" and liked the narrower "beam" it made, so I stuck with it, since I had lots of different pieces of 5/8" tubing to cut up and use as bushings, from when I was looking for the right tubing material to get the diffusion properties I was looking for.

    And now that I'm trying to get some of the thicker-walled polycarbonate tubing, I'll need to use the 1/2" diffuser tubing in it anyway.

    thalor42,
    They keep changing the specifications on that inverter you are using, it now says that it's rated for 20-50ft of EL wire and runs on 12V. I had thought it used to say 10-20ft. If that's the case, then I would now say it's not the right inverter anymore, sorry about that, people who bought those and are not satisfied. It would probably be a bit brighter if you did run it on 12V, but I know my saber wouldn't fit more than a 9V battery inside it. Definitely not 8 AAs!

    Someone I have been working with online (the first girl I've ever talked to about building lightsabers and blades! Yay! :D ) is using a different inverter for hers. I haven't tried one myself yet, but from the pictures she has been sending me of the raw wire lit up, and the blades she's constructed, they look pretty bright. It's the CL-ISC-9V-10-20FT from Coolight.

    Inverter

    Strydur,
    If those dimensions you gave for the polycarbonate tubing are correct, then that would mean you have the thicker 1/8" walled tubing? If so, then can you tell me where you got it? I've been looking for some of that!

    It is possible to get the 1/2" diffuser tubing inside the thicker walled polycarb. tube, I just did that when I redid a friend's Parks blade using his original tube for that. But it wasn't easy. Using the 7/16" will be easier to insert, but there will be some play in it and the diffuser tubing may rattle around a bit inside the polycarbonate tube, since you will actually have 1/32" play between the diffuser and the polycarbonate. You will also have less room inside the diffuser tubing for 3 strands, since the ID is only going to be 5/16". You will have to tell me how it works for you. And the tubing I recommended will diffuse the EL wire more, don't worry.

    Nice work so far, though. You should have a pretty bright blade with it running on 12V.
    ;)
  12. Strydur Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    Well i guess this is my contribution hehe...

    http://www.k-mac-plastics.net/polycarbonate-tubes.htm
    KM-2100G $3.43 per foot

    I used high bright long life 2.5mm wire from coolneon and 3 strands fit easily, could probably fit 4. I am probably going to toy with using 2 strands of the 5mm.
    I used there pispqueek driver which is rate at 4-20' of wire, i think next time i will get the classis pipsqueek because to fit in my handle i had to grind the crap out of the case of the bigger pipsqueek.

    I have a digital camera so as i get around to making more blades i will post more pics for everyone.

    Strydur
  13. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    $ 3.50 a foot? ouch. the 1/16" walled stuff form USplastic is $0.78 a foot.
  14. sporty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2005
    star 1
    Wow Most Impressive,

    I was curious to the 5mm El wire ? has that worked out well versus the 2.5 mm wire ?

    I am wanting to do a 24 El blade. I enjoyed reading all the posts. I'll have to go back and re-read tho. Still some light confusion on the tubing.

    Sporty

    P.S. any links for detailed assembly
  15. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    I just found a site that has 1/8" walled Polycarbonate tube for less than you were getting it.

    http://polycarbonate-tubes-rods.com/polycarbonate-tubes.htm

    it's $2.12 a foot, and clicking "buy now" will get you 8, 4-foot sections for 68 bucks, plus shipping

    They also have 1/4" thick walled tube, but i doubt you could get an EL wire in there. (maybe 1 strand of 5mm?)
  16. Strydur Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    wierd..when you click buy it now does it add the wrong size to the cart for you also?

    You could get the EL int here no problem..problem is there would be no room for diffuser tubing and 1/8 is plenty thick
  17. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Ok, thanks, I already know about that site. I'm hoping to find it cheaper than $2.12/ft.

    A local plastic company has left over tubing from larger orders, periodically. A couple friends bought some for only $10 for an 8' piece. That's only $.80/foot! Unless I heard them wrong. :p

    That's weird that that site puts the wrong size tubing in your cart. It's the same price as the other, so something is screwed up. I tried it myself.
  18. Strydur Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    After looking at the sites closer..they all go to the same order page the reason price is shown cheaper on the one is they have the wrong product id# tagged to that line. But if anyone finds another place to order it cheaper please let me know.
  19. sporty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2005
    star 1
    Greetings,

    I ordered some EL, from - http://xoxide.com/ultra-brite-line-el-wire-blue.html.
    It's 60 inches for $9.99, comes with a inverter but will not work for it is AC inverter.

    I looked at one of the other links, cheap el wire. time shipping was added in, wow.

    Plus I ordered a inverter from coolight.com (CL-ISC-9V-10-20FT)

    I went to menards and picked up some polyethyelene, 1/2 od, 3/8 ID. for $2.47.

    I/m only doing a 24 inch El lightsaber. But If I think the El is not enough, I'll pay more and get some from the other website. They were just wanting to much for shipping.

    I'm hoping this weekend to order polycarbonate and get to radio shack for parts.

    sporty
  20. Strydur Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    Sporty, I might be wrong but i believe the power supply of a computer changes ac to dc, so the EL kits for computers would actually be ran off dc? /shrug just a thought. It probably isnt very good qality at that price anyways. Try www.coolneon.com they have treated me good so far.

    Strydur
  21. sporty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2005
    star 1
    Right, thats why I ordered a inverter from coolight.com (CL-ISC-9V-10-20FT) The one you all have recommended.

    Does anyone have pics of the end pieces, for the tube or how the mounted it ?

    sporty
  22. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, sporty.
  23. sporty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2005
    star 1
    Sorry for the confusion,

    I was hoping to see some pictures of the male, female connecter end, a piture of them connected to lightsaber and to the El tube.

    Sporty
  24. RedHeadKevin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 2
    Do you think that 1 strand of 5mm hi-brightness EL wire would work inside a 1/4 inch thick tube? I'm talking about the 1/4"-walled stuff. If you frosted the inside (or the outside)of the polycarbonate, it would act as its own diffuser, and you'd have a really thick blade to whack stuff with. On the other hand, it might bend too much if you hit something with it.


    ( Oh yeah, and sorry to be a pest. I've just never made a "working" lightsaber before, and I want to do it right the first time)
  25. Strydur Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    Sporty, I made a 24" blade lastnight for my youngest sons saber. I'll post pics of it tonight maybe.

    Strydur
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