Lightsaber question

Discussion in 'Calgary, AB' started by Magpie Jen, Jun 9, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Magpie Jen Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 2
    Howdy,

    So, the past couple days I've been working on my Orc mask - put a layer of latex, wait 2-3 hours, paint another layer... These 2-3 hour blocks of time are not conducive to much more than playing around, so I'm using the time to ponder construction of the lightsaber.

    I have a bunch of interesting hardware from Rona/Home Depot/Canadian Tire and I'm wondering about the dimensions of the typical lightsaber hilt.

    Ok and don't laugh or make 'how big is your lightsaber?" jokes ;) Let's get past that, shall we?

    Most of the detailed pictures I have of the hilts are just hilts on their own - it's hard to get an idea how big they actually are from that. One of the problems with the toy lightsabers is that the proportions are so obviously wrong and I want to avoid that.

    Looking at my Obi Wan jpgs (not an unpleasant task) I get the following proportionate dimensions:

    Maximum hilt diameter - he's able to overlap his thumb with the first knuckle of his index finger, if I do that I get 1 3/8" to 1 5/8"
    Minimum hilt diameter (Ep 3 saber for example, with the taper beneath the emitter) - about the width of a thumb, which on me is about 3/4"
    Length - about long enough for 3 fists, which on me is about 9 1/4"

    Does that seem right to you guys? Anyone who has made one before - do you remember the dimensions of the parts you used?

    Jen
  2. DrHaggis Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2004
    star 3
    I've been using the first nice day after the rain to finally paint some Orc armour. It looks fan-tastic!

    I use the 3 fist rule when sizing lightsabers. That seems fairly standard in most source materials I can find. This works out to (for the standard adult male Jedi) to be about 10 inches long. The diameter of 1 1/2 inches is proportionately right. I don?t know if the 3-hand rule works for Yoda, but this worked for me.

    This length makes it a "hand and a half" kind of weapon.

    I have a really short saber that I need to finish soon. It is still 10 inches long, but once you subtract the pommel and the emitter details, it is really just a one handed device.




  3. Old_Republic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2005
    star 1
    The sabre I'm building is 12" long from emitter to pommel but I may shorten it to 11". I have found that 1 1/2" diameter is just a bit less comfortable than 1 1/4". So really, just make one that is comfortable and easy to use. Unless of course, you are trying to make an actual replica.

    On a side note; does anybody know what the diameter of a graflex is?
  4. PreludeRM FanForce CR, & Fanforce Council Calgary, Alberta

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2002
    star 4
    I use 1 1/2 for all mine as any electronics will not fit into a 1 1/4. Basically 12" long by 1 1/2" diameter.
  5. Old_Republic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2005
    star 1
    My electronic Luke sabre from '95 is 1 3/4" x 12". Just FYI and I'm not sure what the dimensions of the newer ones are but they do look better.
  6. Magpie Jen Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 2
    Hi - thanks for the replies!

    I did a little more digging on the net in response to OldRepublic's question about the diameter of a Graflex 3 cell - this resulted in a fascinating exploration of the relationship between SW prop builders and vintage photographers.

    Most interesting of all was the graflex.org messageboard for photographers, it looks like they had lots of issues with SW prop guys in the past and they decided to censor words on the board like "Star Wars", "saber", and "for sale"!

    In the thread I quote below an uneasy truce was declared between the photographers and a prop builder who agreed that it was a travesty to destroy working vintage equipment to make a saber, and a crime for SW collectors to drive up the prices of graflex equipment, and just wanted to know the dimensions and specs so he could make replicas. Someone who claimed to have a 3 cell gave the following dimensions (his spelling mistakes, not mine!):

    "the diameter is 1.5" the overall lenght is 10 5/8", it's 3 5/8 from the bottom to the bottom edge of the band, the band is 2" wide."
    http://www.graflex.org/helpboard/viewtopic.php?topic=733&forum=7&23

    Other claims for the diameter of a Graflex 3 cell were found below:

    Claims 1 5/8" diameter:
    http://www.geocities.com/myscififan/swlsaber.htm

    Claims 1 1/2" diameter - about half-way down the page. One problem though is that this page is discussing Vader's saber, which, if I understand things right, was not built from a Graflex 3 cell. Nevertheless, they quote a 3 cell as having a diameter of 1 1/2":
    http://www.partsofsw.com/dvjedsab.htm

    Quite a nice reproduction site with schematics of the 3 cell though I didn't find actual measurements while just surfing briefly though it:
    http://www.hu.u-net.com/graflica/home.htm

    So anyways :), I'd say a diameter of about 1 1/2" sounds right.
    Jen
  7. DrHaggis Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2004
    star 3
    Magpie Jen,

    Are you making a true replica or a heavily inspired custom saber? I have collected a fair collection of reference pics of the ANH Graflex, Vaders MPP, and Obi-wans rusty number. I will bring a disk for you on Saturday, if you want.


  8. Magpie Jen Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 2
    Ideally, I'd like to make a heavily influenced custom saber.

    Specifically, most like ObiWan's Ep 3 but with a couple nods towards Obi Wan's New Hope. Like the Ep 3 saber I don't want a switchy thing on the side of the control box, and I want it to clip to the belt with a cell-phone attachment rather than a d-ring. Like the New Hope saber I want to weather it and I want the buttons on the control box (the Ep 3 one looks like it has bars on the top of the control box).
    http://www.thelightsaber.com/historyO.htm#ToObiWanKenobi

    However, once I get a better feel for the parts I can get and how they fit together I might loosen up my ideas.

    I'd love to see the references pics! Thanks muchly!
  9. iRob Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    Yo.

    "The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology" has a lightsaber explained thusly:

    'A lightsaver's handgrip is approximately 24 to 30 centimeters long and features a mirrorlike concave metal disk called a blade emitter on one end. Controls include an activation lever, a recharge socket, diagnostic readouts, and in some cases blade length and intensity controls. Opening the small access panel reveals a tiny but very sophisticated power cell as well as at least one-and sometimes several-multifaceted crystals or jewels.'

    It goes on for a while, and eventually mentions:

    "Each lightsaber is custom-built, normally by the Jedi student as one of the tests of an apprentice's skills."

    and

    "Most lightsabers have customized features such as pressure-sensitive activation levers (so that the blade disappears as soon as the saber is released) and multiple crystals that enable the user to alter the amplitude and length of the blade. The lightsaber's handgrip is as much a work of art as a practical weapon, often featuring a design native to the Jedi's homeworld or built by the student in a style reminiscent of his master's lightsaber."

    It also has a diagram of Darth Vader's, Luke Skywalder's, and Exar Kun's (double bladed) lightsabers, with labels as to what each button or switch is for.

    Of course that guide was published in 1997, well before the prequels (and quite a bit of EU) came out.

    I remember from some EU that one of Corran Horn's lightsabers was made from the handle of a speeder bike, because at the time he had to improvise, and that Tenel Ka's first 2 lightsabers were made from hollowed out Rancor teeth, to honor Dathomir.

    Don't know how much that helps, but you can borrow the book when I come down in a week if you like. When I build mine, I have more of an emphasis on trying to get the blade right, and my hilts are usually more of an afterthought. I'll try to get some pictures of mine up on my site, and you know, the site as well, for that matter. :)

    Cheers.
    R
  10. DrHaggis Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2004
    star 3
    The Control box on the side is hard to do right. It looks elegant on Luke's ANH hilt and on Obi-wan's, but like crap on Luke?s ROTJ saber, which is near identical. I tried to do one myself and followed all of the rules but it looked *so* bad that I didn?t use it.

    Keep in mind, when you make only the hilt, most people will be so unimpressed by the fact that it "doesn?t do anything" that they will nitpick your construction. Honestly, how many thousandths of an inch tolerance can one get from a Dremel?
  11. iRob Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    Seven.

    But that's just an average.

    ;-)
  12. Magpie Jen Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 2
    Haha!

    The control box issue also leads me to ask - how comfortable can it be? To me it looks like it sits there right where you'd want to grasp the hilt.
  13. Old_Republic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2005
    star 1
    Thanks for the info Jen!
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.