Cheapsabers hardware saber construction FAQ
Written by Hugh Sullivan
What would a lightsaber site be without at least some basic instructions on how to make your own?
Making a lightsaber can be very simple and fun, or very complex and challenging, depending on what kind of saber you want to make.
First of all, of course, the kind of saber you would like to make has to be there in your mind somehow. The ways to make a saber are countless... but if you are trying to do a simple homemade 'hardware saber', then it is best to start with a simple design and work from there. First, determine a good length and width of the handle. Most handles are between 10-13 inches long. However, a double-sided saber will be at least twice that. And there are some fighting styles that require a different shape or size of hilt. Some fighting styles use a longer hilt, 15-20 inches, for more leverage. Find the length that fits your hand and your style best. Also, find a width that suits you best. 1 inch diameter sabers seem to fit most hands, but some will be more comfortable with 1.25 inch diameter.
Then comes the style decisions. Now that you have found the best size and shape, now it is time for you to find the best look.
The endcap is a small decision to make. If you wish to buy from this site, the lawn sprinkler endcap is one of the best to make a base of a saber with. But it only fits in 1.25 diameter tubes. The plain PVC endcaps, or PVC male adaptor connected to a female endcap look pretty good. Also, I have found that if you connect a male adaptor to a plain endcap, it covers the screw-threads part of the male adaptor. This is the design I used in my child-sized lightsaber, and it works fairly well.
However, really anything that covers the end of the saber can be used as an endcap. If you see something in the hardware store, or anywhere else that just looks right, go for it.
The same goes for an emitter. The Darth Vader style blade shroud is easily done with some of the PVC pieces on the saber kits page. More expensive is the sink drain Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi style emitter. But it looks good... so if you're willing to spend the extra money, it can be worth it.
Also, other emitters can be found just about anywhere. Not all sabers have to look like Obi-Wan's or Darth Vader's. A hobby store is a wonderous place full of lots of little trinkets that are meant for one use, but can be used for another. Same with a hardware store, or even perhaps an electronics store.
The grip is also important. Some prefer to leave the saber mostly blank, showing the metal or PVC of it. For others, grips cover a good portion of the saber.
The wiper-style grips are surprisingly comfortable, and all you need to do to make them is to cut strips of foam rubber, or if you're willing to spend the extra money, they can be ordered from a website called Yodashouse, I haven't tried them myself, but I've read many good things about them from people who have.
Other grip styles can be invented, or copied from existing sabers by cutting shapes out of a sheet of black foam, or rubber o-rings.
Now comes the assembly. All the sabers on my site can be assembled using no tools at all. Epoxy is very easy to mix and make, simply squeeze a little bit from both tubes, then mix them together with something disposable, like a popsicle stick or an old pencil. If any excess epoxy is showing after the saber is assembled, try to wipe it off as cleanly as possible. On a metal saber, the leftover epoxy can be chipped away with a knife if it is too obvious.
Once the saber is assembled, it is usually wise to let it sit overnight and dry, unless you are using a quicker drying epoxy than the JB Weld used to make the sabers on this site. The grip can be tricky, try to coat a very thin layer of epoxy onto any foam pieces you are using, and use tape to hold them in place as they dry, to try and avoid any epoxy spillage.
Then comes the final touch: Buttons, knobs, or any other decorations. I usually just epoxy them on, either over the grips, or in niches between grip material, because the buttons and knobs I use are flat... and the saber isn't. So if I do it any other way, I risk leaving a mess of epoxy around the button. If you can find another way, by any means, use it.
That's all I have for my tutorial for now! Hopefully I'll be able to add a section on installing a blade once I've done that for myself.
Any advice, questions, or if you want me to put a pic of your homemade saber on this page, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!