How I Build a PVC Lightsaber
Here’s how I go about building a PVC lightsaber.
1. I get my PVC stock and parts. 1” and 1-1/4” PVC, 1” male and female connector and black O-rings.
2. I cut the main body of the hilt from 1” PVC. I cut this stuff by hand. I don’t have a miter saw.
3. I cut the shroud and grip from the 1-1/4” PVC.
4. I make the templates for the grip and shroud. By the way a paper towel tube is excellent to use as a template for 1-1/4” PVC.
5. I pre-drill holes by all the curves and corners to make it easier to cut out. I then use my dremel to get a rough curve for the shroud. Then I take sandpaper and wrap it around a can of spray paint to get an even curve.
6. I cut out the shroud and grip.
7. I take my dremel and sand and shape the shroud and grip.
8. I piece the hilt together and plot where I’m going place screws, windows/holes, led/heat sink, and switch.
9. I take masking tape and tape the shroud and grip to the hilt body. Then pre-drill and drill all holes.
10. All the parts are cut. My next step is to do the finale shaping and sanding by hand. I use 60, 100, 150, & 220 grit.
1. I now have the parts completely hand sanded.
2. I carefully screw in the wood inserts. I say carefully because they can have a tendency to break off at the slotted area if you try to screw them in to fast. This step can also be a pain trying to keep the inserts straight.
3. Now with my dremel. I cut off the inserts. I cut them half way through, let them cool and them cut them completely off. If you try to cut them all the way off in one shot, they’ll get hot and melt the PVC. After cutting them off I use the sanding drum to sand down the inserts until they’re flush
1. I tape off the inserts so paint won’t clog the threads of the inserts. I also tape off the threads and the spot to be glued on the PVC.
2. and 3. I sprayed 2 coats of silver over all the parts.
4. and 5. I sprayed 1 coat of gloss black on the main body of the hilt and metallic blue on the shroud, grip, and pommel parts. The plan here is to let the paint dry overnight. Then I’m going to take 220-grit sandpaper and lightly sand parts of the hilt, shroud, grip, and pommel to reveal the silver under the black and blue paint.
1. Nice new hilt parts.
2. Now they’re worn. They look like they’ve been sitting on a workbench forever. I sanded them down with 220-grit sandpaper. The Testors metallic blue was a little more difficult to sand than the Krylon.
3. Time to assemble the hilt. I glued the female connector to the hilt. I then put the O-rings on the end cap and glue the end cap to the male connector. I put the other O-rings on the threaded part of the male connector. Then screwed it together. I also put an O-ring between the pommel and grip. I use 8/32 -3/8” button head screws for attaching the shroud and grip.
4. Now we have a hilt that looks as if it has been dragged from one end of the galaxy to the other.
Here is how I put my battery boxes together. I have to use the double AAA battery holders from Radio Shack. They fit the best in the 1” PVC.
1. I drill a hole in the middle of the terminals on both holders so I can put them together with a zip tie. I also use my dremel cut off wheel to make 2 slits on either side of the holders for Velcro straps.
2. I use a zip tie to hold them together. I haven’t found glue that will hold them together. The zip ties work great.
3. I solder the wires together. I don’t think I need to explain how that’s done.
4. I put the Velcro through the slits.
5. Install the batteries, trim the Velcro and there’s your battery holder.
1. and 2. Since the 5 degree lens doesn’t snap into the 10 degree holder, I mark where the clips line up and with my dremel and grinder bit, I carefully grind down the areas just enough for the 5 degree lens to snap into place.
3. With 1” PVC I use the Luxeon Star heat sink. I also use a scrap piece of 1” thin walled blade stock for a blade stop.
4. Everything is wired up and ready for cram-fu. That’s a term used in the saber building community for stuffing all the internals inside the hilt. I just do the basic wiring with these sabers. The heat sink and led are sandwiched between the switch and the scrap piece of blade stock.
5. Cram- fu successful!