Ever since seeing star wars I always wanted a lightsaber of my own. For years when I was younger I used to make my own out of cardboard tubing and sticks, but its not until you go out into the real world, and start work, you find suddenly you can for fill some of those old dreams.
     This lightsaber was not made for me. This one went to a friend who is making his own fan film, and as it had a Jedi in it, I offered to make him a lightsaber. Itís actually fairly heavy. Not so heavy as itís cumbersome, but heavy enough to feel right in your hand. It also has a half inch hole drilled in the blade end for a wooden dowel to be inserted for filming. I had to try it out, (of course :) and with the wooden dowel in place it was quite well balanced, and I had many a happy hour decapitating all the plants in the garden with it.
    So itís actually made up of a main aluminium centre rod, with a nylon grip, and brass for the shiny bits. It also has LEDís and LED holders for cosmetic look good effect bits.
    I started off turning the black nylon grip.  This was so I could see how big a hole could safely drilled out the centre while leaving a nice solid grip still.  The process for getting the ridges on the grip is not so much hard, as time consuming.  Each ridge is turned to certain measurements.  You actually spend very little time looking at the grip, and more time on the different wheels on the lathe for measurements.  Its turn one in a set amount, then move the bed along and fixed amount, then back out again and so on and so on, till you have something resembling and grip.
     I actually have very few pictures apart from the grip as I forget to take pictures while working.  I have no got a tripod I can set up and mount the camera to, so I can take pictures from a fixed point whenever I think of it.
     The main part of the lightsaber was a rod of turned aluminium.  I actually turned all the bits separate on this one, then joined them together afterwards, but found it would be better to assemble the raw components onto the main centre section first, and then turn it from there.  There was no fixed plan when making it, except a few guiding words from the guy doing the film as to the Jediís character, which sort of determined the style. I kept the main aluminium part fairly plain, but put some finer detail into the brass sections.  This seemed to go along with the character.
     While itís not an elaborate, design it has some nice markings on it, and an odd fancy bit here and there.  I added a hole in the butt end for hanging to a belt, and the brass hex stud with red centre is the activation stud, but doubles as the bolt that holds the wooden dowel in place. (The last thing you want is the dowel flying out and poking someone in the eye while filming.)
     I tried to incorporate as much detail as I could, so added an LED bar graph display for the power level indictor and LED housing for the charging jack.  I would have liked to have a thinner more fancy section, but as it needed a wooden dowel to be insertable for fighting scenes, this sort of governed the thickness of it.  I am making myself one now, (yep big kid at heart still.) and so have decided to have a carbon rod for the blade so it can be much thinner, and I can have a fancy neck to it.
     While this is a great way of making a really nice looking study and tactile object to handle.  (Everyone who held it, just automatically started swinging it around like a Jedi, but all mentioned for some strange reason it felt good to hold.  It was something you would pick up, and put down, but then pick up again.  Very strange.)
     Its one of those things that you would love to sit and make to give to all your star wars fan friends as a Christmas present, but unfortunately unless you have a serious amount of money to spare, they are just to expensive to be practical.  The amount of metal involved is huge.  You can either buy all the different size rods you need, or buy a few larger ones and turn them down to size.  Which ever you chose, as you actually waste quite a lot of metal making it.  Not to mention a huge amount of time is needed to turn and assemble all the bits so they fit and look good.
     There is not point rushing something like this, as it would spoil the overall finish.  Iíve made one for a friends fan film, and am making myself one, and would like to make a double ended version later on, but that would require double the materials something I canít afford at the mo. Well not just so I can play Jedi at the drop of a hat :)