The Hacksmith: Building a Real Lightsaber (2500° of Destruction)
This project was created by Engineering Superheroes of Hackmith Industries.
DO NOT ATTEMPT to Re-Create
Earlier this year, the Hacksmith team embarked on an ambitious project for their Make it Real series: making a functional lightsaber. While many makers have made amazing recreations of lightsabers with LEDs, the Hacksmith team prefers projects that are a little more…destructive!
The first lightsaber had a power supply that was not quite up to the task and, consequently, got the fire department summoned to their workshop. Can version 2.1 stand up to the test? Find out in this week’s chapter of Make it Real in the video below!
How Does it Work?
Lightsaber sound effects
There is a sound effects module hidden in the handle of the saber. This module is an off-the-shelf component from SaberExperts that turns motion into realistic lightsaber sound effects. It uses an IMU (accelerometer) to detect movement and then translates that movement into an appropriate sound.
The handle is actually a repurposed antique flash handle; the same kind used in the original Star Wars movies. By gutting the flash handle, adding some switches and a mounting point for the saber, you’ve got a perfect lightsaber handle.
Glowing hot saber
Anyone can build an aesthetically pleasing lightsaber but the Hacksmith will never settle for anything less than functional and destructive. They took a stainless steel threaded rod and covered it with high temperature fiberglass insulation to electrically and thermally protect it, then wrapped it with 37’ of Kanthal heating wire. By passing an electrical current through the Kanthal wire, it heats up to 1400 degrees C and glows yellow hot!
To power their creation, the Hacksmith team uses 12 x 24V Lithium polymer batteries connected in series (288V). The heating coil only draws about 20A so switching can be done with a single MOSFET. Check out the design in the schematic below!
Key Parts and Components