The Star Wars movies have sparked a new wave of interest in the science fiction series, with many eager fans wanting to become a Jedi complete with a powerful and iconic lightsaber. But while a toy version of this weapon can be bought fairly easily, what would it cost to create a real working version?
Historical Overview of Lightsabers
The lightsaber has been an iconic weapon featured in the Star Wars series since 1977 when the first movie came out. Since then, lightsabers have become a symbol of the struggle between good and evil. In almost every movie and TV show they’ve appeared in, lightsabers have been used as a powerful tool for both defense and aggression; they are even powerful enough to cut through solid objects like droids and magma.
Lightsaber blades are created by focusing a beam of energy that contains microscopic particles suspended in an electromagnetic field into a solid form. Though much of the technology behind them remains a mystery, some believe it’s possible to replicate them using rudimentary means.
Lightsaber Design Considerations
Whether it be due to personal preference, combat style, or general aesthetics, your choice of Lightsaber design is an important step in your Jedi training. Beyond color and blade length, here are some of the key components to consider when designing your lightsaber:
Hilt Material – A standard hilt is constructed out of metal and houses all the circuitry and power sources for the Lightsaber. Serious saber enthusiasts will often construct custom hilts utilizing a variety of metals and other materials.
Blade Retraction – Lightsabers can feature built-in systems that allow the blades to shorten or lengthen in order to accommodate various combat techniques or user preferences (Kylo Ren’s Crossguard Saber). According to Canon sources, these systems are known as Retractable Blade Activation Systems (RBAS)
Blade Color – The primary components in a standard crystal chamber dictate the color of a lightsaber blade by (theoretically) determining its “harmonic frequency.” Depending on sources, there exist up to seven “canon” blade colors: red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple, and white. There are also several “non-Canon / Expanded Universe” blade colors available such as teal, silver, gold, etc. It is worth noting that many users opt for RGB blades instead so they can change their Blade Color manually at any time.
Power Source & Control Circuitry – A typical Lightsaber utilizes Replaceable Inert Gas Cells (RIGs) located in the handle/hilt each providing up to 1MW/ 10 seconds continuous output. Electronic switches known as activators control when power reaches the emitter lens array where it is converted into light energy which produces a “blade” of concentrated coherent light (also commonly called a plasma beam). Additionally, some specialty electronics are used for force feedback effects which vibrate when struck or blocked properly by another lightsaber.
Each component adds up in cost, making it almost impossible for any hobbyist or even professional engineer to build a full-fledged lightsaber for cheaper than many commercial options that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on quality and features. As such, building your own is not only a long-term commitment but usually an expensive one too. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a lightsaber for sale. There are many replicas available online.
What Type of Lightsaber Would You Make?
There are essentially two types of lightsabers – non-interactive and interactive. Non-interactive lightsabers are essentially props and will typically cost much less than an interactive version.
Non-interactive lightsabers are typically made with plastic components and offer a more realistic look. Lightsaber enthusiasts often refer to these as “Real Light Props” or “RLPs”. The cost of creating one of these depends on how you customize it, but they can be relatively inexpensive compared to interactive versions.
Interactive lightsabers require substantially more resources and can cost from hundreds of dollars up to $1,000 or more depending on what kind of components you use for it. The most expensive parts are usually found in the electronics since these need to be carefully designed for maximum performance and durability (in case you plan on dueling with your saber!). Popular very high-end brand names include SaberForge and UltraSabers, which offer custom components for those looking for a particularly advanced saber setup with more powerful electronics.
When building your own lightsaber, it is important to take all the necessary safety steps. Beyond just the obvious hazard of using a power tool to build a weapon (albeit one made from plastic and metal), there are many different aspects to keep in mind when constructing your own one-of-a-kind lightsaber. Following are some guidelines for ensuring your safety as you wield your newly constructed BladeSaber:
- Wear appropriate eye protection as well as work gloves before beginning construction. This will ensure that no debris or sharp blades can harm you during the project.
- Choose safe materials for making the hilt, such as those designed specifically for use with lightsaber production. Avoid aluminum or any metal parts with sharp edges that could potentially harm you or another user due to mishandling.
- Consider a suitable power source when powering up your saber – rechargeable batteries, a wall socket outlet, etc – to avoid electric shock hazards.
- To ensure optimal performance and prevent overheating, consider attaching an internal cooling system such as an electric fan. Pushing too much current through the system and exposing it to heat can lead to damaging components or injury, so sufficient cooling systems should be integrated into any design for the safe operation of a saber blade system.
- Utilizing weatherproof materials is essential if you intend on using your saber outside or in extreme temperatures; otherwise, this could damage both the internal components and external aesthetics of an otherwise beautiful piece of weaponry!
In conclusion, constructing a real lightsaber is something achievable only for very financially well-off individuals. An independent enthusiast with engineering expertise could likely make a working prototype for around $30,000 to $50,000. A larger production run of multiple lightsabers would cost much more as precision engineering is required to craft each blade. Professionals who specialize in recreating props from movies and TV shows may also be able to make some parts of a lightsaber but this comes with its own set of restrictions due to copyright and trademark laws. Ultimately, it is better left to the movies and shows we love than trying to replicate them in real life.