All Things Geek and Build Your Own Light Saber

Jumpstarting Your Financial Education in 4 Easy Steps

Financial Education image

With easy access to loans and credit cards, many young adults find themselves in debt that they could have easily avoided had they used restraint and common sense.  With online shopping, leisure activities, fine dining, travel etc., easily available, it is now wonder that many people spend more than what they earn. In the process they acquire debt that can affect them for years to come with their bad debt management.

Know Where the Leaks Are

It’s quite easy to monitor big purchases as they are not so easy to forget. The big flat screen TV you bought last month or that brand new vehicle you bought from the dealer are prime examples of big purchases. It is the small ones that tend to chip away at your finances very quickly than you would like believe. The Uber drive to work, the morning coffee routine, and the weekend getaway with college friends are small expenses that cost money.  By keeping tabs on your leisure activities and lifestyle choices you will know where you need to cut on.

Establish a Small Investment Portfolio

Begin investing early. Do so by allocating a portion of your income or salary to a recurring deposit that provides a good interest rate than just an ordinary bank account.  Once you learn that you can commit to this you can branch out to other financial products such as low-risk mutual funds or corporate bonds that give better returns.

Establish a Credit Profile

If ever you are eyeing a house or vehicle you will need to establish a good credit history first. You can develop a good credit history by making timely loan payments such as payments for credit card bills.  Once you do so, you will create a positive credit rating that will qualify you for lower interest rates.

Develop a Financial IQ

Allot time to educating yourself about money and how to earn and respect it. It is easy to spend it no doubt but the hard part is to controlling how and where you spend your hard earned dollars so that you do not go from paycheck to paycheck trying to fend off your debts.  Read books, check out online resources or talk to a credit counselor to help you understand how to manage whatever debt you already have and rein it in.  By increasing your financial know-how you are making yourself less prone to mistakes that cost you more than what you actually have to pay for.

Shopkins – What’s All the Buzz About?


Shopkins - What's All The Buzz About?

Shopkins – What’s All the Buzz About?

As kids, we probably remember many of the collectibles that were out during our time. As time has evolved, most of the characters we grew to love disappeared and were replaced by different, newer collectibles.

These days, kids are raving over the new Shopkins collectible toys that launched in early 2013 and has been nonstop with its product production line ever since.

Shopkins – The New Kid Collectible Toys

Shopkins have recently exploded on the market and overtook a lot of the competition with their miniaturized collectible toys. Created by Moose Toys, Shopkins are plastic figurine grocery items that are 1 in x 1 in in size (about the size of a quarter).

These toys have boomed ever since their release in 2013.

Season 1 of Shopkins

When Season 1 of Shopkins released, it featured 10 characters:

· Wobbles;

· Apple Blossom;

· Mandy Candy;

· Miss Twist;

· Lippy Lips;

· Strawberry Kiss;

· Chee Zee;

· D’lish Donut

· Mini Muffin;

· Gran Jam.

Each character represents a grocery product, giving them life and personality – perfect for kids growing up.

Seasons 2 and Up

Since the release of the toy line in 2013, Moose Toys has created over 1,170 different characters for kids to collect, making the appeal even better.

In addition to releasing an overwhelming number of characters, the toy company has also launched several other lines featuring the Shopkins characters.

YouTube – Parents can now easily entertain their kids with YouTube videos of the collectibles in their latest web series. The cartoon follows the lives on the Shopkins, giving the little collectible characters more appeal for kids.With kids having access to the internet through smartphones and iPads, Shopkins has evolved their line to fit with the ever-growing market of toys. Add a few of these to your Watch List’ for your children to enjoy while you’re on the road.

You can find their YouTube channel at:–vKxbXBYt_b0lKJ0JEnw

Interactive Website – Having over 1,100 collectibles can be difficult to manage for customers. Many kids who are on a pursuit to “collect-them-all” will need to a savvy list of all the characters.

Moose Toys created an interactive website where kids can track which collectibles they own and want to own – making their pursuit even easier. This could also be useful for a future saving for your children because collectibles are known for accruing value overtime. Collecting all of them can be an asset to your children or grandchildren when the franchise ends and the value of them begins skyrocketing.

You can find the list of Shopkins’ characters at:

Accessories – Now any collectible wouldn’t be complete without the additional accessories. Since the launch of the first season, Shopkins has released an enormous number of toys and accessories. Here are a few accessories you can get:

Shopkins Tall Mall – An extendable carrying case for your Petkins, the Tall Mall offers a “Parlor” “Food Court” and “Home & Garden” section that allows you to store and play with your Shopkins. This case is great for anyone looking for an extensive storage for their child’s Shopkin addiction.

Carrying Case for Each Season – Each season has released their own set of collectibles and each one has its own “carrying case” to make it easier to store each one. It also helps you remember which season each character came from, giving you added value when they accrue value overtime.

Playsets – In general, there are dozens of playsets for you to enjoy your shopkins. Going to your local toy store, you will find an abundance – though for more acquired playsets, online shopping may be the best alternative.

Overall Shopkins Review: Good Rating

These toys bring joy to many kids lives. With the interactive videos, website and potential games associated with Shopkins, this collectible set is one that hasn’t been seen in a while. With future releases of characters, comes the opportunity for your child to continue their dream of having an entire collectible set that is continuously growing.

Giving everyday food items a face and special name may not seem like fun, but kids enjoy it and it’s one of the few toy lines that has been successfully launched with a rapid fire line that continues to grow with each passing season.

Use the website and other tools to help with getting all the collectibles. With the success of this line launching so many characters, there is value in the long-term. Why not collect them with your child and make it a fun project for the both of you?

Make the best of your Shopkins experience and get all the details on their website about the different characters and potential launches of new seasons or products.

How To Build Your Own Light Saber

Light Saber Battle from Star Wars

This site contains instructions, drawings, photos, and parts lists for building your own light saber prop. Reality check: It is not a working light saber. The design I developed contains, for the most part, parts that are very easy to find and quite inexpensive. I think, even if you have to buy the chrome tube (the most expensive single item) and include batteries and a light source, your total cost will be only about $30–$40. Make sure to grab some online promo codes for the stores you are shopping at and you can even get the cost down further. Enjoy!

Parts, Optional Parts, and Tools Recommended or Required

Parts — If you use exactly what I did, you will need:

    • (1) chrome tube or pipe, approximately 12″ in length, roughly 1 1/4″ outside diameter. I used an extra canister vacuum cleaner attachment tube. (Estimated cost to purchase chrome pipe is $10 to $15.) Do not confuse the chrome tube with a vacuum tube (below).

      Paul has suggested: “instead of buying an expensive piece of chrome tubing, go to a bike shop (I’m lucky I have a friend who owns one) and buy a long seat post (that thing that holds your seat on the bike). It costs about $5.00 (if you get a cheap one).”

    • (1) PVC coupler, 1 1/4″ inside diameter by 2″ long, normally found in the electrical conduit section. (About $0.65.)
    • (1) PVC end cap, found in the PVC plumbing section, 1 1/4″ inside diameter by about 1 1/4″ in length. (About $0.65.)
    • (1) 1/2-pint gloss black multi-purpose latex paint. A small can is fine; essentially you want a can big enough to dip completely the PVC pieces (electrical PVC is dark gray; plumbing PVC is white). ($4.00)
    • 36″ worth, more or less, of 1/2″ wide by 5/16″ thick rubber high-density foam weather-strip (self-sticking). (A 10-foot roll costs $2.19.) You can also buy replicas of the type of grip used in the film at Yoda’s House.
    • (1) “D”-ring ($0.32)
    • Hardware to connect the D-ring. (I couldn’t find a D-ring that had a connector already on it, although these exist—try a shop that carries marine hardware.) There is plenty of room here for interpretation. Essentially you want to mount the D-ring on the “base” of the saber. (See the Assembly Instructions for some alternative suggestions.) Here’s what I used:
      • (2) eye bolts, 8-32 by 1/2″ (or more; you can cut them off if they are too long). ($0.19 each)
      • (2) plastic-lined locking nuts to fit those ($0.32 each)
      • (2) 8-32 hexagonal nuts (for inside) ($0.05 each)
      • (2) regular washers (for inside) ($0.05 each)
      • (2) lock washers (for inside) ($0.05 each)
      • (1) fender washer, about 1 1/16″ outside diameter (optional)
    • (1) electron tube (or vacuum tube), 1 1/16″ outside diameter. This will be internal but visible, and forms the “emitter.” (This is not necessary, but it worked great for me.) Electron tubes (for those of you who, like me, grew up in the age of electronics) were used in radios, televisions, and so on before transistors were invented. You can probably find one somewhere, although it is even possible to order them from Radio Shack. Mine is an RCA tube of some type, probably a diode or triode (no, I can’t tell you for sure—I should have noted the number before trashing the base). (Free for me; new is about $6.95.) Because of its diameter, I had to remove the plastic base and metal connector pins from mine—after 40 years or more, this was not a problem, as the plastic had become quite brittle. Remember this piece is there just to look good; it doesn’t do anything—it is not part of the electronic circuit. For this reason, the tube you use does not even need to be functional or in good condition.

Tubes to Use for the Light Saber

Other Tube Choice for the Light SaberThese are a Hit Ray 6X5-GT (on the left), and a Sovtek 6SN7 (on the right). Both are almost exactly like the tube I used. You can get these from The Tube Store, Amazon, or your local Radio Shack.

Note that this tube does not have any “getter”—a silver coating inside the top of the tube. Whatever you end up with, the lack of the “getter” is important.

This came in via e-mail from Byron Fast, at The Tube Store.


I’m one of the guys that runs, and we noticed your link and our tube image a while back. The traffic from the link kept growing, and now we’re sold out of 6X5-GTs! Most people that want to build your light saber can’t buy from us (because we have a $20 minimum order), but some have definitely found us from your site.

I just wanted to thank you for the link and let you know that the tube is gone from our stock and won’t be coming back any time soon, so you may want to recommend a similar tube from our site that works well for Jedi knights. (Unfortunately, a good one like the GE 8417 is $80 a pair).We of course also have many used tubes that may function well, which we would usually sell for about $2.50, and we will ship an order of less than $20 for those willing to pay an extra $2.50 handling fee. Since I’m sure you get lots of emails about this, maybe this info will help other people build your saber.

And later …

I’ve got the perfect option: the Sovtek 6SN7. It’s got no getter, it’s the same price and size, and we’ve got lots of them. You can nab the picture again if you like.

  • (2) Decorative (nickel-plated) caps, found in the lighting and fan department. These are normally used to secure shades on ceiling-mounted incandescent lighting fixtures. The ones I used are manufactured by the Angelo Brothers Company, and were found at a hardware store. The package reads “Two Fixture Caps, Tapped 1/8-IP, Nickel Plated” and had the number 70640 on it. ($0.98)
  • (1) length of threaded tube to fit the caps above, also used for lighting fixtures.
  • (I happened to have a piece of this.) ($1.50)
  • (1) ancient calculator display set of magnifying bubbles. (I have no idea why I actually saved one of these, but I’m glad I did, as this is exactly what was used for the first few light saber props built for Star Wars.) I’ve heard you can get these remanufactured from props dealers. You might also use a 10-LED “power bar” display, available from Radio Shack for about $4.00.

If you can’t find these, here is an alternate suggestion sent in by Padme:

I just thought I’d tell you that I couldn’t find the calculator bubbles you referred to. So instead, I used four clear square rubber furniture feet. I epoxied them on the slice in the metal and they make a cool prism effect when light shines thru them.

And … Mor Ja-Ditom obtained good results using a clear Lego brick.

Various small machine screws. (Radio Shack has an assortment for $1.50—but be careful; the ones I bought from Radio Shack were easy to break while screwing through the metal, even though I’d drilled pilot holes.)

  • Epoxy. (Note: Epoxy goes bad if it gets too old—it loses its adhesive properties—so you’ll want a fresh batch if yours is more than a years or so old.)

Optional Parts

— If you want to add a light inside, as I did, consider using the following:

The light inside is mounted just “south of” the calculator display bubbles. The LED I’ve used lights up the magnifying bubbles quite well, and backlights the vacuum tube, for a very nice effect.

  • (1) Extra-bright (1200 MCDs) large LED, rated for 2.7 volts. They come in clear, red, orange, yellow, and green. I used orange, but you needn’t. (Blue LEDs are not generally available; it was only recently that a method of “doping” the semiconductor filament was developed to allow blue LEDs to be manufactured. ($4.00) You could use just about any light source if a big LED is unavailable or you have 3-volt lamps already about. I chose an LED because of its low battery consumption and greater durability compared to an incandescent.
  • (1) AAA-size battery holder ($1.00)
  • (1) SPST (single pole, single throw) subminiature switch ($2.79)
  • (2) AAA batteries; 1.5V each. ($2.50)
  • (1) Small spool of stranded electronics wire (you only need about 12″ worth); I dug mine out of the aforementioned junk boxes.
  • Something to mount the LED or light bulb. (See the Assembly Instructions for more information.)


— required or recommended:

  • Hack saw or band saw.
  • Screwdrivers.
  • Power drill.
  • Pliers, especially ChannelLocks (large and adjustable).
  • Steel file—a round one is a good choice for the inside surfaces, but you can live with just about anything.
  • Aluminum shears (optional—I ended up needing them, but you probably won’t)
  • Friend who works in a machine shop. My friend Eric Quinlan and his co-worker Ed were able to cut out one slot in the tube which I wanted, as well as drill two holes that were too big for my power drill, and cut the saber tip and upper PVC assembly to match exactly. Eric was also kind enough to de-burr the top end of the saber. (Eric has a Web site here.) Note that you can build the saber, and even cut the required slots, without requiring the work of a machinist.
  • Patient spouse who understands—or at least overlooks—these obsessions.
  • A large C-clamp or vice (not vital, but you’ll be glad to have one).
  • Soldering iron and solder (only if you include the electronics).
  • A little bit of time and patience.

Assembly Instructions:

Everything is here, including a few diagrams I scanned.

The assembly is very simple—you can probably make do with merely the parts list and photos. Only three parts require significant alteration:

  • the PVC end cap—it gets cut in half to form the bottom cap and the ring at the top of the grip;
  • the PVC coupler—which just gets cut off at an angle; and, of course,
  • the chrome tube, which gets cut to match the angle of the coupler (or vice versa).

That being said, these instructions will make your assembly easier, as well as avoiding some of the mistakes I made. I’ve also included, where appropriate, suggestions and comments from other visiting Jedi.

A Few General Tips:

  • Read through the parts and tools list, and these instructions, before starting.
  • Be flexible and innovative. Spend some time looking through your cellar, attic, or lumber room (for you U.K. builders), seeing what you might already have available. Some of the things which worked best on my saber were dug up from a few boxes of “cool” (but useless in the real world) things I’ve been collecting since my early teens. Be prepared to improvise.
  • Check out other build-your-own-saber or prop replica sites. You will find them to be a good source of ideas.
  • After you have gathered your materials, try to think through what you want to build before you start.
  • Take your time to do the job right. (It took me 25 years to learn this.) If you are building your saber “in your spare time,” plan to spend about a week with an hour or so per day.

Build Your Own Light Saber Handle Diagram

Chrome Tube Preparation

The first part of your construction will be the chrome tube (see the parts list for alternative materials), which is the main part of the saber. Using a hack saw (or band saw if you are fortunate enough to own one), cut a length somewhere between 12″ and 14″—whatever you are most comfortable with.

Note: You might want to do the machining steps at this time (before working on the grip), although it isn’t vital.

The Grip

Note: This is probably the “weakest” part of my design. It does work rather well, but I found after a full day of use the foam strips had repositioned slightly. I will be looking for something about equally easy to replace them at some point, although there are several advantages of using the foam. I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions for this part.

Doug Vernon offers this alternative suggestion:

“As for the grip, I ould drill a hole just beneath the edge of the end cap, wrap the handle with black leather cord (gives the appearance of twisted wire grips) and secure it at the top of the handle with another hold and a couple of knots.”

“Darth Head” offers another possibility:

“I found an alternative to the weather stripping on the handle, Instead of weather stripping I used two handle bar grips off of a bicycle. It made an excellent hand grip and I believe it works better than weather stripping.”

Keven Tipping had this idea:

“Do you know the foamy stuff people put around hot pipes, or just plain old pipes, to protect them? You can usally buy it really cheap at Home Depot, or Revy for only 79 cents. You can carve that stuff real easy, to make it look cool, in any way you want, then use it for a nice grip on the light saber.”

GWarble suggests these yet-untried possibilities:

“I was thinking of instead of gluing down the strips, taking a bike handgrip and CUTTING out strips to reveal the chrome, this may leave the strips to move back and forth in the middle, but they would not come off, (hopefully).”

“Another suggestion, I think better, is to cut lines down the chrome tube and install rubber pieces shaped like a T mixed with a T, putting the rubber (if it can be found in that shape) inside the cut holes would eliminate the need for glue and hopefully keep them in place.”

Brian Brousseau used handlebar tape for the grip:

“I had a particular texture in mind for my grip. I wanted it to be rubbery and cushiony.  Rubber was too hard.  Foam rubber (like the weatherstripping you suggested) was too soft and foamy. I found exactly what I was looking for in a bicycle shop. Handlebar tape. The type I used was made by Pyramid Accessories and is marked ‘Cork Mix’ and ‘Cushioned’ and had the number 31172 on the package. It cost about $11 for a package containing two rolls but each roll is long enough to wrap two lightsaber hilts. I spiral-wound a section of the tape around the grip of my lightsaber and secured one end with the PVC ring. The other end held itself in place because it was wrapped around itself.”

Brett “BJ” Powers suggested this:

“For my grip I used bike handlebar grips. I cut off the top and bottom until it was just around the design. It wasn’t large enough to cover the crome pipe so I cut a straight line down the middle. The set came with two so I then took the other one and cut two strips out of it that were each about .5 of an inch wide. I glued it on with a very strong adhesive called E6000. You can find it at a craft store, if not ask if they have something else. Space them as you want and simply glue. I think that it turns out very good.”

Eric Cajiuat (Jedi Baritone) did this:

For my saber, I used an inverted mouse pad, cut to fit, then epoxied directly to a chrome tube. Home Depot sells something called metal epoxy which holds like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The edges of the mouse pad, where they met, were kind of ragged, but I kept them as close as I could together, then covered the line with Velcro tape, also epoxied underneath. I did this because I thought I could put some Velcro on my belt so I could just slap it on, but it ended up not working that way. Still, the Velcro tape covers the seam nicely. Perhaps you could use my idea and adapt it to your design. When I get pics scanned of my saber (and hopefully my costume), I’ll email it along. Great site!

Starting at about 1/4″ away from the bottom of the saber, place strips of the foam self-sticking insulation to form the grip. Place them carefully, and reposition them as necessary. I used the narrow side of my file to space mine more or less evenly around the circumference of the tube. Leave both the top and bottom edges a little long.

The adhesive on the foam will be somewhat loose for about 24 hours, but after a day, it will bond more firmly with the tube, although it will always be fairly easy to peel off.

Using a razor knife, trim the bottom portions of the foam evenly to leave about 1/4″ gap between the end of the foam and the end of the tube. This space will be filled in by the end cap. You need not be super-accurate in cutting—because the foam compresses slightly any minor differences in length will be visually corrected by the end cap.

Also using a razor knife, trim the other end of the foam neatly around the circumference of the tube. My grip area is 5″ in length, but you will want to size yours to your own hand. The length of mine is about 1.5 times the width of my hand—I assumed that for two-handed gripping, one hand would be on the grip, and the other (at least partly) wrapped around the upper saber assembly.

Next you’ll need to cut the PVC end cap in half, to provide a ring about 1/2″ wide and and end cap about 5/8″ wide. If you are using a hack saw, be careful to cut it straight, although minor imperfections will be shielded by the foam.

Put the end cap on the bottom of the saber, and drill four holes around the circumference, going right through both the PVC and the chrome tube. These holes will be for the machine screws that hold the end cap in place.

Position the ring on the upper end of the grip, and drill at least two holes through the PVC and the chrome to keep it in place. I drilled two holes completely through, and two other holes just through the PVC. Machine screws through the double holes will keep this ring in place. On the other two, cut the machine screws short so they will only go through the PVC. This ring does not need very much to hold it in place, unlike the end cap which must bear the weight of the entire saber via the D-ring.


Next you probably want to get the machining done. (It will be slightly easier to do the machining before attaching the grips, although it doesn’t matter very much.) Note also that the machining is somewhat optional—I have a close friend who is a machinist and was willing to do a few minor things for me on his lunch hour—you could do everything I did with a drill, small file, hack saw, and a good dose of patience.

I needed some help with three things: Cutting a slot in the tube the length of the magnifying bubbles, and drilling two holes for the threaded rod that would hold the nickel-plated caps which serve as knobs on the saber.

One note if this is being machined: Because putting too much pressure on the chrome tube will distort its shape, my friend used a lathe to make a 4″-long plastic cylinder whose diameter matched the inside diameter of the chrome tube exactly. This cylinder was inserted into the chrome tube to keep the tube from flattening out during machining. I later cut a 1/2″ piece of the cylinder off and drilled tiny holes through it to run the LED’s leads through. This served the purpose of holding the LED in place, and keeping the leads for it insulated. (More on this later.)

If you need to cut a slot and don’t have access to the right equipment, you could drill a series of holes in a line instead. If the holes overlap slightly, you could then file between them to produce the slot desired.

Cutting the Angled Saber Tip and Upper PVC Coupler

Since it was easier, I had my friend also cut the larger PVC coupler and the end of the saber to an identical angle. He was even nice enough to de-burr the tube ends, which, after cutting on a band saw, were rather sharp in spots. The cutting could be done with a hack saw, and the de-burring with a hand file.

Once you have angled the chrome tube and the PVC coupler, work the coupler down over the top of the saber. In the center of a coupler is a small ridge of PVC plastic; doing this now will use the saber end itself to shave off this slightly for a better fit.

Brian Brousseau offered this advice about preparing the PVC pieces:

“A lot of PVC plumbing pieces have embossed words/numbers/letters on them which can make the lightsaber look less like a lightsaber and more like a collection of Earthly hardware. These can and should be filed off smoothly before painting. The PVC may look rough and scratched up after filing but the scratches will be covered up by a couple coats of paint and the finished product will look smooth and glossy.”

D-Ring Assembly

To make the D-ring (belt clip) assembly, you’ll be putting together quite a few parts, unless you’re able to find a D-ring with a mounting bolt already attached. You might try a shop that specializes in marine hardware.

Doug Vernon recommends the following:

“[Y]ou may want to check with a horse supplies store (tack store) and see if they have some type of smooth snaffle d-ring. It should be a single bolt, with a totally enclosed d-ring on a swivel post.”

Mujeeb Rawoof e-mailed this alternative for a D-Ring:

“I was at Builders’ Square a couple of days ago looking for parts to my light saber. I noticed that isntead of using the D-ring and eye bolts to make a belt clip you could use a special type of picture hanger. They are available for about 50 cents. They are decorative as well. It has one screw attached on it instead of two, though. The company that made mine is called ‘Crown Bolt.’”

Jason Becker offered this suggestion:

“Here’s another way to make a d-ring ‘sleeve’: Take about 3 inches of flat, alluminum bar, that’s about 3/4-inch wide, put it in a vice, and bend it in half so it’s at 90 degrees. Insert the D-ring as far back as it will go, and crush the alluminum in the vice. You will then have a 1.5 inch bar of metal with a D-ring in it. Drill the holes in it, and you are done.”

I couldn’t a D-ring with an attachment that I liked, so I’ll explain what I used. Despite all the parts I had to get, the total was only $1.57 plus about half an hour of hunting, so I can’t really complain.

I’ve prepared two drawings that will make your assembly easier, and to prove why I didn’t choose a career of technical illustration.

Drawing of D Ring Parts

Drawing of D Ring Assembly

You’ll want to pre-assemble the D-ring parts before painting the PVC end caps. This will let you get everything in place without having to worry about wrecking the finish. Before painting, you’ll remove the D-ring assembly.

The first step is to get the eye bolts onto the D-ring. Many D-rings come through with a tiny weld holding the two “ends” together. This will need to be overcome with a pair of pliers or two. I used Vice Grips on one side, and ChannelLocks on the other—it was easy to break the weld and spread the D-ring seam just enough to get the bolts on. (At this point it is prudent to heed my grandfather’s advice—“Never force anything; just get a bigger hammer.”) If pliers won’t work, use a hack saw. After the eye bolts are on, the D-ring will tend to close up again just about completely.

Drill two holes in the end-cap. You’ll need to make them fairly close to the sides, but far enough in that there is room for the washers and nuts underneath. In this case, because the washers and nuts will secure everything, drill the holes just slightly larger than the threads on the eye bolts, so the bolts slide through easily. They’re also going to be coated with paint, so they will end up being tight nonetheless. If you decide to include a fender washer (optional) to line the inside of the end cap (making it virtually indestructible), put it inside the end cap while you drill the holes, and start by drilling through it and into and through the end cap.

D-Ring Assembly Detail

Screw the locking nuts onto the eye bolts to the top of the eyes, then thread the bolts through the holes in the end cap and the fender washer (if you are going to use one). Then simply put the washers, lock washers, and hex nuts on the eye bolts. Once you have tightened it up, remove everything and put the washer and nuts back onto the eye bolts so you won’t lose them.


Assuming you have prepared the end cap, and made the angle cut in the upper PVC coupler, and drilled any holes you will need in the PVC, this is a good point to start the painting. To get good coverage and adhesion, I recommend dipping the parts completely in the paint. Only 3 parts in this design need paint: the PVC end cap, PVC ring (cut from the end cap), and the PVC coupler.

For paint I used a 1/2-pint of glossy black, multi-surface latex. This size was large enough to dip all the parts I had, and also wasn’t very costly.

Set up a “drip drying” area and a place to hang the parts. I used paper clips to create hangars, but any wire or string will do.

Stir the paint thoroughly, and completely immerse each part you are painting for a few seconds. Lift the part out of the paint, and wait for a minute or two for most of the excess paint to run off, then hang the part up to continue dripping.

To avoid having a big drip solidify at the lowest edge of the part, in about 15 to 20 minutes, gently dab the drip that will form with a paper towel or sponge. You might need to repeat this a few minutes later.

After the first coat, let all the parts dry for 12–24 hours, and then give them a second coat. Don’t forget to stir the paint again. Wait at least 12 hours (24 is better) before trying to attach or work with the painted parts. (I was a little bit impatient, and have one small fingerprint on my upper PVC coupler to show for it.)

Upper Tube Assembly

This saber design uses two decorative caps, generally used to secure an overhead incandescent lamp shade. To connect them to the saber, you could just epoxy them on, but better results can be achieved by drilling 3/8″ diameter holes in the chrome tube, and screwing a short piece of 3/8″ threaded tube (also meant as part of an overhead light assembly—you will find both the caps and rod easily in a typical hardware store’s fan/lighting department) into the saber body, and then mounting the caps on it.

Because I didn’t have a drill large enough to do the job, my machinist friend Eric was kind enough to drill two semi-random holes in the upper body of the saber. (In fact, the position of one of the holes was decided by the fact that the piece slipped during milling, and the position for the slot had to be milled on the opposite side.) Where you put the knobs is entirely up to you. I definitely wanted one near the top of the saber, just at the base of the upper, angled PVC coupler, but wasn’t picky about the other.

You’ll need a pair of pliers to screw in the threaded tube. The best thing to do is to screw in a longer piece of tube than you will actually use. The holes for this should be slightly smaller than the threads so the tube will “tap” threads into the sides of the hole—although if you have a really well equipped workshop you can measure the threads and thread the tube with a tap and die set. Be careful, as the chrome pipe isn’t very thick; you don’t want to strip the threads (although if you do, a dab of epoxy will allow you to recover somewhat gracefully).

Once you’ve tapped the holes with the longer tube, cut two short pieces of it (3/8″ to 1/2″ in length) with a hack saw. If you have one available, putting a nut on one side of your cut will allow you to re-thread the portion of the rod that the hack saw will have mangled, but for this you can live without it.

Using pliers, thread your two shorter pieces of the threaded tube partway into the 3/8″ holes. You can then screw the nickel-plated caps on by hand.

Slide the upper PVC coupler over the top of the saber, and line up its angle cut with the cut of the chrome tube. This should fit snugly, but if it doesn’t secure it with a little epoxy.

Using a file, carefully rough the edge just around the milled slot, and epoxy the calculator display bubbles to the chrome tube.

Note: If you can’t obtain these bubbles, here is an alternate suggestion sent in by Padme:

I just thought I’d tell you that I couldn’t find the calculator bubbles you referred to. So instead, I used four clear square rubber furniture feet. I epoxied them on the slice in the metal and they make a cool prism effect when light shines thru them.

Mor Ja-Ditom obtained good results using a clear Lego brick.

GoN from EG suggested that using the solar panel from a solar-powered calculator looks great as well.

Carefully remove the plastic base and metal pins from the bottom of the electron tube, and get the glass base as clear as possible. As I was using a “vintage” tube, the plastic and original adhesive were so brittle this was very easy to do. Please be careful while doing this—especially if you are using a new tube. They are made of glass, and can shatter, although not very easily. Sadly, I disposed of the tube before getting down the number, although I’ve found some that are almost identical.

Insert the electron tube which will form the “emitter array” into the top end of the saber. In my case, tightening the topmost decorative knob secures the tube (although mine has fallen out a couple of times so I probably need to change that aspect). You could do the same, or add a dab of epoxy, or even something less permanent light plastic-tack. Position the electron tube so that the base of it is just above the top of the calculator display bubbles, and secure it. Remember, the “emitter tube” is not part of the circuit, and does not serve any function other thank making the saber look good. It will not produce a “blade” or “beam.”

That’s the last step, other than including the electronics for the light.

Light Saber Internal Diagram

Adding the LED, Batteries, and Switch

The circuit used for the light is a very simple one. If you know how to solder, you’ll want to solder it together. If not, you can probably due with twisting the wires together.

I used a super-bright, 2.7-volt LED, available in several colors from Radio Shack for about $4.00. You could easily use a 3-volt flashlight bulb instead, although an LED is a little more durable, and had the advantage of already being in the color I wanted. (Don’t let the words absolute maximum voltage on the back of the LED package scare you; a 2.7-volt LED will handle 3 volts without frying—what surprised me was that I didn’t need to limit the current with a resistor—it’s possible that this particular LED has one built in.)

Drill a small hole (I think about 3/16″—depending, of course, on the size of your switch) in the chrome tube where you will be mounting the switch.

The best thing to do with the circuit is preassemble it outside the saber, with enough extra wire to make the components (especially the battery pack and switch) easy to move around.

I took the plastic cylinder my friend Eric made to keep the chrome tube from distorting while milling, and cut about a 1/2″ thick section off it. I drilled two small holes side by side about 1/4″ apart in the center, and ran the leads of the LED through it, then bent them twice at 90° on the far side. This has the dual advantage of insulating the LED leads while forming an excellent platform for keeping the LED in position. Essentially, you want something that will hold the LED or light in the center of the saber—even a couple of circles cut out of corrugated cardboard will do.

Drawing of the LED Mount

Attach the positive side of the 3-volt battery pack to one connector on the switch. Run a wire from the other connector on the switch to the positive lead (normally longer) on the LED. Run a wire from the negative lead on the LED to the negative side of the battery pack.

Drawing of the LED Circuit

Test the circuit to be sure it works. If you are using an LED, remember that the “D” in LED stands for diode, and current will flow in only one direction; i.e., if you get the positive and negative leads reversed, the thing just won’t work.

Use electrical tape (or any tape, really) to insulate any bare wire. The chrome tube is a conductor, and you don’t want to short out your circuit on the inside of the saber.

Once you have the wiring done, you might want to wrap an elastic band or two around the batteries to keep them in the holder, then push the LED assembly into to saber. If you use a plug like I did, be sure to file down any rough edges you can find on the inside of the chrome tube, as the plug will get stuck if you don’t. (Even though I did, I still ended up having to gently hammer the plug into the final inch or so.)

Push the switch into the saber, and try to get it to stick through the hole you’ve drilled for it. I accomplished this by using my file to move the switch around inside the saber and a strong light so I could see the lever part of the switch through the hole and grab it when I got it into position. Secure the switch by tightening its supplied ring nut with pliers.

Slide the battery pack into the end of the saber. I threw in a spring to hold the battery pack against the side of the saber and keep it from getting loose.

Put the D-ring assembly back on the end cap, and secure the end cap by putting in its four screws.

That’s It!

Finished Light Saber

Finished Light Saber


Welcome to Wilcox USA

Hello everyone!

Thanks for coming by Wilcox USA the  site famous for showing you how to build your own light saber!

We are currently reconfiguring the site to make it more user friendly and be able to be viewed easily on all devices including mobile phones and tablets. We will be back up shortly so please try us again in a few days.

Once we are back up and running you can expect to find some amazing information on:

  • How to Build Your Own Light Saber
  • Cool Geek products reviewed
  • Collectibles
  • …and much more! We are all things Geek.