Build Your Own Light Saber

The Noodle Saber

I was disappointed with the lifespan of the blades on the toy sabers, especially under the [ab]use pattern of typical 4- to 11-year-old boys. I set out to create the absolutely cheapest, virtually indestructible, infinitely “whackable,” extremely easy-to-build saber that would use a foam “noodle” over a narrow PVC core as a permanently attached blade. Total cost of parts: less than $10.00.

After a few weeks of rigorous product testing by my sons Isaac and John, and some minor tweaks to the design, I’m satisfied with it. (This is where a digital camera would come in handy.) Right now we still need to decorate the hilts, but the important parts of the design are finished and proven. I have also built a double-sided, Maul-type light staff using the same materials.

If you are wondering just what these “noodles” are—take a look at http://www.poolproducts.com/waternoodle.html or http://www.bodytrends.com/wtrnood.htm. You should be able to find noodles in a local toy, department, or swimming pool supply store for between $2.50 and $5.00.

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Parts and Materials List

  • (1) piece of 1.25" outside diameter electrical PVC, 12" long
  • (2) 3/4"-to-1/2" plumbing PVC bushings—they look like little top hats, and should fit very snugly inside the electrical PVC
  • (1) Piece of 1/2"-diameter plumbing PVC, about 48" long
  • (1) Cylindrical foam “noodle”—easily found in summer at department stores—be sure to get one with a hole running through the middle. They are normally originally 5' to 6' in length, and 3" or so in diameter
  • (1) 6D nail or long-but-narrow machine screw
  • Duct tape
  • Epoxy (optional)
  • —Plus whatever you want to finish/decorate the handle

Tools Required

  • Drill
  • Hack Saw
  • File
  • Hammer
  • A C-clamp helps, but is not necessary.

Construction Notes

  • The 1/2" PVC is somewhat flexible. If you are not concerned about injuring someone (remember that I designed these for my 4- and 11-year-old sons), you might want to put a rod of some kind into the PVC, or use a larger diameter (like 3/4") PVC.
  • The 1/2"-3/4" bushings fit very tightly within the electrical PVC tube. You will need to file around the edges of the bushings to get them to fit with anything using less force than a sledge hammer.

Instructions

  • Cut a 12" piece of electrical PVC (1 1/4" outside diameter).
  • File the ends to remove plastic burrs.
  • Hammer one PVC bushing into one end of the tube, so that the most constricted portion faces the outside.
  • Cut the other bushing in half, so that it will slide over the 1/2" PVC.
  • Slide the now-cut bushing down to about 12" from one end of the 1/2" PVC.
  • Push the 1/2" PVC down into the bushing which has been hammered into the end of the large electrical PVC tube.
  • Use the file and hammer to force the cut PVC-bushing down into its end of the hilt. Move it down so there is about 1/4" between it and the end of the tube.
  • Be sure the 1/2" PVC is into the uncut bushing as far as it will go, and drill a hole somewhere in the hilt completely through the hilt and the 1/2" PVC. The hole should be slightly smaller than the nail you are going to use.
  • Drive one 6D nail into this hole, so that it goes all the way through.
  • Use a hack saw to cut the nail off on each side so that it is flush with the outside of the electrical PVC hilt, and file down any sharp or protruding edges. You might want to add a dab of epoxy over each end to further secure the nail.
  • Cut the 1/2" PVC to 1" less than the length of your foam noodle.
  • Wrap duct tape around the 1/2" PVC in at least three places. Use enough to allow the noodle to slide very tightly onto the PVC. This will hold the noodle in place. If it still slides around during battle, remove the noodle and wrap more tape around the 1/2" PVC.
  • Decorate the hilt as you like. Most of the other instructions on this site will also work on the noodle sabers.

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Paul La Rue was kind enough to provide some photos of his noodle sabers.

BareBonesnoodles1.jpg (14862 bytes)

These are very similar in design to what I’ve built, although mine have slightly shorter hilts (or perhaps longer blades).

NoodleHiltsTwo.jpg (10364 bytes)

Here are some noodle sabers mounted on toy saber hilts. These sabers are actually the same size. It isn’t obvious from the photo, but the one on the “top” is actually further away from the camera. (Several people have asked me about the availability of the Obi-Wan saber. See the note below.)

NoodleExposedquigon1.jpg (16255 bytes)

Here you can see the PVC inner core.

zoom.jpg (6350 bytes)

Here is a close up of Paul’s blade attachment assembly.

duel1.jpg (39852 bytes)

And, finally, an action photo of Paul and his neice.

Editor’s Update: I have now seen with my own eyes and held in my own hands both the light-up and the fully electronic (with sound) Obi-Wan sabers. My son Isaac purchased the light-up one, and I was at K-Mart on 7/1/2000 and they had a number of the fully electronic Obi-Wan sabers.

Editor’s Note (old): The guy who built the sabers in these photos seems to be very lucky. The Qui-Gon Jinn sabers sold out very quickly, and finding them was extremely difficult. I have never seen the Obi-Wan saber in stores [see note above this one], but I know it has been for sale, having seen it at an on-line store (probably mosespa.com, but I can’t remember). Eventually, you should be able to find them anywhere, when supplies catch up with demand.

Another Obi-Wan Saber Sighting—Amost! The Obi-Wan sabers are extremely rare. I almost saw one two days ago. I was at Toys-R-Us, shopping with my son for a birthday present for his friend, and saw the costume kits that have a saber with them—there were a bunch of Mauls, and one Obi-Wan. Unfortunately, the Obi-Wan had been torn open, and the saber was missing.

They had the same problem with the Death Star Play Set (very cool—I had one) about 20 years ago. The first day they were in the stores, places had to give up to 400 rain checks. I got mine somewhere in March (instead of Christmas like I’d hoped). Of course, now you have adult collectors competing with the kids for their purchases (a sign we have “too much” money as a nation); we didn’t have that back then. You might want to hit MosEspa and E-Toys every morning; the toys I've seen were available one day, and gone the next, apparently.

There are two versions (now) of the Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn sabers, one fully electronic version with a blade that doesn't completely retract; it makes sounds and lights up—it’s just an adaptation of the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker sabers that have been around for a year or more. They sell for around $23. There are newer sabers that have a fully retracting blade but no sound effects for $10.

 

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