Build Your Own Light Saber

Parts, Optional Parts, and Tools Recommended or Required

You will also want to view the Assembly Instructions. See the links page as well for some places to get parts and design inspiration. Other saber-builders have e-mailed alternative suggestions for these items, and I have put such information in the Assembly Instructions pages—so read this list and those pages before you begin shopping or construction. (You may also want to examine the visitor-supplied graphics and miscellaneous pages.)

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.
HitRay6X5GT (from

These 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. (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, 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.
Old-Style (1970s) Calculator Display Bubbles

Old-style (1970s) calculator display bubbles—I have no
idea why I saved one of these, but I’m glad I did.

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.)

Tools — 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.