View Full Version : Step 2 - I have decided to make a LED saber

02-04-2007, 02:24 PM
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)

We use mainly us Luxeon brand LEDs.

http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/769.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/771.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/618.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/768.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/772.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/770.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/767.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/766.jpg

They are extremely bright versions of the LEDs you may have seen in small key chain flashlights. In fact, LED sabers are basically really powerful flashlights. The color is determined by the LED in the hilt. A Polycarbonate blade is used to contain the light. Optics are also used to direct the light up the tube. LEDs are much brighter than the brightest EL. The downside is that the color is not even (the light will fade more towards the end of the blade and tends to flare at the base). Changing colors is not as easy but there are two options: The Modular Hilt System (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Modular-Hilt-System-C3.aspx) using a quick change kit, and colored disks. The quick changes' disadvantage is that is requires unscrewing the blade holder and unplugging the LED. The color discs work by using a white LED. Changing colors is achieved by removing the blade and placing the filter over the LED and optics. The disadvantage is that a filtered LED will always be less bright than the pure LED of that color. LED blades are 1" in diameter.


You have several colors to choose from as well as a few different power levels:


These LEDs include blue, green, red, white, royal blue, cyan, amber and red/orange. Voltage requirements for 3 watt LEDs vary between about 3 to 4V with the amperage going from 1,000 to 1,400mA, depending on the color.

....... REBEL
http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/luxeon_rebel_s_smallpic_t.gif (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Luxeon-Rebel-Star-P523.aspx)

These LEDs are replacing the older Luxeon models (III, V, K2). They run at the same power as III LEDs but are brighter. Use the standard Luxeon optics for the Rebels. We carry them in in the full line of colors.

.... SEOUL P4
http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/178_7861_t.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Seoul-P4--P306.aspx)

These LEDs are very powerful, especially in the white color. The white outshines any Luxeon white and is the recommended LED for any saber where you want to use a white LED with color filters. Remember that a filtered saber will never be as bright nor as rich of a color as a solid color LED. Power requirements can be found on the TCSS Wiring Guide (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/wiringbuilder/wiring.aspx). We carry these LEDs in several colors; Red, Green, Blue, and White. White is the best color for these LEDs.

Regardless of what LED you choose to use, it is best to use the thermal tape we sell here to help the LED heatsink more efficiently.The tape comes in ready cut pads, all you have to do is stick it on the base of the LED and then onto the heatsink. This also helps keep the LED from moving while you screw the heatsink on.
http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/starpad_t.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Star-thermal-tape-pad-P483.aspx)


You have five choices on how to power your LED saber. You can either hook the batteries up to go through a resistor and directly into the LED (called direct drive) or you can use a specially made circuit board that's designed to maintain a constant amperage level to the LED, which prolongs battery life and allows for a brighter looking blade.

Option 1
Going with a resistor (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Resistors-C19.aspx)is less expensive and generally easier for those just starting out. To help you determine which resistor you need, check out the TCSS Wiring Guide (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/wiringbuilder/wiring.aspx).

Option 2
The driver board (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Constant-current-LED-driver-P609.aspx) is a specially designed circuit board that has special features allowing the saber's blade to appear to extend and retract, flash on impact and shimmer on command. The extension/retraction effects are best seen with our new custom coring blades.These drivers can use either momentary or latching switches, you just have to order the right type. It outputs 1000mA, 1200mA, or 1500mA, depending on which board you get. This output can not be changed.

http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/ccleda_t.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Constant-current-LED-driver-P609.aspx)

Option 3
Another option for your saber is to use a Buck Puck. These are in between a Driver Board and a normal resistor. They are far more efficient than a resistor, prolonging battery life. However, they lack the special LED effects of the Driver Board since they are not designed for sabers specifically. We sell both the 1000mA and the 700mA current Buck Pucks. Pucks can ONLY use latching switches!

http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/DSC00258_t.JPG (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/BuckPuck-1000mA-4-wire-P364.aspx)http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/938.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/BuckPuck-1000mA-6-wire-P10.aspx)http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/DSC00257_t.JPG (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/BuckPuck-700mA-4-wire-P363.aspx)http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/939.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/BuckPuck-700mA-6-wire-P9.aspx)
1000mA 4 wire ....1000mA 6 wire ....700mA 4 wire ...700mA 6 wire

Now you may be wondering what the difference between 6 wire and 4 wire Buck Pucks are. You may also wonder how to determine which current value you need.

The only difference between a 4 lead and 6 lead Buck Puck is that the 6 lead versions allow for a potentiometer in them. A potentiometer allows you to adjust the brightness of the LED. I.E. you can have a dim blade or a bright blade. The 4 wire versions don't have the potentiometer feature and are a little bit cheaper as a result.

Option 4
The fourth option for LED Drivers is an adjustable constant current driver. This means that it doesn't have any power on/off effects like option 1, but its current output is adjustable. It can output anywhere from 700mA to 1500mA. It is basically an adjustable BuckPuck driver that you can set to your own preferences.
http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/aledd_t.JPG (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Adjustable-LED-driver-P497.aspx)

The current value is easy to figure out. Go to the LED Resistor Chart (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/resistor.aspx) and find the LED you want to use in your saber. You will see that there are many different specs on the chart. You are looking for the colum that says "Target mA." Once you have found that current, look at the Buck Pucks. The Puck that most closely matches the current of your LED is the one you will want to use. Luxeon 5 LEDs generally use 700mA Pucks whereas IIIs use 1000mA Pucks.

Option 5
Option five is the most complex way to drive and LED. Saber Sound is the pinnacle of electronics inside a saber hilt, and is considerable more difficult to do than the previous options. At TCSS we offer the Petit Crouton sound board. This board allows you to change the sound bank on your saber at will. It also will drive the LED at any amperage (up to 1.5A). It powers two sequenced accent LEDs (also adjustable by the user). The wiring and operation of these boards is explained in greater detail in the manual.
Owners Manual (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PC-L1.5Manual.pdf)
http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Assets/ProductImages/PC-L_t.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Petit-Crouton-Sound-Module-P612.aspx)

As we said in Step 1 (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=2087), a saber is made up of two parts: a blade and a hilt. We'll look at each one of these now.


For most blades, you'll want a 5 degree lens (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Luxeon-Collimator-Lens-5-deg-viewing-angle-P4.aspx). They work best for thick walled blades (dueling blades) as well as longer (over 35 inch) thin walled blades (display or kata blades). For shorter thin walled ones, you will get a bit more brightness from a 8.7 degree lens (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Luxeon-Collimator-Lens-87-deg-viewing-angle-P537.aspx). If you plan on using a 3/4" blade, go with the 5 degree.

For a more detailed review of lenses, please click on the lens picture below:

http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/medium/619.jpg (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=2744&highlight=degree+lens+difference)


LED hilt tutorial (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=20)

You have two choices when building an LED hilt here: You can use our MHS to sink tube adapter piece (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/MHS-to-15-sink-tube-adapter--P162.aspx) to make a saber using hardware store parts like 1.5" sink tube.....Or you can go with a fully machined MHS setup (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Modular-Hilt-System-C3.aspx). You pick out the emitter, body and pommel you want and they all just screw together.

Here's a couple pictures of hardware type sabers that uses a sink tube and an MHS section that's made to fit inside it.

.......................A saber staff made with a combination of MHS parts and a sink tube.

......................................Note: The emitter section is a separate machined piece.

............................. Note: The center narrow section was a custom machined piece.

Here are a few MHS sabers:

.....................................Not terribly different than the sink tube version, only machined.

...... Made of 5 or 6 MHS parts, including a MHS to sink tube adapter piece (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/MHS-to-15-sink-tube-adapter--P162.aspx), though it doesn't have the sink tube over it.

...Pretty much the same saber, only with the addition of our MHS claw mount (No longer sold) and a different emitter.

.............................................. Cutaway view of an MHS saber


Dark blue = LED mount/heatsink
Dark green = LED
Light blue = Lens holder
Yellow = Lens
Purple = Push on/off switch
Orange = 2.2ohm 5W Resistor
Lime = 4AAA battery holder
Pink = Screw on end cap
Red = Screw on blade holder
Black = Hilt tube

......................... LED mounted on heatsink ............................................... LED & heatsink mounted in MHS hilt

http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/sabers/scripts/ledmhs3.jpg http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/sabers/scripts/ledmhs9.jpg

.................................................. ............... Assembled MHS saber


We offer a couple types of blades here at TCSS: the original tube style diffuser (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/LED-TCSS-style-Battle-blade-1-OD--P155.aspx), and the new Corbin style blades which come in three different types: show blade 1" (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/LED-Corbin-style-Show-blade-1-OD--P227.aspx), battle blade 1" (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/LED-Corbin-style-Battle-blade-1-OD--P198.aspx), and show blade 3/4" (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/LED-Corbin-style-Show-blade-34-OD--P228.aspx).

Here is a blue Luxeon tube style diffuser blade (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/LED-TCSS-style-Battle-blade-1-OD--P155.aspx), shown in a light and dark room.

This model uses a thick walled polycarbonate tube (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/1-Thick-walled-Polycarbonate-40-long--P150.aspx) with a white plastic diffuser tube (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/40-LED-blade-diffuser--P156.aspx) inside. There is a rounded shouldered tip (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Shouldered-1-thick-walled-blade-tips--P139.aspx) on the end.

This is the new Corbin style blade we offer. It uses a special type of film inside the thick walled polycarbonate tube (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/1-Thick-walled-Polycarbonate-40-long--P150.aspx)
rather than the tube-like diffuser of the previous model. This film acts in much the same way to diffuse the light, however
its special qualities refract the light in a special way to give the optical illusion of a central core of bright light within the
blade. There is also a rounded shouldered tip (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Shouldered-1-thick-walled-blade-tips--P139.aspx) on the end.


Here are the colored disks being used with a white LED saber.

http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/images/PRODUCT/large/633.jpg (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/11-Colored-Discs--P164.aspx)


Please note that your LED saber can utilize our modular LED electronics kits (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/Kits-C16.aspx) to make assembly much faster and easier. You can build an entirely custom LED saber by using the MHS Builder (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/mhsbuilder/). This computerized system allows you to mix and match different grip, emitters, pommels and extensions and VISUALLY SEE what they would look like BEFORE you buy. Some of the items shown are not available in the store and need to be custom made.

For a more detailed review of our Modular Hilt System, please check out this (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=2031)thread.