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Thread: General questions for an ambitious builder

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    United States

    Question General questions for an ambitious builder

    First off, good to see everyone. I've been coming to this forum to read for a couple months now, but just recently started to build my own saber.

    I have an old Dark Initiate Ultrasaber that my brother bought, I..."reclaimed" and cannibalized after he left the country, but I'm not looking to just purchase a saber and call myself a Jedi. Imma make a thing.
    So my questions.

    1) Is there any way I could/should resize the internal diameter of the now-empty hilt to give myself more room to work with?

    2) Batteries. What kind do I need? Where can I find them? What voltage, wattage, diameter, and the rest of the fancy jargon for this. (I've looked, but haven't been able to find the thread with this. I would love a link if I just missed it.)
    I've considered making in-hilt charging, but sense I plan on an internal structure to carry all of the...everything, I feel that might be a bad idea, and I should stick with removable batteries.

    3) I'm a personal fan of Makototsai's style, and in my humble opinion consider his blade method to be the best.
    But I don't want a standard color, I'm going with Arctic blue. They don't make Arctic blue LEDs, so how can I make my saber that color? My current plan is to put two strings into the blade, one white and one blue, or possibly two blue and one white. (so three strings.)
    But would it be better to place a white LED on a blue LED (same string) to make the desired color? Has anyone ever experimented with this?

    4) Whats the best way to display a crystal? Just a single LED at the base? Perhaps a 3mm put into a small hole I've made in the base?

    5) Lets talk balance. Very important in a properly made weapon, and my group focuses on the combat side of things. Should I even bother, or would that be putting wayy too much thought into this? On that note, how would I counterbalance the hilts weight? Blade length?

    I have searched for all these questions, I haven't found any answers to them. Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough, and if so, I'm sorry. =/

  2. #2

    Default RE: General questions for an ambitious builder

    Hey, i'm fairly new to the scene but I'll do my best to answer what questions i can.

    In answer to your first 2 questions it depends on whether you are putting a soundboard in and if so which one. Looking at the Ultrasabers website you can get that saber with the obsidian board so you should have enough of room for most soundbaords you can get. You can run sabers with AA batteries but IMO and according to my understanding the best are rechargeable lion batteries which you can get both from the custom saber shop and off ebay for a great price. How many you need and what kind depend on what you're powering. Having in hilt charging is convenient but is slightly (but not much) more difficult to set up.

    I agree that Makatotsai's style is epic. I apologize for my ignorance in this area but it seems to me you are looking to make a blade with strings of leds inside? I don't know much about these blades but i believe that the LEDs tend to die/break during combat which you said you would be using it for (please anyone correct me on this if i am wrong). I was under the impression that string blades were mainly for display. To mix an arctic blue blade where the led is in the hilt the best method is to have a luxeon tri rebel star Blue Blue White ( ) and to adjust/mix the power going to the leds using resistors.

    I am curious on how you plan to display a crystal in the dark initiate. Would you cut a display port or would the crystal slide out on a chassis? I think that what you use depends on the size and type of the crystal. For the sabers that i am working on the crystals are 7cm lumarian seed crystals so i will need an led at both ends in the crystal mounts to get a nice bright, even light.

    Regarding balance I am not at all sure but I think that it would come down to personal preference. I understand that the best blade length for the average saber is 36" but again it depends on personal preference.

    I really hope that this helped and I apologize if I have made and errors and I hope if anyone finds them they'll point them out so that I can learn as well.

  3. #3


    I still havnt completed my first saber, so I cant answer most questions here. But I do have an interesting idea for balance. I was debating with my hilt just adding a chunk of lead above the grip. I am not sure how much room you have in your hilt, but even some extra steel or iron pieces will help move the balance point. Its impossible to move it past the blade holder without blade length, and even then it would be a matter of slowly trimming off pieces of the weight until you get what you want. I doubt ill be able to get the 4-6" above the handle point that I love, but I can get above the handle. The other option is to move the grip down on the hilt, though not always an option.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    United States


    Thank you both for responding.
    Mr. Anon, you are almost entirely correct.
    Mr. Steck, I agree with what you're saying, but I don't think adding weight to the hilt would actually solve anything. In my experience, the main problem of balance comes from the hilt to begin with, and if the focal point we want is right at the base of the blade, our options seem to be 1) increase blade length, or 2) decrease hilt weight. Considering that blade length is generally set, we are left with one reduce the weight of the hilt.
    Rereading your post, might I ask you to explain why grip and hilt are two different things?

    Now to the others.
    With that in mind, I might very well just work with a set of 4 AA/AAA's. One could potentially make battery packs, with one wire out and heatsunk together, but easily replaceable. (This is something that came to me recently, I would appreciate your opinion.) I use this because I think being able to carry extra batteries around with you would be invaluable in a show...Whereas recharging in hilt, while convenient, would give you a limit. I still aim to keep the packs rechargeable, just not in hilt. Thoughts?

    As for the Blade. Generally I have heard of string blades being used for display, but the main difference comes from the fact that Makototsai does not use a board in the blade. This...increases the strength dramatically. Regardless, I have seen an LED become somewhat troublesome during combat, of which my group does a lot of. Part of one blade out of three blades? Generally a favorable review in my opinion.
    But that leads me to another interesting prospect.
    Where LED blades are unparalleled for blade brightness, a hilt-based LED has the wonderful "burst" at the base of the blade you don't see. So imagine mixing the two together! Burst, Blade brightness, and if one dies, the other is there to back it up!
    However this would require an insane amount of power usage. NONTHELESS!

    I planned on displaying the crystal by cutting a hole in the side, and placing it in the base of the blade itself, the part that stays beneath the hilt. Figure give it something to do. Also, pre-made display glass.
    This, however would present some interesting problems, such as where to put the wires...but what if you cut small trenches in the side? Something to allow them to slide away, hidden from most view and safe from harm.
    However, you're lighting sounds pretty complete, I might borrow that.

    Thank you again for your thoughts, I look forward to your responses.

  5. #5


    Hi Saydil, welcome to the forum.

    I will answer your questions as best I can, but a little disclaimer: You have less than 9" to work with on the inside of that hilt. This will be a tremendous challenge getting what you want in there to fit. That being said:

    1. You could bore out the ID of the Initiate with a lathe, but keep in mind the Initiate is about 1,1/4" OD, so you don't have a lot of metal you can remove without sacrificing the structural integrity of the hilt. You also have to be very careful not to remove metal above the pommel threads, as you could find yourself without a pommel.

    2. I personally like a TCSS battery pack with a JST connector on it. It's readily available, can be swapped out for another pack if you are on the move, and can still be recharged inside the hilt with a recharge port. Best of both worlds. It is also much more durable than a standard AA pack, which can pop your batteries out in combat if they aren't properly secured with velcro or tape.

    3. For string blades, you need a specialized sound card to drive it, leaving you with the option of a Crystal Focus LS, or a Hyberblade soundcard. Both require a two cell solution for decent brightness for any length of time, which requires a lot of space in the hilt. As for arctic blue, it is actually a combination of Blue and Green that achieves that color you are looking for, so you will want a string of LEDs in blue and green, heatshrunk separately and then again together to keep them secure and be sure you have a good color mix. Then some transwhite foam like you find in the MR and Hasbro sabers, a transwhite blade, and you should have a very well lit and balanced blade.

    4. There is no formula to making a great crystal chamber. I think Yoda's graflex chambers are the best out there, but for your hilt, with your space concerns, it might be best to drill holes into the bottom of your LED heatsink, allowing some light from your main LED to shine through, then illuminate it from the bottom with a second LED wired to the board, to provide a very even shine through the entire of the Gem.

    5. If your balance is towards the pommel, try a heavy grade or "Battle" blade, the important thing is to have a thick-walled blade, which provides enough weight to balance the aluminium hilt. Simple fix. If it is towards the blade, adding electronics should help. A battery pack and LED Heatsinks (especially copper ones) add a surprising amount of heft. If it's still a little light on the hilt side, decorate the saber with some shroud work using the TCSS sleeve material. Even little layers here and there will help.


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