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Thread: First build (StuntSaber), Build Check.

  1. #1

    Default First build (StuntSaber), Build Check.

    So before the Holidays I pulled the trigger on my order for my first build. I didn't want to make another "What do i need to buy" thread, so I did a bit of research and came up with the following. I suppose I'm looking for some opinions.

    I based my schematics off of Jay-Gon Jinn's PVC hilt thread, but noticed it was intended for children. Naturally, me and my buddies would want to spar with our sabers (Before we pull the trigger on full MHS kits), and I decided to make the first two using a PVC hilt. In addition to sparring, we want brighter blades that hopefully can be seen in mild daylight. Since the guide uses thin walled blades, I figured I'd have to up the power to the LED with a stronger driver.

    I wasn't quite ready to get a tri-star so I started simple- I can always get a resistor if my buckpuck is too powerful or someone thinks it could be improved, in addition to a higher powered LED. At worst, I make a few returns.

    Well, here it is:

    -2 Luxeon 1-UP Rebel Star, Deep Red in color- rated between 350mA and 700mA
    -1" OD heatsink for ease of use and the ability to power future, stronger leds
    -5 degree and 8.7 degree lenses with holders
    -Buckpuck with Dimmer, rated at 700mA (Twice the mA in Jinn's guide)
    -4-cell AAA battery holder
    -2 Latching on/off switches with Wire Leads.

    What I regret not buying:
    -18650 battery holder with battery

    -2 40" Clear Polycarbonate Thick-Walled blades w/ Shouldered Blade tips.
    -2 Homemade PVC hilts. A respirator is nice for carving the PVC with power tools- those fumes and dust are bad.
    -End caps of my sabers will have holes drilled in them in the very, very rare case of a battery malfunction. Just being safe.

    So this is my general list, and thats where I'm at.

    I don't have a drawn up schematic on my laptop (I prefer graph paper and pencils), but I intend to power the driver with 4 AAA's for the first test, this should come out a little above the minimum or right at its minimum voltage requirements, if im right. 4 1.5v batteries=6v in total.

    So If im right, this is the proper order for configuring the electronics:

    Battery (6v to start)--> Dimming 700mA buckpuck---> On/off Button (Needed with the dimming button?)---> Luxeon 1-Up Rebel star inside heatsink---> Cram-Fu!

    Of course, everything will be tested before being assembled.

    So, does it check out guys? I like to think I've done my research on this one- if not, please point it out to me! Tips are welcome!

    My main concerns/questions so far are:
    -Battery life/power, will my 6v setup run that 700mA buckpuck for a decent amount of time? If im right, it should do well.
    -Is running that 1-up at its maximum rated mA going to shorten its lifespan? Overall, how long should it last?
    -Brightness of a home-rolled blade, will tediously rolling a load of cellophane diffuse my LED properly? I'll be using a very thin dowel.
    -Is the 700mA driver overkill? I figured the dimmer will help if its just too much power/drains too quickly.
    -If i wanted to include an on-off button in addition to the dimmer switch, would I add it in between the buckpuck and led or would it have to be in-front of the dimmer?

    I apologize if my list is jumbled or I have used improper electronic terminology- I'm still getting into it each day. I hope I've adequately researched all my parts, if anything appears unsafe or unusable, again, point it out!

    Advice, comments, and input in general are more than welcome and highly appreciated! I can't wait for my packages to arrive this week!

  2. #2


    Okay, my first thoughts... I know you said you regret not getting 18650s, and yeah. definitely get some Li-Ions for the sake of battery life. Buuut keep in mind, if you use Li-Ions, you need to use a 7.4V pack OR switch to a resistor instead of a buckpuck. Also, you are not going to need that dimmer. Your LED will be fine running at .7A

    Running a single LED at .7A, you're not going to be seeing much when you're out in daylight. You can overdrive 3 dice at once and still not see much in daylight.

    If you want to diffuse your own blade, Jay-Gon has a tutorial for that, but yeah, done properly, it will diffuse the light.

    I would ditch your dimmer, use a latching on/off switch like this
    Buckpuck 1.jpg

    A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Miraluka View Post
    Okay, my first thoughts... I know you said you regret not getting 18650s, and yeah. definitely get some Li-Ions for the sake of battery life. Buuut keep in mind, if you use Li-Ions, you need to use a 7.4V pack OR switch to a resistor instead of a buckpuck. Also, you are not going to need that dimmer. Your LED will be fine running at .7A

    Running a single LED at .7A, you're not going to be seeing much when you're out in daylight. You can overdrive 3 dice at once and still not see much in daylight.

    If you want to diffuse your own blade, Jay-Gon has a tutorial for that, but yeah, done properly, it will diffuse the light.

    I would ditch your dimmer, use a latching on/off switch like this
    Buckpuck 1.jpg
    Firstly, thank you for your assistance and help, I sincerely appreciate it!

    It should be easy to remove the dimmer cords (I think) i thought it would be a fun feature, but it is another button to press while dueling, right? Regardless, I'll stick to the Latching on/off switch as suggested. It is also good to not hear "Your setup is way off" for my first build, so I'm feeling good on that front!

    But as far as brightness goes, we're more after the blade being fully illuminated in the evenings/nights should we go to another event. I'd like to think that at night this thing will be rather bright. If not, I would love to hear opinions on a bright setup for night/evening use. For daytime, I'd probably pick up a colored polycarbonate tube.

    On 18650's/Li-Ion's- I think I will order some holders from TCSS for sure. I am still kicking myself for that one. On the "7.4v Pack", I am not familiar with 18650 "packs"- looking at the store, I'll need a PCB (Which will warrant a cheap chassis/internal holder, that looks fragile) and the proper battery. I'll have to research rigging that up some more, I'm always very cautious with my 18650s. Thank you for the tip!

    I noticed Jay-Gon had the guide, and have it bookmarked! I wasn't sure if he had some sort of film that wasn't shown because his blades always look so good!

  4. #4


    I actually did build some regular adult size pvc sabers too:

    That was just a green rebel running off the miocropucks I used in the kid sabers. 3volts, 350ma. That one ran on 2-AA's that were in single AA holders...I had to wire the holders in series in order to get the 3 volts necessary. A side-by-side 2-AA holder didn't fit in the sabers as I had built them, and neither did a 4-AAA. The hilts I did were just simple pieces of 1" i.d. pvc electrical conduit, so they had the same i.d. the whole length. you can certainly get more creative and use different types or sizes of pvc to fit your electronics better.

    You will not need a pcb for any of the li-ions listed as packs in the store....they are already protected with a built-in pcb. Those would be the ones with plugs on them....there is a single 18650 cell listed that also has a built-in pcb, but it's currently out of stock.

    I'd also agree with Miraluka's suggestion on skipping the buckpuck and using a single 18650 from the store and just going with simple resistors. Just make sure you use the correct resistor on the red rebels, 700ma is all they will handle, any more than that and the have a tendency to stop working.

    My blades still use the same clear gift wrapping I used in the tutorial, so you should be fine there as well....just make sure you use enough. some people try to skimp on the film and then complain that their blade isn't evenly diffused. 4-6 feet usually works, depending on the blade length...the longer the blade, the more film you may need.

    Here's a full sized pvc saber running a red Rebel at 350ma:

    Got a question? Start Here. Have you tried the Thread Index yet? Most questions can be answered there.

  5. #5


    Jay-Gon, I regret not getting a micropuck! Those sabers look phenomenal- do they use thick walled blades?

    I am glad your giving me a little advice too, but when I said your pvc tutorial was more for kids I was referring to the thin-walled blades used more than the 350mA pucks. I figured if I used thick-walled, more power might be a wise idea.

    Also, I want to thank you for that guide on PVC sabers- I loved the idea of making my own hilt but never thought of using PVC! It really got me hooked on this new hobby, I love hand carving things, and with PVC the sky is the limit. It is also cheaper than ordering a few MHS sabers only to find my friends are not all that interested.

    I too am using the 1" ID pvc, but I figured for my first run, having extra hilts wont hurt. Its good to practice working with them. Giving them to a friend or family member is a great option too, especially considering many of them are suddenly hinting at their interest in this, both young and older. If the battery pack won't fit, the "Model 0.04" will have a bulky pommel to house the battery until i find a new hilt material or consider using the MHS/get a 18650 setup.

    What kind of battery life were you getting on your pvc sabers using the 350mA puck+2-cell AA pack?

    I'll give the 18650 (With built in pcb)+Resistor a try, is it really more efficient than the driver I have selected, even If i had the proper power for it? After all my research on saber manufactures, I'd love to keep supporting TCSS, so if its in stock, I'll probably get it. But my order shipped today, so I'll let that come first and see how short the battery life is.

    My other plan was to "Merge" (Hacksaw+jbweld to custom chassis) two 2-cell AAA holders, in tandem, to form a 4-cell AAA holder (6v). I'd have to have my buddy in electronics give me the "okay" on that before I pop in batteries, of course- but it would fit in the hilt's I have. If battery power is that short, I'll give a 9v with an extra large pommel to hold it a try- I have plenty of those laying around, as bulky as they may be.

    All that said, knowing myself, I will for sure mess around with putting one of the 700mA buckpucks in a saber, and return the other. Its just in my nature to want to give it a shot at max power, and I am admittedly very excited to make my first saber. Would running it at its maximum rated power risk blowing the LED/ drastically shorten its lifespan? Most of my research tends to say 700mA on the Deep-Red Lux will work well (So does TCSS's site under luxeon 1-up's, IIRC), although I do fully expect a shortened battery life, especially with a 6v setup that I'll start with.

    @Jay-Gon Jinn- Whats you opinion on the dimmer on my buckpuck? I am tempted to disconnect it when it arrives, but I have a feeling being able to mark on the dimmer where "about" half power is could be really useful. Show-offish at max, dueling at half kind of thing. And when you said you combined single-cell AA holders, would wiring two 2-cell holders at their leads be as easy as it seems (Solder + to +, - to -)? Most guides seem to involve a hacksaw, from what I've gathered.

    And last questions (I hope):
    -In those pictures, are those thick-walled blades? If so, I think I may literally just follow your schematic by the book for future builds, maybe using a battery setup.
    -For removing the "Dimmer" from my Buckpuck, is it as simple as cutting the dimming wires, and covering the leads with heat-shrink/electrical tape?
    -With the 18650's, as meantioned, I already own a charger for 18650's- is the single cell one everyone is referring to (With the PCB) able to fit in one? Its a nitecore 4-cell charger, and has been charging ecig batteries quite well.

    Thanks everyone for all the advice! I sincerely appreciate it, it will make "Day one" when the package arrives that much easier.

  6. #6


    Thick-wall blades are over-rated, in my opinion...all my personal blades are thin-wall. They will still take plenty of abuse and not break, and I've seen people use thick-wall blades in pvc sabers before and actually have the hilt break because they were "gorilla" dueling with the sabers. Thin-walled will light up much better, regardless if you have a puck driving the led's or are using resistors.

    Those sabers running on 2-AA's and only pulling 350ma ran for a couple of hours before the blades got noticeably dim. Using a resistor and an 18650 will be brighter than a micropuck (not to be confused with the buckpuck sold in the store here) because you can run the led at is full current rating, with the micropuck you will only get half (350ma) so the led will be about half as bright. The buckpuck works by taking the extra voltage (above the le'd rated forward voltage) and converting it to extra current and will maintain a more constant brightness over the life of the batteries, so you'll actually get a longer battery life by using the buckpuck. I don't think you'll need the dimmer circuit with this actually need to have a potentiometer to use it anyway.

    I would skip the 9-volt idea...they only have a capacity of 350ma/hour and will die in about 15-20 minutes with 700ma being drawn from them.

    Putting two 2-AAA holders together for 6 volts should work just fine, but you have your wiring idea for them backwards...they way you mention it would double your current, not the voltage, so you'd need to take the postive from one pack and connect it to the negative of the other. The remaining positive and negative then act as the leads for the entire pack/holder, giving you 6 volts instead of 3.

    The pictures are thin-walled blades.

    I think the charger you have will work, so long as the 18650 you ordered was not one with the plug soldered to it. This cell should fit the charger you have:

    Got a question? Start Here. Have you tried the Thread Index yet? Most questions can be answered there.

  7. #7


    Thanks again, Jay-gon! That battery will for sure fit in my charger- once they come back in stock, I'll pick a few up!

    I have yet to order the 18650 or the holder for it, as they are out of stock at the moment- I may make a separate order for the holder, though. Either way, the package is shipping.

    I was concerned about the PVC's strength compared to the thick-walled polycarbonate, so I suppose this may warrant some better hilt material- I don't think we'll go "gorilla" in duels, but having the extra durability should be nice. I hope the thick-walled blades will illuminate well if properly diffused with my setup.

    Next time I'll make some dueling sabers with thin walled blades for sure, especially if they can take some abuse as you have said. Is the "bending" noticeable when you spar? I've heard they may bend a little bit.

    On the dimmer: My buckpuck should include a built in potentiometer, if it does not, I'll contact the company for a refund (TCSS was out, so I had to make two different orders). If it has the Potentiometer, is it worth setting up the dimmer? I'm relatively positive the on/off switch should go before the buckpuck, as far as wiring goes.

    Combining the batteries: If i understand -and my apologize for being slow- I'll take one positive and one negative from each, solder those, and then seal them off creating a "loop", then use the remaining two wires as leads for the rest of my wiring. Does that sound accurate?

    So far, my first setup (While I look/wait for 18650's), will be: Battery--->On/off latching button--->Puck with Potentiometer---> LED in heatsink

    I think this should provide a basic setup for me to mess around with, and if I get the proper protected 18650 battery+holder, I'll consider replacing the buckpuck with a resistor as recommended for a longer battery life. The potentiometer will just be an added feature for my own saber, or taken out if I find its too much of a pain.

    I think its time for me to start making some schematics in paint to save a little time, too. I really appreciate your time and input- its been invaluable in this process!

  8. #8


    @Jay-mo: Just so you know, the 18650s and holders are back in stock.

    And for your battery pack combination dilemma...

    A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

  9. #9


    Thank you so much, Miraluka! I got my first package today (LED's/drivers) from another source. Unfortunately, I may have to return my drivers as they do not have the potentiometer (Turns out I selected the wrong option!), and on that note: You guys were right, I'm not afraid to say it.

    I'm tempted to get the potentiometer just to have the option of running it at different power levels. I still like the idea of marking off where 1/2 power is, full, etc. I suspect I should have gone with the 350mA micropuck, but hey, its a learning experience.

    I checked TCSS, it looks like the battery Im after is still out of stock- I assume you were talking about the TrustFire 18650's? They have lower mAh than the Panasonics but I think I'll put my old ecig "If it has 'Fire' in its name, don't get it" motto behind me for this one. I'll have to order a pair and 2 holders- they also look like they would fit in my nitecore 4-cell charger.

    I really appreciate the battery schematic too, it confirms what I was thinking of doing and it also makes me feel safer combining battery packs for the first time. I'll have to make a custom chassis for the two 2-cell AAA holders, then I'll solder them together to form a 6v pack in tandem so they fit in my 1"ID tube. I did research combining battery packs thoroughly, but its always reassuring to hear from the community here. I tend to be overcautious when it comes to batteries- Better safe than sorry!

    So what came today:
    2 Luxeon Deep Red 1-up's
    2 1" OD heatsinks
    2 700mA Buckpucks, with dimming leads (To be removed, or have a potentiometer added)
    2 8.6? Lenses w/ holders

    Still waiting on blades/buttons, but I found an old on/off red push button to mess around with. I think I'll try my first build using the homemade 6v battery pack, the 700mA puck and see what I can do about those extra leads. I'm tempted to return them and just get a resistor from a local shop.

    EDIT: It seems I could simply solder a resistor between the REF and CTL leads on my 700mA buckpuck to run it at about 350mA, so this should be a good option for lower power without making returns. I believe a 5w resistor/2.5 ohms should do it. Also learned you can simply cut the dimming leads, and seal them off to remove that feature. Also checked on the 18650 holder, those are out of stock- too slow on the draw today.

    Any and all advice, input, opinions/etc are welcome and appreciated in this thread! I'm always out to learn more. The more I know, the more questions I can answer, right?

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Jay-mo; 01-06-2016 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Edditing/ Added Information

  10. #10


    I thought these were the ones you were waiting on. My bad

    A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.


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